The Essential Guide to Business for Artists and Designers

Congratulations to CSM Short Course tutor Alison Branagan on the publication of the Second Edition of her book The Essential Guide to Business for Artists and Designers Alison’s popular online course, Self-Promotion for Creatives, is essential for anyone who desires to make a living from art, design, photography, image-making, or other creative activities. There are still a few places remaining on the next session of this course which starts this coming Tuesday 18th October!

Read Alison’s Guest Blog post on the Routes to Business Success here

GUEST BLOG: Alison Branagan on the Routes to Business Success

Alison Branagan is an author and visual arts consultant and also teaches business, entrepreneurship and self-promotion courses for Creatives at Central Saint Martins Short Courses. Students who have attended Alison’s courses have gone on to set up innovative, experimental and commercial companies. We therefore asked Alison to give us more insight to the different routes of  business success for Creatives ahead of her new courses starting this summer.

If you are looking for a way to launch your art, craft practice, or design business than look no further. This summer there are a number of popular business, entrepreneurship and self-promotion Summer School courses which I run at the Central Saint Martins Kings Cross Campus in Granary Square, which are also available online.

Students who have attended these courses in the past have gone on to set up innovative, experimental and commercial companies. Each course has a number of guest speakers, including one of the team from Silverman Sherliker LLP a top London Intellectual Property firm.

Entrepreneurship For Creatives

In Business Start-up for a Creatives, we look at how to get started, covering a wide gamut of  vital areas such as costing and pricing, what to charge, business planning, legal issues, networks, marketing, trends, as well as, finance, how to get paid and understanding tax. Audrey Whelan attended this course a couple of years ago and she has now established a successful Interior Design Business. She is now a guest speaker on my courses. She works with residential clients in London, from small flats to large homes, and she says ‘Alison’s course was a great way to begin my journey into the world of running my own interior design business. Alison was not shy about the reality of the focus and commitment I would need to put in to make it work. But her approach and attention to detail resulted in an inspiring and very informative Launchpad.’

Audrey Whelan Interior Design Consultancy Photo Credit Tony Timmington © 2015
Audrey Whelan Interior Design Consultancy
Photo Credit Tony Timmington © 2015

In Entrepreneurship for Creatives we explore more practical aspects of being a creative entrepreneur, such as vision, confidence, attracting attention, negotiation, presentation, how to pitch as well as developing focused networking strategies. Rob Dakin is also a former student and he now runs his own successful children’s games business Clockwork Soldier. He is also a guest speaker on my courses.  His creative products are stocked in over 500 stores in ten countries and he says ‘I truly believe the course was a really good and useful stepping stone to launching my creative business’.

Clockwork Solder Rob Dakin’s Children’s Games Business
Clockwork Solder Rob Dakin’s Children’s Games Business

In Self-Promotion for Creatives we cover many different aspects of self-promotion, these include self-promotion, social media, networking, publicity stunts, writing marketing and more serious statements. We also cover important issues such as protecting your brand, as well as presentation, confidence, and how to sell. Alana Biviano attended my course in 2014 and has established a highly successful graphic design business, BVN Creative and she says, ‘The Self-Promotion for Creatives course was a pivotal point in my career. It covers everything a freelancer needs to know in order to market themselves and turn their skills and passion into a successful business.

BVN Creative, Alana Biviano’s Graphic Design Company
BVN Creative, Alana Biviano’s Graphic Design Company

Alana also attended my online Entrepreneurship for Creatives course even though she is based in Melbourne, Australia. My Business Start-up for Creatives (online) and Self-Promotion for Creatives (online) courses are  available to enrol on this summer, students have attended these courses from Brazil, America, France, Spain, Sweden, Russia, China, Japan and as well as the UK.

