BA Honours Illustration Degree
Course length: 3 years full time
Course start: Induction week from October 2013; EU and International student orientation from September 2013
Course leader: Nancy Slonims
For our BA Illustration degree with Honours in London we have strived to create a studio space that is lively, stimulating and productive. We provide each student with an individual work place, something we have identified as essential to the creative happiness of our students. The individual visual work of each student is developed through a variety of themed projects and image making processes which include print making, photography, animation and time-based media, typography and 3D. On the BA Illustration Degree with Honours there is a particular emphasis on drawing, both communicative and expressive, and we provide life and observational drawing each week for all the 3 years. Professional practice is explored at all levels and we have visiting illustrators, agents publishers and designers who show their work and discuss the students' folios. Some students will get the opportunity to get work or be published before they graduate. The second and third year are entered for major competitions such as the Macmillan's children's book prize, the D&ADand other related competitions.
At the end of your degree you will exhibit your work at the Middlesex University Art and Design Degree Show. The show is a celebration of the end of your studies and the start of your creative career, it's a great opportunity to show off your talents to friends, family and creative industry employers.
See some examples of our students' work in the galleries below:
Watch some short films by our students here:
BA Illustration Staff
The BA Illustration staff are all working professionally and bring to the course specialised expertise in book and children's book illustration, editorial, advertising and design, printmaking, animation and time based media.
You might also be interested in the 12-week long Foundation course, successful completion of which will guarantee a place on a nominated BA Honours programme:
Our art and design facilities are second to none. There is a wealth of specialist technical help with professionals dedicated to helping you achieve excellence in our workshop areas.
Take a look at our Art and Design Facilities Gallery to explore our specialist facilities for illustration in more detail.
- 1st year comprises projects and workshops centered on exploration, interpretation, and communication. Printmaking, animation and observational drawing support these core activities.
- 2nd year students expand their knowledge of illustration through professional and personal projects developing an individual visual language.
- 3rd year emphasis is on consolidation, enabling students to graduate with current knowledge and skills, identifying and producing an individual professional portfolio.
- Year 1
- Illustration/Graphics: Visual Communication Workshops 1 (30 Credits) - Compulsory
- This module aims to provide an opportunity to explore a variety of different graphic media and understand the value as methods of visual communication. It aims to encourage an inventive and experimental response to the use of processes and materials in workshop areas which within BA Hons Illustration include printmaking, animation, digital illustration and book binding, and within BA Hons Graphic Design include photography, print making, typography, design thinking and digital inspiration. The module also aims to offer students the opportunity to learn a range of transferable practical and technical skills in art and design, through material handling, exploration of process, production and presentation.
- Introduction to Illustration (60 Credits) - Compulsory
- This module aims to: establish essential thinking and communication skills to enable students to explore, understand and utilise illustration as a possible career. establish visual perception, research and study skills consider issues and concerns common to Art and Design as a basis for further development in this field. establish an understanding of how personal working methods and approaches, are critical to the subject and the development of a personal visual language establish exploration in illustrative and technical processes, media and materials as a way of investigating visual communication
- Understanding Communication Arts (30 Credits) - Compulsory
- To encourage students to question how practicioners from Visual Communication Design the Communication Arts, here understood as Photography, Illustration and Graphic Design, both shape, and are shaped by, our material world. To extend and deepen student s understanding of the relationship between their developing practice and the practices that have developed at other times and at other places. With particular reference to the Communication Arts of the modern and postmodern periods, and using resources available in London, we aim to encourage an appreciation of how the design and consumption of Visual Culture is intimately bound up with cultural change. To enable students to place the history of communication arts and their own practice within the broader contexts of the histories of art and design, and to understand these in turn in their relation to the histories of society, culture and ideas. To enable students to apply a range of critical approaches in order understand a range of images, texts and objects.
- Year 2
- Illustration Practice (60 Credits) - Compulsory
- This module aims to: further encourage the development of a personal way of working and to establish a coherence in processes of image production and visual identity. to develop working processes that utilise enquiry, analysis and research techniques in relating a visual solution to the objectives of a brief. to demonstrate a confidence in articulate, critical analysis and discussion. to introduce and develop an awareness of historical and contemporary illustration practice to introduce professional levels of practice and presentation through participation in external illustration competitions.
