Jack illustrates history under DMU's artist-in-residency

Becoming an Artist in Residence at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) is enabling Jack Tite to develop ideas for his second children’s book.

The first-class honours Graphic Design (Illustration) graduate landed a two-book deal with Kings Road Publishing thanks to his final-year project, The Mega Meltdown, a book about ice age animals such as the woolly mammoth, sabre tooth tiger and giant sloths.

As well as working as a freelance illustrator and motion designer, Jack is now researching his second book while on DMU’s year-long Artist in Residence scheme, which gives exceptional graduates free access to facilities and resources while they develop their art/craft.

“The scheme is a really good chance to get in a studio environment, get around people that are passionate about design and illustration, and use DMU’s resources,” said the 23-year-old graduate from Coventry.

“I have my own office in Gateway House, but the whole floor is basically one big studio. It has things like a Risograph printer, scanners and really good Macs.

“I also get to give back to current DMU students through guest lectures. I tell them what I wish I had known in my final year and share my passion for certain things.”


Image courtesy of Kings Road Publishing

Aimed at nine-to-12-year-old children, Jack’s non-fiction books have fold-out pages and include interesting, and often lesser-known, facts about his chosen subject.

Jack, who graduated in 2016, said: “My books are less about looking at say how big a woolly mammoth is and more about facts like it’s one of many species of mammoth.

“The Mega Meltdown also looked at the animals in Africa which survived the ice age. Not many people realise that lions and elephants are ice age animals, but they survived because it was warm and that’s where humans survived as well.”

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With research forming such a big part of his work, DMU’s library is an invaluable resource for Jack.

“The library holds a lot of documentaries, which is great as I take in more information when I watch something. The David Attenborough natural history documentaries are particularly useful,” he said.

“For my follow-up book I’m exploring the possibility of an illustrated history of the Vikings, so I’m getting familiar with the subject. I’m hoping it will be myth-busting because there are loads of interesting facts about them that are missed.

“Vikings are often viewed as barbaric raiders and that’s it, but I want to include things like the wealthy ones had pet peacocks and that they were really good tradesmen and craftsmen.”


Two of Jack’s biggest inspirations are celebrated American artist Charley Harper, best known for his stylised wildlife prints, posters and book illustrations, and award-winning illustrator Owen Davey, whose clients include Facebook, Google and Sony.

“Owen Davey actually visits DMU annually to give a talk and do mock interviews with final-year students. He’s a world-renowned illustrator so it’s really good just to be able to chat to him,” said Jack.

“DMU also gives students lots of support on establishing yourself as a self-employed freelancer, which was really helpful for me.

“My tutors were great too. They didn’t just stand up and do a lecture and that’s it. They come round while you’re working, talk to you about your projects and give you advice.

“I also just love being in Leicester. It’s a really nice city.” 

DMU's Graphic Design (Illustration) course has a 95 per cent student satisfaction rate, according to the 2017 National Student Survey.

The survey asked hundreds of thousands of final-year students across the country to rate their satisfaction across areas such as teaching, assessment and feedback, organisation and management, learning resources, personal development, and their students' union.

Posted on: Wednesday 25 October 2017

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