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.
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.
Helena Dore, BA (Hons) Illustration
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 university, showcasing your final outputs as part of enterprising collectives, pop-up shops and curated exhibitions.
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.
BA (Hons) Illustration is one of our top performing subjects in the National Student Survey (NSS) 2023!
98% of students responded positively to the questions of "To what extent have you had the chance to explore ideas and concepts in depth?" and "How often have you received assessment feedback on time?".
Plus 95% of students responded positively to questions "To what extent have you had the chance to bring together information and ideas from different topics?", "How well have teaching staff supported your learning?", "How well have the library resources (e.g. books, online services and learning spaces) supported your learning?", "To what extent do you get the right opportunities to give feedback on your course?", and "During your studies, how free did you feel to express your ideas, opinions, and beliefs?".
These are fantastic results for BA (Hons) Illustration at Arts University Plymouth. Additionally, 90% or more of our Illustration students responded positively in every main theme of question for the NSS 2023, from “Teaching on my course”, “Learning opportunities”, “Assessment and feedback” and “Organisation and management” to “Student voice”.