Student shortlisted for illustration showing life without sight

"My degree has really propelled me to consider visual culture and how to communicate clear and strong messages" James Trangmar, BA Hons in Illustration at the University of Derby

Date posted: 2 November 2017

An illustration student has been shortlisted for the Cheltenham Illustration Awards 2017 for his work that represents what life would look like through the perspective of someone who has lost their eyesight. 

James Trangmar, a third year student at the University of Derby, was given the task of creating an illustration based on the theme of ‘Tales Through Others Eyes’.

Of the 1,000 applicants who entered the awards, James’ design has been selected as one of 60 to be featured in the Cheltenham Illustration Awards annual publication. His work will also be put on display as part of an exhibition at the Museum in the Park in Stroud.

The inspiration for his piece came from interviews with war veterans who lost their eyesight during active duty, and those who were afflicted from birth or due to illness.

James, who lives in Derby, said: “Our views on the physical world can become mysterious and uncanny when you only rely on your other senses. I created the main character to visualise people as blank profiles who have become unfamiliar and distorted because of his loss of sight.”

The illustration was designed to look like a maze to help the audience comprehend how confusing and hard it must be for the main character in his situation. At the end, he comes out of the mysterious space and into the comfort of his own home. The key message of the design is that only his perception of the outside world is altered.

Talking about his time at the University of Derby, James said: “My degree has really propelled me to consider visual culture and how to turn image-making into communicating clear and strong messages with my own processes. My lecturers have always encouraged me to challenge briefs and have provided me with constructive criticism that has prepared me for these awards.”

Richard Levesley, Lecturer in Design at the University of Derby, added: “James consistently pushes himself and is continuously achieving high grades in all of his course work. His approach to illustration uses drawing, creative mark-making and clever storytelling to great effect and this is thoroughly well deserved.

“The course team have high expectations of James and the potential he has to offer in the subject of illustration and I’m sure this will be the first of many achievements.”

For further press information please contact: Deanna Mathieson, Public Relations Assistant at University of Derby on 01332 591978 or email