Illustration BA(Hons)

Falmouth Campus
3 years full-time
Direct line
01326 213730

Illustration at Falmouth produces original thinkers who understand the needs of a rapidly evolving visual communications industry. You'll be continually encouraged to challenge yourself, push boundaries and realise your potential as visual practitioners. 

The course is widely respected for its emphasis on professional practice and connection to the real world of illustration. Our core teaching team are practising illustrators, who work both nationally and internationally, providing students with access to strong commercial illustration networks.


  • Optional study visits to London and New York
  • Core business skills such as licenses, copyright and tax
  • Expert guidance in key software such as Photoshop, Illustrator and Dreamweaver
  • Create your own portfolio website
  • Work on live briefs and meet clients

How the course is taught

A full-time, hands-on course striking a balance between creative freedom and professional practice, BA(Hons) Illustration covers all aspects of the discipline, including drawing, visual studies, and historical and cultural studies. Project work is supported by lectures, seminars, study trips, professional experience and tutorials. You'll be asked to develop peer and self-evaluation skills, which will be used in critical, conceptual, productive and professional capacities.

Course outline

On this course you'll learn how to analyse a text, generate strong conceptual solutions, compose an image and use colour effectively. You'll also strengthen your drawing ability and ultimately develop a unique and compelling visual language.

We'll help you to network and market yourself. We'll also teach you about core business skills such as licences, copyright and tax, and key software packages such as Photoshop, Illustrator and Dreamweaver.

What you'll do

Year 1

Your 1st year will begin by focusing on visual problem solving. This will develop your approach to conceptual thinking by encouraging you to explore a wide range of systematic and intuitive thinking strategies. This is strengthened through themed visual studies sessions, which include life drawing to enhance your drawing ability.

Towards the end of the 1st year you'll begin to explore the different applied areas of illustration. Sessions on critical theory and the historical contexts that underpin illustration will run throughout the year. You'll also travel to London to visit some of the capital's influential art directors and illustration agents, where you'll learn about illustration within the design industry. Part of this trip will include participating in a major illustration forum held at London College of Communication.

  • Visual Problem Solving - Conceptual thinking strategies for illustrators
  • Historial & Cultural Studies Essays
  • Applied Illustration - Contextualised illustration projects
  • Visual Studies - Life drawing, media experimentation, digital media

Year 2

Your 2nd year will begin with a series of projects that continue the exploration of applied illustration. These projects will encompass advertising, book cover design, editorial illustration, children's book illustration and information illustration.

In the second half of the year you'll develop and negotiate your own projects. This will allow you to put into practice what you've learnt, and develop your own direction in terms of your visual language and the area of the industry that you're interested in.

  • Contextual Illustration
  • Historical & Cultural Studies Essays
  • The Negotiated Programme (Development) - The development of studio practice
  • Dissertation research portfolio - The early development of dissertation

Year 3

In your final year you'll work towards both a physical and virtual portfolio of work. You'll also write a dissertation and produce a website of your work as part of professional practice studies. In addition, you'll get the opportunity to develop interactive screen-based illustration through a series of dedicated app development workshops.

Finally you'll travel to New York, or a similar destination, in order to show your portfolio. The study trip enables you to get real feedback on your visual language from the best designers and art directors in the business.

  • The Negotiated Programme (Consolidation & Completion) - The continued consolidation and completion of studio practice
  • The dissertation - a major theoretical written piece of work
  • Professional Practice


  • Dedicated open plan studios and seminar rooms
  • Dedicated desk space for every student
  • Printmaking workshop
  • Life drawing studio
  • Range of IT facilities with full software and printing facilities
  • Access to over 140,000 books, comprehensive electronic journal resource and DVD library featuring over 17,000 titles


The core members of the teaching team are practising illustrators with significant experience in both the UK and US markets.

Our staff have worked for clients including the Wall Street Journal, the Lancet Medical Journal and United Airlines, and written for journals such as Varoom. They regularly use their industry contacts to connect students with the real world of work.

Illustration at Falmouth attracts visiting lecturers of real significance. Recent speakers have included Dave McKean, Noma Bar, Laura Carlin, McFaul, Nobrow, Sue Coe, Paul Slater, Sara Fanelli, Russell Cobb, Graham Rawle, Matthew Richardson, Posy Simmonds, Jason Ford, Kai & Sunny, Owen Davey and John Vernon Lord.


Feedback and evaluation will be provided throughout the year. You'll be assessed through visual, verbal and written assignments, including the creation of your portfolio, as well as a dissertation or final year project. Assessment will take place at the end of each semester.


  • Freelance illustrator
  • Roles in advertising, marketing, publishing, animation, graphic design, concept art or television
  • Fine art practice
  • Work as part of a design group practice
  • Illustration agency (repping)
  • Studio management
  • Art direction
  • Postgraduate study

Recent Graduates

  • Robert Newberry: Longlisted for the 2015 House of Illustration Book Illustration Awards
  • Hannah Seakins: Second runner up, Carmelite Prize for Illustration
  • Owen Davey & Rebecca Cobb: Nominated for the 2016 Kate Greenaway Gold Medal
  • Will Grill: Winner of the 2015 Kate Greenaway Gold Medal
  • Thomas Pullin: Winner of the 2015 Guardian Clearing Cover Illustration
  • Eilidh Baker: Winner of the 2015 Pushkin Press Student Illustration Award

Student Mentor Scheme

Falmouth's Student Mentor Scheme matches new starters with a second year student, to help you settle in and find your feet. Our student mentors are now on Facebook. To chat to a mentor about the course, living in Cornwall or what to expect at Falmouth, check out the Illustration group. You'll need to join the group before you can post.

If you don't have access to Facebook please email your name and proposed course to:

For more information about the application process, portfolios, interviews and selection days, please contact our admissions team using our enquiry form