Meet 6 Shillington Half Scholarship Winners from 2019

2019 Half Scholarship Shillington Winners

We’re announcing our 2020 Shillington Half Scholarships next month! To build up the excitement, meet six of our 2019 winners from New York, Sydney and London.

Anderson, Mayo, Louise, Darsh, Mason and Niamh were all so excited to win a Shillington Half Scholarship back in 2019. We loved their applications, which ranged from a zine to a video and a stop-motion animation. It was impressive how they stretched their imagination and learned new skills to tell their story in a unique and compelling way—explaining why studying at Shillington would change their life and career.

Read on to meet each winner and see their winning application!

Want to meet more past scholarship winners? Read about Ella CaseleyJordan Kenneth KampArnold Omanyo, Brian GurevichChristina Capetola and meet 5 winners from Australia.

Anderson Ashbaugh, Shillington New York Half Scholarship Winner

Andie headshot

  • Day job prior to Shillington: Financial Analyst
  • Scholarship entry: Stop-motion video

What were you up to before Shillington and what kind of work were you doing?

Before Shillington I was working as a financial analyst, working with a lot of numbers, math and Excel!

Why did you want to study design and what made you decide on Shillington?

I’m fascinated by the design world and have long been a collector of anything that inspires, moves or delights me—packaging, fonts, tags, ideas, anything. This passion wasn’t just a coincidence, but something I knew I would eventually do, all I needed were the fundamental skills to get started. That is why when I first saw a Shillington advertisement in Frankie magazine, I couldn’t imagine a better fit. Requirements: passion and willingness to learn? That is ALL I have!

Tell us about your creative scholarship submission.

For the submission, I made a stop-motion animation. I did some loose planning but really came up with ideas as I went, infusing my personality wherever I could. I felt like I didn’t have much to lose, so I gave my all and had a BLAST. I had never done stop-motion before and it was my first time submitting anything creative, so I felt incredibly accomplished when I finished.

How did it feel when you won?

Amazing, amazing, amazing! I always wanted to do design, but never knew if I actually could. To me, winning the scholarship solidified that I could (and would!)

What would you say to someone who’s thinking about studying at Shillington?

What are you waiting for?! Truly one of the most exhilarating, challenging and rewarding experiences of my life.

I still can’t believe how much I gained in just three months.

Do you think the skills you learned during the course prepared you for the design industry?

Absolutely. Not just the technical skills, but imperative tools to be a well-rounded designer like research & ideation, file management, presentations and more!

If you could give one piece of advice to someone starting at Shillington, what would it be?

You get out of the program whatever you choose put in, so give it all you got, push yourself and be a sponge to the whole experience. And have fun!

Follow Anderson on Instagram and see her portfolio.

Mayo Inoue, Shillington New York Half Scholarship Winner

Mayo headshot

  • Day job prior to Shillington: Graphic Designer
  • Scholarship entry: Zine

What were you up to before Shillington and what kind of work were you doing?

I was doing design work—but really menial, templated, boring stuff for stuffy companies. Being self-taught, I felt limited in the things I could do and was not confident about my design skills. Though I don’t completely dislike production work, I felt that I had more to offer than just pixel pushing and recreating already made designs.

Why did you want to study design and what made you decide on Shillington?

I wanted to be in a creative environment and learn from passionate teachers who were still doing work of their own. I chose Shillington because of the amazing work that came from the student portfolios. The alumni I spoke with only had very good things to say about the program so that encouraged my decision as well. The chance to study in New York City also had a lot to do with my decision. It’s graphic design mecca, what with Saul Bass, Milton Glaser, Paula Scher just to name a few…

Tell us about your creative scholarship submission. 

I decided to create a zine all about myself and my passion for design. I love making zines in my spare time because it’s a great way to get an idea or project out into the world quickly and cheaply. It’s also the perfect example of how important analog methodologies are in our tech-heavy world. Zines have a long history as a design medium, especially for marginalized voices and ideas.

I felt that by making a zine I was not only showing my design sensibilities but the way that design has shaped my growth as a person.

I sketched out each page in advance before getting to the nitty-gritty of actually drawing/lettering each element. It was a lot of fun and reminded me why I wanted to pursue design in the first place—to be part of a community and to create beautiful things for a better tomorrow (cheesy, I know, but I really do think that design can make change happen).

Mayo Scholarship Submission Zine

How did it feel when you won?

I was elated! I remember I was on my morning break at work, stepping outside to listen to the voicemail that had informed me I was a winner. It boosted my confidence as a designer for sure.

What would you say to someone who’s thinking about studying at Shillington?

If you love design, go for it! Definitely talk to alumni (I’m always down to answer any questions!) and have a general understanding of the kinds of companies or industries you’d like to one day work in.

Do you think the skills you learned during the course prepared you for the design industry?

