Personal profile

Research interests

"At a fast changing time for illustration as a discipline, the recognition of change and the need to anticipate further developments has become paramount for educators."

Roderick Mills ICON10 The Illustration Conference Detroit USA 2018

Roderick is the Course Leader for Illustration at the University of Brighton, his practice intersects both the commercial world of illustration, with a recognised portfolio of international clients across most areas of the industry, and self-authored projects that reflect the changing nature of the discipline, including being an award winning film-maker. Roderick is at the centre of the developing research culture internationally of illustration as subject as it moves beyond notions of traditional print usage, and the growing critical study of illustration. 

Roderick sat on the Board of Directors at the Association of Illustrators for 9 years, is a member of the Illustration Educators network, and sits on various peer review panels, scientific committees for international conferences on illustration and animation. Co-founded MOKITA Illustration Forum, is a member of the Advisory Board for the Journal of Illustration, and is an invited jury member for a number of International Illustration competitions. He writes and comments on illustration both for magazines and academic papers, and contributed a chapter for the Wiley Blackwell published book ‘A Companion to Illustration: Art and Theory'.

Research interests includes the emerging areas of illustration as an expanded field of practice including moving image, animation, situated illustration, drawing, storytelling, and performative aspects of illustration including the educational use of workshops, for both social and public engagement. Personally in his work Roderick explores narrative, loops, sequences, pectoral space, and time travel.

Supervisory Interests

My supervisory interests cover the emerging areas of Illustration as an expanded field of practice including GIFs, animation, and the burgeoning self-publishing scene, through to traditional forms of graphic storytelling. I am interested in enquiries into situated illustration, both in terms of site specific work and ethnographic approaches, to how illustrators can use technology to go beyond the printed page. The importance of drawing as means of enquiry is another interest alongside performative aspects of live transcriptions and the use of workshops to engage with communities.

Approach to teaching

The importance of 'visual play' within teaching both in terms of workshops to enable a conversation between the participants, for education to empower and liberate, and to encourage the break down in the perceived hierarchy of learning (Paulo Freire Pedagogy of the Oppressed), and for activities to emphasise the iterative nature of creativity (David Kolb's Learning Cycle), that through testing and experimentation students become more confident and develop resilience through the creative act.

Whilst celebrating the traditions of illustration I'm keen to explore the future spaces of work, for student to be conversive in both traditional techniques but also emerging digital technology to encourage life long learning, and how what we know of as illustration is rapidly changing by those participating within it, empowering students to explore an individual visual language alongside having a critical framework to articulate themselves across varying media and to contextualise their work within wider culture. This is an ongoing dialogue between the students and the course to not just do or make illustration, but to imagine what it can be, for both the individual and for the discipline as a whole.

Scholarly biography

Roderick Mills is a practicing Artist, Illustrator, Educator, Writer and Curator. A graduate of the Royal College of Art, he has worked across most areas of the Illustration industry for various International clients. Has exhibited widely and has work in the permanent collection of Bibliothéque nationale de France Réserve des livres rares, and has site specific drawings on the walls of Cardboard Citizens’Londonheadquarters, the UK’s only theatre for the homeless. He has won awards for both illustration and as a filmmaker, and is represented by Heart Artists’ Agents. Roderick is also Course Leader for BA (Hons) Illustration at the University of Brighton. Writes and speaks on illustration internationally, and has contributed a chapter to the upcoming Wiley Blackwell published book A Companion to Illustration. Co-founder of the Mokita Illustration Forum, the critical discussion platform that has held a number of symposiums at Somerset House London, and is on the Board of Directors of the Association of Illustrators in the United Kingdom.

Roderick has taught both on undergraduate and postgraduate courses at numerous universities in the UK and was also invited to run a masters workshop at ESAD Matosinhos Portugal. He lectures much on the changing nature of illustration, the cross overs with animation, film and GIFs,the use of technology both in terms of its production but also the changing platforms/audiences for illustration outcomes, situated illustration, and the shift towards self-directed work/entrepreneurial opportunities, and the growing diversity of those calling themselves illustators. 

