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Emma Horsfield has overcome many personal struggles to pursue her desire to gain a creative qualification. Now studying towards a BA (Hons) in Illustration with IDI, she has found that an adaptable and flexible approach has enabled her to fit a degree around her hectic family life.

When she was young, Emma confesses she was obsessed with art:

“I have always been creative since I could hold a pencil in my hand. I would spend hours every day painting and drawing. It was my solace and comfort zone to which I could escape. Being creative and imaginative in my art is imperative to me as it takes me often to places I would like to be.”

With top grades in Art and Design at school, Emma’s teachers recommended that she take her talent further. Despite their encouragement, and like many prospective IDI students, she was brought up to believe that becoming an artist was not a “proper” career path and instead found work in a number of professions she never really cared for:

“I have worked in sign writing, nursing, childcare, Turkish translations, cleaning, printing and taking in ironing. I have always seen these jobs as temporary and none of them were what I would choose to do.”

When Emma’s youngest son started school, she decided it was time to pursue a career that she would actually enjoy. She believed that a flexible online degree with IDI presented her with the perfect opportunity and is now enjoying life as a student on the BA (Hons) Illustration course:

“I would say it’s an ideal way to learn for people with other big commitments such as myself with a family, but also for those who work. I hear too many people utter the words, “I haven’t got time.” It’s a phrase I rarely use myself as I think people can make time if they really want to.”

Emma hopes to build a strong portfolio of creative work during her studies with a view to becoming a full-time illustrator. She currently creates fantasy art and portraits on commission and hopes that studying with IDI for a degree from the University of Hertfordshire will give her the opportunity to do what she loves every day while still having time to watch her children grow up.

You can view examples of Emma’s work at