Illustration Summer School

“What a lifechanging week!”, all of us shouted.
Summer school in Cambridge had ended and we said our teary-eyed goodbyes…

Just one week! One week that was so inspiring that all of us felt like Peter Pan had sneaked up on us in our bedrooms and had kidnapped us to Never Never Land.

So, what happened?

This June I felt like I needed a good kick up the old illustration butt.
Running a shop, working on commissions, and teaching illustration as well as psychology had taken their toll.
I had to get back in the artistic saddle and create something of my own again.
I looked around for nice summer schools, remembered Marloes de Vries being oh-so enthusiastic about the Children’s Book Illustration one in Cambridge and decided to enroll.
It turned out to be the best thing I could’ve done for myself.

Ellen Vesters Illustrator at MA Children's Book Illustration Summer School Cambridge

I photographed this sign on my way to campus.
I was so so nervous, carrying 14 kilos of art supplies, wondering what I was getting myself into: an insecure 18-year old Erasmus student all over again!

But of course summer school was amazing.
The teachers were the best ones around, special credits to Pam Smy, Marta Altes, Courtney Dicmas, Ness Wood and Imogen Clare.
We got to work on our very own children’s book (dummy) for one whole week, including daily lectures and one-on-ones.
What a treat!

Ellen Vesters Illustrator at MA Children's Book Illustration Summer School Cambridge

Already on day two I texted Mr Rockstar: “Houston, we’ve got a problem… I don’t want to go home anymore!”

The rest of the week I felt like I was going mental.
I felt absolutely torn between wanting to have more of this, wanting to sign up for the MA, and having this already wonderful life back in the Netherlands.
At one point I thought to myself: what would Lecturer-me do?
I started to look for possibilities instead of racking my brain about all the impossibilities.
And of course… with the right sacrifices it turned out I could do it!


(without having finished my art school bachelor’s degree!)

This will be a crazy two and a half years, flying back and forth, but I am going to do this!

I will try to keep you guys updated on my progression.
Status right now: shaky knees! Feeling so nervous again!

Ellen Vesters Illustrator at MA Children's Book Illustration Summer School Cambridge

For those of you that want to know what I have actually been sketching that whole week…

Giraffes and zebras!


Ellen Vesters Illustrator at MA Children's Book Illustration Summer School Cambridge

Ellen Vesters Illustrator at MA Children's Book Illustration Summer School Cambridge

6 antwoorden
  1. antoinette
    antoinette zegt:

    om te gillen, zo gaaf! wat een geweldig plan weer!
    wens je succes en vooral plezier!

    (ik deed je cursus vorig jaar bij parnassos, en kijk vol bewondering naar je geweldige plannen!)

    • Ellen
      Ellen zegt:

      Nou moe, Antoinette, je reactie was in de spam beland, dus ik zie hem nu pas! Ik weet nog wie je bent, hoor, en hoop dat jij ook nog steeds aan het tekenen bent? De MA gaat geweldig en ik weet niet hoe ik het doe, maar dat gekke plan werkt! ;)

  2. Dan Stewart
    Dan Stewart zegt:

    Hi Ellen,

    I have enrolled onto the Children’s Book Illustration Summer School at ARU, starting in just over a week’s time. Actually, I would have been on the course with you last year but had to pull out due to illness; I have long term Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/ME, with all the ups and downs that entails. I am a bit anxious as to whether I will have the energy to cope with it this year – and also because I have let the rest of my life push out all artistic creativity over recent years – so I found your enthusiastic description very inspiring and am looking forward to an exciting week. Thank you.

    I hope your MA is going well?


    • Ellen
      Ellen zegt:

      Hello Dan,
      So sorry for the late reply, I just saw your message now. Which is a pity, because I was at the conference last Saturday! We could’ve met! How was the summer school for you? It’s quite the intensive roller coaster ride, right? I really hope you’ve had a wonderful time and that it has given you energy instead of taking it? Starting the MA has been the best decision of my life for me. I am enjoying every single minute of it to the fullest and quite frankly I never want it to end ;).
      Best wishes!


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