BA (Hons)

Illustration

BA (Hons) Illustration
  • UCAS code(s): W220
  • Level(s) of study: Undergraduate
  • Study mode(s): Full-time
  • Location: City Campus
  • Starting: September 2020
  • Entry requirements: More information

What you'll study

This course takes you on a journey into the exhilarating world of illustrative practice. Our aim is to help you locate your unique personal direction as an illustrator and prepare you for industry. You will graduate as a highly sophisticated visual communicator, whose work demonstrates a high level of craft and aesthetic flare across different digital and analogue media, platforms and projects.

You will develop a professional portfolio of work through independent, collaborative and industry-led briefs and projects and develop a range of professional skills that will serve you throughout your career.

  • Year One

    These two year-long modules run side by side.

    Exploring the Subject of Illustration

    (100 credit points)

    This module provides you with a dynamic exploration of the fundamentals of illustrative practice. During the first year you will explore observational and imaginative drawing and how they are applied to image making. You will be given opportunities to investigate methods and materials relating specifically to digital and analogue illustrative and graphic techniques. We will promote experimentation, playful approaches, reflection and critical evaluation in a studio setting.

    You will also work collaboratively on projects to produce inspiring and creative outcomes and be introduced to how illustration is used in industry: how it is applied and how it appears in different contexts.

    Ultimately, you will learn how to communicate your ideas visually using line, shape, texture, colour, form, type and image through a range of exciting projects, tutorials and workshops.

    Illustration in Context

    (20 credit points)

    Explore key developments in the history of illustration, and examine illustration’s historical and cultural role in communicating and challenging ideas. You’ll study breakthroughs including print technology, the cultural significance of illustration in relation to protest, and key concepts including text/image relations, narrative sequence, visual storytelling, and modes of illustration.

  • Year Two

    Professional Context and Personal Direction

    (60 credit points, full year)

    In Year Two you will focus on industry and developing a personal direction and visual identity which truly represents you as an illustrator. You will engage in a mixture of staff and live industry briefs which will introduce you to the professional world of illustration.. Technical workshops and seminars will develop your digital and analogue skills further alongside sessions focused on illustrative thinking, process and development that will sharpen your research and evaluation skills, allowing you to become confident in discussing a broad range of illustrative issues.

    Contemporary Issues in Illustration

    (20 credit points, full year)

    Examine key issues in contemporary illustration, including illustration as communication; illustration as storytelling; and illustration and authenticity. These issues will be explored from the point of view of both narrative illustration (children’s books; comics; graphic novels; non-fiction) and applied illustration practices (editorial illustration; reportage illustration; scientific illustration; fashion illustration; environmental illustration; maker illustration eg. surface pattern and interiors). This module will also explore contemporary issues such as sustainability and ethical practice in illustration.

    Co Lab: Research, Exploration and Risk-taking

    (20 credit points, second half of the year)

    Through active participation with team-based problem-solving, you will work together in mixed teams on a project where you will use your creative ideas to generate solutions to the challenge or brief. This collaborative learning experience will expose you to a range of new processes and approaches that will develop your creative thinking.

    You will also choose one optional 20-credit module from:

    • Telling Stories
    • Publishing: Experimental Formats
    • Typography: Use and Expression
    • Motion Graphics
  • Final year

    These two year-long modules run side by side.

    Developing a Distinct Professional Portfolio

    (100 credit points)

    By the end of this module you will have a bespoke personal portfolio that is aligned to your personal and professional goals. Your work will include briefs, both set and self-initiated, and may include competition briefs that have been set by established professional bodies, as well as ‘live’ client’ briefs set by partners and practitioners. Through research, reflection and analysis of your working process and others you will evidence intellectual, and connected, visual responses, and you will be confident with your own visual language, identity and aesthetic.

    These areas of study combined will bring together your knowledge of the subject and industry, with your own creative vision to produce a highly considered professional body of illustrative work.

    Illustration in Context 3: Independent Journal

    (20 credit points)

    The Independent Journal is a written and visual project that allows you to document and develop an understanding of your own creative practice in relation to the wider context of illustration theory, history, techniques, and ideas you have explored in previous modules.

We're delighted to be ranked as one of the top 10 universities in the UK for Art & Design (The Complete University Guide 2020)

How you’re taught

Studio practice is a key element of this course, and you’ll spend a lot time in a creative studio environment. Teaching and learning experiences will include studio activities, peer groups, lectures, workshops, seminars, and group tutorials. You will also benefit from one-to-one surgeries, portfolio reviews, and self-initiated work experience.

Assessment methods

Assessment is 100% coursework. You’ll be assessed at the end of each module and awarded a grade, receiving feedback throughout.

You will construct an in-depth portfolio of assessed work throughout the course. Further assessment consists of presentations, essays, seminars, group work and a professional journal.

Your final degree mark will be based 100% on your final year work.

Learn in a creative studio environment in our beautifully restored Waverley building.

Careers and employability

From the very start of the course, you will be encouraged to identify with the world of work and your future beyond graduation. The course has a dedicated employability tutor and the School Employability team support Illustration students with drop-in session and advice.

This course will equip you with skills and experience needed to work as a professional illustrator, as well as a range of transferable skills that can be applied to a number of roles within the creative industries.

A recent guest lecture from renowned author and illustrator, Alexis Deacon

Connecting with industry

Our BA (Hons) Illustration course was created in consultation with leading industry bodies such as the Association of Illustrators (AOI), whose knowledge and expertise informs our approach and ensures that the course is aligned with the most current industry needs and expectations.