YES! I still use the methodology in preparing a brief for my current assignments.

The studio-like environment of the classroom really prepares you for real-world deadlines.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone starting at Shillington, what would it be?

Again, have an inkling of the kinds of design work you’d like to do, this will be helpful when you’re getting down to portfolio week. Because design is a highly saturated industry, it’s helpful to have something to differentiate yourself and your work. Be prepared to do a lot of work outside the classroom! I wish I hadn’t procrastinated so much during portfolio week. Oh, and stay inspired—read design blogs, read up on designers, and stay informed! Technology is always changing so being aware of new and emerging tools and trends are vital.

See Mayo’s portfolio.

Louise Potter, Shillington Sydney Half Scholarship Winner Louise Headshot

  • Day job prior to Shillington: Strategist and Researcher at an innovation agency
  • Scholarship entry: Illustration

What were you up to before Shillington and what kind of work were you doing?

I’ve had lots of creative-adjacent jobs for most of my career, including most recently working as a strategist and researcher at an innovation agency in Amsterdam.

Why did you want to study design and what made you decide on Shillington?

I’ve always been interested in the arts, and always enjoyed creative subjects the most, but I didn’t have any exposure to graphic design when I was younger. I fell into studying a history degree at university, and then ended up in advertising looking for a more creative outlet, but always found myself a step removed from the really juicy creative parts of projects. Turning 30 last year was a bit of a “now or never” moment, and I decided I wanted to see if I was any good as a designer. I didn’t have the time or money to go back to university (I’ve got a mortgage, you know?), so Shillington seemed like the perfect answer. Especially when I saw the quality of work coming from past students.

Tell us about your creative scholarship submission.

I was quite shy as a child, but also quite adventurous, which isn’t a natural combination. It meant that whenever I wanted to do something new I really had to steel myself at the entryway to stop myself running home instead of trying it. I used that as a starting point, and illustrated all of the doorsteps I’d stood on, trying to convince myself to go in, before getting to Shillington. I illustrated it using a mixture of real imagery and iPhone sketching. It took a lot of the eraser tool and Google StreetView.

Louise Illustration Scholarship Submission

How did it feel when you won?

Equal parts scary and encouraging. I honestly didn’t know if my entry was good or absolutely cringe-worthy?

What would you say to someone who’s thinking about studying at Shillington?

Stop thinking about it, and start making a plan to do it.

Oh, and definitely explore the option to do it in a different city—getting to live in Sydney for three months just added to the adventure.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone starting at Shillington, what would it be?

File your work properly! I was infamous for my horrendous filing, and I seriously regret it. ‘Final final final final actual final v3 pug proj’ may seem like the best thing to name your file now but it’s not, trust me. Aside from that, just enjoy it. It’s going to be a great adventure, and you’ll miss it like mad once it’s done.

Follow Louise on Instagram.

Darsh Seneviratne, Shillington Sydney Half Scholarship Winner

Darsh Headshot

  • Current day job while studying at Shillington: Lab assistant at photo lab
  • Scholarship entry: Video

What were you up to before Shillington and what kind of work were you doing?

I had previously studied Fine Arts in photography and then worked at Nikon for a few years as a sales rep. At the start of last year, I’d just returned from a stint overseas in Europe where I had spent a lot of time in Berlin. I was (and still am) working at Rewind Photo Lab in Glebe processing and scanning film, as well as helping assist with exhibitions in the gallery we have. I’ve shot a few bands and artists, and I’m constantly working on various personal bodies of photo work. I exhibited in a few group shows in Australia last year, and also exhibited in my first international show in Tokyo which was pretty fun.

Why did you want to study design and what made you decide on Shillington?

I had always been interested in design when I was in high school, a lot of the music I liked was intertwined with photography, illustration and hand made design. Jacob Bannon from Converge, Joel Birch from The Amity Affliction, Martin Kirby from Carpathian—guys like these I admired, and all I wanted to do was make work that looked like theirs. I headed deeper into the photography channel after high school, as I really enjoyed the ability photographs have to subtly convey emotion. I always loved graphic design and illustration, but in the following years I seemed to psych myself out of pursuing it—I felt that to be a designer, one had to be meticulous and organised, things which I’m not too good at being.

Skip forward to last year and I had decided to fulfil my teenage dreams and study design, I just had to decide on where to study. I researched a range of options in Sydney and Melbourne, all of which were either not what I needed, or longer than I was willing to commit to.

I really liked the course that Shillington offered, particularly as it was intensive and worked around my work schedule.

Sitting in the sun with my girlfriend one day, eating Vietnamese sandwiches while kids threw frisbees around us, I’m umm-ing and ahh-ing about which course to choose. She looks at me and says, “If you want to study at Shillington, why don’t you just do it?” So I did just that and was pleasantly surprised to hear that Shillington was running a competition to win a scholarship for their course.

