This BA is an independent, studio-based programme which looks specifically at illustration as professional practice. Learn to challenge the boundaries of illustration in a creative studio environment with your peers, and discover where you can make a difference in the exciting world of illustration.
Our course is specifically focused on developing your skills as a professional illustrator and finding your personal visual language. The course has a strong focus on drawing and you'll be able to continue developing your drawing skills in life and observational drawing classes each work throughout the three-year degree.
Our facilities are state-of-the-art and as part of your blended learning, you'll have access to The Grove, an £80 million learning facility. We have a number of illustrators, agents, publishers and designers who make themselves available to discuss your portfolios. Many of our students get the opportunity to publish their work before they graduate.
Our north London campus is perfectly located for you to explore museums and galleries to gain inspiration. In previous years, illustration students have also visited Edinburgh and Lisbon to be inspired by new surroundings.
Year after year our students produce outstanding industry-standard work and leave the course with an impressive portfolio to launch their career. Take a look at some of the work from last year’s graduates on our Creative Graduates 2022 exhibition site.
We ensure that you graduate from our course with the specialist skills you’ll need to approach agents, set up studios, and produce a website as you start on your career path. Many of our students go on to work in magazine publishing, editorial illustration, advertising, animation, and more. We have strong industry links with art and design employers, and all the teaching staff are all creative practitioners.
Our course is unique, in that we provide you with an individual workspace in the specialist illustration studio, that you can treat as your own throughout your studies. Previous students have told us that they have really enjoyed this lively and supportive learning environment. As part of your blended learning, you will also have access to our amazing workshops, illustration students often use the printmaking and digital media workshops, laser cutting and photographic studios.
In your second and third year, you'll have the opportunity to enter many Creative Industry competitions. Past graduates have won many yellow pencils in the D&AD while others have been shortlisted for the Folio Society and Macmillan children’s book prize.
We know that sometimes you’ll need assistance and support when it comes to your studies. During your time with us you’ll get assistance from a Personal Tutor. If you require a little extra help, then we have Student Learning Assistants and Graduate Academic Assistants on hand to help.
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On BA illustration you will be taught specific creative skills such as animation, bookbinding, printmaking processes, relevant digital programmes and drawing both life and location. The course concentrates on contemporary applications and traditional illustration processes, and the success of our graduates in both international competitions and employment in the creative industries is testament to this approach.
In your first year, projects and workshops are centred on exploration, interpretation, and communication. Core activities exploring areas such as, narrative and graphic novels, magazine and editorial illustration, and reportage and are supported by sessions on printmaking, animation and observational and life drawing. By your second year, you will be well-placed to begin expanding your knowledge of illustration through entering creative industry competitions, tutored and personal projects, in order to develop an individual visual language. The final year's emphasis is on consolidation of skills, analysis and a diagnostic approach to personal practice and the production of a professional portfolio.
This module reflects recognition of the need for BA illustration graduates to be well prepared professionally to meet the requirements of the creative industries. In order to succeed you will need to be aware of the contextual and ethical issues relevant to today’s practitioners. The module is designed to allow you the opportunity to work on a wide variety of visual communication problems that will be recognised, understood and appreciated by potential employers.
See the course specification for more information about typical course content outside of the coronavirus outbreak:
Optional modules are usually available at levels 5 and 6, although optional modules are not offered on every course. Where optional modules are available, you will be asked to make your choice during the previous academic year. If we have insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, or there are staffing changes which affect the teaching, it may not be offered. If an optional module will not run, we will advise you after the module selection period when numbers are confirmed, or at the earliest time that the programme team make the decision not to run the module, and help you choose an alternative module.
Illustration has an excellent record of success in many national and international competitions. We have won many yellow pencils in the D&AD and been shortlisted for the Folio Society and Macmillan children's book prize, Penguin Book cover prize and both printmaking and app design competitions.
Download our Alumni Achievement roundup featuring excellent examples of our graduates' real-world work and success stories.
Many of our graduates do extremely well.