Want to take an online course in Business Start Up for Creatives? The next one starts in June and Self Promotion for Creatives (online) starts in August

Both Entrepreneurship for Creatives and Business Start-up for Creatives will take place in July at Granary Square, with further dates throughout the year 

Follow Alison Branagan on Twitter 

Central Saint Martins Foundation Show

The annual Foundation Show opens this week! The exhibition showcases work from students across the five curriculum areas: 3-Dimensional Design and Architecture | Fashion and Textiles | Fine Art | Graphic and Communication Design | Performance Design and Practice

Opening times:
Thursday to Friday: 12 noon – 8pm
Saturday: 12 noon – 6pm

This event is free and open to the public, no booking is required.

And it all began with a weekend Short Course….

We love this article in Love My Dress about Jewellery Designer Nikki Stark, a former Short Course Jewellery Making student at Central Saint Martins.

“I took at Saturday course at Central St Martins just over 10 years ago and since then haven’t looked back. I was instantly hooked.”

Head over to for the full article and Jewellery Making inspiration!



Easter School Class of 2016!

Students travel from all over the world to study Short Courses at Central Saint Martins. We meet students who are changing career, preparing for a degree, beginners, enthusiasts, experimenters, and everyone in between. We spoke to some of our Easter School students about their Short Courses and why they chose to study with us

Helene Rosas - Fashion Design and Marketing ©Jet
Helene Rosas – Fashion Design and Marketing ©Jet

What’s your name and where do you come from?

My name is Helene and I live in France.

You’ve been studying Fashion Design and Marketing this week, why did you choose this course?

I am looking for a job in Fashion Design but, for me, it is important for a fashion designer to know how to build a brand and know the marketing process that comes with it. I feel it is important to know how this world works. My course has been taught by Erica Charles who is very experienced and really knows what she is talking about. Erica was really stunning, and we can all tell how passionate she is. She has taught me that even though some brands are not huge, there is a world behind it that was not obvious first. London has been an inspiration as well! The people, the museums, the streets…London has a very important cultural influence around the world. Everyone knows it, but you can feel it when you are here.

Sarah Beka - Jewellery Making for Beginners ©Jet
Sarah Beka – Jewellery Making for Beginners ©Jet

What’s your name and where do you come from?

Sarah, I’m Belgian and I live in London, UK.

You have studied Jewellery Making for Beginners this week. Why did you pick this course?

I’ve always wanted to learn about making jewellery and how to work with metals. The techniques I have learnt and the professionalism of the tutor have been the best thing about the course. As I am a beginner at making jewellery, I feel I’ve learnt everything I need to know to start making on my own! The tutor, Anastasia Young, has been great. She gives clear explanations and is always ready to give help and advice. Anastasia has lots of experience in Jewellery. This was a great course to develop my potential, and I would like to come back for more courses!

Ingrid Monti - Fashion Design and Marketing ©Jet
Ingrid Monti – Fashion Design and Marketing ©Jet

What’s your name and where do you come from?

My name is Ingrid and I am from Paris, France.

You have studied Fashion Design and Marketing this week. Why did you pick this course?

 I chose this course for two reasons. The first is Erica Charles, the tutor. I read her profile and I was really impressed by her career and thought that she would have a lot to teach me (and I was right!). The second is that my previous career was only related to product and I felt marketing was something I needed to fill the gap.  When I arrived on the Monday morning, the sky was grey and the fountains outside the building were making steam. It really added some drama to arriving at CSM. Inside, I was thinking “Wow! I am studying at Central Saint Martins!” I feel like I am in the right place. Central Saint Martins and London has a different spirit to anywhere else: everything is cooler, less formal. The city has some amazing architecture but it is the people and their style that I like to observe.

Ingrid runs her own accessories brand Sainte Isaure which you can follow on Instagram and like on Facebook 

Costantina Boubouka - Fashion and Textile Forecasting ©Jake Longley
Costantina Boubouka – Fashion and Textile Forecasting ©Jake Longley

What’s your name and where do you come from?

I am Constantina and I am Greek/Italian, but live in London, UK.