- Illustration/Graphics: Visual Communication Workshops 2 (30 Credits) - Compulsory
- This module aims to develop an understanding of specialist subject areas of creative practice through studio and workshop based activities. It enables students to develop individual approaches to visual communication and to begin to identify broad areas of interest that could form the basis for further specialist study on their programme. It will encourage the acquisition of intermediate specialist skills to work effectively in creative workshop areas chosen from within BA Hons Illustration; life drawing, reportage, screenprint, etchin, lino print, monoprint, and stone lithography, and within BA Hons Graphic Design advertising, bookart, magazine design, moving image, letterpress, interactive and web design. The module aims to further develop skills in using creative processes analysing, evaluating visual pieces of work and presentation methods.
- The Visual Activist (30 Credits) - Compulsory
- This module aims to provide students of Illustration and Graphic Design with a broad understanding of Critical Theory with a view to arming and empowering them for engagement with the political and social context in which design practice takes place. Students will be introduced to concepts from Critical Theory and Cultural Studies as well as to the application of these theories and concepts to practice within their own discipline and the wider cultural sphere. Emphasis will be placed on the engagement of the practitioner with current political and social debates and on an understanding of the role of the designer in shaping opinion and taking a political stance. The module will promote discussion and debate as key elements in the consideration of the context of illustration and design practice and seek to foster students capacity for the discussion of ideas in both spoken and written expression. It will also encourage the student to develop an activist voice and to understand the potential of their area of practice in making a contribution to political action and debate and to civil society. It should prompt students to see themselves as citizen designers and illustrators with an active role to play in society and the political process.
- Year 3
- Critical and Contextual Research Project (30 Credits) - Compulsory
- This module aims to enable students to identify and deliver a research project related to their studio practice. The project will involve an analytical engagement with a range of research resources in order to have a greater understanding of an aspect of studio practice through its historical, theoretical and social contexts. The module will consolidate the development of skills of project identification, research organisation and development, time management, visual analysis and critical argument. Students will extend their ability to think creatively about the presentation of conceptual, critical and contextual material in both written and visual form. Students will further consolidate the development of skills required for autonomous learning.
- Illustration Major Projects and Portfolio (90 Credits) - Compulsory
- This Module aims : - to reinforce and extend previously acquired skills in pursuing specialist illustration projects from analysis and research through to image production, presentation and final critical evaluation. - to consolidate a professional approach to pictorial and non-pictorial communication skills - to work in an increasingly independent and self directed way - encourage the use of collaborative and interdisciplinary consultation within their peer group and externally - develop students understanding of professional and/or statutory issues informing their discipline, the illustration process and their specific projects. - encourage students to audit and articulate their practice in relation to the different fields of knowledge, design and communication, professional practice, technologies and processes, history and theory - developed throughout their studies for their major project
The tuition fee for UK/EU students is £9,000.
The tuition fee for International students is £10,400.
We are looking for people who are excited about illustration and creative ideas, good at drawing and aware of contemporary media. We interview all students who apply and look at a portfolio of art and design work. For applications from mature students we also consider work and life experience. Most successful applicants will come from an Art and Design Foundation Course or equivalent. We also accept strong candidates direct from school with A levels 220 UCAS tariff points in appropriate subjects.
The UCAS deadline for guaranteed consideration of applications for Middlesex art and design courses is 24 March.
For a comprehensive list of qualifications accepted by Middlesex, see further information under entry requirements
English language requirements
You must have competence in English language and we normally require Grade C GCSE or an equivalent qualification. The most common English Language requirements for international students are IELTS 6.0 (with minimum 5.5 in all four components) or TOEFL internet based 72 (with at least 17 in listening & writing, 20 in speaking and 18 in reading).
Middlesex also offers an Intensive Academic English course (Pre-Sessional) that ranges from 5-17 weeks depending on your level of English. Successful completion of this course would meet English language entry requirements. For more information on applying for the pre-sessional please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Entry into year two or three (transfer students)
If you have achieved a qualification such as a foundation degree or HND, or have gained credit at another university, you may be able to enter a Middlesex course in year two or three. For full details of how this works see transfer students
UK/EU applicants with existing higher education qualifications
If you have already been awarded a qualification at the same level as the course you are applying for, you may not be eligible for a tuition fee loan, see fees and funding for more information.
Applications for UK and EU students should be made to UCAS – the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service. The institution code for Middlesex is M80, and the code name is MIDDX. You also need the code for the course you wish to apply for – this is found in the 'at a glance' box above.
