An illustration of a man in a boat on water

Key Information


3 years (4 years with Foundation Year)

Typical Offer



Brayford Pool

Validation Status






Course Code


BA (Hons) Illustration

The course is delivered by academics who have professional backgrounds in illustration and other related visual communication disciplines.

Key Information


3 years (4 years with Foundation Year)

Typical Offer



Brayford Pool

Validation Status






Course Code


Welcome to BA (Hons) Illustration

BA Hons Illustration at Lincoln not only explores the contemporary, professional aspects of illustration, but is also focused on developing students' confidence to discover their creative voice and problem-solving resolve.

The course aims to create highly sophisticated visual communicators, whose work demonstrates a high level of craft and an aesthetic flare, across both digital and analogue media, platforms and projects.

Students can benefit from a dedicated studio space, specialist art and design facilities, and digital equipment. They may also have opportunities to:

- meet with established illustrators, publishers, and industry experts.
- engage with live projects, and national and international competitions and collaborations.
- exhibit and publish their own work, most notably, in a final year Graduate Show, physically or online.
- gain advice about pursuing a freelance career, employment, entrepreneurship, and learn about handling commissions and negotiating with clients.

Please check out the programme's blog site :

Students can also visit our 'Show 20' Final Year Degree Show:

You can find out more about the work of staff and students by following the Instagram account at

This programme is also available with an Arts Foundation Year, which can provide an alternative route of entry onto the full degree programme. Find out more at


Industry Visits

The course regularly invites a variety of guest speakers to enhance students' understanding of the wider Illustration community. In the past these have included Graham Rawle, Jonny Hannah, Lydia Monks, Derek Brazell, Gareth Brooks, Scott Garrett, Tom Gauld, and Jade Sarson to name a few.

Innovation, Professionalism and Entrepreneurship

There is a module dedicated to preparing students for life in the creative industry. It establishes the professional responsibilities of the illustrator and his/her role within the visual communication industry and society as a whole. This pedagogic philosophy aims to empower students to further their visual and professional development holistically. Business, research, self-promotion, and presentation skills are fundamental areas of learning in this approach. Students are introduced to various aspects of the illustration business and emphasis is placed on self-employment and the development of professional integrity. This focus on business also provides the opportunity for students to evaluate and distil project briefs.


Students are provided with access to the Adobe Creative Cloud suite of software which includes Photoshop and Illustrator, Linked-In Learning as well as the Microsoft Office suite of software.

Study Visits

Students on this course may have the option to take part in national and international study visits. Students who choose to participate in optional study visits are expected to cover their own travel, accommodation, and general living costs. These optional study trips may include the Book Fair in Bolgona, the International Comic Strip Festival in Angouleme, and a range of museums and specialist exhibitions internationally.


Keith Hume - Programme Leader

Keith Hume - Programme Leader

Academic Staff List

How You Study

This BA (Hons) Illustration degree aims to help students to explore their personal direction, as an illustrator in preparation for a career in industry. By delving into both traditional and contemporary approaches to illustration, this course deals not just with 'what it is', but also what you think it should be.

Tutors place an emphasis on experimentation, and on developing an ability to visually communicate with audiences by seeing relationships between image and text, or the spoken word. The course is also focused on helping students to contextualise the profession of illustration in relation to society.

Students are able to develop a professional portfolio of work by engaging with independent, collaborative, and industry-led briefs and projects, and by developing a range of professional skills that will serve them throughout your career.

The first year of study focuses on helping students develop visual and conceptual skills through drawing, painting, printmaking, collage, and associated digital, design, illustration, and thinking processes.

This is followed, in the second year, by the study of editorial and book illustration aimed at selected clients and audiences. During this year, ethically and culturally orientated issues and debates are explored.

In the final year, students may have the opportunity to respond to contemporary illustration briefs, including 'live' competitions. The focus is on enabling students to produce a portfolio that showcases their unique, individual abilities and a bespoke approach to illustration.

Studio practice is a key element of this course, and students will have the opportunity to spend a lot time in a creative studio environment. Teaching and learning experiences may include studio activities, peer groups, lectures, workshops, seminars, and group tutorials. Students can also benefit from face to face consultation with your tutor during portfolio reviews and around self-directed projects.

What You Need to Know

We want you to have all the information you need to make an informed decision on where and what you want to study. To help you choose the course that’s right for you, we aim to bring to your attention all the important information you may need. Our What You Need to Know page offers detailed information on key areas including contact hours, assessment, optional modules, and additional costs.

