Will Rea

Illustration graduate Will Rea works as a freelance illustrator, muralist and educator. In 2021 he won a World Illustration Award for his mural in Orchard Square, Sheffield.

"Six months after I graduated in 2019, I was commissioned to paint a huge piece of public art in Orchard Square in Sheffield. This opportunity launched my freelance career, so now I work for myself.

One of the reasons I got the Orchard Square job was that I was already known in Sheffield’s creative community. That’s because throughout my time at Sheffield Hallam I was supported by my lecturers to work on outside jobs alongside my studies, completing murals for local businesses including the Leadmill nightclub.

The Head Post Office Building in the Department of Art and Design is such a creative space to study in. There were lots of different facilities available so I could explore different mediums and technologies. It allowed me to think bigger.

I particularly enjoyed working on live briefs in the industry. I pitched visuals to an archaeology firm to illustrate a comic book about their historical findings. Our lecturers would regularly invite successful creatives in to speak to us. It was really inspiring to hear from people from all industries — illustrators, designers, animators and so on. It broadened my horizons and made me realise I could work for myself in the future.

The World Illustration Award means I’ve won worldwide recognition for my practice, so the future is exciting. I’m going to continue to work in an area I’m passionate about and brighten people’s lives. I don’t know where it’s going to take me, but I’m excited for the journey."



From Illustration grad to winning a worldwide award

See Will's journey.

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