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BA (Hons) Illustration

Course summary

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!

Return to campus: dual delivery

In a Covid-secure environment, enjoy learning on our state-of-the-art campuses and flex between online delivery

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Industry insight

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

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)

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, skills for fourth industrial age

What you'll study and when

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.

  • Found – all core
  • Year 1 – all core
  • Year 2 – all core
  • Year 3 – all core

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.

Course specification Foundation Year (If Required)

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.

Who will teach on this course

Programme Lead: Ed Gill MA (RCA) 

Valerie Pezeron 

Dr Mikey B Georgeson

Bryony Quinn

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.

Your future career

The future needs flexible creatives who can adapt to the ever-changing market. In 2018, the UK’s creative sector broke the £100 billion mark. Within this economy there are a great variety of roles that utilise the skillsets we develop.

Our alumni may work in-house for a large company, in a specialist illustration studio, run their own business or be self-employed across a variety of industries. Spending three years tracking multiple projects, solving the logistics of production and negotiating within teams of creatives will prepare you for work beyond the subject area.

The University’s e-Factor competition offers students resources to develop their own business and the Career Coaching team are always on hand to help students fine tune their CVs and interview techniques.

The course maintains a strong network of alumni and we regularly invite former students to return as guest speakers and lecturers.

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Meet us in your country

Our international team travel overseas regularly to meet prospective students and attend recruitment fairs. Our academics also give regular lectures overseas and are happy to speak to prospective students. In addition, we have a large worldwide network of advisors who can provide guidance and support with applying to study at the University of East London. 

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