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BA (Hons) Illustration

On BA (Hons) Illustration, you'll experiment, test and develop your creative practice, set in our dynamic studio environments to create rich visuals through eclectic image-making.

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BA (Hons) Illustration course information

In our dynamic studio environments, you’ll learn to experiment, test and develop your illustration practice. You can explore drawing, painting, sewing and printmaking, as well as photographic, digital, moving image and interactive media.

On BA (Hons) Illustration, you'll learn to experiment, test, and develop your work through the diverse world of illustrative practices in our studio environments.

Course duration

3 or 4 years (full-time)


Option of a 1-year placement

UCAS course code


UCAS institution code


Placement year

All undergraduate courses at AUB offer an optional placement year, to be taken between your second and third years of study.

If you’re unsure about this optional placement, you don’t need to decide now. Once you’re here and studying with us, the course team will discuss the placement options with you, so when the time comes, you can make a decision that’s right for you.

If you’re required to have a Student Visa to study in the UK, it won’t be possible to undertake the one-year placement option; there’ll be other opportunities for you to engage with industry during your study at AUB.

Level 4 (first year)

Level 4 is all about experimentation and taking creative risks as you're introduced to the diversity of illustration.

The emphasis is on learning through gaining practical experience and critical reflection, in order to form your own unique visual vocabulary. You’ll attend workshops led by our dynamic group of tutors, as well as visiting lecturers with expertise in specialist areas.

You’ll undertake independent learning to help you develop ideas and outcomes through ongoing studio practice. You’ll test and discuss your ideas during tutorials and group critiques and benefit from regular formative feedback.

We encourage you to undertake independent research, evaluating and analysing your findings in relation to your Illustration practice.

Level 5 (second year)

At Level 5, your practice will become increasingly independent and critically reflective. You’ll develop a critical understanding of key concepts and principles. We’ll ask you to create a presentation of your study proposal.

Level 5 units give you the opportunity to immerse yourself in the eclectic nature of image-making and you’ll explore the synergy between traditional and digital modes. In doing so, we encourage you to challenge the parameters of your Illustration practice.

You’ll explore the evolving contents for Illustration and the place of your practice within the world that we live in. You’ll have the option of articulating your ideas through animation or printmaking, with the option of graduating with a specialist named award at the end of Level 6 – if this is appropriate to your practice and future career aspirations.

The specialist awards available are:

  • BA (Hons) Illustration (Animation)
    BA (Hons) Illustration (Printmaking)

You’ll learn the professional skills that provide a foundation for the development of independent, entrepreneurial practitioners ready for Level 6 study.

Level 6 (third year)

At Level 6 the emphasis is on professionalism, ambition and innovation. You’ll be encouraged to manage your own practice.

Through the ‘Pre-Major Project’ and ‘Investigative Study’, you’ll identify the subject matter and contexts that influence and position your practice.

These findings will then be developed, tested and refined within the ‘Major Project’ and ‘Professional Practice’ units.

We’ll encourage you to relate your research and learning to you professional aspirations and you’ll build a portfolio of work that will prepare you for career opportunities within the creative industries.

Our BA (Hons) Illustration alumni have gone on to win great things:

  • D&AD New Blood (2023) – Wood Pencil award
  • The Macmillan Prize (2019) – Winner and two Highly Commended
  • Pictoplasma (#Secretsidekick) (2019) – two Winners
  • Creative Conscience (2019) – Winner and Bronze award
  • Carmelite Prize (2019) – Highly Commended
  • Penguin Book Prize: Children’s Cover Award – Second and Third place
  • The Cheltenham Illustration Awards – Student Award (two Winners), one Highly Commended
  • Batsford Art Prize: Illustration – Runner-up
  • Northern International Illustration Prize – Finalist
  • Lauren Childs Illustration Awards – Finalist

Want to know more about the kind of work our students are working on? Browse the gallery below to explore the work of our current BA (Hons) Illustration students.

Meet the BA (Hons) Illustration course team

You can find out more about our talented and experienced BA (Hons) Illustration teaching staff by exploring their profiles below.

Harriet Mummery Technician Demonstrator

MA, BA (Hons), PG Cert, FHEA

Eugenia Popesco Printroom Technician Demonstrator

MA RCA, BA (Hons), FHEA, PGCert

In our visually-rich world, new approaches and technologies are continually changing the way we create and encounter images. Illustration is right at the heart of this evolving visual culture. Our illustrators are agile, adaptive, curious and confident. We encourage individual creative voices who explore the edges of these disciplinary possibilities.

