School of Art and Media

BA (Hons) Illustration

The most engaging and memorable illustrations come from people with a bold, clear approach. Study illustration with us and you’ll learn how to create images that are different to everyone else’s. We don’t have a ‘house style’ – we’ll actively encourage you to discover and develop your own illustrative voice. This voice will help you attract the attention of clients as well as forging your own audience, doing what you love.

Entry requirements may differ during clearing so please contact us on +44 1752 585858 to discuss an application.


UCAS tariff
280
UCAS course code
W222
Institution code
P60
Duration
3 years
Course type
Full-time
Location
Plymouth

Clearing hotline 0 +44 1752 585858

Confirmation and Clearing with Plymouth University

Check if this course has places through Clearing, from 13 August 2015.

Call our friendly Clearing hotline on +44 1752 585858

We will help you find available course places and let you know if you are eligible to apply.

Monday to Thursday   09.00 - 17.00

Friday   09.00 - 16.30

Key features

  • Be inspired by a varied studio-based culture and practise in our easy-access workshop facilities. Take part in everything from life and location drawing to printmaking and media exploration.
  • Develop your Photoshop, Premiere, InDesign and Flash skills in digital workshops, and explore typography basics, bookbinding, creative writing and more.
  • Gain invaluable knowledge, confidence and professional awareness by seizing work experience opportunities in years 2 and 3. This can range from simple studio visits to longer-term placements and collaboration, such as graduate Kate Mowbray’s placement as a Publishing Assistant with BBC History Magazine.
  • Develop your personal visual ‘voice' and start getting noticed in the professional world by taking part in external commissions and competitions. Get an insight into the world of our award-winning students with freelance illustrator, Jack Teagle
  • Define your illustrative direction within specific routes such as comic/graphic novels, children’s markets, printmaking, and design for animation/screen – or continue to explore within a broad range of practice. 
  • Raise your profile and make new contacts by exhibiting your work at both our Degree Show and London graduate shows.
  • Set your work in a global context through inspiring overseas study trips to places such as London, New York and Barcelona.
  • Choose to take part in an International Exchange programme in your second year, broadening your cultural references and forging new contacts in the international illustration scene. Find out about recent student Alexander Lee’s experiences living and learning in Japan.
  • Benefit from a varied visiting speaker programme of illustrators, commissioning editors, publishers and ex-graduates ready to share advice and insight to help shape your future career.
  • Build up your analogue and digital portfolios and develop your professional profile and confidence, ensuring you’re ready for whatever future direction you wish to pursue, whether freelance, studio-based or within further education such as MA or PGCE courses.

Course details

  • Year 1
  • The first year will introduce you to the basics of illustration practice. You’ll develop your knowledge of image-making through character design, life drawing, printmaking, bookbinding, sequential and conceptual approaches, digital workshops and media exploration. We’ll also introduce you to the techniques and essential processes of illustration practice within historical and contemporary frameworks, preparing you for year 2.
    Core modules
    • CART400PP Conscience (Communicating an Ethical Message)

      Students explore `Big Picture' ethical / sustainability issues in contemporary society. A real-world problem is researched / established through collaboration across Subject areas and students explore different visual responses through critical evaluation of each other's practice. Students are encouraged to consider future, holisticism, conscience, caring, imagining, listening, mindfulness, contemplation, soul, spirituality, grace and nourishing ¿ important to ethical understanding.

    • ILLUS420 Meaning/Ideas

      This module introduces Illustration as a means to communicate issues of social, ethical, environmental or political interest. Through discussion students share personal beliefs and values. Students explore and challenge received communication via the interpretation and manipulation of imagery. Projects emphasise creative thinking and ideas generation as essential skills for illustrators by identifying a well-defined focus for enquiry, planning and investigation from a range of sources.

    • ILLUS410 Narrative Sequence

      You will visually explore sequence creation within your work via a range of traditional and digital media and formats. Character development, narrative pacing, creative writing are a feature. Critical reflective writing underpins practical work. Reflection and planning help to establish personal ambitions and identify strengths and weaknesses.

    • ILLUS400 Play

      Students are introduced to the basics of making effective imagery and the design processes of illustrative practice. The module establishes the importance of developing a broad visual vocabulary and awareness, expanding analytical and technical skills and developing visual confidence. Projects help to develop a broad visual vocabulary and visual awareness, emphasising media experimentation and the formal elements of drawing (e.g. tone, and line) through written and visual means.