Clients include:

Penguin Books, Esquire Magazine, Bloomsbury Publishers, The Wellcome Trust, Harper Collins Publishers, Macmillan Publishing, Random House Publishing, Boston Globe, Royal Mail, Smithsonian Institution, Mekanism, USC University of Southern California, Modern Painter, The Atlantic Magazine, Yale University, Faber & Faber Books, The New York Times, New York Magazine, The BBC, The Guardian, Google, The Partners, RIBA, Ft Magazine, Stone Yamishita Partners, Pentagram Design, The Royal College of Art, The Toronto Times, Canongate Publishing, H.Aschehoug & Co Norway, Rosinate Denmark, Columbia University, VSA Partners, Opéra National de Paris, National Theatre London, La Habitación Ediciones SL Barcelona, Sideshow Books New York, De Zeit, Los Angeles Times, Le Monde, Télérama, Editions J’AI LU France, The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Magazine, Hermès, Adidas, Volkswagen, Puma, Renault, The Baffler, Blue Q.

Selected Exhibitions:

Illustration Heroes - Head Post Office Sheffield Institute of Arts 11 October - 8 November 2019 / Stewarts Law RCA Secret Show – Dyson Building, Royal College of Art, Battersea, December 2018 / Marks Make Meaning: Drawing Across Disciplines – Brighton Futures Drawing Exhibition, Gallery Grand Parade, University of Brighton UK, 12 – 29 March 2018 / Migrations – International Centre for the Picture Book in Society ICPBS & BIBIANA International House of Art for Children in Bratislava, Slovakia, 9 – 30 September 2017 / Stewarts Law RCA Secret Show – Dyson Building, Royal College of Art, Battersea, September 2017 / Art from Air Pollution, Clean Air Gallery, Brixton, London, March 2017 / Methodology of Edition; 50 x 50 = 75 – University of Brighton, Edwards Street Gallery, March 2017 / Contemporary Life & Illustration, Prince Gong’s Mansion Ministry of Culture Beijing China 2016 / Methodology of Edition; 50 x 50 = 75 – King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology Ladkrabang (KMITL), Bangkok, Thailand 26 August 2016 / Methodology of Edition; 50 x 50 = 75 - Nagoya University Japan 2016 / Contemporary Life // Tsinghua University Beijing China 2015/16 / This is Change – ONCA Gallery Brighton 2015 / Stewarts Law RCA SECRET DUBAI – Art Dubai UAE 2015 & 2016 / Secret 7” // Somerset House London April 2015 / The Itinerant Illustrator – Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology, Bangalore, India 2014 / GraphicsRCA: Fifty Years and Beyond – Royal College of Art, London 2014 / ‘A Letter in Mind’ The National Brain Appeal exhibition – Gallery Oxo Tower Wharf, London 2014 / Stereohype 2004-2014 – London College of Communication 2014 / Fifty Years of Illustration – London College of Communication 2014 / Secret 7” // Mother London 2014 / Stewarts Law RCA SECRET – RCA Battersea London 2014, 2015 / Sanctuaries: Temporary Dwellings of the Real or Imagined – RICHMIX. London 2014 / Guest selector 50 Years of Icograda Exhibition - London College of Communication 2013 / Brighton Illustration: Then, Now, After – Gallery University of Brighton 2013 / Illustratie Biënnale – De Toneelschuur Haarlem, The Netherlands 2012 / Working Drawings Exhibition – London Gallery West 2012 / ‘Correspondence Art’ A&D Gallery, London 2011 / DRAW 11: Society of Graphic Fine Art – Menier Gallery, London 2011 / Here We Are Exhibition – Coldharbour London Gallery 2011 / Working Drawings Exhibition – Sheffield Hallam University 2010 / ANONYME ZEICHNER / ARCHIV, Uferhallen Berlin 2010 / Super Contemporary, The Design Museum 2009 / Alt_Cph 09, Copenhagen Alternative Art Fair 2009 / LISTE 09 The Young Art Fair in Basel 2009 / Gallery 7: The New York Times Gallery 2009 / 4. Berliner Kunstsalon, Berlin 2007 / Pictures & Words – Magma Books, London 2005 / Ballpoint -- Pentagram Design Gallery, London 2004 / Heart – The Art Directors Club, New York 2003, & Brutal Space London 2004 / Truth – Lock & Davies Gallery Space, London 2003 / The Seating Plan – Green Gallery, Brighton 2003 / Howies Wardrobe Project – England & Co Gallery, London 2002 / The Frankfurt Bookfair – Germany, 2002 / Pizza Express Prospects Drawing Prize – Essor Gallery Space, London 2002 / The Royal College of Art Show 2 – London, 2001 / Folio Society Exhibition RCA – London, 2000/2001 / Images Illustration Exhibition RCA – London, 2000/2001 / Pentagram Design Gallery – London, 2000 / BMP DDB Advertising Gallery – London, 2000 / The Instruction Manual – The Blue Room RCA London, 2000 / RCA Secret Show: 1999 - 2014 / National Print Exhibition – The Mall Galleries London, 2000 / Printmakers Council Open Biennale – London, 1999


