BA (Hons) Illustration

100% of BA (Hons) Illustration students at Lincoln agreed that staff are good at explaining things and that they had opportunities to apply what they had learnt, according to the National Student Survey 2018.

The Course

Illustrations represent a personal visual language, combining elements of colour, composition, and pictorial space to illuminate, decorate, and entertain across a range of media.

With established links to the Association of Illustrators, this degree aims to enable students to develop their own unique visual signature style. It encourages them to prepare for the competitive world of professional illustration.

The course is delivered by academics who have professional backgrounds in illustration and other related visual communication disciplines. This includes Darren Diss and Christopher Roantree. They maintain active professional links and offer a practical first hand insight into the professional world of illustration and visual communication.

Students have the opportunity to develop a large portfolio of work designed to showcase creative skills and demonstrate an ability to engage with current illustration practice.

To help students with their studies, they are currently provided with free access to Adobe Creative Cloud and Autodesk software, and

The BA (Hons) Illustration degree values analogue methods of image production alongside contemporary digital methods. In addition to traditional picture-making, the course introduces the conceptual and technical skills appropriate to a career in illustration and the broader creative industries. There is a balance of focus on creative freedom, target audiences, and professional practice development.

The first year focuses on enabling students to develop visual and conceptual skills through drawing, painting, printmaking, collage, and the application of a range of associated processes.

This is followed in the second year with the study of editorial and book illustration aimed at a range of clients and audiences. Ethical issues and other cultural debates are explored through research and the production of an extensive body of work.

In the third and final year, students have opportunities 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 personal style.

Contact Hours and Reading for a Degree

Students on this programme learn from academic staff who are often engaged in world-leading or internationally excellent research or professional practice. Contact time can be in workshops, practical sessions, seminars or lectures and may vary from module to module and from academic year to year. Tutorial sessions and project supervision can take the form of one-to-one engagement or small group sessions. Some courses offer the opportunity to take part in external visits and fieldwork.

It is still the case that students read for a degree and this means that in addition to scheduled contact hours, students are required to engage in independent study. This allows you to read around a subject and to prepare for lectures and seminars through wider reading, or to complete follow up tasks such as assignments or revision. As a general guide, the amount of independent study required by students at the University of Lincoln is that for every hour in class you are expected to spend at least two to three hours in independent study.

Contextual Studies 1 (Core)
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Contextual Studies 1 (Core)

This module is designed to introduce students to relevant concepts, debates, and case study examples concerning 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.

Digital and Sequential Illustration (Core)
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Digital and Sequential Illustration (Core)

This 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.

Drawing and Process (Core)
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Drawing and Process (Core)

The 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.

Introduction to Illustration (Core)
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Introduction to Illustration (Core)

This 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.

Audience and Message (Core)
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Audience and Message (Core)

This 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 the module is to develop both technical and craft skills and exercise sound critical and reflective judgement. Appropriateness of pictorial content for specific markets and identified target audiences is promoted as a key component for successful illustration. The aim is to facilitate an awareness of demographics, visual codes, and communication theory, in combination with the refinement of the practical skills.

Books and Storytelling (Core)
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Books and Storytelling (Core)

This 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.

Contextual Studies 2 (Core)
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Contextual Studies 2 (Core)

Building 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.

Thinking and Making (Core)
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Thinking and Making (Core)

This 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. Thinking and making skills are developed alongside technical experience.

Students can employ observational drawing in the production of developmental work to facilitate informed picture making. Experimentation with a range of media, materials and process, beyond orthodox painting and drawing, is actively encouraged to extend and enhance the presentation of finished artwork.

Contemporary Illustration (Core)
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Contemporary Illustration (Core)

This 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.

Contextual Studies 3 (Core)
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Contextual Studies 3 (Core)

Contextual 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.

Negotiated Illustration (Core)
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Negotiated Illustration (Core)

This module requires students to accept responsibility for identifying and pursuing their own academic and personal goals within the subject that will accordingly govern the specific content of the module. This should be in line with long-term career aspirations and could be tailored to any specific aspect of Illustration.

Students elect an individual and personalised programme of study, establishing their own criteria and outcomes to practical, self-authored brief(s) that enable an individually focused, sustained period of study. Some may follow a distinctly personal agenda while other students opt for recognised methods of working practice across the broad and diverse subject of illustration. Emphasis is upon self-managed, confident, independent learning, and the production of a portfolio of high-quality illustrations.