  • Year 2
  • In your second year, you can keep your focus broad or pursue a more specific area of personal interest at a deeper level. You’ll make contact with experts in the industry and analyse why the creative world is how it is. Critical and contextual modules with a varied visiting speaker programme will help you begin to position yourself as a professional. You’ll also have the opportunity to take part in placements, live briefs and competitions, to study abroad or collaborate with other disciplines.
    Optional modules
    • ILLUS510 Interpreting Information

      Choosing from a selection of information from a variety of sources, you negotiate a project brief that allows you to interpret that information visually for a specific illustration context. By reflecting upon your output to date and considering the variety of illustrative fields open to study (including the exit award strands), negotiated learning helps you to question and, where appropriate, reinforce your ambitions. Competition briefs and/or work-based learning through placements or studio visits may be undertaken as part of this module (subject to negotiation and the nature of the project undertaken).

    • ILLUS520 Japanese Exchange and Report

      This module enables you to extend your experience and understanding of illustration through study abroad. You spend a minimum of twelve weeks at the Hokkaido College of Art & Design, Bisen, Japan. This offers the opportunity to increase communication skills, self-reliance, a greater awareness of cultural values and increased vocational prospects. You write and present a critical evaluation of your educational, cultural and personal experience.

    • ILLUS530 Socrates Exchange and Report

      The module is designed to extend your experience and understanding of subjects through study abroad. You spend a minimum of twelve weeks at an approved international institution offering illustration or complementary design options as a major subject. This offers the opportunity to increase communication skills, self-reliance, a greater awareness of cultural values and increased vocational prospects. You write a critical evaluation of your educational, cultural and personal experience.

    • ILLUS501 Technique and Approach 1

      Engaging with representational theories within the global, historical, contemporary and cultural landscape you express your findings as part of a group. Study trips offer the opportunity to gain primary research. Lectures, individual and group research, meetings and tutorials, run concurrently throughout the module, culminating in a presentation representative of the whole group's efforts. A visual research journal that includes a written report is submitted at the time of the presentation by each of the group members. Drawing skills are defined and explored as a test bed for ideas and a reflective tool-kit for discovery. The module is also designed to extend your visual research skills and awareness of the value of drawing within illustration.

    • ILLUS511 Technique and Approach 2

      Individual research identifies, analyses, and communicates an investigation into the work of an individual or a group of practitioners in illustration or an allied practice. Lectures and research run concurrently throughout the module, to support the writing of an essay. Preparation for dissertation is undertaken. Drawing skills develop along with knowledge of the value of drawing within your illustrative practice.

    • ILLUS500 Thematic: Finding Your Context

      Working on a shared theme students identify a context within illustration practice and in consultation with tutors write an individual which reflects personally identified objectives proposal. The resulting diverse array of outcomes developed from one central topic helps you to consider the impact audience and context have upon communications. The potential strand exit awards are highlighted.

  • Final year
  • There is increased emphasis on developing and consolidating your personal visual ‘voice' in your final year, while visiting lecturers will offer a variety of viewpoints. You’ll undertake a dissertation related to your personal interests and have the chance to exhibit your work at both our Degree Show and in London. Modules focus your attention on building up your analogue and digital portfolios, and raising your professional profile and confidence ready for your first job in your chosen field.
    Core modules
    • ILLUS600 Consolidating Your Approach

      After an initial period of preparation, research, consultation and project work, you submit a portfolio evidencing your practice to date and a typewritten report identifying aims and learning objectives for the year ahead reflecting your practice and professional aspirations. At the end of this module you may opt (subject to negotiation) to focus your studies towards one of the specific exit award titles

    • ILLUS610 Negotiated Project 1

      A number of broad themes are presented. After reflection and evaluation of previous conclusions and future ambitions, you select one theme and submit a typed brief associated with the selection to satisfy your personally identified goals. Upon acceptance of your brief, you undertake an in depth study of the chosen theme (or the identified aspect of the theme) and produce a body of work that responds to your written brief, demonstrating a full engagement with the task defined within the brief. Competition or live briefs may be undertaken as part of this module provided they fit within the agreed proposal and cover the Learning Outcomes.

