Become adept at problem solving and creating your visual language on an illustration course renowned for its professional practice and industry connections. From day one you’ll be encouraged to embrace the studio culture of creative communities.
|Course Duration||3 years|
You’ll maximise your employability in the visual communications industry by learning about marketing, copyright, tax and more. Our academic team has experience in every aspect of the sector, creating a diverse learning environment with multiple specialisms available, preparing you for the constantly evolving needs of the creative industries.
- Create your own online marketing campaign; building a portfolio website, setting up a professional Instagram account and creating your LinkedIn profile.
- Have the opportunity in your final year to showcase your work in our professional online magazine, Wunderkammer, circulated to art directors, editors and designers all over the world.
- Have the opportunity to meet clients and win commissions for live briefs.
- Have the chance to develop your professional practice with work placements and internships.
- Have the opportunity to go on study trips to places like Bristol, London, Bologna and New York, gain industry portfolio feedback, attend conferences, visit agencies, publishers and design companies. In the third year, you can exhibit your own work in London.
- Attend guest lectures from alumni and industry leaders such as Sara Fanelli, Owen Davey and Edel Rodriguez.
In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, we have reviewed and made changes to our courses to provide flexible, blended delivery that offers high-quality digital engagement and access to face-to-face teaching in our facilities. You can see how your course may be adjusted by viewing the changes for the current academic year by visiting our welcome letters & latest course updates pages
What our students do
Introducing Wunderkammer: A new online illustration magazine
Grayson Perry: access all areas
Illustration Students in the Running for Penguin Student Design Awards
Emerging Talent Celebrated at Global Awards
Students Webcomics on The Promise
Students heard on BBC Radio 3 Saturday Sounds
Illustrators Focus on Climate Emergency at Annual Forum
Student Selected for Illustration Competition
Illustration Student Highly Commended for MacMillan Children’s Book Prize
Illustration Students Smash iJungle Awards
What our graduates do
Our graduates have won awards like the Kate Greenaway Gold Medal, the Guardian Clearing Cover Illustration, and the Pushkin Press Student Illustration Award. They’ve also gone on to work in areas like graphic design, branding and packaging, tactile imagery, and book design.
Graduate lands Google doodle
Graduate illustrating the Telegraph
Graduate Illustrates Book Seven in Series
The Hilton Christmas Illustrator
Illustration Alumnus Part of Team That Has Won $100K in NASA Competition
Illustration Graduate Commissioned by VOGUE
Illustration Graduates Listed at Blue Peter Book Awards
Advertising Award for Illustration Graduate
Illustration Graduate Publishes First Book
Award-winning Illustrator goes Global
What you'll learn
Through this Illustration degree, you'll cover everything from drawing and visual studies to historical and cultural studies – developing peer and self-evaluation skills for the professional world. We'll teach you core business skills in licenses, copyright and tax, and essential technical skills in Photoshop, Illustrator and Dreamweaver. You'll learn to analyse a text, come up with strong ideas, compose an image, and properly market yourself when you enter the industry.
Beginning with visual problem solving, you'll develop your conceptual skills as you explore a range of thinking strategies. You'll also take part in life drawing and other themed visual studies sessions, and learn about critical theory and illustration's historical contexts.
Travelling to London, you'll learn about illustration in the design industry from influential art directors and illustration agents, and take part in a major illustration forum.
Visual Problem Solving
This module focuses on conceptual thinking and consists of a range of projects. It will provide you with strategies for generating conceptual solutions to prescribed visual problems, including systematic and intuitive thinking.
Visual Studies 1
Forming an exploration of visual language, this module will provide you with opportunities to experiment with a wide range of media and mark making techniques and drawing styles. In this way, you'll begin to identify and strengthen your own visual language. Life drawing, printmaking and digital skills sessions will alternate with studio-based sessions that will allow you to engage in an experimental approach to media, process and mark-making.
In this module, you'll undertake text-based, thematic projects and explore in depth some of the main contexts of illustration. You'll explore how illustration is applied within the industry of visual communication, while also considering your audience. We'll also cover the major domains of illustration: editorial, advertising, narrative and information.
