Noah Frear working on illustration MA work

Illustration: Authorial Practice MA

Develop your unique visual language on this studio-based Illustration MA.

Key details
Falmouth Campus
Course duration
1 year / 2 years
Full-time / Part-time
Subject to validation during this academic year

Course overview

Develop your unique visual language as you draw inspiration from a diverse range of influences on this renowned studio-based MA course, which centres around an examination of authorship and storytelling. 

Throughout the course you’ll learn to see your work as an evolving practice, as you challenge and re-evaluate your personal vision and voice with the help of experienced practitioners. You’ll develop skills such as screenprinting, creative writing and bookbinding, through hands-on workshops, while working on longer-term projects in your choice of media. Taking an entrepreneurial approach, you’ll develop your professional practice, identify your audience and consider channels and opportunities for your work.  

You will:

  • Join the only Illustration master’s course with a specific academic focus on authorial practice  
  • Access professional facilities, including a print room and dedicated MA studio space  
  • Develop collaborative and public-facing print and digital publishing projects, including a professional presentation of work from your negotiated project  
  • Have the chance to attend the Falmouth Illustration Forum and see internationally renowned guest speakers, which have included Aidan Koch, Alexis Deacon, Dash Shaw, Leomi Sadler, Margie Orford and Wildseed Studios 

Lead image: work by Noah Frear

Course details

As the only Illustration course focused on authorial practice, we’ll cover every aspect of the profession. By researching, analysing and evolving your approach, and working with increasing independence, you’ll progress and grow as an experienced professional. On top of practical work, you’ll explore audience awareness and professional development by producing two analytical essays and delivering a presentation on subjects you find interesting.

We’ll help you get to grips with entrepreneurial approaches as you identify your audience and look into the channels and opportunities for your work. And by taking on various longer-term projects, you’ll have the chance to work on things like children's books, graphic novels, digital work and screen-based productions.

Interview with Kristine Sundsdal, Illustration: Authorial Practice MA student at Falmouth University
Interview with Illustration: Authorial Practice MA student, Alia Sinha

Your workshops will cover subjects like creative writing, composition, visual narrative, book design, and networking and entrepreneurship, while the Illustration Discourses lecture series looks into authorial positions, theories and contexts. At the end of the Illustration MA you’ll put on a professional presentation of your work.

You’ll also learn from our relationship with a local publishing house. Offering insights and experience across the entire publishing process, from concept to finished product, you’ll gain expertise in printing, distribution and marketing. This is also where many of our students gain real-world experience through internships.

The annual Falmouth Illustration Forum explores various aspects of authorial illustration, and is your chance to see internationally-renowned guest speakers like Lorenzo Mattotti, Sue Coe, Linda Rogers, Jonny Hannah, Lauren Elkin, Graham Rawle and David Shrigley.

MA Illustration Authorial Practice work by Maddie Williams
MA Illustration Authorial Practice work by Maddie Williams

Work by Maddie Williams

MA Illustration Authorial Practice work by Fernando Osuna Martinez
MA Illustration Authorial Practice work by Fernando Osuna Martinez

Work by Fernando Osuna Martinez

The modules above are those being studied by our students, or proposed new ones. Programme structures and modules can change as part of our curriculum enhancement and review processes. If a certain module is important to you, please discuss it with the Course Leader.

How you'll learn

The Illustration MA takes place over three semesters, covering 45 or 90 weeks, depending on whether you choose to study one year full-time or two years part-time.

You’ll produce three practical projects based on personal work, supported by lectures, seminars, group critiques and workshops, as well as talks from industry professionals. You’ll also record and reflect on your studio work with a research journal.

MA Illustration Authorial Practice work by Anna Brinded
MA Illustration Authorial Practice work by Anna Brinded

Work by Anna Brinded

MA Illustration Authorial Practice work by Anna Brinded
MA Illustration Authorial Practice work by Anna Brinded

Work by Anna Brinded

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  • Individual studio space
  • Full IT facilities
  • Print room
  • Comprehensive library
MA Illustration Authorial Practice student work show
MA Illustration Authorial Practice student work show


You’ll be taught and supported by practising illustrators and published writers with experience in areas like exhibiting work, running publishing houses, leading poetry festivals, and working with companies like Puffin, Macmillan, Heinemann, Scholastic and the Sunday Times.

Hugh Frost

Course Leader, MA Illustration: Authorial Practice

Hugh is the Course leader for MA Illustration Authorial Practice at Falmouth. He is also an Editor /...

Hugh Frost
Mat Osmond headshot

Mat Osmond

Senior Lecturer MA Illustration: Authorial Practice

Mat’s a writer, artist and PhD researcher with an interest in how poetic practice can foster regen...

Mat Osmond

Hannah Waldron

Senior Lecturer

Hannah joined the MA Illustration team in 2018, having worked as a freelance illustrator in the indu...

Hannah Waldron
Nigel Owen picture

Nigel Owen

Course Leader, Illustration BA(Hons)

Having performed the roles of both Head of Illustration and also Course Leader since 2011, I decid...