    Optional modules
    • ILLUS631 Dissertation (presentation)

      You propose, research and communicate knowledge and understanding of a subject related to their Illustration studies via giving a presentation of up to 25 minutes with accompanying essay of 2,200 - 2,500 words. You receive a formal document, (Guidelines for Dissertation Writing) and attend an initial explanatory lecture, after which you submit a proposal for your intended area of study. You are allocated a tutor for the duration of the module. Field study trips to gain first hand research may be undertaken.

    • ILLUS630 Dissertation (written)

      You propose, research and communicate knowledge and understanding of a subject related to their Illustration studies, via writing an essay of between 6,500 and 8,000. You receive a formal document, (Guidelines for Dissertation Writing) and attend an initial explanatory lecture, after which you submit a proposal for your intended area of study. You are allocated a tutor for the duration of the module. Field study trips to gain first hand research may be undertaken.

    • ILLUS633 Dissertation Extended

      Research of a topic in considerable depth with methodological and conceptual sophistication, using primary/secondary sources to complete a dissertation of critical writing (between 12,000 and 15,000 words). You receive `Guidelines for Extended Dissertation Writing¿, an initial lecture, after which they submit a proposal. You are allocated a tutor for the module. Field study trips to gain first hand research may be undertaken.

    • ILLUS620 Negotiated Project 2A

      This module is designed to consolidate the learning achieved throughout and fully prepare you for your professional ambitions. After an initial period of preparation, research and consultation, you submit a written brief identifying aims and objectives reflecting your practice and professional aspirations. Following approval of the proposal you undertake an extensive period of self-directed, negotiated study leading to the production of a substantial body of work. The work is presented verbally and visually. Competition or live briefs may be undertaken as part of this module provided they fit within the agreed proposal.

    • ILLUS621 Negotiated Project 2B

      This module is designed to consolidate the learning achieved throughout and fully prepare you for your professional ambitions. After an initial period of preparation, research and consultation, you submit a written brief identifying aims and objectives reflecting your practice and professional aspirations. Following approval of the proposal you undertake an extensive period of self-directed, negotiated study leading to the production of a substantial body of work. The work is presented verbally and visually. Competition or live briefs may be undertaken as part of this module provided they fit within the agreed proposal. You equip yourself for entry into professional practice or post-graduate study through production of promotional materials.

    • ILLUS632 Practice, Research and Analysis

      A practical research project appropriate to your practice and ambitions and commensurate with Level 6 study is negotiated as an alternative to ILLUS630. A visual research journal is used to record your process of enquiry of a negotiated project and then as a basis for an illustrated, reflective report of not less than 1000 words that analyses and critiques your explorations, findings and practical outcome. This incremental, applied research approach facilitates the development of your critical thinking skills and creates a record of the reflective dialogue between you, your practical development and relevant cultural and historical materials.

    • ILLUS640 Professional Practice

      You locate your studio-based practice within a context of your chosen area of professional specialism and articulate this understanding through production of a report. You gain a deeper understanding of the business and professional dimensions of the subject of illustration. You equip yourself for entry into professional practice or post-graduate study through production of promotional materials. Live briefs and / or work-based learning through placements or studio visits may be undertaken as part of this module. Field study trips to gain first hand research may be undertaken.

Every undergraduate taught course has a detailed programme specification document describing the course aims, the course structure, the teaching and learning methods, the learning outcomes and the rules of assessment.

The following programme specification represents the latest course structure and may be subject to change:

BA Hons Illustration 3888

The modules shown for this course are those currently being studied by our students, or are proposed new modules. Please note that programme structures and individual modules are subject to amendment from time to time as part of the University’s curriculum enrichment programme and in line with changes in the University’s policies and requirements.

Entry requirements

UCAS tariff
280 points from a minimum of two A levels.

International Baccalaureate
24 points.

18 Unit BTEC National Diploma/QCF Extended Diploma
DDM.

All access courses
Pass a named Access to Higher Education Diploma (preferably art and design or combined), with at least 33 credits at merit and/or distinction.

GCSE
Mathematics and English Language grade C.


English language requirements.

Equivalent qualifications may be considered, please contact admissions@plymouth.ac.uk.


An interview and portfolio presentation are requirements for entry onto this course.

Find further information on our interview and portfolio guidance page.

Fees & funding

New students 2015-16

Please note the fees listed are per annum.

