One of the first big London grad shows of the season, Middlesex University's 2016 final exhibtion for its creative students – including illustration, graphic design, animation and more – was just as strong as previous years.

Held at the Old Truman Brewery on Brick Lane in London as part of the Free Range series of shows, you get to see a much wider selection of students' work than at their small booths at multi-institution D&AD New Blood – and it makes me wish I could spend the next month roaming the country visiting grad shows from Falmouth to Duncan of Jordonstone instead of being limited by time to the confines of the M25.

Nicole Cowan

Over the past few years, illustration grad shows have been awash with works depicting densely packed scenes of crowds that use flat colours for contrast and to stop the viewer from being overwhelmed (so, for once, if would be nice to see someone do crowds with intricately detailed, multi-coloured characters – perhaps to represent the experience of many people with autism in crowded places. But I digress). Many of these artworks feature samey characters – sometime literally copied and pasted – but what marks out the work of Nicole Cowan is how the different personalities of each individual come though

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