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Illustration (MA)

Course Description

UCA Farnham

Contemporary illustration practice has grown to encompass a broad range of ambitions and opportunities for image makers and storytellers. The growth of online digital cultures - and the impact of digital image creation on traditional image making - requires flexible and adaptable practitioners, and it provides unique opportunities for the entrepreneurial illustrator.

Our course offers you the chance to challenge the boundaries of illustration, both in its practice and its context, and is primarily concerned with the illustrated narrative. It offers you a creative and intellectual environment in which you can rigorously pursue a project of self-directed study, and produce a body of work on a topic of your interest within the field of illustration.

Have a question? Just ask us - http://www.uca.ac.uk/ask-uca/

Student work


Course overview

Our course enjoys a long tradition of original narrative and storytelling through images, reflecting staff expertise and practice in these areas. As a student here you'll get to explore narrative storytelling, authorship, self-publishing, book production and visual narratives through the development of a personal project.

This MA course supports you to develop your own independent voice and to identify an audience. You're encouraged to take a self-directed entrepreneurial approach, developing and exploring creative opportunities and options for your work. This entrepreneurial emphasis will be supported by access to specialist facilities such as digital media suites, photography, printmaking and bookmaking.

Our course also provides you with the opportunity for extended critical debate, a high degree of critical reflection and integration of theoretical and practical concerns as part of the realisation of an ambitious body of work. It will also promote in-depth, rigorously conducted research, to ensure you're able to contextualise your own work in relation to the leading edge practice in illustration.

Visiting lecturers and practitioners inform and cultivate professional development, encouraging you to question and debate. Recent visiting lecturers have included Graham Rawle, Olivier Kugler, Nick White, Luke Best, Mathew Richardson and Posy Simmonds.

Course content

Stage 1 -

You'll be introduced to the University and the technical workshops and facilities available to you. The first stage includes a range of lectures and seminars and you’ll start to explore your creative practice;

Research Methods: Practice and Context: This forms the foundation of your developing postgraduate studies, in reflecting on the diverse history, practice, function, theories and consumption relating to illustration. It will enable you to critically evaluate and reflect on your creative practice and apply appropriate research methods in support of your creative development.

Exploratory Illustration Practice: Focuses upon self-directed practice, in which you'll define and develop individual rationales and methods of working.

Stage 2 -

During stage two you begin developing your MA project, evaluating and testing out the aims of your proposal over a sustained period of self-directed study;

Illustration Practice and Development: You'll develop and explore your practice further, in response to your developing project proposal. The work undertaken in this unit should build on the research questions you initiated and explored in the exploratory illustration practice unit, and you'll continue to evaluate and test out the aims of your proposal over a sustained period of self-directed study. This unit encourages the continued exploration, development and refinement of individual working methodologies and strategies.

Illustration: Collaborative Practice: This provides a framework in which to evaluate and reflect on the development of your creative practice and proposal in relation to potential areas of collaboration and dissemination.

Stage 3 -

In the third stage of the course, you'll apply the knowledge gained through your research to create a final body of work;

Illustration Final Project: Realisation and Dissemination: This is the culmination and consolidation of your studies - it should be a resolved piece or body of work demonstrating evidence of advanced conceptual, theoretical and technical capability over an extended period of self-directed study.


Illustration studios - Dedicated illustration studios with natural lighting and industry-standard facilities

Mac digital suites - Digital media suites with Macs and PCs programmed with the latest industry-standard design software for high quality print production

Printmaking studios - Open access printmaking studio with relief and block printing, plate or stone lithography, intaglio, letterpress, photopolymer plate printing and screen-printing

Library - Modern library with a wealth of books, journals, special collections and online resources

Course staff

Jane Cradock-Watson - http://www.uca.ac.uk/staff/jane-cradock-watson/

International study

Find out more about studying in the UK, or studying part of your course abroad at one of our partner institutions (study abroad option not available on all courses).

Studying in the UK - http://www.uca.ac.uk/international-study/

Studying abroad - http://www.uca.ac.uk/study/study-abroad/

Course connections

On this course, you'll be exposed to a world of opportunities

::Industry partners::

Illustration at UCA has a long tradition of original narrative and storytelling through images, reflecting staff expertise and practice in these areas.

Students on MA Illustration also benefit from well-established industry connections.


Graduates from our MA Illustration course go on to establish careers in a diverse range of exciting areas, such as:

- Freelance illustration
- Self-publishing
- Artist practice
- Printmaking
- Curation
- Editing
- Animation
- Project management
- Education
- Design
- Digital imaging
- Web authoring
- Multi-media production.

::Further study::

You may want to undertake further study or research to specialise even more.

Your portfolio

For this course, we'll require you to attend an Applicant Day and bring your portfolio for assessment. Further information on how to compile a portfolio and the specific requirements for examples of work to be included will be provided on the Applicant Portal after you've applied.

Student regulations

Find out more about the operation of our courses, student conduct, assessments and examinations - http://community.ucreative.ac.uk/student-regulations

Visit the Illustration (MA) page on the University for the Creative Arts website for more details!

(Student Profile)

Jayesh Sivan

"I’ve really enjoyed the course and the course content is broad, which is great because it’s helping to expand my skill set. The lecturers and technicians are all extremely helpful and encourage you to experiment with different techniques and approaches and this is made possible by the great facilities and technology available."


Entry Requirements

A good honours degree (normally 2.1 or above) or equivalent qualification in your chosen subject or a related discipline and/or Relevant work experience, demonstrating your ability to study at postgraduate level.

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