Turn your creative ideas, passion and knowledge into a rewarding career in illustration or animation. These two art forms are increasingly prominent in visual communication, and there’s a growing need for artists who can produce innovative, eye-catching visual content.
You try something, the staff feed off it and go 'well you could do this as well', and it bounces around. It's a bit of a pinball machine in the studio. It's good.
Our Illustration and Animation BA (Hons) course will give you the skills you need to work as a visual artist. We often use visual language to communicate complex ideas and information and, with ever-evolving digital technology being used alongside traditional techniques, this is an exciting and fast-moving area to work in.
Here at Cambridge School of Art, you’ll investigate the connections between illustration and animation, creating sequential narratives using traditional and cutting-edge digital image-making techniques, and cultivating your creative abilities and technical skills.
While developing your personal visual style, you’ll also focus on the basics: refining your drawing skills through observation of the visual environment and telling stories through moving image. You’ll also look at the growing opportunities in contemporary illustration and animation practice, producing a portfolio that reflects your artistic capacities and meets the current demands of the creative industries.
In the first year of the course, you’ll explore both illustration and animation through studio-based teaching, software training, practical projects, group critiques and individual tutorials.
During the second year, you’ll focus on animation, developing your technical skills and exploring the creative possibilities of this art form through a number of individual and group projects. You’ll also have the chance to take part in work placements, research trips and live projects.
In your final year, you’ll hone your illustration and animation skills, and your personal style - while also producing a professional portfolio and exhibiting in the degree show.
Our ongoing contextual studies modules will support your practice-based work throughout the course. You’ll learn to confidently express your ideas and creative intentions by developing critical communication and presentation skills in a stimulating studio environment. This will prepare you for the final research project and your future career.
You’ll be supported by a team of lecturers and tutors who are all artists and researchers, committed to pursuing their own creative practice in the areas of illustration and animation. As well as benefitting from their experience and knowledge, you can also be confident of receiving the latest insights into the realities of working in the creative industries.
Course Leader: Dr Nanette Hoogslag
The skills, knowledge and experience you gain on our BA (Hons) Illustration and Animation course will allow you to move into the creative industries as an illustrator, artist or animator, confident in the use of cutting-edge digital design technologies and with an understanding of traditional animation, illustration and communication.
Many of our graduates now work with leading product and animation studios and UK broadcasters such as The Mill, 12 Foot 6, Slurpy Studios, Filofax, BBC and Channel 4. Our recent students have found success in many competitions, such as Marc Moynihan, who won the Red Bull Canimation Prize, and Jean-Louis Pecheur, who was the winner of the Animation Libation Global Animation Contest.
They’ve also had their work screened at international festivals. Daisy, by Charlie Taylor, was shown at the Encounters Film Festival, the Fête de l'anim Animation Festival in Lille and the London Short Film Festival. Hold on Me by Georgia Yorke was shown at the Suffolk Film Festival, the Festival International du Court Métrage de Lille, and the Framed Film Festival at the Barbican, London, among others.
You’ll also be able to take advantage of our industry relationships, and the networks we’ve built with local and international animators, illustrators and production studios. Our staff regularly go to animation festivals and seek out collaborations with creative partners, such as Les Rencontres Audiovisuelles, Breda University and St Joost Akademie.
You’ll demonstrate your developing knowledge and skills through a number of methods.
Your ongoing (formative) assessment will include group and individual critiques and class discussions.
Meanwhile, at the end of each module you’ll demonstrate your overall progress through a combination of written and practical work. This will include sketchbooks, concept development, project proposals and work-in-progress, as well as final outcomes such as animated sequences, series of prints, websites or text-based research as required.
Cambridge School of Art has been inspiring creativity since 1858 when it was opened by John Ruskin.
Engaging with current debates surrounding contemporary practice and with the state-of-the-art facilities, Cambridge School of Art houses light, bright studios, industry-standard film and photographic facilities, and 150-year-old printing presses alongside dedicated Apple Mac suites. Our digital art gallery, the Ruskin Gallery, exhibits both traditional shows and multimedia presentations, from national and international touring exhibitions and our own students.
We are the only university in Cambridge offering art and design courses at higher education level. A tight-knit community of artists, academics and over 900 students, we collaborate across our University, the creative industries, and other sectors. Cambridge is a centre for employment in the creative industries and there are rich opportunities for collaboration with the city’s entertainment, technological, scientific, arts and heritage industries.
Our graduates have a history of winning national and international awards and an excellent employment record. They include Pink Floyd's Syd Barrett and Dave Gilmour, Spitting Image creators Peter Fluck and Roger Law, and illustrator Ronald Searle, the creator of St Trinian's.
We’re part of the Faculty of Arts, Law and Social Sciences, a hub of creative and cultural innovation whose groundbreaking research has real social impact.
Throughout the course you’ll have opportunities to take part in work placements, live projects and industry collaborations. Our students’ recent placements and projects have included Voicing the Garden at Cambridge Botanic Gardens, Digital Stories Residency at West Flanders University, Brussels and Fête de l'anim' Animation Marathon in Lille.
Throughout the course you’ll work in the original Edwardian studios of the Cambridge School of Art, with easy access to etching, screen printing, lithography and relief presses, letterpress studios, a 3D workshop and a full range of digital image-making facilities.
You’ll have all the tools needed for traditional hand drawn and stop-motion animation, as well as high-end 3D CGI. We have a full range of professional digital imaging, compositing and animation tools including the full Adobe Creative Suite, TVPaint, Maya and Dragonframe Stop Motion. There are also dedicated animation production suites and life drawing studios, as well as a comprehensive equipment store for all the camera, lighting and sound recording kit you might need.
For more information about tuition fees, including the UK Government's commitment to EU students, please see our UK/EU funding pages
Estimated cost of materials across three years £250.
Optional field trip £220-£250.
Most English undergraduates take out a tuition fee loan with Student Finance England. The fees are then paid directly to us. The amount you repay each month is linked to your salary and repayments start in April after you graduate.
If you choose not to take out a loan you can pay your fees directly to us. There are two ways to do this: either pay in full, or through a three- or six-month instalment plan starting at registration.
You must pay your fees up-front, in full or in instalments. You will also be asked for a deposit or sponsorship letter for undergraduate courses. Details will be in your offer letter.Paying your fees
Most new undergraduate students can apply for government funding to support their studies and university life. This includes Tuition Fee Loans and Maintenance Loans. There are additional grants available for specific groups of students, such as those with disabilities or dependants.
We also offer a fantastic range of ARU scholarships, which provide extra financial support while you’re at university. Find out more about eligibility and how to apply.
You will be required to attend an interview of around 20 minutes, during which you will evidence your discussion with a portfolio or, if you are resident outside of the UK, an e-portfolio.
For more information on how to prepare and submit your portfolio please visit our portfolios and interviews page, or go straight to the detailed guidance for BA (Hons) Illustration and Animation portfolios.
Important additional notes
Our published entry requirements are a guide only and our decision will be based on your overall suitability for the course as well as whether you meet the minimum entry requirements. Other equivalent qualifications may be accepted for entry to this course, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
We don't accept AS level qualifications on their own for entry to our undergraduate degree courses. However for some degree courses a small number of tariff points from AS levels are accepted as long as they're combined with tariff points from A levels or other equivalent level 3 qualifications in other subjects.
We welcome applications from international and EU students, and accept a range of international qualifications.
If English is not your first language, you'll need to make sure you meet our English language requirements for undergraduate courses.
If you don't meet our English language requirements, we offer a range of courses which could help you achieve the level required for entry onto a degree course.
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