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MA Illustration Welcome Guide - Overview
Your Welcome Guide

We're delighted to have you join us at Arts University Bournemouth, and hope that your time here will be rewarding, challenging, creative and enjoyable.

Welcome to the MA Illustration course

This welcome pack is designed to give you an idea of what to expect during the first weeks of your course. Please take the time to read it carefully and take particular note of the pre-course preparation. We hope that you'll enjoy a happy and productive time with us, and we look forward to meeting you.

A message from your Course Leader


I would like to welcome you to Arts University Bournemouth as a postgraduate student of the Graduate School for this academic year.

I hope that you are excited by the prospect of the challenges and rewards such a period of advanced study will bring. We invite you to immerse yourself from the outset in the activities that we have planned.

The nature of the course offers significant opportunities for you to think beyond your chosen discipline of Illustration to draw out connections with other areas of art and design, as well as wider discourses and debates. The cultural and social diversity of our student cohorts, enriches the sharing of ideas and experiences. The preparedness to take creative risks leads to meaningful, imaginative and intellectually rewarding practice.

- Lisa Richardson, Course Leader

Before you join us

There is no specific Pre-course Project set but I would encourage all new students to be drawing, taking photographs and producing imagery on a daily basis over the vacation.

In preparation for your period in Postgraduate Study and as a means to introducing you to the approaches for research at this level, we suggest that you read the following:

  • Brazell, D., & Davies, J. (2013). Understanding Illustration. London: A. & C. Black.
  • Garrett, C. (ed.) (2013) Vitamin D2 : new perspectives in drawing. London: Phaidon.
  • Kress, G. (2010). Multimodality: A Social Semiotic Approach to Contemporary Communication. London: Routledge.
  • Rees, D. (2014). How to be an Illustrator. 2nd ed. London: Laurence King.
  • Zeegen, L. (2011). The Fundamentals of Illustration. 2nd ed. Lausanne: AVA Academia.

  • Varoom Magazine

If you read one thing before you arrive, we recommend...

Becoming a Successful Illustrator

Brazell, D., & Davies, J.(2017)

What to bring on your first day

Notepad, pens and any enrolment requirements.

  • Notepads and pens
  • Hard drive
  • Sketchbooks and paper
  • Camera
  • Pens, pencils, ink, brushes, glue stick and other drawing materials.

A suggested materials list with tips of good, inexpensive brands in brackets where applicable:

  • Sketchbooks ranging from A6 to A3. Aim for paper over 100gsm. (Seawhite, Fabriano, Daler Rowney, Moleskine).
  • Drawing pencils ranging from B to 9B (Derwent Graphic)
  • Charcoal sticks
  • Mixed box of thicknesses (not compressed)
  • Fixative or cheap hairspray
  • Paintbrushes, thin, thick and very thick for ink and acrylic paint (Winsor & Newton, System 3)
  • Household paintbrushes in different thicknesses
  • Bottle of drawing ink - black or Indian ink
  • Notebook
  • Diary (daily)
  • Drawing paper – A3 or bigger (above 120gsm) (Seawhite, Daler Rowney)
  • Tracing paper – A3
  • Pritt stick
  • PVA glue
  • PVA glue spreader or cheap brushes
  • Collage materials - collected papers from various sources
  • Old magazines/newspapers for collage
  • Selection of paints eg. G
  • Gouache, watercolour, acrylic (System 3, Daler Rowney, Winsor & Newton)
  • Low temperature glue gun & glue sticks (Stanley)
  • An assortment of pens for drawing & writing
  • Container for equipment eg. toolbox
  • Folder to transport work: A2 with handle

All students will be expected to have their own drawing tools, favoured materials and sketchbooks. It's good practice to begin to invest in materials that suit your needs that you can add to throughout the course.

It's advisable for everyone to equip themselves with a laptop and a hard drive for backing up. Access to certain software via the university will be provided, so please check the up-to-date provision on arrival prior to subscribing as an individual.

The MA Studio is equipped with a range of basic materials and equipment including paper, paints, inks, pencils, brushes, cutting mats, guillotine, scanner, printer and Apple Macs.

You are encouraged to bring your own Laptop and Mobile device to AUB to support Online Learning, Collaboration and Communication whilst at University.

We provide access to a range of free software and discounts on Apple and Dell hardware. We recommend that you wait until you have set up your AUB IT account to access this free software and discounted hardware if you are planning on investing in a new computer.

Even if your course does not specifically use Adobe Creative Cloud we would recommend that you try to make sure your computer is able to run this software.

We recommend that you format any external hard-drives/USB sticks to work on both Apple and Windows.

The course computers are Apple based.

The course includes the use of Adobe Creative Cloud Suite software. We recommend a computer capable of running this.

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We're delighted to have you join us at Arts University Bournemouth
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Next Steps

Find out the useful dates and contact before you start here
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We are looking forward to welcoming you to MA Illustration this year in just a few weeks!