Nominated for Excellence in Facilitation and Empowering Learning Award 2019 University of Brighton / Print Certificate of Excellence, Regional Design Annual 2007 USA / Mention Spéciale du Jury, for Immortal Stories. Festival Nouveau du Cinéma Montreál, 2006 / Society of Publication Design SPOTS competition winner, New York 2006 / Ballpoint Exhibition: Annual Design Review Graphics Design Distinction 2005 (The International Design Magazine) / Sciart Research Award: The Wellcome Trust, 2004 / Nomination for D&AD Silver Award for Illustration, 2003 / The Design Week Awards, 2003 / Creative Review: The Annual 2003 / AOI Images 24 Pentagram Prize, 2000 / The Quentin Blake Award for Narrative Illustration RCA, 2000 / The Folio Society Awards RCA, 2000 / The ED&F Man Portfolio Prize RCA, 2000 / NESTA Corporate Identity Competition, 1999

Publications - Work included in:

The 6th International illustration Competition Hiii Illustration China 2019 / BEAT #6, Published by Heart Artists’ Agent 2015 / How to Be an Illustrator Second Edition by Darrel Rees, Published by Laurence King 2014 ISBN: 978-1780673288 / Fifty Years of Illustration by Lawrence Zeegen & Caroline Roberts, Published by Laurence King 2014 ISBN: 978-1780672793 / Reportager by Gary Embury, Published by University of the West of England 2013 / The Greatest Movies You’ll Never See by Simon Braund, Published by Quintessence Editions Ltd 2013 / BEAT #5 Published by Heart Artists’ Agent 2013 / The Fundamentals of Illustration Second Edition by Lawrence Zeegen, AVA Publishing 2012 ISBN: 978-2940411481 / International Drawing Project Catalogue #9 Café Royal Books 28.02.12 ISBN 978-0955469381 / Illustration by Andrew Hall, Published by Laurence King 2011 ISBN 978-1856697101 / New Ornamental Type: Decorative Lettering in the Digital Age by Steven Heller & Gail Anderson, Thames & Hudson 2009 / What is Illustration? (Essential Design Handbooks) by Lawrence Zeegen, Rotovision 2009 / The Design Graduate Survival Manual by Lawrence Zeegen, Published by Laurence King 2009 / Made & Sold: Sidelines by Graphic Designers. Artists, & Illustrators, Designed by Flo33, Published by Laurence King 2009 / The Illustrated Brighton Moment by Susanna Jones & Lawrence Zeegen, Un-Made-Up Books 2008 / How to Be an Illustrator by Darrel Rees, Published by Laurence King 2008 ISBN: 978-1856695305 / BEAT #4 ‘The Ryme of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Published by Heart Artists’ Agent 2008 / Work admitted D&AD Annual 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007 / Illustration Now! Volume 2 by Julius Wiedemann, Published by Taschen 2007 / The Picture Book - Contemporary Illustration, Edited by Angus Hyland, Pentagram Design, Published by Laurence King 2007 / BEAT #3 ‘Gypsy Dream Book’, Published by Heart Artists’ Agent 2006 / Secrets of Digital Illustration: A Master Class in Commercial Image-making by Lawrence Zeegen, Rotovision 2005 ISBN: 978-2880467975 / PICTURES & WORDS New Comic Art & Narrative Illustration by Roanne Bell, Mark Sinclair Published by Laurence King 2005 / The Fundamentals of Illustration by Lawrence Zeegen Published by AVA Publishing SA  2005 ISBN: 978-2884790604 / BEAT #2 ‘Towered Cities and the Hum of Man’ Published by Heart Artists’ Agent 2005 / WIG 01 Graphic Poetry Book, 2005 / BEAT #1 ‘The Volvic Box Issue’ Published by Heart Artists’ Agents 2003 / PEN & MOUSE: Commercial Art & Digital Illustration, Edited by Angus Hyland, Pentagram Design, Published by Laurence King 2001 ISBN: 978-0823039883 / OUTPUT 04: 2002 International Yearbook for Graphic Design Students, Edited by Florian Pfeffer , Published by German Design Council / The Artbook 2002, 2003 / Images 24 & 25 The Best of British Illustration Annual.

