Quick info & apply now

Fees and Funding

Here's the fees and funding information for each year of this course

Overview

Crash! Bang! Pow! ...Welcome to Illustration!

Yes, illustration - the art of communicating ideas, telling stories and expressing themes visually; a progressive and eclectic applied art form, with real purpose! At UEL we strive to train our illustration students to be as dynamic and multi directional as possible, becoming confident, problem solving professional’s hell bent on pushing their work over the cutting edge!

If you enjoy creating images, making beautiful objects, inventing stories and working alongside friendly and like-minded people, then this is the course for you. From designing book jackets, record sleeves and editorial work through to moving image, printmaking and graphic novels, the illustration BA is a fast-paced, high-octane ride to industry professionalism!

The course has a sizzling and distinct flavour unbound by the conventions of industry. We encourage our students to explore each and every type of brief and solve them using the processes and technology of yesterday, today and tomorrow, all whilst on the hunt for their own creative voice and unique visual language.

A roster of highly acclaimed professional illustrators, designers, filmmakers and animators will guide you through this process using UEL's superb workshops, some of the most cutting edge in Europe! You will gain access to robot arms, 3D printers, 16mm film labs, bronze casting, UX and UI workshops, mac labs, printmaking rooms, black and white darkroom, everything one could possibly need to pioneer the way ahead.

So cast of your moorings and set sail for a creative future with the illustration BA - a personal and professional voyage of discovery, visual clarity and relentless creative joy, ahoy!

What makes this course different

Two women talking

Industry insight

You'll be taught by professional artists and designers and have access to the best facilities in our superbly equipped workshops

Laptops on a desk

Kick-start to your career

You will work alongside and share some modules with BA (Hons) Graphic Design students gaining fresh perspective and approaches (divergent thinking), giving you the edge in the competitive job market for Industry 4.0 (fourth industrial age)

View of East London

East London

You’ll be studying in east London, one of the most vibrantly creative areas in Europe, close to the established cultural hub of central London and the exciting new one in Stratford

WHAT YOU'LL LEARN

This exciting and stimulating course will give you a practical foundation in all the varied activities within the hugely diverse world of graphic arts.

The course is underpinned by drawing and we've structured it around a series of projects that address both the practical issues that you may encounter as a professional but also the broader cultural or social-economic world that you will be moving into. 

You'll be exposed to a wide range of techniques, both direct and indirect, digital and analogue, from printmaking, painting, drawing, collage, object making, book-making, publishing and graphic novels.

This allows a more adaptable approach to taking on work and being successful, chiming with the requirements of the Creative Industries 4.0, where discipline distinctions become increasingly irrelevant to professional life. 

Through the course you will undertake interdisciplinary collaborations, adapt to taking on work and become successful in the creative industries. You will work alongside our students from Fine Art Technology, Design Interaction, Illustration, Animation and Photography which will give you the skills to gain a fresh perspective and approaches (divergent thinking) giving you edge in the competitive job market, and skills for the fourth industrial age

We consistently review our courses to ensure we are up to date with industry changes and requirements from our graduates. As a result, our modules are subject to change. 

MODULES

  • Core Modules
  • Core Modules
    Close

    Professional Life 1 (Mental Wealth)

    Developing the key psychological and physical determinants of human performance are increasingly critical for successful graduate-level employment, entrepreneurship and career progression in the 4th industrial revolution.

    This module will provide students with the opportunity to identify the skills, competencies and experience required for successful development to, and in, a range of potential future career areas.

    Herein they will begin to recognise the areas for their own personal professional development (including emotional, social, physical, cultural and cognitive intelligences) through taught and workshop activity.

    Central to the developmental process is for each student to cultivate the reflective skills, openness and self- awareness to enable themselves to assess what they are doing, identify areas for improvement, and confidently receive and give constructive feedback. Students will additionally develop knowledge of strategies to advance their own physical intelligence through ‘life style’ and ‘self-care’ approaches to inform their health and wellbeing.