Find out More

An Introduction to Your Modules

† Some courses may offer optional modules. The availability of optional modules may vary from year to year and will be subject to minimum student numbers being achieved. This means that the availability of specific optional modules cannot be guaranteed. Optional module selection may also be affected by staff availability.

Contextual Studies 1 2023-24DES1001MLevel 42023-24This module is designed to introduce students to relevant concepts, debates, and case studies relating to the nature creativity and the creative process, as the basis for the development of a reflective creative practice. This aims to compliment and underpin the studio work students carry out with the programme-specific team during the rest of their programme of study.CoreDigital and Sequential Illustration 2023-24ILL1083MLevel 42023-24This module is designed to introduce students to a range of methodologies employed by illustrators when working with images in sequence. It explores the potential of using sequential imagery to communicate ideas and visual narrative. Students are exposed to examples of both the historical context and contemporary practice of visual sequences, pictorial progression and animation, across a range of genres. The module aims to provide students with an understanding of the way illustrators explore a range of visual solutions to a creative brief. Skills and understanding are developed through the creation of still and moving imagery using a range of media, materials, and technology. Students are encouraged to broaden their understanding of the ways that contemporary illustrators can use combinations of digital and analogue media and methods in the production of work. Fundamental issues concerning the production of still and moving digital imagery, animation, and sequential illustration are explored via project briefs. In addition, formal considerations such as composition, layout, structure, and presentation are also explored to enable informed decision making in the production of sequential illustrations.CoreDrawing and Process 2023-24ILL1084MLevel 42023-24The primary focus of this module is the development of essential drawing and making skills fundamental to the study and practice of illustration. The importance of observational drawing in image making cannot be overestimated and continues to underpin picture-making even when source imagery or imagined scenarios are utilised. Essential in understanding size, scale, perspective, and overall composition observational skills should be maintained throughout the programme of study and continue to inform practice in an established career in illustration. Throughout the module, students are required to focus on the language of visual representation via the study of the fundamentals of looking and recording visual phenomena. The module also examines accepted methods of figuration, visual codes, pictorial composition, and exploration of ideas associated with representation.CoreIntroduction to Illustration 2023-24ILL1085MLevel 42023-24This module is designed to allow students to explore and develop their practical skills while also developing an understanding of the process of illustration from idea generation to project realisation. Students are required to create illustrations using a range of appropriate media and approaches to convey content, messages, and narratives to specific audiences in a variety of contexts. Students are encouraged to develop and apply their awareness of the principals of picture making, pictorial language, semiotics, aesthetics, and visual narrative via project briefs that reveal the scope and reach of illustration practice.CoreAudience and Message 2024-25ILL2084MLevel 52024-25This module extends and challenges the framework of technical and creative skills that have been acquired in the exploration of narrative picture-making in previous and adjacent modules. It encourages students to creatively and practically employ divergent thinking, in addition to convergent thinking, in the manufacture of design solutions - specifically illustrative outcomes. The aim of this module is to facilitate an awareness of demographics, visual codes, and communication theory, in combination with the refinement of the practical skills. This understanding will be beneficial for students developing their own distinct visual signature in a competitive market place.CoreBooks and Storytelling 2024-25ILL2085MLevel 52024-25This module is designed to provide students with the opportunity to further develop their experiential understanding of the key principles underlying the creation and production of illustrated narrative structures. The module explores the fundamentals of professional illustration practice with primary focus on book illustration. It encourages the continuation of an exploration of materials, media, processes, techniques, and technologies appropriate to the execution of practical work. The overall aim is to establish knowledge and understanding of the principles of narrative structure and storytelling in illustrated books. Students are afforded the opportunity to build on prior knowledge and practice through intellectual examination and practical investigation into a range of genre, the further development and application of sequential illustration, the role of a character in a narrative structure, and formal continuity. Students will be encouraged to work creatively, employing a range of skills in order to make informed decisions in the materialisation of project briefs.CoreContextual Studies 2 2024-25DES2001MLevel 52024-25Building upon issues concerning the development of a reflective creative practice, Contextual Studies 2 introduces students to relevant concepts, debates, and case study examples concerning the professional, economic, and socio-cultural contexts of design within the creative industries. It will also discuss ethical issues as they relate to this professional context of the creative industries and shape the creative motivations of areas such as design activism, ecological orientations, and socially engaged creative practices. These themes and debates will form an overarching discussion of professional design practice.CoreThinking and Making 2024-25ILL2086MLevel 52024-25This module aims to further develop students' skills and understanding of the intellectual, creative, and practical processes necessary for the creation of content-centred imagery appropriate to the evolving illustration industry. The relationship between words and pictures is further explored through projects that encourage the development of playful and engaging word and image association techniques. Acknowledgement and appreciation of historical and contemporary illustration practice is further established and reinforced through lectures, seminars, group critiques and tutorials. Experimentation with a range of media, materials and processes beyond orthodox painting and drawing, is actively encouraged to extend and enhance the presentation of finished artwork.CoreContemporary Illustration 2025-26ILL3081MLevel 62025-26This module confirms and extends the multitude of working strategies applicable within contemporary illustration practice. A range of projects reflecting the breadth of contemporary illustration provides students the opportunity to apply their analytical and practical skills to visually interpret and communicate a multiplicity of complex themes, texts, and ideas within their artwork. Independent learning is encouraged to develop the necessary confidence required to produce engaging, individual solutions to set briefs.CoreContextual Studies 3 2025-26DES3001MLevel 62025-26Contextual Studies 3 is an independent research study module which takes the form either of a dissertation and/or a number of other options. The module offers students an opportunity to explore in depth a topic of their own choice, chosen generally, but not exclusively in relation to the practice and/or context of their programme-specific studies and studio practice.CoreNegotiated Illustration 2025-26ILL3082MLevel 62025-26This modules enables students to shape their learning according to their career aspirations, and academic and personal goals. Students elect an individual and personalised programme of study, establishing their own criteria outcomes with practical briefs. Emphasis is upon self-managed, confident, independent learning and the production of a portfolio of high-quality illustrations.CoreProfessionalism and Commissions 2025-26ILL3083MLevel 62025-26This module confirms understanding of the professional environment of illustration and empowers students to focus upon their own individual creative and professional development. Research based acquisition of information and knowledge, combined with refined, industry standard practical skills underpins the production of accomplished, complex and content centred illustrations. Students are expected to demonstrate competence in developing ideas and practical outcomes appropriate to the requirements of a client brief. The module is designed to outline the role of the client, the agent, the publisher, the audience and/or consumer. In addition, understanding, exploration and application of copyright, the Intellectual property framework, self-promotion, and a range of business practices involved in the illustration industry provide business and self-development skills that are essential to professional practice.Core

