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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
  • * This course is now closed for entry for 2020, please ring our Clearing Hotline 0115 848 6000 to speak to one of our team to discuss current vacancies. *

What you'll study

Although this course is closed for 2020, we do have some availability in our two-year Foundation degree - FdA Graphics and Digital Design.

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 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.

    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.

Course specification

View the full course specification
Please note that course specifications may be subject to change

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.

COVID-19 Planning

We will be adopting a range of blended teaching and learning techniques including online and face-to-face (where practical) to ensure that students can meet their learning outcomes in full. We will respond proactively to any national or local policy changes (including lock down) to ensure student safety as our primary concern whilst continuing to focus on offering a comprehensive student academic experience and will work flexibly with our students to ensure they are not disadvantaged by COVID-19.

Assessment methods

Assessment is predominantly through 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.

  • Year 1 coursework (92%), practical exams (8%).
  • Year 2 coursework (92%), practical exams (8%).
  • Year 3 coursework (100%).

Contact hours

A full-time student on average can expect to spend 1200 hours a year learning which will typically be broken down as follows:

  • Year 1 lectures/seminars/workshops (21%), independent study (79%).
  • Year 2 lectures/seminars/workshops (20%), independent study (80%).
  • Year 3 lectures/seminars/workshops (20%), independent study (80%).

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.

NTU may admit a student with advanced standing beyond the beginning of a course, through an assessment of that student's prior learning, whether it is certificated or uncertificated. Our Recognition of Prior Learning and Credit Transfer Policy outlines the process and options available to these prospective students, such as recognising experiential learning or transferring to a similar course at another institution, otherwise known as credit transfer.

All prospective students who wish to apply via Recognition of Prior Learning should initially contact the central Admissions and Enquiries Team who will be able to support you through the process.

Other requirements

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.

NTU may admit a student with advanced standing beyond the beginning of a course, through an assessment of that student's prior learning, whether it is certificated or uncertificated. Our Recognition of Prior Learning and Credit Transfer Policy outlines the process and options available to these prospective students, such as recognising experiential learning or transferring to a similar course at another institution, otherwise known as credit transfer.

All prospective students who wish to apply via Recognition of Prior Learning should initially contact the central Admissions and Enquiries Team who will be able to support you through the process.

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 School of Art & Design will provide you with £100 of credit each year (for a maximum of three years) to use in our art shop, school workshops and school printing facilities.

The School will cover the costs of any mandatory study trips.

In Final Year, the School of Art & Design will provide infrastructure costs for your Degree Show, including course catalogue and exhibition set-up costs.

If you’re selected to showcase your work at a graduate show in London, the School will cover the cost of the exhibition stand and of transporting your work to the show.

Additional costs

Print and copy costs

The University allocates an annual printing and copying allowance of £20 depending on the course you are studying. For more details about costs for additional print and copying required over and above the annual allowance please see the Printing, photocopying and scanning information on the Library website.

We advise you to budget between £50 - £250 (minimum) per year for printing costs.

Material costs

Depending on the materials you choose to work with, you should budget a further minimum of £150 (Year One), £250 (Year Two), and £250 (Final Year) to cover the other production costs associated to your course. Of course, you may spend less or more than this depending on the nature of your studies.

Stationery and reading materials

Most study modules will recommend one or more core textbooks, which most students choose to purchase. Book costs vary between courses and further information is available in the University’s bookshop, Blackwell’s.

A good supply of these essential text books are available in the University libraries, which students can easily borrow or access on-line/directly whilst studying in the library.

You should budget between £50 - £100 per year (minimum) for stationery and reading materials.

Field trips

All essential field trip costs will be included in your course fees. There may be the opportunity to take part in optional field trips, which do incur additional costs.

If you choose to join an optional UK study trip, you’ll need to budget £50 per year (minimum). If you choose to join an optional international study trip, you’ll need to budget £500 per year (minimum).

Placements

If you're undertaking a placement year, you'll need to budget for accommodation and any travel costs you may incur whilst on placement. Many of our placement students do earn a salary whilst on placement which can help to cover these living costs.

If you undertake work experience or a longer placement, you will have the chance to gain an additional Certificate or Diploma in Professional Practice, dependent on duration.  The Diploma in Professional Practice incurs a fee for the additional placement year.

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 School of Art & Design will provide you with £100 of credit each year (for a maximum of three years) to use in our art shop, school workshops and school printing facilities.

The School will cover the costs of any mandatory study trips.

In Final Year, the School of Art & Design will provide infrastructure costs for your Degree Show, including course catalogue and exhibition set-up costs.

If you’re selected to showcase your work at a graduate show in London, the School will cover the cost of the exhibition stand and of transporting your work to the show.

Additional costs

Print and copy costs

The University allocates an annual printing and copying allowance of £20 depending on the course you are studying. For more details about costs for additional print and copying required over and above the annual allowance please see the Printing, photocopying and scanning information on the Library website.

We advise you to budget between £50 - £250 (minimum) per year for printing costs.

Material costs

Depending on the materials you choose to work with, you should budget a further minimum of £150 (Year One), £250 (Year Two), and £250 (Final Year) to cover the other production costs associated to your course. Of course, you may spend less or more than this depending on the nature of your studies.

Stationery and reading materials

Most study modules will recommend one or more core textbooks, which most students choose to purchase. Book costs vary between courses and further information is available in the University’s bookshop, Blackwell’s.

A good supply of these essential text books are available in the University libraries, which students can easily borrow or access on-line/directly whilst studying in the library.

You should budget between £50 - £100 per year (minimum) for stationery and reading materials.

Field trips

All essential field trip costs will be included in your course fees. There may be the opportunity to take part in optional field trips, which do incur additional costs.

If you choose to join an optional UK study trip, you’ll need to budget £50 per year (minimum). If you choose to join an optional international study trip, you’ll need to budget £500 per year (minimum).

Placements

If you're undertaking a placement year, you'll need to budget for accommodation and any travel costs you may incur whilst on placement. Many of our placement students do earn a salary whilst on placement which can help to cover these living costs.

If you undertake work experience or a longer placement, you will have the chance to gain an additional Certificate or Diploma in Professional Practice, dependent on duration.  The Diploma in Professional Practice incurs a fee for the additional placement year.

Still need help?

+44 (0)115 941 8418