Just this year, James Oses created an illustrated poster for TNT to help promote the second season of The Alienist which sees a newspaper illustrator and criminal psychologist joining forces to investigate a serial killer in New York during the late 19th century.
James also illustrated the cover for Penguin Book Jaipur's Journals, Namita Gokhale’s ode to literature featuring diverse stories of lost love and regret, self-doubt.
Graduate Chloe Smith was commissioned by creative agency Adjust your Set to create an illustrated guide to digital dating in the age of COVID-19 for Durex.
Charlot Kristensen has created an illustration for September 1st’s Google Doodle. The portrait celebrates Jamaican-born British doctor, humanitarian, and activist Dr Harold Moody who dedicated his life to helping others, advocated against discrimination, and helped pave the way towards a more equal future.
She has also just written and illustrated her new book from Avery Hill which examines contemporary issues of race, entrenched bigotry and the difficulties faced by interracial couples. “It’s the debut graphic novel from a burgeoning talent devoted to representation and empowering women of colour.”
Alex also illustrated the cover art for BBC Radio 3’s The Sound of Gaming, a new series exploring the world of video game music with composer Jessica Curry.
Graduate and Teaching Assistant Shazleen Khan created the poster and identity for Glasgow’s 10th annual Comic Con scheduled to take place this summer.
During his time at Middlesex, graduate Daniel Duncan's picture book South was both selected for the Macmillan Children’s’ Book competition and AOI awards. Shortly after graduating he signed with the Bright Agency and has been producing picture books ever since.
Our 2020 graduates have also started making an impact! Tyrell Osbourne, Ha Tung Anh Nguyen and Suadah Mukadam have all been selected as part of the D&AD Newblood Festival’s One's to Watch. The Newblood Festival is a celebration of emerging design talent and an opportunity for new graduates to not only showcase their work but also receive guidance and mentorship from leading figures in the industry.
The 2020 Senior Show was an international online exhibition organised by Minneapolis-based art gallery Light Grey Art Lab in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. As arts courses around the world were forced to cancel their end of year shows the gallery organised a digital alternative with sponsorship from the likes of Adobe and mentorships from leading illustrators and art directors.
We are delighted to say that outgoing students Beatriz Marmelo and Katie O’Donnell were both selected for the online showcase Get Started with Gouache.
What The Dickens?! is the latest of our annual exhibitions with the Poetry Society now on show at the Poetry Cafe in Covent Garden. Inspired by the works of Charles Dickens in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the author’s death, the exhibition features a selection of work produced by students across our cohort.
The Chair We Sit On features 9 iconic moments in design with words by Erik Nash and illustrations by graduate James Boast, published this September.
To mark the Centenary of WWI, Illustration staff and students worked for two years on a collaborative project with the RAF Museum in Hendon. The students worked extremely hard to tell the stories in an exiting but challenging format and in a way that made them relevant to today’s audience whilst maintaining historical accuracy. The resulting work is an online 'animated' graphic novel telling the history of the RAF aerodrome, from its earliest days to the present day, told through 9 illustrated stories from different periods of time and an illustrated landing page.
They cover a story about young women in 1919 loosing their important wartime jobs as men return from the front. There is a story about the WAAF stationed at the base in 1943 and another about young men invalided out of the RAF re-applying for flying jobs at the base in 1946.
The RAF museum received lottery funding as part of a very large regeneration project and this project was identified as an important part of the outreach programme. Please visit the RAF museum website to view this project in it's completion and have a look at our gallery of student work.
In February 2018, the Walthamstow Village Window Gallery hosted "High Spec", an exhibition showcasing a selection of innovative, award winning work by some of our recent graduates. They all have their own visual language but are joined by a love of storytelling.
Chloe Smith’s beautiful and lurid images tell the tale of how Antwerp got its name, Nakim Brown unfolds the history of the universe in a glowing graphic novel, and Summer Du Plessis unpicks Bowie’s Star Man in luminous print. Awarded a D&AD prize for best show at New Blood, the exhibition includes risographs, drawings, screen prints, linocuts and digital paintings.