Visual Studies 2
This module focuses on the development of visual language, providing you with further opportunities to experiment with media and mark making techniques and drawing styles.
You'll start with a series of applied illustration projects, spanning advertising, book cover design, editorial illustration, children's book illustration and information illustration.
Putting your knowledge into practice, you'll then manage and develop your own projects, finding a unique direction and focusing on a specific area of the industry.
You'll be introduced to the main contexts of illustration through a series of projects in which you'll evaluate and put into practice the knowledge you've gained so far. Projects will relate to a key context of contemporary Illustration practice and will enable you to make decisions about the future direction of your work.
Visual Language 1
This module offers new opportunities to evaluate and evolve existing strengths and weaknesses within your visual language. Through digital workshops and seminars, you'll be provided with the tools to experiment with a variety of media and learn strategies with which to develop and refine your personal visual language. Practical work will be supported by reflective analysis of images related to your chosen themes and should demonstrate a depth of understanding, supported by annotation.
In this module, you'll begin to establish a personal direction within the field of illustration while fostering both independent and collaborative working practices. Collaboration could one of many forms, such as collectives, zines, joint exhibitions, student-led discussion forums, external community outreach projects, or external industry collaborations.
Visual Language 2
Through continued experimentation with a range of processes and techniques, you'll identify strengths and interests within the broad spectrum of Illustration. You'll develop and refine your visual skills throughout the module, and by continuing self-reflection and intellectual analysis of the work produced, ultimately develop an emerging authentic visual language.
You'll develop a physical and digital portfolio of work, write a research project and produce a professional practice dossier. Connecting with industry, you'll have the chance to show your portfolio to the best art directors, editors and designers, either in the UK or aboard, receiving valuable feedback.
During this final year of your illustration course, there'll also be an opportunity to take part in a placement or internship to gain industry experience.
Negotiation 2 (Consolidation)
Through continued negotiated projects, you'll identify strengths and interests within the broad spectrum of illustration. You'll experiment visually and intellectually, and refine your skills and self-reflection in order to develop an emerging signature visual language. The projects that you design via negotiation will help you to push and challenge yourself in your chosen areas and enable you to develop fundamental skills accordingly, such as research, visual problem solving and technical visual skills. Work undertaken at this level will provide a platform for you to demonstrate knowledge and critical awareness of insights, much of which is at, or informed by, the forefront of the discipline.
Negotiation 3 (Completion)
Continuing to work on negotiated projects, you'll build a body of work based on your strengths and interests, demonstrating your intellectual, technical and self-reflective skills, in order to consolidate an emerging authentic visual language. Professional practice forms a key part of this module, and you'll prepare for a career within the creative industries through a programme of lectures.
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.
From module information to course aims and assessment criteria, discover the full course details
We are making changes to our curriculum framework for courses starting in 2022. Modest amendments to our course module structure will provide you with new opportunities to collaborate and co-create with students from across disciplines during your studies.
This course page will be updated when these changes have been finalised and applicants will be notified.
How you'll learn
Balancing creativity with professional practice, you'll gain hands-on knowledge and experience through project work, live briefs and client meetings. Supporting this will be lectures, seminars, group crits, workshops, one-to-one tutorials and optional placements or industry visits.
Our visiting speaker series has seen our students learn from 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.
How you'll spend your time
Timetabled teaching and
How you'll be assessed
The above percentages relate to 2019/2020 data.
Assessment will take place at the end of each semester, and you'll get feedback and evaluation throughout the year. You'll be assessed through visual, verbal and written assignments, including your portfolio, as well as a research proposal.
Our teachers are practising illustrators with experience working for the Wall Street Journal, the Lancet Medical Journal, United Airlines, and Varoom. They’re often key in helping our students find work connections and opportunities.
Some members of staff only teach on specific modules, and your course might not feature every member shown here.
Keryn Bibby is qualified with a BA(Hons) in Graphic Information Design from the Falmouth School of...