    Having acquired understanding of the key developmental areas, students will have opportunity to join in-house activities as a trainee, mentored and supervised by students from higher years. In this position they will learn and begin to apply the cognitive, cultural and social intelligences developed elsewhere in their studies (and from  external activities) as required in the workplace, namely cognitive flexibility, emotional resilience, motivation, ethical decision-making, managing your audience, coordinating with others, negotiation, creativity, active listening, attention, problem solving, research, synthesis and analysis.

    Close

    Practice 1

    The module serves as a rigorous introduction to a creative practice, an overview of fundamental skills that will enable experimentation and application, developing their own working practice. The module aims to provide students with an introduction to practical and critical study, to understand the role of research in creative practice and in supporting the development of creative projects. The approach aims to imbue an experimental and open-minded attitude that enhances levels of production, strengthens adaptability, personal confidence and the ability to creatively solving visual ideas. Through experimental and production of work, students become to understand their work in relation to research and feel empowered. The module allows students to discuss and develop their work with the help of group critiques and views of others in the enhancement of ideas through to creative outcomes.

     

    At the end of the module students will be able to begin to self-manage the development of a creative practice, and to disseminate ideas.

    Close

    Contextual Studies 1

    Contextual Studies in the first term equips students to understand the history of fine art, fine art technology, graphic design, design interaction, illustration, animation, photography and creative writing and its relevance today. The module comprises thematic lectures, seminars, screenings and field trips as well as keystone research and writing skills such as the use of citation, referencing and academic integrity appropriate to undergraduate study. The module content will support development of students’ practical work on the adjoining modules. At the end of the module, students would have developed the skills for analysing and contextualising their own work, and that of their peers.

    Close

    Research into Practice 1

    Students will begin to establish an intellectual framework within which they can begin to understand a relationship between theory and their own practice. Students will begin to contribute critically in the seminars, in relation to contemporary and historical research methodologies. The module is supported by one-to-one tutorials. At the end of the module, students would have developed the skills for analysing and contextualising their own work, to be applied further in second year of their study. The outcome of this module is both a presentation of the student’s practice or research area and a written work.

    The lectures are complemented by tutor led discussion focusing on student work in progress, interrogating the practical work within the context established by the lectures in order to promote deeper understanding and extend creative ambition.

    Close

    Experimentation and Application 1A

    The module introduces the student to a range of processes and practices, skills and knowledge, through a series of workshops and projects. The module equips the student to discover a range of techniques working within context of their discipline and support their developing practice.

     

    The module focusses on process, developing skills and practical knowledge encouraging students to discover a range of creative ways of working within the context of their discipline as well as extended practice supporting their developing practice. The module is backed up through regular group tutorials.

    Close

    Experimentation and Application 1B

    The module introduces the student to a further range of processes and practices, skills and knowledge, through a series of workshops, projects and electives to extend their practice.

    Technical introductions and workshops enable the student to broaden the scope of their skills and practice, as well as specific workshops pertinent to contemporary processes and methods, including a range of analogue and digital tools.

    These skills and processes are introduced and discussed in relation to the development of a visual language applicable to contemporary fine art, graphic design, illustration, photography and animation practice.

    The module allows students to present their work to audiences, testing their ideas and concepts, receiving feedback feeding forward to their practice and to level 5 of study. Cross-disciplinary exhibitions are encouraged as well as inter-disciplinary discourse.

    The module Practice into Research supports the module, and allows student to contextualise their practice in a form of a presentation of their work.

  • Core Modules
    Close

    Professional Life 2 (Mental Wealth)

    The module provides a forum for the student to develop a creative, inventive and productive design process in relation to a design project or projects. In particular to raise student awareness and understanding of the occupants and users and their physical, social and psychological needs through the design of both objects and environments at appropriate scales, as well as exploring key characteristics of design projects.

    There is a particular focus on investigations of site and context that may involve the gathering of empirical data, making analytical studies and conducting observations of people, place, context and materials that are appropriate to the project.

    By setting one design project, the module aims to engage with the practices, protocols and conventions that apply to the design and delivery of projects within the design and construction industry. The module fosters the development of a personal position and working methods as part of the attributes required by a professional architect.

