On completing an Illustration degree just over a year ago, I was thrown into the real world with countless other hopeful creatives looking for work. Armed with a CV, some business cards, a printed portfolio and what I hoped was a strong website I was feeling fairly confident. As well as freelance illustration work I was looking at animation studios in the hope of getting some experience in one. Animation has always been an interest of mine and the process of bringing designs to life was something I wanted to get involved in if I could.

Tiring and time consuming as it was, scouring through job listings and internships on a daily basis kept me aware of what was going on and was definitely worth doing. It also allowed me to find smaller illustration job offers to work for free. Taking on free work wasn’t ideal but it kept me in practice, looked good on my CV and I made new connections.

However, the most effective way to get noticed was to contact people directly myself.

Applying for Internships

I collected huge lists of email addresses for animation studios and emailed them all. I wrote a brief email introducing myself, my most recent qualification and listed some skills I had to offer. A clear link to my website and attaching my CV meant they could quickly see my work. Even if the studio is not advertising a job vacancy, it is worth approaching them and leaving your details. You never know who might see your work and log you away for future jobs! Mentioning the company name shows that you’re not just sending out the same email to everyone.

After months of job hunting I was offered an internship from Napoleon Creative, a video and animation studio. The company were hesitant at first as to the amount of work they’d be able to offer me. I am not trained as an animator, which is their core business. However, they decided to give me a chance. I started using my drawing and storytelling skills to create storyboards and character designs for them. Having someone specifically for those roles proved to be useful for them and they ended up offering me a full time job!

Since becoming a full time member of the team, I have learnt more than I could have imagined. I mainly storyboard and draw with pen and paper. However,  I have also gained knowledge and experience of filming, video editing and voice over recording. I even got to design and animate on Adobe After Effects and Illustrator. Here is an example of an animation I made designs for:

It’s true that you can achieve a lot when you push yourself out of your comfort zone.

Even if your work doesn’t appear to fit the company you might just have something they need. You’ve got nothing to lose by asking!


Gavin Ricketts is a Producer/Director with over twenty year's experience. His courses on finding work in the creative industries has helped hundreds of Film and TV Crew win more work.

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