Film Festivals & Screenings:

Immortal Stories

London Short Film Festival ICA 2011 / CANAL+ Immortal Stories broadcast in all French speaking countries 2008 / 30th Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Festival, France 2008 / Tabacalera, International Contemporary Culture, San Sebastian Spain 2008 / La Enana Marrón, Madrid Spain 2008 / Curtocircuito, Santiago de Compostela Spain 2008 / ICON The Illustration Conference, New York USA 2008 / 52nd Corona Cork Film Festival, Ireland 2007 / L’ALTERNATIVA 2007, 14th Barcelona Independent Film Festival / Netwerk/Centrum Voor Hedendaagse Kunst x Houtkaai, Belgium 2007 / 700IS hreindÿraland, Iceland 2007 / European Media Art Festival, Osnnabruck Germany 2007 / Mediawave 2007, Nemzetközi Film és Zenel Fesztival, Györ Hungary / Nemo, Biennale Festival of The Digital Arts, Paris France 2007 / Festival du Nouveau Cinéma Montreál 2006, Mention Spéciale du Jury: Immortal Stories / The Bigger Picture, BBC Manchester 2006 / Número – Projecta ’06, 7th Lisbon Internacional Festival, Portugal 2006 / 60thEdinburgh Film Festival 2006 / Blink Gasworks Gallery, London 2006.

Education/Academic qualification

Master, MA(RCA) Communication Art & Design, Royal College of Art


Award Date: 1 Jun 2001

Bachelor, BA(Hons) Illustration, Kingston University


Award Date: 1 Jun 1999

BTEC HND Graphic Design , Salford College of Technology


Award Date: 1 Jun 1988

External positions

Invited Jury Member Love Arts Summer Camp, Cambridge Alliance of International Education, Cambridge University / Stoke College & Cambridge Alliance of International Education

2020 → …

Invited Jury Member Love Arts Summer Camp, Cambridge Alliance of International Education

15 Aug 2019 → …

Invited Jury Member Gary Powell Award Student Category 3x3 International Illustration Awards Show, 3x3 The Magazine of Contemporary Illustration

May 2019 → …

Chief External Examiner, Sheffield Hallam University

11 Feb 201920 Feb 2019

Invited Program Committee Member, ArtsIT 2019

2019 → …

External for Revalidation Panel, London College of Communication UAL

17 Jan 201822 Mar 2018

External Assessor Enhanced Monitoring Meeting, Camberwell College of Art UAL

10 Jan 201814 Mar 2018

Invited Jury Member, The 6th International Illustration Competition / Hiii Illustration China

2018 → …

External Examiner BA(Hons) Communication Design, GSA Singapore

Oct 2017 → …

External Examiner BA(Hons) Communication Design, Glasgow School of Art

2017 → …

External Examiner MA Communication Design - Illustration, Kingston University

2017 → …

External Examiner Graduate Diploma in Creative Practice (Illustration), Kingston University

2017 → …

Scientific Committee, CONFIA International Conference on Illustration & Animation Portugal

2015 → …

External Examiner BA(Hons) Illustration, Sheffield Hallam University

2015 → …

Illustration Advisor , The Art Fund

2015 → …

Industry Mentor, Creative Conscience Awards

2014 → …

Peer Review Panel, Journal of Illustration

2014 → …

International Advisory Board, Journal of Illustration

2012 → …

Board of Directors, Association of Illustrators

1 Jun 2011 → …

Member, DRN Drawing Network Research Group

2011 → …

Co-founder, MOKITA Illustration Forum

Jul 2010 → …

Member , Reportager UWE


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