Professionalism and Commissions (Core)
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Professionalism and Commissions (Core)

This 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.

† 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.

Students are assessed on the basis of submitted coursework comprising of practical and written submissions as well as verbal presentations. Formative feedback is ongoing and advises you on the progress of your work. It takes the form of informal group and individual discussions.

Verbal and written feedback provides students with guidance on their performance during each module. Summative assessment occurs at the end of each module. Student work is assessed against clearly defined criteria and learning outcomes.

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, such as written assignments, reports or dissertations; practical exams, such as presentations, performances or observations; and written exams, such as formal examinations or in-class tests. 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.

Portfolio Review

Successful applicants will be invited to a portfolio review, where they will have the opportunity to go through their portfolio with a member of the academic team. This will form the basis for a discussion of your current interests in illustration and how you would like to develop your ideas and practice at Lincoln.

The portfolio should include plenty of observational drawings as well as evidence of creative exploration and experimentation with a range of other media and materials. Please also bring some of your sketchbooks, so that we can see evidence of your development work.

You should also be able to demonstrate some knowledge of illustration and how it differs from fine art and graphic design. You should have evidence of critical thinking through the written word and be able to talk about some practitioners of the subject and why you appreciate their illustration work. You may also wish to bring evidence of written work, such as a recent essay.

This course has relationships with the Association of Illustrators, a range of professional practitioners, and specialist artists' agents.

Study Abroad

Students on this course also 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. 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.

Guest Speakers

In addition a programme of guest speakers can provide students with access to contemporary practitioners, illustration agencies, and professionals within the broader creative industries.


To help students with their studies, they are currently provided with free access to Adobe Creative Cloud and Autodesk software, and

Student as Producer

Student as Producer is a model of teaching and learning that encourages academics and undergraduate students to collaborate on research activities. It is a programme committed to learning through doing.

The Student as Producer initiative was commended by the QAA in our 2012 review and is one of the teaching and learning features that makes the Lincoln experience unique.


Some courses offer students the opportunity to undertake placements. When students are on an optional placement in the UK or overseas or studying abroad, they will be required to cover their own transport and accommodation and meals costs. Placements can range from a few weeks to a full year if students choose to undertake an optional sandwich year in industry (where available). Students are encouraged to obtain placements in industry independently. Tutors may provide support and advice to students who require it during this process.

Tuition Fees

Full-time £9,250 per level* £15,900 per level**
Part-time £77.00 per credit point†  N/A
Placement (optional) Exempt Exempt


Full-time £9,250 per level £15,900 per level
Part-time £77.00 per credit point†  N/A
Placement (optional) Exempt Exempt

†Please note that not all courses are available as a part-time option.

* UK/EU: The University undergraduate tuition fee may increase year on year in line with government policy. This will enable us to continue to provide the best possible educational facilities and student experience.

** International: The fees quoted are for one year of study. For continuing students fees are subject to an increase of 2% each year and rounded to the nearest £100.

Fees for enrolment on additional modules

Tuition fees for additional activity are payable by the student/sponsor and charged at the equivalent £ per credit point rate for each module. Additional activity includes:

- Enrolment on modules that are in addition to the validated programme curriculum

- Enrolment on modules that are over and above the full credit diet for the relevant academic year

- Retakes of modules as permitted by the Board of Examiners

- In exceptional circumstances, students who are required to re-take modules can do so on an 'assessment only' basis. This means that students do not attend timetabled teaching events but are required to take the assessments/examinations associated with the module(s). The 'assessment only' fee is half of the £ per credit point fee for each module.

Exceptionally, tuition fees may not be payable where a student has been granted a retake with approved extenuating circumstances.

For more information and for details about funding your study, please see our UK/EU Fees & Funding pages or our International funding and scholarship pages. [] []

Additional Costs

For each course students may find that there are additional costs. These may be with regard to the specific clothing, materials or equipment required, depending on their subject area. Some courses provide opportunities for students to undertake field work or field trips. Where these are compulsory, the cost for the travel, accommodation and meals may be covered by the University and so is included in the fee. Where these are optional students will normally (unless stated otherwise) be required to pay their own transportation, accommodation and meal costs.

