Mentorship | AGDA

I kept a diary throughout my 8-week AGDA Mentorship with Mimmo Cozzolino. Here’s what I wrote.

Date: 20/06/19, 6pm

Next Meeting: 24/06/19, 2pm
Meeting 2 Summary: Trying to find my Style

The second session was more focused on my collection of work and to see where I am at with my illustrations. There were a lot of positive remarks but Mimmo manage to point out some inconsistencies in my illustrations. The bigger image seems to look ok, but once broken up into individual elements, I had more work to do.

Points I have picked-up from our session based on my collection of work:

  • Take more care and consideration
    Time management can be a factor for this. I tend to rush my illustrations and sacrifice a lot of details. As a result, the artwork may look a little unfinished and may be a little odd  - blob of butter. I should be doing a lot of referencing and research and to have ways of expressing an element the best way I can.
  • Add context and background
    One way to enrich my illustrations, is to have the subject placed in a background. To have a story behind it and to have it interacting with its surroundings. Currently, some of my illustrations are singular and focused. With a background, I can play with the light and shadows, more consideration of my composition.
  • Create distinguishable silhouettes
    Mimmo had an example of his granddaughter’s book of 3’s and the Italian book for Children. He explained his ideas of creating distinguishable characters (example: Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck) and the research that comes with it. This will help me in creating unique characters and to expand my abilities as an illustrator.

Look into:

  • AGDA competitions
  • Joining Illustrators Australia (IA)
  • Look into life drawing classes - to analyse a character, play around with shapes, distort
  • Set up a daily drawing challenge
  • Post on Social Media and to create interest in my work again.


  • Ned Culic
  • Neil Curtis
  • Lotte Reiniger
  • Kelwin Wong

Date: 24/06/19, 6pm
Next Meeting: 01/07/19, 6pm
Meeting 3 Summary: Development of Style (through a character)

The third session with Mimmo involved looking through artworks and old marketing materials of Neil Curtis and Con Aslanis throughout their career in illustration. 

Case Study - Neil Curtis:

The development of style is quite evident - the kangaroo for example reappears a lot. This character eventually grew rich in detail as time goes on, growing into a collection of different characters. Injury brought a new opportunity in his style. The switch from pen to paint brush gave way to this new style, a different organic stroke from his structured pen hatchings. 


My takeaway from all the examples and the years of work is to just sketch - draw every day, do something or even just do the same thing. It will eventually evolve to something I might be known for….that could potentially be my style.  


  • Character development - Australian animals; Kangaroo
  • 10 different styles - 1 or 2 with human-like appearances
  • Simple, abstract, icon, contemporary
  • Simple colour and tone work, two or more colours
  • Eventually expand to different animals (land and water) - create a collection


  • Con Aslanis
  • Geoff Cook
  • Neil Curtis - Cat and Fish

Date: 01/07/19, 6pm
Next Meeting: 08/07/19, 6pm
Meeting 4 Summary: Work in Progress

The meeting this time was in Mimmo’s Studio. I had the opportunity to preview some of his artworks in an upcoming exhibition. It was also interesting to see the materials used and the thought process behind it.


I had the opportunity to show my kangaroo illustrations and some archived digital artworks that I had stored in my computer. The process of explaining and recollecting the ideas behind my work got me a little excited and it reminded me how much fun I had in creating my illustrations.

This session also gave me the opportunity to share my thoughts about depression and that it does happen to some of us. Due to the nature of my work, I spend a lot of time working in my cave and prefer not to socialise with the outside world. The isolation does fester and sometimes I fall deeper into the rabbit hole. Dragon boating became an outlet for me to walk-away from my thoughts, focusing on the sport and become part of a whole. 


  • Charley Harper - An Illustrated Life, Todd Oldham
  • Ephemera Journal of Australia
  • Douglas Annand; Black Swan - Cover of the Home Annual 1937
  • Art Deco and Modernism Society of Australia (ADMSA)

Date: 08/07/19, 6pm
Next Meeting: 15/07/19, 6pm
Meeting 5 Summary: Current Updates

This week was pretty straightforward and simple. We mainly talked about the projects and the activities that we are currently doing. I showed Mimmo my work in progress (Kangaroo Illustration) and he showed some work/entries that he was working on. 

I also talked about my current situation at the architecture firm - I have notified my leaders about this mentorship and apart from doing the projects in wayfinding and marketing, they have also customised some of the tasks to include illustrations. This is another way where I can exercise my illustration abilities and include it in my portfolio.

I am also currently looking to submit works in local festivals and competitions – AGDA 2019 Awards, Outre Gallery Artists Small Wall Project and more. Mimmo said that he can be an advisor for the entries; give opinions and feedback wherever suit.


  • Images of my hometown - show and tell
  • Show him some work I’ve done for Melbourne Flames, Dragon Boat Club
  • Show Mimmo my ideas for entering some competition. He can be an advisor.
  • Design a certificate for Mimmo - Life Members, Ephemera Journal of Australia
    (Deadline: After mentorship ends)


  • For my Kangaroo illustration: Lake Mungo - Mungo National Park; Australia’s most important archeological site, aboriginal people
  • Alex Stitt - Mimmo’s Hero, AGDA Hall of Fame - Weatherhead and Stitt
  • Reg Mombassa - Book: The Mind and TImes of Reg Mombassa by Murra Waldren
  • Brian Sadgrove - Graphic Designer in the 80’s
  • Garry Emery - Graphic Designer; Australian Parliament House Wayfinding
  • Gordon Andrews - Graphic Designer; Australian paper currency
  • Book: Utopia, A Picture Story - 88 Silk Batiks from The Robert Holmes a Court Collection

Date: 15/07/19, 6pm
Next Meeting: 29/07/19, 6pm
Meeting 6 Summary: Self-Promotion

I started off the night by letting know Mimmo what I was currently working on and the research I have done on some potential competition entries. I have been working on a few projects that includes branding and illustrations, from both freelance and the office. I showed some work I have done with Melbourne Flames, as I am the head of the Marketing, Branding and Uniforms of my club. We finished the night when Mimmo brought out more books and magazines for some inspiration.


One of the entries - The Small Wall Project by Outre Gallery, emphasizes on social media as their main criteria. It shows the change of time and the fact that the amount of followers could determine your place in a gallery. It is definitely a strategic and clever way to promote their gallery. Through this, I understand the importance of self promotion and to have a presence in the field as it caters to our potential audience.


Enter the work I have done in Melbourne Flames in the AGDA Awards as a collective - since I did not design the initial logo. 


  • Geoff Cook - Touchstone Handbook
  • Warren Fahey - Book: Eureka, The Songs that made Australia
  • Shane McGowan - Illustrator
  • Victoria Roberts - Illustrator
  • Ray Condon - Illustrator
  • Billington - Illustrator
  • Ed Fella - Book: Two Lines Align 
  • Graphers Magazine
  • Idea Magazine - Japanese Design Magazine, International
  • Emigre Magazine - LA, Digital 
  • Book: Bonzer, Australian Comics 1900-1990s
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