derek bainton

Derek Bainton Ba (Hons), MA Contemporary Dialogues in Visual Communication

Head of School of Graphic and Digital Arts
Honorary Research Fellow

Tel: +44 (0) 1792 481000

  • Strategy and management of the School of Graphic and Digital Arts
  • Partner Team Leader of BA Illustration, BA Illustration & Animation and BA Graphics and Media Design at Hereford College of Art
  • Delivery/Lecturing of modules on BA/MDES Illustration

I have worked extensively within the illustration and graphic design industry for over 20 years, ranging from fulltime graphic artist posts to ongoing freelance illustration, graphic design and commercial art exhibitions. Clients include: RSPCA, The National Trust, Future Publishing, NewsCom Group, HM Revenue & Customs, Gomer Press & Golley Slater.

During this time, lecturing in university became a gradual transition, leading to a full time senior lecturing post, and more recently, the post of Head of School of Graphic and Digital Arts, at Swansea College of Art, UWTSD.

Founding Member of the Association of Illustrators VaroomLab Research partnership

Illustrating the curious world in which we live, through visual narrative and storytelling - are at the heart of my academic interests and teaching. Our basic need to dwell in one place, to wander far, and to tells stories are some of the most fundamental aspects of our society. Through pictures and words, or pictures alone, illustration has the power to enchant, entertain; transcending generations and societies, in order to help us make sense of and navigate the strange places we inhabit.

Research interests focus mainly upon psychogeography in relation to illustration practice. That is to say, exploring how illustration as a medium, helps us communicate the strange effect that space and place has upon society. These are often, mostly urban spaces – such as the city, big and mysterious, and somewhat unknowable!

Expertise in freelance Illustration & Graphic Design for print and digital output for publishing, advertising, licensing, authorial, speculative and self-initiated projects.

Expertise in all traditional and digital media, including location painting, urban (plein air)

A combination of both a professional and academic backgrounds across the School provides a good balance in ongoing enterprise projects between students, staff and industry.

External Links/Projects across the school include: Hallmark, Tigerprint, St John’s Ambulance, Arriva Trains Wales, NHS, Sky Creative, Rockstar North, Aardman Animations, D&AD, the Association of Illustrators, Penguin Random House

Papers and Conference / Presentations

Presented paper:

"Housing the Beast” - A Psychogeographical approach to The House and the Beast " Illustration Research Network Symposium No.1: Shadowplay 2010.

Articles in Journals:

“Inside Out” - A Major feature article on representations of the Window in illustration and art. Varoom Journal Issue 13, Summer 2010

“Urban Legends” – Depicting issues such as civilization, pleasure and homelessness in modern urban living. Varoom Journal Issue 15, Spring 2011

"Illustration and Sustainability" A feature article on the rise and fall of specialist courses in illustration such as Natural History and Technical Illustraiton. Varoom Journal Issue 18, Summer 2013


Reviewer of The Surreal House exhibition at the Barbican, London 2010


"13” – Bath Fringe Festival Exhibition, Summer 2010

“Contemporary Dialogues” Swansea, Summer 2011

“Rich Mix” London Illustration and Music exhibition, Winter 2014

“City Stories” Mission Gallery, Winter 2016/7.

Organiser and Chair of “Spatialising Illustration” 2 Day VaroomLab Illustration conference, January 2013