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Sarah Godwin, MGC 1982 Leaver

I have always loved Art. In a childhood punctuated by moves to different countries and schools, art was a constant and a refuge. By the time I arrived at MGC, I wasn’t much good at anything other than art, and even then it’s fair to say I wasn’t the best in the class. But I loved the friendly hubbub of the art room, and it was here I developed a latent interest in illustration above all other artistic disciplines.

However, I studied graphics in Manchester, with the very practical need to eventually have to support myself in mind. During the course we were encouraged to enter the Royal Society of Arts bursary awards. I saw the stamp section as an opportunity to combine design with my greater desire to illustrate. I won the competition, a trip to New York, a job at a London design agency… and my stamps were published! At 21, I was the youngest ever designer of British stamps.

And so I began my career as a corporate designer, working on everything from tiny logos (you might know the Bloomsbury Publishing logo) to giant exhibition stands, for various blue-chip clients. But the lure of illustration was too strong and it wasn’t long before I was pulled into children’s publishing where, for five years, I worked as an art editor.

The birth of our son was a new start in many ways for myself and my husband. We moved out of London and I took the now-or-never plunge to return to my first love of narrative illustration. I built up a portfolio, got an agent and never looked back. With 25 books illustrated and published in 25 languages, it seems like a big leap from the MGC art room to where I am now.

What does success look like?
Hard work, dedication, determination - and the flip side - spending your life doing something you enjoy and doing it well, with all the attendant feelings of satisfaction and fulfilment.

What is your best piece of advice?
Don’t be deterred from pursuing your own special and particular interest. And then pursue it with all the love and energy you have.

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