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Illustration graduate wins Readers' Choice Award

Leading animal portrait artist and UCA graduate Emma Colbert has won the Readers' Choice Award in the Artist of the Year competition held by Artists & Illustrators magazine. Now in its eighth year, this competition gives readers of the magazine the chance to share their work nationally. 

Having graduated from UCA with a BA (Hons) in Illustration in 2007, Emma soon began working on portrait commissions and producing her own series of wildlife pastel paintings. The pastel painting that secured her the Readers' Choice Award in the Artist of the Year competition is called The Family Tree, and is one of Emma’s biggest paintings to date. Commissioned as a unique family portrait, the painting features a family of deer, each of which represents a different member of the family – the eldest stag symbolising her client’s late father.

Emma Colbert with painting The Family Tree

Having been given a flexible brief that was open to artistic interpretation, Emma visited a local deer park many times to take photographs and create sketches. Spending time amongst the deer this past year has influenced Emma’s work and her series of stags has become her most popular piece.  

“I’ve worked very hard on my technical skills as well as my ability to work closely with clients. I could never have imagined the job satisfaction that would come from creating something that a client will treasure forever. It’s my aim to continue to evolve as an artist and find other ways to express the strong feelings I have about animal rights. I hope I can continue to paint what I love and am grateful to the firm foundation I received from my time at UCA.”

Emma Colbert Illustration graduate

You can view the shortlisted pieces and find out more about the Artist of the Year competition on the Artists & Illustrators website. You can also learn more about the Illustration courses we offer at UCA here.