Tell us about your creative scholarship submission.

So originally I was going to make a board game called Cluedarsh where you race to the end of the map by correctly answering questions about my life and design interests. I scrapped that idea because I only had one weekend to make it and instead decided to shoot a short video about who I am, what I do, and why I wanted to study at Shillington. I wanted to make the video informative but not too boring, include a little about my personal life, and squeeze in a shot with my pet cat and dog. I shot all the footage in an afternoon, gathered up all the material I needed, and then spent a nice weekend up the coast with my friends and family hunched over the computer editing while they went kayaking and swimming. It was really fun to make, admittedly super stressful due to the tight turnaround. Everyone I’ve reluctantly shown the video to has enjoyed it, so I’m pretty happy with the result.

How did it feel when you won?

Yeah, it was unreal! I hadn’t won anything since the 1998 Eastwood Police Station Colouring-in competition. Guess design was always in my blood, huh? I had visited the Sydney Shillington campus the previous week and a few of the staff recognised me from my video which was a lovely feeling!

What would you say to someone who’s thinking about studying at Shillington?

I’d highly recommend the course to someone who is interested in graphic design, particularly those juggling a few commitments (work, family, career). The course is fast-paced and intensive, however the teachers understand the pressures and commitments of part-time students.

The classes are small and intimate, students can bounce ideas off one another and the class culture really flourishes as the course progresses.

How is the course going? Are you amazed by the skills you’ve learnt so far?

The course is going incredible, I’ve learnt a lot more in the past few months than I thought I’d be able to. Sam and Missy really love design, and it translates through to how they teach in class—the environment they create is engaging, exciting and their enthusiasm encourages everyone. I can also feel the design process and mindset that is integral to the course starting to flow into my everyday work and life. The course hasn’t taught me just practical skills, but also honed my own aesthetic approach to products and services I engage with, as well as how I approach my photographic work.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone starting at Shillington, what would it be?

I’ll give the same advice another ex-student gave me before I started. Make the most of it, you only get out of it what you put in. To truly benefit from the teaching and skills, you will need to actively apply yourself in class and at home. So do the assignments, study the designers and artists and immerse yourself in the course. I’m more than happy to answer any questions if anyone wants to reach out. Good luck!

Follow Darsh on Instagram and see his portfolio.

Mason El Hage, Shillington London Half Scholarship Winner

Mason Headshot

  • Day job prior to Shillington: Design Associate
  • Scholarship entry: Video

What were you up to before Shillington and what kind of work were you doing?

Pre-Shillington I had completed a BA at Ravensbourne between 2013 & 2016 in Digital Advertising & Design, so this was by no means a major career shift for me. I spent the few years after university working as a designer both in-house at companies and as a freelancer. My most recent employment before starting at Shillington was working as a designer on a startup accelerator in Old Street, helping over 20 unique startups in that 12 month period with their design needs—mainly branding work.

Why did you want to study design and what made you decide on Shillington?

My design ‘journey’ began early on when I was about 13—I used to make custom YouTube backgrounds for my friends and other random people who I would usually befriend on Xbox. As a result, I had taught myself how to use a few bits of software from watching YouTube tutorials and even began recording and uploading design related videos to my own channel. Without any clear direction or purpose, I developed a lot of bad habits over this time and had little knowledge as to how powerful a communication tool graphic design could be. I was young and enjoyed making things that looked ‘cool’, and that was about it.

The reason I decided to study at Shillington was in an effort to curb these bad habits and instill a reliable creative process—something I was sorely lacking—that I could use to tackle any design challenge with full confidence.

Even though I had done a design related degree at university, I still felt like there were gaps in my knowledge that needed addressing if I were to really excel and push on. I’d come across Shillington on Instagram and I knew one pupil who had studied on the New York course who was in a similar situation to me. I was incredibly impressed by the standard of work.

Tell us about your creative scholarship submission.

For my scholarship submission, I knew almost instantly that it was going to be in video format. As someone who has always been interested in other forms of visual art, it seemed like the most effective way to tell my story and convey the fact that this was something I had been passionate about for a long time.

I decided to approach the brief from the angle of an interview, answering the questions Shillington supplied as if I were talking directly to them. I really wanted to project my personality through the submission, I considered everything from the choice of music, through to how I delivered the answers. The most important thing for me was that it needed to feel personal and authentic.

How did it feel when you won?

I was just about to leave my flat when Clay Allison (shoutout) slipped into my inbox with the good news. The sense of relief was enormous, I don’t think I can do justice as to how happy I was when I received that email. I’d turned down the chance to stay in my previous role with the mindset that I was going to win the Scholarship and study at Shillington—without it, I wouldn’t have been able to do the course—and I had made no plans for a scenario in which I didn’t get it. It was very much all or nothing for me. I felt as if studying at Shillington was imperative to my career moving forward.