Nick Mott is an illustrator, artist and musician; being a co-founder of the underground,...
Having performed the roles of both Head of Illustration and also Course Leader since 2011, I...
Sue Clarke has been an academic and illustrator for over 30 years; she graduated from Central Saint...
Tilly is an Illustrator and art and design educator with over 10 years of experience teaching in FE...
Hugh is the Course leader for MA Illustration Authorial Practice at Falmouth. He is also an Editor...
Rachel Dunn's background is as colourful and varied as her artwork and illustrations. She has been...
Linda joined Falmouth University in 2004, relocating from London where she worked as a freelance...
Dr Carolyn Shapiro
Dr Carolyn Shapiro received her MA and PhD in Performance Studies from New York University (2004),...
After graduating from Falmouth University in 1999, Chris Odgers has gained over 20 years experience...
Dr Caroline Pullee
Caroline is currently academic lead for Quality Assurance and Enhancement and senior lecturer in...
Julie Ann Monks
Since graduating from Kingston University in 1996, Julie worked as a freelance illustrator based in...
Georgie Bennett is a freelance illustrator, workshop facilitator, and lecturer. Clients include The...
Graham graduated from Brighton Polytechnic with a BA(Hons) degree in Graphic Design and...
Maria Christoforidou is an artist, writer and researcher. Maria was born in Zambia, grew up in...
Cally Gibson works at Falmouth University as a senior technician, solving software queries and...
Emma Lewis is an illustrator and writer from London, and creates work spanning both narrative and...
I have worked at Falmouth University for almost 25 years, during this time I have worked with a...
BA(Hons) Fine Art, PGCE, MA 20th Century Art & Design
Academic interests/teaching themes
- 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.
How to apply
Apply via UCAS
Ready to join us? If you're applying through UCAS Apply and Track, you'll need to reference the university and course codes below.
- University code: F33
- Course code: W221
We consider all applications on their own individual merit and potential. We invite all applicants to an interview day or audition to give them the opportunity to demonstrate this along with what inspires and motivates them in their field. Applicants will also be able to show their portfolio or give a performance depending on the course. We welcome applications from all subject backgrounds, whether you’ve specialised in STEM, the arts or humanities.
As a guide our typical offer at undergraduate level is 104 – 120 UCAS Tariff points, primarily from Level 3 qualifications such as but not limited to A-levels, a BTEC Extended Diploma or a Foundation Diploma.
For applicants whose first language is English we require you to have or be working towards GCSE English Language Grade 4 (C), or equivalent.
If English is not your first language you will need to meet the same standard which is equivalent to the IELTS Academic 6.0 overall score, with at least 5.5 in Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening. We accept a range of in country equivalencies and approved tests.
If you need a student visa to study in the UK, you'll need to take a recognised language test that is approved and vouched for by the University. You can read our English Language Requirements for more information.
UK/EU applications: 29 January 2021 (for equal consideration)
Late applications will be considered if there are places available.
International fee payers can apply throughout the year. But we recommend applying as early as possible, to make time for visa and travel arrangements.
What we're looking for
We want someone who:
- Has visual problem-solving skills, with a specific focus on generating ideas.
- Shows development of visual language in drawing, life drawing, media, mark-making experimentation, reflective analysis and finished pieces.
- Has a good contextual understanding of what illustration is.
- Is confident in their abilities and prepared for the challenges of higher education.
- Can communicate effectively.
- Has a theoretical understanding of visual arts issues.
Fees, costs & funding
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.
Typical course costs
£250-£550 - Recurring annual costs
£100 - One off costs for the course duration (compulsory trips, final portfolios or shows, etc)
£1,400 - Optional study visits and placements for the course duration
If you need to bring equipment or materials with you, these will be outlined in your Welcome Letter.
The figures above don't include accommodation and living costs
For information about funding available, please visit our undergraduate funding page
Ask a student
What better way to find out about life at Falmouth University than by asking our current students?
From course details, our facilities and the local area 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.