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Course content

Follow in the footsteps of acclaimed children’s artists. Show your work to publishers at book fairs and exhibitions and get dedicated support from a team of internationally-recognised artists, who’ll help you to develop your own personal visual vocabulary and make connections with the children’s publishing industry.

Overview

This taught studio course, the first of its kind in the UK, will give you the dedicated support and knowledge you need to develop your practice in the art of children’s book illustration.

Within the broad guidelines of each module, you’ll propose and develop a project, with guidance from internationally recognised illustrators, writers and publishers of children's books. You’ll share and discuss your work with other students in group critiques, and attend lectures and seminars that will inform your studio practice.

Illustration at Anglia Ruskin is built on a tradition that goes back to the founding of the Cambridge School of Art in 1858. Our MA students work in dedicated illustration studios right next door to the Ruskin Gallery, with access to a fully equipped printmaking studio.

By studying with us, you’ll follow in the footsteps of alumni such as designer and war artist Edward Bawden, acclaimed graphic satirist Ronald Searle, and Roger Law and Peter Fluck, founders of the TV phenomenon Spitting Image.

Teaching times: currently either Mondays and Thursdays (9am-3pm) or Tuesdays and Fridays (9am-3pm). There are also lectures and presentations on Wednesdays from 3-5pm (full-time); Wednesdays 9am-5pm in semesters 1 and 2 (part-time)

Careers

Our partnership with Walker Books and its American counterpart Candlewick Press will give you the chance to go on a work experience visit to their London offices. They also sponsor our annual Sebastian Walker Award for Most Promising Student.

Many of our past students now enjoy careers as freelance authors and illustrators for children. Among our published graduates are Paula Metcalf, Marta Altés, Nadia Shireen, Birgitta Sif, Rebecca Patterson and Jo Empson.

You may decide to take your work to a deeper level with a research degree, like our PhD Children’s Book Illustration.

Modules

Core modules:
Observation and Experiment
The Sequential Image
The Diploma Project
The Diploma Review
Master's Project: Art and Design

Assessment

In your first three studio modules, you’ll show your progress through project work, worth 80% of your module grade, and an essay relating to the contextual study lectures, which is worth 20%.

Your Diploma Review thesis will be assessed 100% on your 6,000-8,000 word essay, while the Master’s Stage Project will be assessed 90% on your project work and 10% on your written report.

What you'll study

Cambridge School of Art has been inspiring creativity since 1858 when it was opened by John Ruskin.

Engaging with current debates surrounding contemporary practice and with the state-of-the-art facilities, Cambridge School of Art houses light, bright studios, industry-standard film and photographic facilities, and 150-year-old printing presses alongside dedicated Apple Mac suites. Our digital art gallery, the Ruskin Gallery, exhibits both traditional shows and multimedia presentations, from national and international touring exhibitions and our own students.

We are the only university in Cambridge offering art and design courses at higher education level. A tight-knit community of artists, academics and over 900 students, we collaborate across our University, the creative industries, and other sectors. Cambridge is a centre for employment in the creative industries and there are rich opportunities for collaboration with the city’s entertainment, technological, scientific, arts and heritage industries.

Our graduates have a history of winning national and international awards and an excellent employment record. They include Pink Floyd's Syd Barrett and Dave Gilmour, Spitting Image creators Peter Fluck and Roger Law, and illustrator Ronald Searle, the creator of St Trinian's.

We’re part of the Faculty of Arts, Law and Social Sciences, a hub of creative and cultural innovation whose groundbreaking research has real social impact.

Field trips

At our annual London graduation exhibition you’ll show your work to leading publishing companies and literary agencies. We also organise a stand at Bologna Children's Book Fair each year, where you’ll have more opportunities to secure a publishing deal with industry reps. As a direct result, our past students have signed contracts with publishers including Macmillan, Random House, Nosy Crow, Sarbacane (Fr), Donizelli (It), Child's Play, Walker Books, HarperCollins (NY), Doubleday (NY), Penguin (NY), Faber & Faber and Hodder. Advances against royalties have ranged from €2,000 with an independent publisher, to $50,000 for a three-book deal.

Work experience

Our partnership with Walker Books and its American counterpart Candlewick Press will give you the chance to go on a work experience visit to their London offices. They also sponsor our annual Sebastian Walker Award for Most Promising Student.

Specialist facilities

You’ll work in dedicated illustration studios right next door to our Ruskin Gallery, with access to a fully-equipped printmaking studio.

Visit the Children's Book Illustration (MA) page on the Anglia Ruskin University website for more details!

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