Corban Wilkin is a cartoonist and illustrator based in London. He was the winner of the 2012 Cape/Observer/Comica Graphic Short Story Prize for his comic But I Can’t and was nominated for the 2014 British Comic Awards in the Emerging Talent category for the graphic novel Breaker’s End. His most recent book is the 2018 graphic novel Grand Theft Horse, written by G. Neri and published by Lee & Low Books. Aside from his graphic novels, his range of illustration work includes magazine graphics, story illustrations, video game art, and animations.
Senior Lecturer in BA (Hons) Illustration and MA Children’s Book and Graphic Novels. Graduated from Middlesex and the Royal College of Art. Previously worked for Pentagram, combining teaching with freelance illustration practice for publishing, packaging and editorial clients such as, Campaign Magazine, Pan Books, BBC Panorama, British Airways, and Chase Manhatten Bank. Currently exploring personal research into photomontage and solar etching. www.nancyslonims.com
Martin Ursell has illustrated many picture books for children, including the award-winning Song of Pentecost by W. J. Corbett. He has illustrated stories by Roald Dahl, Marina Warner, Ted Hughes, Pippa Goodhart, Linda Jennings and Dick King Smith and as well as the bestselling Gruesome series. Martin was a regular illustrator for Jackanory and visiting illustrator for The National Federation of Children’s Books, South East Arts and Kent Young Peoples Services. His own story Hairy Hairy was televised by the BBC. He was the author and illustrator of the popular Draw books published by b small and he is currently working on an epic, three-part graphic retelling of the Reynard the Fox stories that date back a millennium.
A practising painter, graduated in painting from Leeds Polytechnic and San Francisco State University. She has exhibited widely in the UK, Europe and the USA, and was selected for the BP Portrait Award. Other selected exhibitions include the Chichester Open, Hunting Art Prizes, the Discerning Eye and NEAC; her work is in the Ruth Borchard permanent collection of artists' self portraits. www.susanlight.co.uk
Samantha Lippett is a London based curator and lecturer with a background in visual communication. Working across both galleries and community settings, her projects explore the radical potential for learning through participation and interdisciplinary collaboration. Alongside her teaching, she currently runs a programme of residencies and outreach projects with emerging and international artists for South London Gallery (SLG) on three local housing estates.
Louise has worked on a wide variety of Illustration commissions for UK and International clients, including The Royal Mail, Nat West and regular commissions for The Telegraph and The Guardian. Louise has received a number of awards including The World Illustration Awards and 3x3 America, and her work is cited in many anthologies of Illustration.
Illustration BA graduate
Illustration BA graduate
I chose Middlesex University mainly because of the quality of the course. The degree programme seemed to be exactly what I was looking for compared to what other Universities were offering as most courses just seemed to focus on the fine art aspect while Middlesex was very much about illustration and how to actually draw.
The course taught me the practical skills that I have today. All of the tutors were actual illustrators so they really knew what they were talking about. The number one aspect of the course for me was the life drawing lessons. That was where I learned the most, particularly because we had such a great life drawing lecturer."
Winning the Cape award would be my highlight to date. The key to success, I think, was that it was the fourth time I'd entered, so it came down to sheer persistence. If you have persistence you can do anything! It's hard to get yourself out there but it is incredibly enjoyable if you are into it.
Currently I am really focusing on publishing my debut graphic novel Breaker's End. I have illustrated for magazines and I also get a lot of personal commissions, often from people looking for fan art. I have had a lot of interest from publishers who want to work with me but I just need to hone what I am producing to make it more 'sellable'. I'm also doing short comics for a couple of clients.
Illustration BA graduate
Illustration BA graduate
It felt like a family away from home in many ways. I made friends with both staff and students alike, and still keep in touch, almost 3 years after graduation!
It allowed me to spread my wings artistically, and discover new techniques and experiment with subjects I would've never considered before.
Plus, I got a lot of exposure out of uni - each year there were many projects and competitions announced by the tutors, that you could be a part of, so I already had some great projects and known clients on my CV the second I graduated!
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