    Close

    Design Investigation 2

    The module provides a forum for the student to develop a creative, inventive and productive design process in relation to a design project or projects. In particular to raise student awareness and understanding of the occupants and users and their physical, social and psychological needs through the design of both objects and environments at appropriate scales, as well as exploring key characteristics of design projects.

    There is a particular focus on investigations of site and context that may involve the gathering of empirical data, making analytical studies and conducting observations of people, place, context and materials that are appropriate to the project.

    By setting one design project, the module aims to engage with the practices, protocols and conventions that apply to the design and delivery of projects within the design and construction industry. The module fosters the development of a personal position and working methods as part of the attributes required by a professional architect.

    Close

    Design Integration 2

    This module focuses on the application of knowledge of environmental principles into the student's design projects, using relevant methods of environmental strategies as part of the design process.

    The module aims to encourage integration of environmental design from the outset of a project, giving students the ability to reflect on appropriate environmental design strategies and explore these in a creative and rigorous manner.

  • Core Modules
    Close

    Integrated Technology

    This module establishes a student’s ability to integrate the key areas of their technical design knowledge within the context of the final design project Design Investigation 3 Design Resolution 3 and Design Integration 3.

    The module provides an overview of the necessary design skills required to meet building users’ requirements within the constraints imposed by cost factors and building regulations.

    Close

    Design Investigation 3

    The module consolidates skills and knowledge gained at Levels 4 and 5. Together with Design Resolution 3 and Design Integration 3 which requires highly detailed reflection on the integration of cultural, professional, technical and environmental issues within the design project, this set of 3 modules is intended to prepare students for independent practice, entry into the professional workplace, or for higher studies.

    Whilst improving a student’s practical skills and refining their ability to use them productively, the focus of this module is on developing a depth of knowledge and understanding about research and project development, appropriate to graduate level. It also aims to help students to offer evidence of self-management in respect of planning, monitoring, recording and evaluation within the portfolio work that is produced.

    Optional Modules

HOW YOU'LL LEARN

Your learning will involve a blend of activities, from research through practice to reflection. The course is divided into modules, with each module being composed of a set of projects or briefs. These briefs can be compiled over time to produce a growing record of experience and budding expertise.

The course begins at pace by introducing a wide range of key ideas and their practical applications. This gradually gives way to longer, more in-depth and self-determined projects that encompass many processes and conceptual stages. Along the way, you will develop your work via regular feedback sessions, seminars, tutorials and critiques, or 'crits'.

UEL has extensive maker facilities. Within Architecture and Visual Arts (AVA) there are dedicated spaces for production. These include a fully equipped Risograph printing studio, analogue and digital darkrooms, an immersive green screen studio and a variety of traditional printing. There are also wood, ceramic and metal workshops to further develop your practice. Digital Fabrication facilities include 3D printing, laser cutting and CAD milling.

As a student you will be able to loan equipment including Wacom Tablets, light boxes, photographic kit, projectors and VR headsets.

Further ways you will learn

  • Cluster-wide electives: workshops (such as printmaking, textiles, bookbinding, coding, etc) ensure students take full advantage of UEL's extensive facilities and highly-skilled staff team
  • Remote learning: off-campus access to a Virtual Learning Environment
  • Industry expertise: specialist lectures and visits to/from industry figures, as well as participation in live briefs and competitions
  • Culture in London: regular engagement with many of the 250 art institutions and archives that offer ever-changing inspiration for set briefs and self-directed study
  • Portfolio development: we help our students build strong portfolios and professional outlooks that match their ambition and personalities, and prepare them for industry   

Guided independent study

We are investing in key areas beyond your studies including our career services, library and well-being, to be available both face-to-face on campus and online with many of these available 24/7. We have new, modern library facilities on both campuses offering inspirational environments for study and research. Libraries contain resources in print and digital formats, a range of study spaces and dedicated librarian who can assist with your learning.

