Our Masters students are currently showing their final Degree Show projects at Edinburgh College of Art (ECA). As we wish them good luck in their future careers, we look back to last year’s leavers and their many and varied successes. In this article we meet Illustration - MA graduate, Pat Hughes, who lives in New Jersey and works in New York City.

How did you feel when you left ECA?

My final months in Scotland were way more frantic than I could have expected. Early in August, in the final throws of prepping for the Master’s Degree Show, I was scrolling tumblr on one sleepless night and came across a post from Frederator Studios. I followed all their blogs since I’m a big cartoons nerd, and the New York studio was calling for art interns for the fall. Anyway, I interviewed in a videochat and got offered a position to be their Art and Animation intern.

How was the internship at Frederator?

Working at Frederator has been really great. I illustrated a bunch of assets for their series of kids' YouTube videos called Fredbot, and have made a bunch of posts for them on social media. It sounds like maybe not the most exciting thing, but I’ve learned a lot about how to make art work in the “real world.”

I’m still working at Frederator, doing production assistant stuff and other design projects. Through them, I’ve made posters and logos, assisted with marketing campaigns, and even recently got a toy design approved. I’m also doing contract design work for an indie record label in NYC which has been fun, and some personal side projects I’ve of course been neglecting.

Finding opportunities after graduation can be a fight. I’ve pushed hard to be able to do next-level design work at my various places of employment. And before I had any employment, I sent out countless numbers of unanswered applications. Some of it might be luck, but it’s also about being annoying. Annoying in a good way, to people you know you could do good work for. It’s a bit of a fine line to walk.

What advice would you have for anyone who is leaving this year?

Don’t stop making things after you graduate. I don’t think anyone ever leaves art school thinking they’re going to stop making art. You take your sketchbook and pencil case everywhere, but then a few weeks go by and all that stuff is heavy and it’s so much easier to just leave it at home to draw, since who draws on the train anyway? And then suddenly it’s been a long time since you drew anything for yourself.

The thing that I wish I heard with this advice is that it’s okay to slip up. There will be a couple weeks where you won’t do any work and feel really crappy about it. Just pick up where you left off, no matter how much time it’s been or how frustrated you are or how tiring life is. Some of the most rewarding things that I’ve done post-graduation started as personal projects. They can grow into something very worthwhile.