Dr. Christian Edwardes, Senior Lecturer

Watch our course video

Senior Lecturer Dr Christian Edwardes talks more about what you can expect from studying BA (Hons) Illustration here at AUB.

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Application process

Once you've found the perfect Undergraduate course, you can apply to study via UCAS, including direct entry applications to second and third year.

When applying through UCAS, use the institution code A66 for courses taught at Arts University Bournemouth. For courses based at Bournemouth and Poole College, use code B49. We'll then use your completed UCAS form to make decisions about your application. You can find out more on entry requirements in our apply section.

When you apply to one of our courses, it's important that you help us get a good picture of both you and your work – so you'll need a great personal statement. We want to know more about why you're interested in the course, your key influences, and what you hope to do after your studies.

If you're invited for an interview, many of our courses will ask to see a portfolio of your work so we can get more insight into your ideas and abilities. To help you, we've created guidelines outlining what we expect from your portfolio for each course.

The fee that you pay the Arts University Bournemouth provides the necessary equipment and training for you to complete your course.

You may also choose to buy some items of personal equipment such as a laptop or tablet computer, but this is not required; desktop and laptop computers are available for you to use in common study areas, including a loan system in the Library.

If you decide to undertake an optional placement year, the tuition fee is £1,850. This is subject to inflationary increases based on government policy, and providing you progress through the course in the normal timeframe (no repeat years or breaks in study).

For the majority of our courses, we'll ask you to digitally submit a portfolio as part of the application process.

Portfolios should show examples of your work – both finished and work in progress – that demonstrate your interests and skills. We expect to see around 10 slides/images in your portfolio that shows your identity as an artist.

If we ask for a digital portfolio then we'll give you 30 days to submit it. Sometimes we'll need a portfolio submitted quickly if there's a UCAS set deadline approaching, but if you need more time, just let us know and we'll try to help.

We've created specific portfolio guidelines for each of our courses, you can take a look at these below.

If you've applied to study an online postgraduate (MA) degree, please refer to the AUB Online portfolio guidelines.

None of our courses currently require an interview.

The only course requiring an audition is BA (Hons) Acting and if you're invited to one you'll have at least 10 days notice.

Studios and resources

As a BA (Hons) Illustration student, you’ll work in a combination of multi-use studio spaces and tutorial areas.

You’ll benefit from access to a number of University facilities, such as specialist print areas, workshops and lecture theatres.

A large group of people sitting at tables in a studio space while a person delivers a lecture.

Design Studio

You'll be working in a design studio, complete with computer suite and team workspace

Students working at computers in a library. A set of stairs leads up to a second landing with a balcony running along.

The Library

The Library at AUB holds an excellent range of print and online collections

Ten rows of empty seating viewed from the front of a large lecture theatre.

Lecture Theatres and Seminar Rooms

We have a number of lecture theatres and seminar rooms scattered around campus to assist students with their studies.

Student wearing safety goggles using a machine in a workshop.

3D Workshop

Our 3D workshops with manual and digital manufacturing equipment and computers

A model sits on a chair in the centre of a room while a group of artists draw them.

Drawing Studio

Our iconic blue Drawing Studio is used by student from all courses and was designed by alumnus Sir Peter Cook​...

Four banks of desks in a computer suite with monitors on them.

Digital Suites

Our Digital Suites offer a digital post-production facility and digital teaching space.

A member of AUB staff talking about a camera with a student at the Central Media Store counter.

Central Media Store

The Central Media store houses a diverse array of equipment, offering students the means to craft and capture...

Innovation Studio, photographed by Richard Bryant. Photo of an exterior wall with two reverse-L shaped windows and three semi-circle panels visible. A person walks past towards the right.

Innovation Studio

The Innovation Studio operates as a lab for creative technologies, a nucleus for start-ups and enterprises and an industry engagement hub.

Person stands by a table. Two printing presses are in the foreground.


Our printmaking facilities are a hub of creativity on campus and have been inspiring students since 1964.

Three people working on projects in a print room.

Letterpress and Bindery

The Letterpress and Bindery studio is a central resource, where students can learn and explore bookbinding and letterpress printing.

Teaching, learning and assessment

Learning is through intellectual enquiry, research and practice. The course outcomes are met by deploying a wide variety of teaching and learning methods supervised by members of the team, visiting support staff, practitioners and consultants from industry.

Each unit is assessed separately, and the assessment forms part of the unit. Assessment both provides a measure of your achievement, and also gives you regular feedback on how your learning is developing.

In consultation with the Course Leader, Level Leaders are responsible for co-ordinating individual units of study, and for selecting appropriate methods of delivery according to subject matter and the student experience.

The study time allocated to each unit in the course incorporates a balance of formal teaching, tutorial support and independent learning.

