Meet the very talented Emily Thomas our artist in residence. Emily has just finished her second year of an Illustration Degree at UWE Bristol and her main developing interests are observational and documentary drawing, and she loves to draw on location and interact with people to tell a story through her work and can’t wait to be at The Dartmouth Food Festival this year . 


Age: 21, 

Hometown: Dartmouth

University: University of the West of England (Bristol) just finished second year. 

Social Media – my instagram is ‘emilythomasillustration’ 

What time do you wake up in the morning?

I’m usually up by about 8:30 as I like to have a bit of a slow morning before I get into work for the day! I usually try and have a coffee and go to the gym if I can.

What is your favourite meal to cook?

When I’m at Uni I always try to bulk cook as I find this the cheapest and most convenient way to eat dinner – you’ll always find portions of curry in my freezer – sweet potato and chickpea is a favourite. 

What do you like best about being an artist?

Difficult question! There’s so many things that I enjoy – people think I’m lucky to not have the commitment of revision for exams and constant lectures at university, but the freedom that gives me is actually so important. I enjoy being given the opportunity to freely explore my style and different ways of working, and this is such a key factor to becoming a successful illustrator. The best thing is how much I enjoy drawing and what I study, I know plenty of people who dislike their subject choice at University but every day I wake up excited to draw and develop my skills in Illustration.

Advice for someone wanting to follow in your footsteps and wanting to become an artist?

Take every opportunity! Studying an Art and Design Subject at University certainly helps with skill development and guidance – but you have to put in the extra work and use your own initiative to find opportunities to get your name out there. From small competitions to large opportunities such as a bursary or grant – if you think you can do it, do it! It’s so important to be self motivated and driven with an art and design subject. 

Life’s proudest moment so far?

This would probably be fairly recently – when I heard about an opportunity of a Travel Bursary of £1000 from my University to do a creative project abroad. I really didn’t have much confidence that I would receive it as I was in competition with students from all creative disciplines, but I decided to apply anyway. I’m now the winner of this travel bursary and have a 3 week trip to Poland ahead of me in August. This will be linked to a recent project I did in Bristol where I interviewed hotel staff members and drew them to uncover the ‘unseen’ of hotel workers. I’m now taking this idea to Poland where I’ll be visiting hotels and investigating a comparison between hospitality workers in Krakow/Warsaw compared to the UK where a lot of Polish people come to live and work. I’m really chuffed I’ve received this opportunity as I truly didn’t think I would, which is why I’m so encouraging of others to take every opportunity you can! 

Which celebrity would play you in a film about your life?

Although I’d love to say someone glamorous for this answer, unfortunately due to my slightly clumsy nature it would probably be someone like Miranda Hart! 

If you weren’t an artist– what would you be?

I’ve always been interested in policing and criminology and almost took this route of further education whilst studying A Levels, so it would definitely be something based on that – I think I’ve watched too many Police and Detective dramas to base that decision on though – It’s definitely not as glamorous as it looks on TV! 

What are you looking forward to the most about coming on board as our first artist in residence with the Dartmouth Food Festival this year?

Drawing at this year’s Food Festival is an amazing opportunity for me to develop my observational skills and methods of working by capturing the great variety of events and activities that take place over the weekend. I’m really excited to be a part of it and having the challenge of drawing movement and multiple figures in a short space of time.

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