With regards to text books, the University provides students who enrol with a comprehensive reading list and our extensive library holds either material or virtual versions of the core texts that students are required to read. However, students may prefer to purchase some of these for themselves and will therefore be responsible for this cost.

Other 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 suite which enables the production of digital material. 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 reserve of the sort of materials they will increasingly tend to use. Students can purchase art materials from the art shop located in the Nicola de la Haye building.

Study Visits

Students on this course also 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.

GCE Advanced Levels: BBC

International Baccalaureate: 29 points overall

BTEC Extended Diploma: Distinction, Merit, Merit

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.

EU and International students whose first language is not English will require English Language IELTS 6.0 with no less than 5.5 in each element, or equivalent

The University accepts a wide range of qualifications as the basis for entry and will consider applicants who have a mix of qualifications.

We 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.

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

Unconditional Offer Scheme

The University of Lincoln Unconditional Offer Scheme has been created to identify outstanding undergraduate applicants who we think would excel at Lincoln and make a significant contribution to our academic community.

The University of Lincoln takes a holistic contextual view, looking at students in the round, including all the information supplied in their application and any additional relevant assessment required, such as a portfolio, or interview. The qualities required for success are therefore not exclusively academic, and students’ drive, ambition, creativity, and potential are important factors in those considered for the scheme.

Applicants selected for the scheme, who commit to the University of Lincoln as their first choice of university, will receive an unconditional offer. We expect students in receipt of an unconditional offer to continue to apply themselves in their studies, both at school and when they join our academic community here at Lincoln. In previous years students who were selected and joined through the Lincoln unconditional offer scheme have shown very good success rate in their studies.

Please remember that as you may receive a number of offers from the universities which you have applied to, you should take your time to consider all of the offers that you receive and carefully choose the university and course which is right for you. There is no need for you to make a decision ahead of the deadline and we would recommend that you wait to receive all of the responses from your chosen universities so that you can take a well-informed decision.

We expect all our offer holders to continue to apply themselves in their studies, both at school and when they join our academic community here at Lincoln. Your exam results will be important for your own personal satisfaction and also for your future career and life opportunities.

Find out more about the Unconditional Offer Scheme

Learn from Experts

Throughout this degree, students may receive tuition from professors, senior lecturers, lecturers, researchers, practitioners, visiting experts or technicians, and they may also be supported in their learning by other students.

Chloe Twells - PL Illustration

Chloe Twells

Programme Leader

Chloe Twells is a fine artist, writer, curator, and senior lecturer in art and design history at the University of Lincoln. She works across a range of art media including large scale drawing, sculpture, photography, installation, super-8 films, sound, performance, and text. Her work has become increasingly informed by a range of theoretical discourses, focusing on formalist concerns such as scale, location and materials.

Your Future Career

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.

Careers Service

The University Careers and Employability Team offer qualified advisors who can work with students to provide tailored, individual support and careers advice during their time at the University. As a member of our alumni we also offer one-to-one support in the first year after completing a course, including access to events, vacancy information and website resources; with access to online vacancies and virtual resources for the following two years.

This service can include one-to-one coaching, CV advice and interview preparation to help you maximise our graduates future opportunities.

The service works closely with local, national and international employers, acting as a gateway to the business world.

Visit our Careers Service pages for further information

Ellie Roe Ilustration

I am just getting on my feet as a freelance illustrator, designer and storyboard artist. 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


At Lincoln, we constantly invest in our campus as we aim to provide the best learning environment for our undergraduates. Whatever the area of study, the University strives to ensure students have access to specialist equipment and resources, to develop the skills, which they may need in their future career.

Designed by world-renowned architect Rick Mather, the award-winning Nicola de la Haye and Peter de Wint building provides a creative and technical hub for courses related to art, architecture, and design. The building features its own industry-standard studios and workshops, as well as a gallery, cafe and social areas.

A feature of the BA (Hons) Illustration is the value placed on analogue as well as digital methods of image production. The printmaking studio has recently been further equipped with a nipping press that is used in relief printmaking and bookbinding. This adds to the facilities enabling etching and screen printing. Students can also access a Mac suite offering a high specification digital print facility, and an Illustration Studio which includes Mac workstations and scanners.

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.