Laina Deene, a freelance illustrator highlights the importance of Polly and Ryan – two teachers at her sixth form college in Brighton – whose “care, enthusiasm and importance for the arts they held” helped her to pursue further arts education. Polly, Laina’s graphics teacher, led her to creative resources and guided her to her now-specialisation, illustration, while Ryan, her fine art teacher, aided Laina in experimentation and, critically, self reflection.
“Conversations with [Ryan] were probably my first introduction into crit-like scenarios that taught me how to deal with criticism and be happy to receive it,” Laina laughs. “I have this vivid memory that always comes back to me when I get lost in making something. I was splatting paint onto my sketchbook seemingly with no real aim, and Ryan said, ‘know when to stop’. It sounds so simple but was so useful for me.”