Why did you pick Fashion and Textile Forecasting for your studies?

I chose this course to get a better understanding of the industry and to find out what areas to focus on as a Trend Consultant. The variety of the subjects on the course have been amazing and it has been great to learn about the different areas people in the industry look to for inspiration. Our tutor, Bridget Miles, is a very knowledgeable tutor. She is very patient and open to discussions with her class. London is such an inspiring city to be in. It is a multicultural hub that is perfect for someone who wants to start their own business or kick start their career. The city surprises me every day with the new shops, galleries, and restaurants. They say that if you get tired of London, then you’re tired of life!

Chloe Mercer - Set Design for Film & Television ©Jake Longley
Chloe Mercer – Set Design for Film & Television ©Jake Longley

What’s your name and where do you come from?

I am Chloe and I am from York, UK.

You have studied Set Design for Film and Television. Why did you pick this course?

I wanted to build upon the Fine Art degree I have as well as aid my development. The course is helping me prepare for a new job that I am moving into. The class size is small so one to one contact with the tutor, Clara Zita, really helps you to understand and feel confident in your ideas and progress. The course covers 3D model making which I have not had much experience in before. I now feel confident in the process and method! It’s been nice to be taught by a tutor who currently works in the industry so they can offer first-hand experience and knowledge. I have not been able to get out to see much of London and the exhibitions as I’ve been staying behind after class to use the facilities Central Saint Martins has.

Inhara Ortiz Toledo - Fabrics and Fibres ©Jake Longley
Inhara Ortiz Toledo – Fabrics and Fibres ©Jake Longley

What’s your name and where do you come from?

My name is Inhara, I am Mexican and I live in London, UK.

Which course have you studied with us this week?

I have studied Fabrics and Fibres, taught by Veronica Shattuck. I picked this course because I would like to get involved with the sustainable fashion industry. Learning where and how fabrics are made is very important and interesting to me. Meeting new people from around the world has been great and, as part of the course, I learnt how to make fabric from a fibre! Veronica, our tutor, is very good and knows so much about the topic, she has so much experience. I’ve loved studying at Central Saint Martins, it’s so relaxed and inspirational. You can follow my work here: @Obope

Marta Botas Perez - Fashion and Textile Forecasting ©Jake Longley
Marta Botas Perez – Fashion and Textile Forecasting ©Jake Longley

What’s your name and where do you come from?

I’m Marta and I am from Spain.

Why did you pick Fashion and Textile Forecasting for your studies?

I chose this course as I would like to work in the fashion business as a buyer. The course allows you the freedom to express total creativity in your works, to share them with your mates, as well as meet and learn from new people from different cultures. I felt very happy and comfortable at Central Saint Martins. I think it is a very good opportunity to develop your artistic talent and other creative people. I would really like to come back to study more short courses and maybe a Master’s degree. My experience of CSM and London has been amazing.

Our Summer School is fast approaching, please check our the Short Course website for all available courses and dates 

Part Of Us: Auction & Exhibition today at CSM!

Today Central Saint Martins opens its doors to the public for a ‘Displaced Artist’s’ exhibition and auction with all proceeds going to Charities in Calais and Europe helping refugees with therapeutic and legal aid.

Organised by the student led initiative Part of Us, student, staff and alumni will be showcased and auctioned alongside donated pledges.

Exhibition opens at 5pm, talks from our partner charities from 6pm, with the live & silent auction from 7pm

Open to all UAL students and the public, this is a unique chance to walk away with artwork such as David Shillinglaw’s Kapow.  In addition to the selected artworks, a series of pledges have been donated ranging from luxury beach-side escapes – including 34-foot sailing yacht in Valencia, to an Art Deco style boat in the beautiful Discovery Bay Marina, Lantau Island, Hong Kong – award winning jewellery, cocktail and dance classes. Also up for auction is a complete tour of Central Saint Martins’ Head of College, Jeremy Till’s eco straw bale house.