How you are assessed

As this course aims to develop a wide range of practical and intellectual skills, assessment is varied and includes presentations, written projects, individual and group practical work, projects, and portfolios, in addition to academic essays.

There are no formal end-of-year examinations. Throughout the degree, students are assessed through their production of practical and written work.

Assessment Feedback

The University of Lincoln's policy on assessment feedback aims to ensure that academics will return in-course assessments to students promptly - usually within 15 working days after the submission date.

Methods of Assessment

The way students are assessed on this course may vary for each module. Examples of assessment methods that are used include coursework for example including design project work and presentations; and written assignments. The weighting given to each assessment method may vary across each academic year. The University of Lincoln aims to ensure that staff return in-course assessments to students promptly.

Fees and Scholarships

Going to university is a life-changing step and it's important to understand the costs involved and the funding options available before you start. A full breakdown of the fees associated with this programme can be found on our course fees pages.

Course Fees

For eligible undergraduate students going to university for the first time, scholarships and bursaries are available to help cover costs. The University of Lincoln offers a variety of merit-based and subject-specific bursaries and scholarships. For full details and information about eligibility, visit our scholarships and bursaries pages.

Course-Specific Additional Costs


Students on the illustration programme are likely to incur some additional costs for specialist art materials throughout the duration of their three years of study.

Equipment and some specialist materials are supplied by the School, especially in respect to printmaking, 3D modelling, and Adobe Creative software suite, which enables the production of digital material. However, students will have to provide their own drawing materials, paper, pencils, sketchbooks etc. A materials list is provided at the beginning of the academic year. Students are not expected to buy everything immediately but build up an individual resource of materials suited to their interests and their project work.

Students can purchase art materials from the art shop located nearby in the Nicola de la Haye building. The course has recently increased its digital resources for students within the studio. However, blended learning approaches (a mixture of online and studio learning) allow students (where applicable) greater freedom to learn where and when they wish. In this way, students may wish to purchase a laptop, tablet and stylus, prior to or during their study depending on their personal approach to illustration production.

Study Visits

Students on this course may have the option to take part in international study visits. The University covers the costs of mandatory field trips , but students who choose to participate in optional study visits are expected to cover their own travel, accommodation, and general living costs.

