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Illustration and Book Arts (MA)

Course Description

Design and carry out your own visual projects, exploring the relationships between word and image, as you prepare for a career as a visual artist in a growing creative industry.


Whatever your artistic background, our Master's course will develop your visual practice in areas that are important for illustrators and book artists, such as visual sequencing and visual text. It will challenge you to cross the divide between fine art and applied art found on many undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, making it a unique course for the UK.

Studying in our purpose-built studios at Cambridge School of Art, much of your work will be practice-based. You’ll propose and undertake self-directed projects, attending group critiques and tutorials that will help you develop your creative skills.

You'll also attend a series of integrated lectures and seminars. These serve two purposes. You’ll explore aspects of illustration and book art, such as the relationships between word and image, narratology and visual language. And you'll receive guidance on research methods and critical writing - which you'll put to immediate use on the course, as well as in your future career.

Throughout the course, you’ll collaborate and discuss your work with staff, visiting professionals and fellow students, giving you an invaluable opportunity to see how others respond to it. All of our teaching team are practising artists, so you’ll hear about the latest news and issues in the industry, and have access to sound careers advice.

Teaching times: 9am-5pm Tuesdays and Wednesdays (full-time); 9am-5pm Wednesdays in Year 1, Tuesdays in Year 2 (part-time).


Our course will prepare you for a career as a freelance illustrator or freelance book artist. In recent years these roles have been increasingly in demand thanks to the growth of interest in artists' books, graphic novels, self-publishing, e-books and an awareness of small, batch publishing. You’ll also gain skills that will be useful in many other fields, such as bookbinding or teaching. You might even find a way to combine it with your current career, as did Dr Katy Shorttle, whose artwork on health issues was recently featured by The Guardian (http://www.theguardian.com/healthcare-network/gallery/2015/sep/25/ebola-mumps-old-age-inspire-doctors-artwork-in-pictures).


Process and Practice as Research
Visual Text
Sequence and Series
Master's Dissertation Art and Design
Master's Project: Art and Design


You’ll show your progress through your self-directed visual projects, which will include written project proposals, developmental and final visual work, and a reflective commentary. On the Master's Dissertation module, you’ll submit a 6,000-word essay. Finally, the Master's Project will allow you to build on all previous modules to design a visual project which shows mastery of your subject.

Specialist facilities

You’ll work in purpose-built art and design studios, with open access to our printmaking, bookbinding, letterpress and laser cutting facilities, and training from dedicated technicians. We also have many digital imaging resources that you’ll be able to use, including Macs, scanners, and A3/large-format printers, as well as photography darkrooms, animation and moving image studios and 3D workshops. Our University’s Media Services Unit stocks photographic and recording equipment that you can borrow.

Visit the Illustration and Book Arts (MA) page on the Anglia Ruskin University website for more details!

Entry Requirements

A good honours degree (or equivalent), normally in a related subject. Applicants with professional experience are also encouraged to apply. If English is not your first language you will be expected to demonstrate a certificated level of proficiency of at least IELTS 6.5 ( Academic level) or equivalent English Language qualification, as recognised by Anglia Ruskin University. Applicants to this course will be required to attend interview and display a portfolio of work for assessment. Applicants resident outside of mainland UK only may submit a portfolio electronically.

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