Full details of the auction and exhibition can be found on the UAL website

Booking required RSVP via Eventbrite

Easter School Instagram Competition Winner

During our Easter School we ran an Instagram competition for our Short Course students with the lucky winner walking away with a £50 Amazon voucher.  We are happy to announce the winner as Mimi Ziv who instagrammed her experience of Experimental Fashion Drawing, taught by Alexis Panayiotou.  Mimi’s snap showcased what happens in the Fashion Drawing classroom, including drawing from a model and her own work. Studying a Short Course with us?  Share your experience! #MyCSM

MA Fashion Graduates new exhibition ‘Separates’

Summer Term starts at Central Saint Martins Short Courses next week and coinciding with this is an amazing new exhibition at our Lethaby Gallery.

Specially selected ‘separates’ from the collections of CSM’s 2016 MA Fashion graduates following the show at London Fashion Week in February will be on display until the 27 April.

Following its launch last year, this annual unveiling returns to give visitors an introduction to the work of designers from a course with an outstanding international reputation.

Separates‘ is on show at the Lethaby Gallery, 1 Granary Square, until 27 April

Opening hours: Tuesday to Friday 11am to 6pm

Saturday 12noon – 5pm 

INSIDE LOOK: Expressive Painting

Ewa Gargulinska is the tutor of Expressive Painting and Imagination in Painting at Central Saint Martins Short Courses.  She is an internationally recognised Polish artist and the author of Poems. Her private collectors include Arthur Sackler (founder of the new wings to the Royal Academy in London and Metropolitan Museum in New York), Jeremy Irons and Vernon Ellis, chairman of the English National Opera.  We chat to Ewa about her Expressive Painting Short Course, her advice for aspiring artists and mindfulness.

Who are your courses targeted to and what should students expect to leave with by the end of their course?

I don’t target my courses to anyone in particular, everyone who is drawn to their title and description can attend. Very often it attracts art therapists and doctors, alongside young people who want to study art or those who want to know how to awaken and to express their imagination.

On completion of the course students will be able to recognise their potential as creators, sustain their concentration, trust their vision, express confidently their imagination through technique; form, colour and to understand the power of the creative mind.

How did you become a painter and what is your advice for anyone wanting to become and artist?

I think it was some deliverance of fortune, I had no choice, I just knew that I had to become an artist.  It may have been prompted by my hyper sensitivity and perception of the world around me and the part I play in it.  I don’t think artists plan to be artists, they simply are. It is an inner call.

My advice to anyone wanting to be an artist would be to listen to your inner voice. Observe and look at everything mindfully, engage in life and the world around you.  Becoming an artist is a lifetime disciplined commitment.

Where do you get your inspiration from and how do you stay inspired?

I feel inspired by human courage to endure suffering. By beauty and power of Nature.  I feel encouraged and empowered by studying the work of good artists; not only those who explore similar emotional themes as my own, but others too who express unexpected imagination through  their vision and skill, as well as an understanding of life and people.  To sustain inspiration I read a lot; philosophy, poetry, literature, going to exhibitions, film, experimental theatre, listen to music, observe my mind as well as others and Nature

The next Expressive Painting course starts on 18 July 2016 with further dates throughout the year

Imagination in Painting starts on 12 December 2016

Meet Our Tutors Series: Schelay McCarter

Schelay McCarter is an Associate Lecturer at the University of the Arts London, a freelance designer/Art Director and has been teaching Art Direction for Fashion at CSM Short Courses since 1997.  Her expertise lies in commercial fashion branding and this includes fashion forecasting, journalism and creative project management. We spoke to Schelay about how she got into Art Direction, her advice for inspiring creatives and her passion for teaching.

What inspired you become an Art Director in fashion?