What would you say to someone who’s thinking about studying at Shillington? 

Go for it. It’s so much more than just a 3 month design course, it’s very much an immersive experience. It’s by no means easy, and it will almost certainly become your life for the time you’re there, but you’ll come away with all the tools necessary to succeed in what may very well be the start of a brand new career. It’s also worth noting that you’ll meet some amazing people: students, teachers and industry folk.

Do you think the skills you learned during the course prepared you for the design industry?

Without a doubt. I think no matter where you’ve studied you’ll run into things in your career you haven’t been taught how to solve, but that’s part of the beauty of design. Shillington teaches you the processes and techniques you need to approach these problems and find those successful solutions.

I’m definitely more confident in my ability as a designer and conceptual thinker since I graduated.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone starting at Shillington, what would it be? 

You must be willing to commit 100% of yourself. It’s cliché, but you’ll get out what you put in. Turn up on time, make an effort to get to know the people you’re studying with, help each other out, utilise the resources Shillington provides, do your homework, go to all the extracurricular events… I could go on and on. Just be sure to make the most of your time there and enjoy it, 3 months will pass in a flash and you’ll miss it when it’s gone.

Follow Mason on Instagram and see his portfolio.

Niamh Tulley, Shillington London Half Scholarship Winner

Niamh Headshot

  • Current day job while studying at Shillington: Communications and Events Manager
  • Scholarship entry: Book and jam jar

What were you up to before Shillington and what kind of work were you doing?

I studied Fine Art and graduated in 2015. From there, I found myself in Fashion PR, but despite sounding glamorous, I found the adjustment to office-based, admin heavy work difficult to adapt to having come from a free and creative background. I am now working in marketing and events management for a hospitality group whilst trying to maintain some kind of practice in my free time—painting, drawing and sometimes making jewellery.

Why did you want to study design and what made you decide on Shillington?

In my current role, I regularly need to employ a designer for menus for events, social media or posters. Occasionally, the group requires branding for a new hotel project they might have upcoming—I would look through the branding of our next hotel’s projects and think, “I could do this and would probably really like to do this too.” I had been recommended Shillington back in 2015 whilst working behind a bar after graduating. At the time, I didn’t feel going back into education was the right decision but when design and branding kept showing up in my current position I thought it was the perfect time to revisit the idea.

Tell us about your creative scholarship submission.

For my submission, I was thinking about my dream job which is to open my imaginary farm shop, Tillingworth’s. Tillingworth’s was born in 2014 when my best friend Charlotte was driving me to the West Country after I had been dumped (I am from Devon and she is from Somerset). Whilst crying about it all on the drive down we decided we should just leave London and set up a cafe-cum-farm shop and decided on Tillingworth’s for the name—an amalgamation of our surnames. I based my creative project around the cafe and decided to submit a jar of chilli jam where I had hand designed the gingham since I have no experience in using any design software (I thought the jam could be a good bit of bribery too).

Niamh Scholarship Entry book

How did it feel when you won?

Winning was literally the best feeling (I don’t think I have ever really won anything in my life). Also, at the point of applying, I had felt really trapped and lost in the situation I was in so it was a massive relief and I was so proud of myself. I think I read the congratulations email about 10 times before I told anyone and then made a very (happy) tearful phone call to Clay.

What would you say to someone who’s thinking about studying at Shillington?

If you consider yourself creative and you are feeling a bit directionless or like you’re in the wrong career, absolutely go to an open day at Shillington.

Before I signed up I harrassed a few ex-pupils via LinkedIn and, on the whole, everyone I spoke with has found the course as inspiring and rewarding as I have so far.

How is the course going? Are you amazed by the skills you’ve learnt so far?

I literally love the course so much—I feel like have a purpose and a passion again (as lame as that sounds.) Whilst researching for my next corporate branding project at a museum I had this overwhelming feeling of happiness and a little weep like “this is always what I should have been doing.”

If you could give one piece of advice to someone starting at Shillington, what would it be?

If you’re thinking about Shillington and willing to put in the hours outside of college I would absolutely do it. Although it’s quite full-on and it does require a lot of extracurricular work I have actually found most of the projects really fun and even when I am not working on them directly I wish I was or I am thinking about my ideas until I can get home and put them into practice.

Sometimes the briefs have required me to go to places or do research into areas I would never expect and I am finding the learning outside of the subject of just graphics and software fascinating in itself, the diversity of the briefs and the variation of the work means that for me sometimes it doesn’t really feel like work at all.

Follow Niamh on Instagram.

Do you want to apply for a Shillington Half Scholarship for September 2020? Keep an eye out for the announcement in June! Also, for the second year, Shillington is partnering with Champion to offer one full scholarship for our London or Manchester full-time course in September. Announcements will be made across all our social media channels and on our website.

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