Some of our other industry connections, clients or partners include:

  • Hachette
  • Harper Collins
  • Penguin Random House
  • Usbourne
  • Scholastic
  • Folio Society
  • Carmelite
  • Nobrow Press

Throughout the course you will work with industry on live briefs and hear from visiting speakers. You will also be supported and encouraged to enter national and international illustration competitions such as The World Illustration Awards (AOI), The Batsford Prize, The Macmillan Prize, V&A Illustration Awards, and the YCN, Creative Conscience.

Entry requirements

What are we looking for?

  • A-levels – BBC or equivalent; or
  • BTEC Extended Diploma – DMM; or
  • 112 UCAS Tariff points from three A-levels; and
  • GCSEs – English and Maths or Science grade C / 4.

Other requirements

  • a portfolio.

All applications welcome

We welcome applications from prospective students with a range of qualifications and experience, and all are assessed on an individual basis. Mature applicants who do not meet the standard entry criteria can still be considered providing they have relevant experience to compliment any qualifications.

All applicants will need to apply through UCAS and will be expected to present a portfolio if invited to attend an interview.

What are we looking for?

We accept qualifications from schools, colleges and universities all over the world for entry onto our courses. If you’re not sure how your international qualification matches our course requirements, please visit our international qualifications page.

Other requirements

English language requirements

If English isn't your first language, you need to show us that your language skills are strong enough for intensive academic study. You can check our language requirements and list of accepted English language tests. Your British Council office can tell you where you can take an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) test locally.

Foundation courses

If you need to do an art and design foundation course to meet our course requirements please visit Nottingham Trent International College (NTIC). If you’re already studying in the UK at a school or college and would like to know if we can accept your qualification please visit our foundation courses page.

Next steps

Please also take a look at our International students page and our application guide for international students, which are full of advice and information about the University.

If you need any more help or information, please contact our International team or call on +44 (0)115 848 4200. Alternatively, you can speak to one of our official NTU representatives for your country.

How to apply

Apply through UCAS.

We will ask you to provide a digital portfolio. Download some advice on what to include.

If successful, you'll be invited to an interview where you'll need to bring with you your portfolio. Download our portfolio checklist.

Please read our notes on the University's commitment to delivering the educational services advertised.

Apply through UCAS (if applying to more than one university in the UK), or through our NTU applicant portal

If you aren't a resident in the UK, we'll ask you to submit a digital portfolio in lieu of an interview. Download some advice on what to include

Keeping up to date

After you've applied, we'll be sending you important emails throughout the application process – so check your emails regularly, including your junk mail folder.

Please also take a look at our International students page and our application guide for international students, which are full of advice and information about the University.

If you need any more help or information, please contact our International team or call on +44 (0)115 848 4200. Alternatively, you can get in touch with our staff at the International Development Office, who are always happy to help. Or speak to one of our official NTU representatives for your country.

Please read our notes on the University's commitment to delivering the educational services advertised.

Fees and funding

Preparing for the financial side of student life is important, but there's no need to feel anxious and confused about it. We hope that our fees and funding pages will answer all your questions.

Getting in touch

For more advice and guidance, you can contact our Student Financial Support Service.

Tel: +44 (0)115 848 2494

What's included in the course fees?

The annual fee for our undergraduate degree courses includes a number of items. In addition to expert tuition and access to our first-class workshop and IT resources, you'll receive:

  • mandatory field trips, exhibitions and events required as part of your core studies
  • receive £100 print and materials credit for each year of your course (for a maximum of three years) for use in Boningtons Art Shop and print facilities
  • materials for induction workshops and activities within the workshops and laboratories
  • professional body course accreditation (where applicable)
  • infrastructure costs for final year Degree Shows within Nottingham (where applicable)
  • £20 prepaid printing allowance for use in NTU print shops and with library photocopiers.

You are expected to purchase your own books, standard drawing and writing equipment, and consumables.

Where optional overseas visits are offered, you will need to meet the cost of these.

While we aim to keep any extra study costs to a minimum, please see our page on additional costs and optional extras to find out about any additional expenses you may incur on your course.

Preparing for the financial side of student life is important, but there's no need to feel anxious and confused about it. We hope that our fees and funding pages will answer all your questions.

You might be able to get a scholarship to help fund your studies. We award scholarships to those international students who can demonstrate excellent achievement, passion, and dedication to their studies.

Please take a look at our International students page for information about fees, scholarships for international students, visas and much more.

Getting in touch

For more advice and guidance, you can contact our Student Financial Support Service.

Tel: +44 (0)115 848 2494

What's included in the course fees?

The annual fee for our undergraduate degree courses includes a number of items. In addition to expert tuition and access to our first class workshop and IT resources, you'll receive:

  • mandatory field trips, exhibitions and events required as part of your core studies
  • £100 print and materials credit for each year of your course (for a maximum of three years) for use in the Bonington art shop and School of Architecture, Design and the Built Environment workshops and print facilities
  • materials for induction workshops and activities within the workshops and laboratories
  • professional body course accreditation (where applicable)
  • infrastructure costs for final year Degree Shows within Nottingham (where applicable)
  • £20 prepaid printing allowance for use in NTU print shops and with library photocopiers.

You are expected to purchase your own books, standard drawing and writing equipment, and consumables.

Where optional overseas visits are offered, you will need to meet the cost of these.

While we aim to keep any extra study costs to a minimum, please see our page on additional costs and optional extras to find out about any additional expenses you may incur on your course.

Still need help?

+44 (0)115 941 8418