When I think about what inspired me to become an art director my early childhood comes to mind. I had a fashion savvy mother who would think nothing of running up copious amounts of summer dresses in pretty patterned cotton prints for us each season as we grew up. I have memories of my sisters and I being photographed by my father wearing fake sheep skin fur coats, made by my mother, beautifully lined, we looked like cute little lambs in them! My mother’s sewing machine was always out – she taught me to sew, I made Barbie doll clothes, tacked them onto card and photographed them ready to sell. I sold them in a local shop in Blackheath village. This opened my eyes to the potential and immediacy of style and fashion, creating an image and selling an idea. Vogue magazine was an influence, the fashion photography in particular fascinated me, the model, lighting, pose, hair and make-up, styling and location that transported me to a bewitching world of seemingly effortless glamour. It became a world that I wanted in some way to be part of.

Schelay who learned to sew at a tender age!
Schelay who learned to sew at a tender age!

Tell us about your work

My work is about creating a tailor made brand image formula that reflects my client’s product market position and the aspiration of the target customer for all media applications be a website or for in store visual merchandising or both.

My work is varied.  My previous experience as senior art director and graphic designer for M&S allowed me the freedom to set my fashion narratives in a variety of large country houses, studios or cityscapes.  My vision is to make the viewer feel both voyeur as well as part of the scene depicted. I have used some exceptional locations and photographers; two photo shoots that stand out amongst many are Cliveden House with Simon Bottomly shooting a luxury lingerie collection in the Lady Astor suite and Antebellum House in South Carolina with Jean Pierre Masclet shooting all store M&S season’s ranges.  At a recent fashion brand production shoot for a Chilean client called Saville Row. I had a 19 strong team with photographer Sam Robinson on location at Wrotham Park in Hertfordshire. This location has been used for Downton Abbey as well as the film Gosford park.  It was a surreal moment when my team and I had lunch in the Downton Abbey Kitchen!  It is my creative team I have to thank for my fashion production successes.

shooting at Wrotham Park
shooting at Wrotham Park

What are you most passionate about?

My professional practice is very important to me, however it is my teaching that I am most passionate about. I encourage innovation and proactive practices, thinking outside the box is fostered on my art direction and production work as well as from my students on my art direction for fashion courses.

We are living in one of the most exciting periods of modern history where through advances in internet application there has been an opening up of opportunity.  Utilising the past and present with the new exiting technologies available through new media, photography and post-production there has never been a better time for being an image maker.

student work in progress - bringing ideas together
student work in progress – bringing ideas together

Which piece of creative work in any discipline do you most love?

I love the alchemy of photography. Capturing a moment. Whether created on an old box Brownie using film like Jacques Henri Lartigue or Cartier Bresson’s work, I particularly like David Bailey’s brilliant Roliflex film work from the 1960s and 70s. James Meakin and Miles Aldrige’s digital camera work is vibrant and beautiful. I find the process of viewing new images and editing the selection creates the same feeling I get opening up a box of chocolates to choose the best one!

Where is your favourite London Discovery?

My favourite London discovery currently is the myriad of riverside cycle routes by the side of the London canal waterways, there is one next to the Granary road CSM Campus that leads to Little Venice and Paddington.  I often take my fold up bike along this route.

The canal path outside Central Saint Martins, Granary Square
The canal path outside Central Saint Martins, Granary Square

What is your Guilty pleasure?

It has to be dark chocolate ……

Name a favourite book, song or film

‘The Bolter’ by Frances Osbourne.

Dear Prudence by the Beatles

Dear Prudence
Dear Prudence

What advice would you give to aspiring creatives?

Use your initiative; be proactive and positive, a team player doing unto others as you would be done to yourself!

What’s the best bit of advice you have ever been given?

Carpe diem!

The next Art Direction for Fashion course starts on the 19th April 2016 with further dates throughout the year

This course is also taught online with the next course starting on the 28th April 2016

Read a student review of Art Direction for Fashion in a previous blog post here!

Short Courses at Central Saint Martins

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