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A catch-up with Peter Henderson: Illustration graduate, illustrator and motion designer


  • OPOA
  • |
  • Magazine


Peter Henderson graduated from BA (Hons) Illustration in 2017 and has gone on to work as a successful designer. We caught up with him to find out what he had been up to since leaving AUB.

What age were you when you first noticed a passion for Illustration, and where did the inspiration come from?

It was back in Primary School – Year 4, I was school champ for a mixed media ‘Illustration’ of Henry VIII. Although it wasn’t until a year before university that I really understood what Illustration was. I’m not sure where I can pin point my original inspiration back to… growing up, my two older sisters were both quite arty, so possibly an early attempt to gain their attention!

What originally attracted you to studying Illustration at AUB?

I fell in love with the modern campus, and the quality of work I’d seen pouring out of other alumni.

How did you find your time at AUB?

I loved it, after the first year had flown by I really got locked into the work, and found my style. It was overall, a busy, and hardworking few years, which I was lucky enough to share with some amazing people.

What were the most important lessons you learnt?

Time management, work ethic, and to be critical of my own work.

How did the course prepare you for entering the creative world after AUB?

I think it set me up perfectly for running into real world briefs. The freedom we had within the final year filled my portfolio with work that I really enjoyed making, and in turn has got me jobs that I equally love.

Can you explain a little about your career journey since graduating… what jobs have you had and where? What does your job involve?

Since graduating, I was lucky enough to be picked up by Folio Illustration agency, it was certainly a huge boost moving out of the blocks but it didn’t allow me to just sit back and let the work flow in. I spent the first few months constantly creating self-initiated GIFs, whilst at the same time contacting art directors and various freelance job postings. I eventually broke through and landed a motion design freelance role for The Wall Street Journal’s Snapchat channel.

Alongside my work for WSJ, I have also had the chance to work with a mixture of other clients through my agency. I’ve created editorial animations for Siemens, typography GIFs for, and a handful of other commissions for international clients in Canada, the USA and Europe.

Tell us a bit about your current role, what is the best bit about your current job, and what attracted you to it?

At the moment, I am still working with The Wall Street Journal, creating around 12 animations a week for their Snapchat channel. I love the fast pace and variety of the articles, it’s allowed me to diversify my portfolio topics a lot.

The best bit is the creative freedom around the work. I am responsible for the art direction of my illustrations and animations. This means I must be confident in my ideas, but also allows me to experiment with new concepts.

Can you tell us a little about the work/performance you’re most proud to have produced so far?

At the end of 2017 I created some short GIFs for Siemens about the future of cybersecurity. The loops are quite simple but they have a lot of small detailing packed in.

Do you have any future career aspirations?

I’m looking forward to expanding on my client list this year. Longer term I hope to get involved in some bigger advertising jobs, and try to influence and inspire others!

Finally, what’s your one piece of advice for the next generation of creatives?

Start creating the work that you dream of one day being paid to make. (Pretty sure one of my tutors at AUB gave me that one!)”

See Peter’s illustration and motion work on his website. Find out more about BA (Hons) Illustration.

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