Nigel Owen

Emilia Wharfe

Senior Technician

Emilia Wharfe is a Senior Technician in digital skills for predominantly BA(Hons)/MA Illustration, h...

Emilia Wharfe

Dr Carolyn Shapiro

Associate Professor of Visual Culture

Carolyn Shapiro has been teaching at the Falmouth College of Art, University College Falmouth, and F...

Dr Carolyn Shapiro

Some members of staff only teach on specific modules, and your course might not feature every staff member who teaches on the course.


Our Illustration MA graduates have harnessed their developed practice, enterprise and entrepreneurial skills to find success in a range of creative sectors including; publishing, reportage, e-learning, residencies, art collectives, film and theatre, self and independent publishing and education.

Alumni have produced work for the likes of MacMillan, Kingfisher, Polar Bear Music Prize, Fantagraphics, Blankslate and Editions Memo; offered art direction for Penguin and Little Brown; joined collectives such as We Colonised the Moon, Tara Books and Kekien Collective; taken up residencies with Women’s Studio Workshop, The Bauhaus Print Studio and The Full Dome (California); accepted teaching posts with universities, from Manchester to Tuluca; started independent publishers including Pirrip Press, Atlantic Press and Guillemot Press, and undertaken PhD’s.

MA Illustration Authorial Practice student work
MA Illustration Authorial Practice student work

How to apply

Talk to us

To find out more about this course, how you'll learn or what funding is available, get in touch with our Course Advisors. Click below to submit a form and we'll get back to you as soon as we can. 

Ask us a question

Apply now

Ready to apply for postgraduate study? You can apply online by clicking one of the buttons below. 

Apply to study full-time

Apply to study part-time

About applying to this course

After applying you'll need to send us a study proposal (300-500 words), outlining a loose area of interest / research / practice. You can include samples of work or a link to your website or blog to support your proposal. Your study proposal should describe the kind of project you'd like to undertake and how you want to develop your illustration practice.

At the interview we'll look for authorial illustration potential or capabilities, illustration ability, graphic skills, drawing skills, creative writing/storytelling potential, ideas and concepts. We can also hold a telephone or Skype interview if this isn't possible.

We ask that applicants apply with a project outline mostly to help focus thoughts to structure the discussion at interview and help accepted students hit the ground running on arrival. You don't have to be tied to your proposal for the duration of your studies. We expect that things will shift and change as you're coming into contact with new material from the course and your peers.

Once you’ve applied, you’ll receive a Falmouth Applicant Portal login, where you’ll find more details about these requirements.

We welcome applications from those with relevant equivalent Level 6 qualifications, or relevant equivalent experience, and a demonstrable interest in the subject.

We’ll also welcome your application if you have formal or 'certified' learning (such as training courses not run by universities or colleges) and learning from work experience or self-study. This is called Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL), and should have been gained within the last five years, and be equivalent to the learning outcomes of our minimum entry qualifications.

APL applicants using experience to apply should note there is an application fee for entry with advanced standing or with exemption from specific modules or credit.

If English isn’t your first language, you'll need to demonstrate English language skills that are sufficiently developed for successful completion of your studies. We accept a range of recognised English language qualifications that are equivalent to the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic minimum score of 6.5 overall, with a minimum of 6.0 in Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening.

International applicants who require a student visa to study in the UK must take a recognised language test that is approved and vouched for by the University. Our Applicant Services Team can help with any questions you may have about study visas or suitable language tests.

Fees, costs & funding

Tuition fees for September 2024 entry

£10,200 per year - full-time UK (£250 acceptance fee payable. This is deducted from tuition fees)

£5,100 per year - part-time UK (£250 acceptance fee payable. This is deducted from tuition fees)

£19,950 per year - full-time EU/international (£500-£2,500 acceptance fee payable depending upon your status. This is deducted from tuition fees)

£9,975 per year - part-time EU/international full-time (£500-£2,500 acceptance fee payable depending upon your status. This is deducted from tuition fees)

Tuition fees for September 2025 will be confirmed in summer 2024.

Tuition fees are set annually and are subject to review each year. The University may therefore raise tuition fees in the second or subsequent years of a course, in line with inflation and/or the maximum permitted by law or Government policy. Students will be notified of any changes as soon as possible. 

The figures above don't include accommodation and living costs

Typical course costs

  • A laptop will be an essential piece of equipment along with a reliable broadband connection
  • Headphones are also recommended if you wish to participate in certain online sessions in the studio without disturbing others
  • General art equipment: pens, pencils, brushes, scissors, cutting edge, ruler, scalpel. If you don't already own these, buying them will cost approximately £50 altogether.

If you need to bring equipment or materials with you, these will be outlined in your Welcome Letter.

Ask a student

What better way to find out about life at Falmouth University than by asking our current students?

From course details and academic support, to the social scene and settling in, our students are ready and available to answer any questions you might have. Simply set up your account, send them a question and they'll get back to you within 24 hours.

Speak to an advisor

Do you have questions about the course or studying at Falmouth? Fill in our simple online form and we'll get in touch to support your application journey.

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Student funding staff at a table with palm trees

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