Academic support

Students are supported with any academic or subject related queries by an Academic Advisor, module leaders, former and current UEL students. 
If you need a bit of extra help with certain skills such as academic writing, maths or IT, our Skillzone and English for Academic Purposes we offer workshops, drop-in sessions and one-to-one appointments to help our students achieve their potential. You can receive advice and guidance on all aspects of the IT systems provided by the university from our IT Service Desks located on all three campuses. Our Student Support hubs in Docklands and Stratford feature centralised helpdesks to cater for your every need. UEL provides also support and advice for disabled students and those with specific learning difficulties (SPDs).

Workload

Each year you will spend around 300 hours of timetabled learning and teaching activities. These may be lectures, workshops, seminars and individual and group tutorials. Contact hours may vary depending on each module.

The approximate percentages for this course are:
Year 1: scheduled teaching - 300 hours; guided independent study - 900 hours.
Year 2: scheduled teaching - 300 hours; guided independent study - 900 hours.
Year 3: scheduled teaching - 300 hours; guided independent study - 900 hours.
The size of classes can vary depending on the nature of the course, module and activity. This can range from large groups in a lecture theatre setting, to smaller groups taking part in seminars and collaborative work. You will receive your personalised timetable at the beginning of the academic year dependent on your course.

HOW YOU'LL BE ASSESSED

Each module has a duration of 12 weeks (one term) and always concludes with an assessment point. We provide feedback throughout these 12-week periods with a specific 'Tracking Week' dedicated to this process midway through each term.

For Practical modules your submission will consist of a Learning Journal (the presentation of your development and experience) and Portfolio (the presentation of your practical output). For Theoretical modules you may be asked to produce a piece of academic writing of a given length and a live presentation.

Feedback is provided within 15 working days in line with UEL's assessment and feedback policy.

CAMPUS and FACILITIES

Docklands Campus

Docklands Campus, Docklands Campus, London, E16 2RD

WHO TEACHES THIS COURSE

The teaching team includes qualified academics, practitioners and industry experts as guest speakers. Full details of the academics will be provided in the student handbook and module guides.

Ed Gill

Ed Gill is an illustrator, designer, filmmaker, artist and educator.

Read more

Emma Daniel McGuire

Emma Daniel McGuire is a Programmer Leader for Art and Design at the School of Arts and Creative Industries.

Read more

Valerie Pezeron

Valerie Pezeron is a Lecturer at the School of Arts and Creative Industries.

Read more

Mikey B Georgeson

Senior Lecturer on foundation in contextual studies, fine art and illustration, using research into felt knowledge.

Read more

Bryony Quinn

Bryony Quinn is a writer, editor and Contextual Studies Module Leader and Lecturer on BA Graphic Design.

Read more

What we're researching

At the University of East London we are working on the some of the big issues that will define our future; from sustainable architecture and ethical AI, to health inequality and breaking down barriers in the creative industries.

Our students and academics are more critically engaged and socially conscious than ever before. Discover some of the positive changes our students, alumni and academics are making in the world.

Please visit our Research section to find out more.

YOUR FUTURE CAREER

Our illustration graduates progress into a wide variety stimulating jobs. Some become editorial illustrators, working on magazines or designing book covers. Others go into teaching the subject themselves or working for graphic design companies.

A few have even landed jobs as technicians within the University itself. They just can't tear themselves away from UEL's winning atmosphere!

Preparing you for your life beyond university is key for us. Each year, we have an annual 'Detour Ahead' week, when leading industry figures visit us to offer invaluable insight and advice about further careers and entrepreneurship in the art and design world.

Some of our students grasp their opportunities well before they leave our course. For example, Martin Reznik, one of our outstanding graduates who is now in hot demand as a magazine illustrator, was already designing apps for a company in Los Angeles as a student.

Then there's the story of a group of friends who set up their own company while studying at UEL.

They began as a university society, just wanting to find a way of making their own comics more visible. Now, after graduation, they've grown into a business, Backwards Burd, offering publishing services and giving new illustrators and artists a fresh showcase.

Explore the different career options you can pursue with this degree and see the median salaries of the sector on our Career Coach portal.