Welcome to the Pencil Factory – By @itsjackwalsh_

Welcome to the Pencil Factory

Welcome to the Pencil Factory. The Ink-ubator (doesn’t work). The fight for white and the mellow after not winning yellow. The TLC given to D&AD. It’s New Blood time – a period discussed in reverent whispers in much the same way I’d imagine a regional Italian church would prepare for the arrival of the Pope. Not that Holy Water -that’s common crap! Get the good stuff down from the top shelf. And rearrange those Hymn Sheets – this place is a disgrace! Oh Mamma Mia – the Popemobile is on the horizon…

It’s just like that. It’s exciting, because my fellow students and I are in a place that’s currently pointed towards creating the best possible chance to succeed. It’s success that feels palpable and just about in reach, if you strain enough. There are legendary tales of previous cohort winners – furtive glances at their Twitter bios loaded with the humble brags of 2 x Yellow Pencil Winner who are spoken about in the glowing manner that a proud mum would describe their eight year old Grade 6 violinist daughter. It’s good and we all want a bit of it. 

Marc casually mentioned that around six thousand entries are submitted for each category – an announcement that immediately dashed my Mirror of Erised visions – proudly clutching an oversized pencil whilst Dumbledore smiles down benignly (yeah he’s still in this version for some reason). How am I gonna beat six thousand people when I routinely fail to beat thirty eight?! 

But a great thing to do is to scroll through the list of previous winners and really take in the marvellously versatile array of ideas that have come away victorious. It’s a mixed bag to say the least – but the pounding drum that connects each and every submission is: AN IDEA. And ideas are something we can all do. It’s something that’s difficult to ascertain, but when you have it you have it and there’s nothing that those in Miami or Mumbai can do about it.

 Ideas are the most meritocratic things going – so start stacking them up and tossing out the crap now. It doesn’t matter if you’re an Adobe Ninja (I sincerely hope no one has ever used that phrase with a straight face) or you can barely grasp a Crayola (It me) – the idea will shine through if it’s good. Maybe that is already ludicrously obvious to anyone reading this – but I find it’s important to keep that single notion at the forefront of my mind as much as possible.

Fuck everything and make some ideas. Then simplify them and simplify them again. Let’s beat six thousand others with something brilliant made with our own brain. Let’s yeet this wheat and graft for this graphite.

Pencil drop. 

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