Theoretical, contextual, studio and professional practices are embedded within all units. This integration dissolves the artificial barriers between these forms of engagement, such as recognising theory in making, allowing you to fully realise your potential and truly understand the rich relationship between these elements of practice.

The course is structured progressively to provide increased opportunities for independent learning as you reach the later stages of the course. The promotion of independent learning reflects your anticipated maturity as a student and allows you to direct your learning towards individual goals.

Importance is placed upon you acquiring the skills to be able to learn independently and to develop a critical awareness. This is facilitated through a variety of learning and teaching methods such as tutorials, group critiques, discussion groups, peer learning activity, projects, lectures, workshops, seminars, study visits, demonstrations, skills-based workshops, educational visits, on-site learning, ‘live projects’, learning agreements, exhibition and group presentation.

Contact hours include all scheduled teaching sessions, but also supervised time in the workshop or studio. In line with national guidance, we include in our calculation of contact hours all the time which is scheduled in the studio for independent study which is also supported by staff (either academic staff, or technicians).

The information provided below gives the proportion of your study time which constitutes contact hours. Where there are optional routes through the course, we have used the figures for the most popular option.

Year 1 (% time) Year 2 (% time) Year 3 (% time)




For every unit of your course, we'll inform you of what you're expected to learn; what you have to submit; how your work will be assessed; and the deadline for presenting your work for assessment. This is made available through Unit Information, which is on your course blog.

You'll receive a final mark for each unit in the form of a percentage, which will be recorded on your formal record of achievement (transcript). Each component of assessment is graded using a notched marking scale, whereby only certain marks are used within each grade. The only marks available within any ten-point band are *2, *5 and *8 (e.g. 62, 65, 68). These marks correspond to a low, mid, and high level of achievement within each grade band.

All learning outcomes must be passed to successfully complete the unit.

On successful completion of your Honours degree course, you'll be awarded a degree classification based on your unit marks. The final classification is determined using all unit marks at Levels 5 and 6 using two different algorithms, which are detailed in the HE Student Regulations. If the two algorithms produce different results, you'll be awarded the higher class of degree.

If you have joined Level 6 through either the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) route or having completed a Foundation Degree (FdA), the final classification is determined using only your unit marks at Level 6.

For further information on assessment, progression, awards and classifications, please visit

What our BA (Hons) Illustration graduates are doing

Our graduates are working within the creative industries across a range of diverse visual art and design practices.

Our BA (Hons) Illustration graduates have created:

  • Children's book illustrations for Penguin, Puffin Books, Macmillan, Nosy Crow, Little Tiger Books, Ladybird, and Flying Eye.
  • Illustrations for esteemed authors such as Philip Ardagh, Enid Blyton and David Olusoga.
  • Editorial Illustrations for The Independent, The Guardian, Wall Street Journal, New York Times and Google.
  • Advertising, campaign and promotional materials for Jamie Oliver, Carluccio's, Marks and Spencer, Siemens, Waitrose, Lush, J&B Whisky, Adidas, Sony, Walmart, and Google.
  • Promotional materials and music videos for the music industry for artists such as Enter Shikari, Lice, Pip Blom, Weird Milk, Coach Party and Justin Bieber.
  • Animated content, idents, shorts, music videos and graphics for media production houses such as Channel 4, BBC, Sky TV, Nick Jr, Adult Swim, and MTV.
  • Jewellery, homeware, ceramics and textiles for Tate Modern, John Lewis, Peagreen, and Eudon Choi.

Our alumni are represented by illustration agencies including Jelly London, Folio Illustration, The Artworks, The Greenhouse and The Bright Agency.

You can find out more about what some of our BA (Hons) Illustration graduates are up to below – click on the alumni below to read more.

Drawing of butchery

Tom Hovey – BA (Hons) Illustration

I loved my time at AUB. I had just finished a sequential illustration HND which was quite focused...

Inside of a soap shop

Emma Caswell – BA (Hons) Illustration

I decided to base my final project at AUB on multiple briefs for competitions and some self-directed surface patterns...

Figures of naked people

Liv & Dom – BA (Hons) Illustration

Liv & Dom didn’t really happen until the last couple of months of university...

Trips and visits

As part of BA (Hons) Illustration, you may also get the opportunity to take part in course trips, previous trips have included:

  • London
  • Stourhead
  • Oxford

*These trips are optional and some may incur additional costs

The following Visiting Tutors also contribute to the teaching on the course:

Latest from BA (Hons) Illustration

See more of our student work

Illustration is a way of seeing and understanding the world. You'll discover how to connect and communicate with different audiences.

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