Laura’s postgraduate degree at RMIT led to an international career as an in-demand illustrator and animator for television.
Postgraduate study is a great way to grow and develop your career. It’s all about finding where your strengths lie and helping you take those strengths and do great things with them.
I did an undergraduate degree at another university, and it was largely theoretical and had a very broad scope. I wanted specific training in a specialised area that could get me a job working in the industry, so I sat down reading about postgraduate courses and watching graduate films. The RMIT student films blew me away. I knew RMIT had a reputation as a technical and industry-focused institution, and since I wanted to steer away from theory and towards practical skills I decided to enrol at RMIT.
The coursework in Animation and Interactive Media (AIM) consisted almost entirely of bringing our own ideas to life. In the final semester, I created my own film from start to finish, and it taught me how to work autonomously, how to create and work to my own deadlines, how to be imaginative and creative and how to make a product I am proud of.
I got a lot out of one-on-one consultations with my lecturers, who sat down with me for what seems like hours on end advising me on storytelling techniques, design and even time management. I still remember and act on their advice to this day.
At the AIM graduate screening I was lucky enough to be offered a job at an animation studio, after which I moved to a role with Viskatoons. These jobs got me the foot in the door I needed to start working, and the relationships I formed during that time are still very important to me and my career today. A lot of the work in the animation industry is on short-term contracts, so building a network of contacts you can use to secure work is very important.
By using my networks I got my start in Canada, where I worked for four years. After freelancing for a few months I landed a job at 9 Story, a huge studio with over 200 staff and up to five series in production at once. I worked on the television shows Arthur and Peg + Cat, and it gave me so much incredible experience to bring back to Melbourne with me. I’ve also maintained a body of work that is my own, including hundreds of illustrations that have been sold, exhibited and won awards all over the world.
Throughout my career I’ve created advertisements, album covers, theatre props, and I’m currently working on a children’s book, which is something I’ve always wanted to do since I could first pick up a book. I can’t believe I’m earning a living doing something so fun!