Skip to main content

Jacob Courtney

I am a UK-based illustrator whose practice incorporates drawing, painting, and moving image, with an interest in narratives and sequential storytelling. My work is often grounded in my own experiences of reality, informed by the everyday environments I encounter. The representational drawing methods I utilise illustrate a strong sense of place and atmosphere, particularly with qualities of the uncanny. Before studying at the RCA, I gained my BA (Hons) in Illustration at Cardiff School of Art and Design. My work has been featured in publications Firewords, Shelf Heroes and AWW Magazine, as well as online at Porridge Magazine and Creative Boom.

My work is often influenced by everyday experiences, routines, and the way we navigate urban spaces. My most recent project focuses on the somewhat surreal experience of travelling on the London Underground. Informed by material including academic writings about the Tube, as well as accounts from Transport for London workers, the project focuses on the core themes of isolation, routine, and transience. 

Despite its typically crowded and confined nature, travelling on the Tube can be a solitary and isolated experience. This project considers the parallel between the isolation of using the Tube in a pre-pandemic world, with the isolation brought on by the social distancing and lockdown restrictions introduced as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Responding to the drastic changes in everyday life that occurred due to the pandemic, and seeing how they have affected the character of these everyday environments, allows us to reflect on and question the accepted and established social norms of everyday routines as they were before.

Westfield at Stratford
The Stratford Shoal
Platform at Stratford Station
Mind the Doors
Into the Tunnel
In Between
Imaginary Skyline
Westfield at White City
Buildings at White City
Platform at White City Station

An outcome for this project takes the form of a short, animated film. It depicts the same journey on the Central Line from Stratford to White City several times throughout the course of the pandemic, documenting the drastic changes in circumstances that began in 2020. The film juxtaposes scenes of crowded Tube carriages from before the pandemic, with emptier, quieter ones during it. Repetition is used as a means to explore time - both before and during the pandemic, highlighting the relative isolation of each. The short film constitutes hand-drawn images which are then coloured digitally. Animation and moving image are selected as appropriate methods to explore and communicate the transitory nature and constant movement of the London Underground. The repetition involved in the creation of a hand-drawn animation, as well as the use of repeated scenes in the film, also relates to the routine and repetition of everyday life, much intensified during the pandemic. 


Animation, Film, Pencil Drawings, Coloured Digitally


10:05 mins