Entry Requirements 2023-24

United Kingdom

A Level: BBC (112 UCAS Tariff points from a minimum of 3 A levels or equivalent qualifications).

International Baccalaureate: 29 points overall.

BTEC Extended Diploma: Distinction, Merit, Merit or equivalent.

T Level: Merit

Access to Higher Education Diploma: 45 Level 3 credits with a minimum of 112 UCAS Tariff points.

A combination of qualifications which may include A Levels, BTEC, EPQ, etc.

Applicants will also need at least three GCSEs at grade 4 (C) or above, which must include English. Equivalent Level 2 qualifications may be considered.

The University accepts a wide range of qualifications as the basis for entry. We will also consider applicants with extensive and relevant work experience and will give special individual consideration to those who do not meet the standard entry qualifications.


Non UK Qualifications:

If you have studied outside of the UK, and are unsure whether your qualification meets the above requirements, please visit our country pages for information on equivalent qualifications.

EU and Overseas students will be required to demonstrate English language proficiency equivalent to IELTS 6.0 overall, with a minimum of 5.5 in each element. For information regarding other English language qualifications we accept, please visit the English Requirements page

If you do not meet the above IELTS requirements, you may be able to take part in one of our Pre-sessional English and Academic Study Skills courses.

For applicants who do not meet our standard entry requirements, our Arts Foundation Year can provide an alternative route of entry onto our full degree programmes:

If you would like further information about entry requirements, or would like to discuss whether the qualifications you are currently studying are acceptable, please contact the Admissions team on 01522 886097, or email

Specialist Facilities

Through instilling in our design students a thoughtful and critical approach to the way they think about design and apply their creative skills, we aim to prepare them to be leaders in the creative industries.

The University of Lincoln has a comprehensive range of facilities designed to provide a supportive environment for creative practitioners. Students have regular access to workshops, labs, studios, and industry-standard equipment, as well as highly knowledgeable technicians. This environment can help students to develop their knowledge and skills, and complements our purpose-built design studios.

Explore Our Facilities

Student Design Awards

Lincoln School of Design students have a long history of winning and being shortlisted for international and national student design competitions, and the last few years have been no exception.

Find out More

Student Award winners with their certificates


Applicants will be invited to submit a digital portfolio of work. Portfolios should include plenty of observational drawings as well as evidence of creative exploration, visual problem solving, ideation, and experimentation with a range of different media and materials. Please also include some of your sketchbook pages so that we can see evidence of your developmental work. Work should demonstrate a good contextual knowledge of illustration and how it differs from fine art and graphic design. You may also wish to include evidence of written work, such as a recent essay.

Portfolio tips

  • Label your work and order it in a logical way
  • Feel free to include anything that isn't quite finished or is work in progress, if you feel it showcases your creative style and interests.
  • Portfolios should be in PDF format and no longer than 30 pages.
  • Please title your work with your full name and UCAS number
Ellie Roe, Illustration graduate

"One of the key ways the course prepared me for freelance life is the way they let us manage our own time and work independently, as time management and independence are key skills for freelancers."

Ellie Roe, Illustration graduate

Career Opportunities

Illustration graduates have gone on to develop successful international careers in illustration and art direction for advertising agencies, publishing houses, in graphic novels, zines, comics, as well as book illustration. They have gone on to work in games design, storyboarding for cinema, graphic design, and animation. An increasing number of entrepreneurial graduates have launched their own businesses and pursued careers in the broader creative industries.

Visit Us in Person

The best way to find out what it is really like to live and learn at Lincoln is to join us for one of our Open Days. Visiting us in person is important and will help you to get a real feel for what it might be like to study here.

Book Your Place

Prioritising Face-to-Face Teaching

At the University of Lincoln, we strive to ensure our students’ experience is engaging, supportive, and academically challenging. Throughout the Coronavirus pandemic, we have adapted to Government guidance to keep our students, staff, and community safe. All remaining Covid-19 legal restrictions in England were lifted in February 2022 under the Government’s Plan for Living with Covid-19, and we have embraced a safe return to in-person teaching on campus. Where appropriate, face-to-face teaching is enhanced by the use of digital tools and technology and may be complemented by online opportunities where these support learning outcomes.

We are fully prepared to adapt our plans if changes in Government guidance make this necessary, and we will endeavour to keep current and prospective students informed. For more information about how we are working to keep our community safe, please visit our coronavirus web pages.

The University intends to provide its courses as outlined in these pages, although the University may make changes in accordance with the Student Admissions Terms and Conditions.