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BA (Hons) Illustration

Course Duration

3 years; full-time
4 years; full-time Extended BA route
6 years; part-time
7 years; part-time Extended BA route


Course: W220
Institution: P65

Whether working in-house, at an agency or as an independent freelancer - illustrators play a crucial role in modern communication.

Illustration has the power to characterise moments, evoke emotion and propose alternate realities. From indie publishing and children’s literature, through to comic books and commercial products - this course will empower you to make your mark.

Illustration is a competitive design discipline which requires high levels of commitment. Our expert staff will support you in developing professional skills including creative problem-solving, project management, and working to briefs and deadlines. We place high value on imagination and energy, alongside conceptual thinking and idea development, and we will support you in honing your technical skills and knowledge of contemporary trends.

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Throughout the programme, you will extend your drawing skills to develop your personal visual language and identity. You’ll explore traditional and forward-looking image-making in different contexts, including editorial, publishing (book design and illustration, comics and graphic novels), surface pattern and print, moving image, graphic design and design-to-sell products (zines, toys, stationery, limited edition prints, and more). We’ll also challenge you to develop a culturally curious attitude and be sensitive to the ethical responsibilities that illustration comes with.

Our students benefit from high contact time with our dedicated Illustration team, who provide expert mentoring from an impressive range of specialisms including independent publishing, editorial, children’s books, printmaking, graphic design and art direction.

You will work within a supportive and challenging studio environment, to explore your subject both as an individual and in interdisciplinary teams. You’ll approach independent work with a critical mindset, considering the design, manufacture, marketing and distribution of your own original artwork, whilst seeking opportunities to collaborate with designers, creative directors, and animators to realise your ideas in charming new ways. We’ll also encourage you to foster communities across the college, showcasing your final outputs as part of enterprising collectives, pop-up shops and curated exhibitions.

Helena Dore

Helena Dore, BA (Hons) Illustration

As well as introducing you to commercial practice, we also encourage you to explore your own ideas through self-directed and authorial approaches which will extend the boundaries of your visual language. As you develop your interests you can choose to tailor your study to a range of creative specialisms, including editorial illustration, children’s books, independent publishing, printmaking, graphic design and art direction.

From designing for Lego to writing and illustrating children’s books and gaining cult status in the world of independent apparel, our graduates enjoy diverse careers in the booming field of illustration, and this industry focus is truly embedded in our teaching. Your studies will be complemented by an impressive programme of visiting lecturers, publishers and manufacturers including Hallmark Cards. You’ll also enter your work into prestigious competitions such as the Macmillan Prize, Penguin & Puffin Design Awards, and New Designer of the Year; and benefit from opportunities to secure work placements and respond to live briefs from industry - establishing an enviable network of professional contacts over time.

Although many of our students do come in with top grades and high UCAS points, these aren’t necessarily essential for entry. We typically ask for a minimum of 112 UCAS points, but we understand that talented artists, designers and makers can have a wide range of relevant strengths and skills beyond formal qualifications. We’re just as interested in exploring your portfolio and discussing your creative experiences as we are in seeing your grades.

We recognise the value of a variety of qualifications and relevant experience and welcome applications from students who have followed less traditional routes. We also accept a range of international qualifications and will look at each application individually.

For more information please consult our How to Apply page and the UCAS Tariff Table.