Please use the tables below to find your tuition fee if you are a new undergraduate student beginning your studies in 2015-16. Please note the fees listed are for 2015-16 only.

If you can’t find the answer to your query in the information provided here please get in touch, we’ll be happy to help. 

Email us at tuitionfees@plymouth.ac.uk or call us on +44 1752 588130.

Full time Home/EU* International**   Islands***
Undergraduate (Classroom based) £9,000 £12,250 £9,000
Undergraduate (Laboratory based) £9,000 £12,500 £9,000
Science and Engineering - Year Zero £9,000 £12,500 £9,000
Management, Government and Law Foundation - Year Zero £7,500 £10,300 £9,000
2 year fast-track £9,000 £12,250 -
Integrated Masters (Classroom based) £9,000 £12,250 £9,000
Integrated Masters (Laboratory based) £9,000 £12,500 £9,000
Master of Architecture (MArch) £9,000 - £9,000
PGCE £9,000 - £9,000
Management Practice (Online) (First year - part time) £3,996 £3,996 £3,996

Part time (per 10 credits) Home/EU* International**   Islands***
Undergraduate (Classroom based) £750 £1,025 £750
Undergraduate (Laboratory based) £750 £1,045 £750
Science and Engineering - Year Zero £750 £1,045 £750
Management, Government and Law Foundation - Year Zero £625 £860 £625
Integrated Masters (Classroom based) £750 £1,025 £750
Integrated Masters (Laboratory based) £750 £1,045 £750
PGCE £750 - £750


*The tuition fee for students transferring to Plymouth University from a partner institution is £9,000. 

**Please refer to the policy for capping of international student tuition fees.

***‘Islands’ refers to fees for both the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.


Continuing students

Please note some fees for continuing students may differ slightly. 

For a full listing please visit our fees for continuing students 2015-16 page

Further information

Download our fees brochure

Read our Student Fee Policy for the Ordinary Degree route

For more information about our fees and funding visit www.plymouth.ac.uk/money.

How to apply

All applications for undergraduate courses are made through UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service). 

UCAS will ask for the information contained in the box at the top of this course page including the UCAS course code and the institution code. 

To apply for this course and for more information about submitting an application including application deadline dates, please visit the UCAS website.



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Open days

A number of open day events are held each year, welcoming you to the campus to find out more about the University, accommodation, facilities and study opportunities.

Find out more from our open days section or register to come and see us using a short open day registration form.

Illustration is all around us, in all forms of communication. 

We’ll encourage you to explore a range of techniques, media and approaches – so you’ll be just as likely to see your work on the side of a building or on a tablet screen as on the pages of a book or magazine.

We have 5 Exit Award Strands within Illustration:

BA Hons Illustration (core award)
BA Hons Illustration: Animation & the Screen
BA Hons Illustration: Children’s Markets
BA Hons Illustration: Comics & Visual Narratives
BA Hons Illustration: Printmaking

These allow you to either follow a broad practice or a more specific one.

Explore the strands.

Joe signing copies of his published book in Bologna, Italy.

Student voice, Joe Lyward

The course gives you three years of intensive practising and developing. Surrounded by likeminded individuals, it creates an environment that’s encouraging, educational and fun.

Find out what Joe has been up to since graduating

Joe's website

What will it be like to start university?

Beginning university is for many people a pivotal moment in their lives, embarking on new experiences, meeting new people and facing the exciting challenge of independence.

BA (Hons) Illustration and BA (Hons) English and Creative Writing students worked together to create a comic reflecting their experiences of starting university. Flavoured with some creative interpretation, it has been written, illustrated and designed using the skills that they have developed with us.

This diverse collection of comic-book-art and creative writing demonstrates how we can help you to nurture your talents.

Download a PDF of the comic 

Image www.cargocollective.com/samrennocks

Not the same - take a look at the range of our students' work

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Whale mural by Ben Wills

Big show off

Our students win national and international competitions and work on many live and external briefs.

Graduate Steve Panton recently won a Penguin Design Award for his book cover for The Big Sleep.

Find out more about our prize-winning students

Applicant buddies

Are you an applicant or thinking of applying to university? Do you want to speak to a current student about their experiences? We know that thinking about coming to university can seem a bit daunting, so we have a scheme to help - applicant buddies.

Dr Steve Butts, Associate Dean: Teaching and Learning

Chat to our applicant buddies

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