International students from outside the EU can make a direct application. We have a network of regional offices across the world to assist you with your application. They have worked with people from your region coming to Middlesex before and can help. Read more on international applications
You might also be interested in the 12-week long Foundation course, successful completion of which will guarantee a place on a nominated BA Honours programme:
The application is just the first step in our selection process, we also invite you to an interview and review your portfolio of art and design work. We’ve put together some simple notes to help you prepare:
The interview itself usually lasts about 15 minutes, but please allow an hour as this usually includes a tour of our facilities. We use the interview to allow us to find out more about you, to better understand your aspirations and interests and for you to learn more about us. The interview will explore why you want to study the subject with us, there will be no trick questions, so don't be too nervous.
We strongly advise all prospective applicants to attend an Open Day. You will be able to talk to staff and students, listen to talks on the subject areas that interest you, ask questions, go on a workshop tour and get a good feel for the campus and its facilities.
There is much emphasis on identifying specialist skills, and equipping students with knowledge to enable them to set up studios, approach agents or produce websites in order to embark on their future careers. There are specific lectures and visiting illustrators, agents and publishers to inform students of the issues involved. Students gain work in writing and illustrating children's books, magazine publishing, editorial illustration, advertising and design, animation and time-based media.
BA Illustration (Honours) at Middlesex equips you with the specialist skills and knowledge to enable you to set up studios, approach agents or produce websites in order as you embark on your future career. Typically students gain work in writing and illustrating children's books, magazine publishing, editorial illustration, advertising and design, animation and time-based media.
For more insight into your prospects after this course, take a look at our interview with Laura, a Middlesex illustration graduate, who is now a graphic artist.
Middlesex has strong links with art and design employers. Our industry partners sponsor final year students, give visiting lectures and hundreds of art and design agencies, organisations and other employers attend our final year degree show each year.
Our Careers Service offers you a range of support both while you’re studying with us – and after you’ve graduated.
Work placements are proven to increase your success in the job market – as well as being a fantastic experience. We encourage as many students as possible to grasp this opportunity.
We have a dedicated Placements Service which helps you find and plan for a placement.
Images 36:Best of British Illustration
Images 36: Best of British Illustration exhibition presents the winning work of over 50 artists from the length and breadth of the UK who entered the Association of Illustrator’s annual flagship competition, Images. Following on from its successful London launch at the prestigious Somerset House, it is now on national tour and will be coming to Middlesex University from 25 February-7 April 2013.
The exhibition features exciting new talent and established names such as Rod Hunt (Where’s Stig?), Chris Haughton (Booktrust best new illustrator), Lizzie Mary Cullen (Design Week’s 50 Hot people), Stephen Collins (Jonathan Cape/ Observer Graphic Short Story Prize, 2010), Steve May (shortlisted for British Animation Award, 2008) and Olaf Hajek (AA Directors Club, Europe Gold Award, 2003). It also showcases the gold, silver and bronze award winners from each of the eight competition categories (Advertising, Books, Children’s Books, Design, New Media, Editorial, Self-Promotion and New Talent).
The winners were selected by a specially chosen jury who represent all aspects of the industry including agents, publishers and artists. Internationally acclaimed artists such as Noma Bar and David Foldvari are amongst this year’s judges alongside Art Directors from Guardian G2, Granta Publications, Hodder & Stoughton and Random House, as well as Creative Directors from leading design and digital agencies.
To coincide with the exhibition, an accompanying book Images 36: Best of British Illustration2012 will also be launched. The book brings together the shortlisted 350 artworks and profiles from 240 illustrators, including those featured in the exhibition, as well as an editorial section with a series of specially commissioned essays by cultural commentators. Images 36 provides a comprehensive and stimulating overview of the creative range and varied application of illustration today in all its forms.
Images is the flagship programme for the promotion of contemporary British illustration produced by the AOI since 1976. It is the only independent, jury-selected illustration competition in the UK.
To view the exhibition catalogue click here
The illustration work that our students create is world-class. Each year, our final year students, some of whom are winners of awards such as Design and Art Direction (Madeleine Sargeant, 2009 graduate) and MacMillan Children's Book, exhibit their work at the Middlesex Art and Design degree show.
Illustration students also produce animation work as part of the degree, the calibre of the work recognised as award-winning on numerous occasions:
- Birdman by Siobahn McGuire
- I am a Black Hole by Dan Fairbairn
- Sucked Away by Alex Chilvers
- Black Hole by James Northcote
See more examples of our students' creativity in our illustration galleries: