Jake Williams BA Hons Illustration graduate class of 2017

BA (Hons) Illustration (Jan 2024 Start)

Our January entry (Spring Term) BA (Hons) degrees allow students to study flexibly at home, in the studio or at one of our dedicated international host institutions. You'll complete your first year of study by the beginning of August, progressing straight into your second year in September 2024 after a summer break.

Student Nic Rickard discusses her experience on the Interior Design January Start degree at Arts University Plymouth.


Ariel Buhlman, Ball, 2020.

We are excited to offer a selection of BA (Hons) creative courses through our new distance learning provision, starting in January 2024. Our vision for excellence in art and design distance learning, under the banner of our Connected Campus, affords students flexibility in their studies whilst being a valued part of our community.

These three-year courses all share a common distance-learning first year, while specialising in a chosen subject, then progressing into named awards in year two and three.

The first year of your January Entry BA (Hons) Illustration course can be studied at home, in your own studio space, or at our dedicated international host institution. You will begin in January 2024, and your studies will finish in August 2024, allowing you to immediately progress on to your second year of study in September 2024, which will take place on campus.

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. Our expert staff will support you in developing professional skills including creative problem-solving, project management, and working to briefs and deadlines.

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.

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.


Charlotte Leadley, Scientists Discover Water, 2020.

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.UK students can enjoy access to our specialist facilities in Plymouth, international students based in China can access facilities available at our dedicated host institution. Access to specialist facilities can support your studies, however it is not essential to succeed on this course.

You will work within a supportive and challenging 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 professional designers, creative directors, and animators to realise your ideas in charming new ways.

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.

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Tatsu Ishikawa

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. Sessions by visitors are recorded wherever possible and shared with the university community.

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.

Our UK students can enjoy access to resources both traditional and future-facing, including screen-printing and letterpress workshops, 2D and 3D animation studios, state-of-the-art digital production equipment, and creative software such as Adobe Creative Cloud, including After Effects for motion graphics and Indesign and Illustrator for page layout and vector work.

International students based in China can access facilities available at our dedicated host institutions. Access to specialist facilities can support your studies, however, it is not essential to succeed on this course.

If you are joining one of our January 2024-start degrees beginning in the Spring term, you will pay the tuition fees advertised for the academic cycle 2023/24.

For new full-time UK students, this will be £9,250 per year. For full-time international and EU students joining us from a partner provider, this will be £16,500. Please note that only a full-time study mode is available for this course, due to the accelerated first-year.

For more information on how our January-start degrees work and a full list of courses available, please click here.