Enrol on a creative journey that explores communication, image-making, and conceptual thinking. You will have opportunities to refine your talent and carve out your niche as an exceptional illustrator while gaining the professional skills needed to meet the demands of the creative industries.  

This course aims to help you develop into an independent, creative thinker with the ability to deliver critically and visually engaging work. You will do this within the professional context of contemporary illustration and the wider creative industries. This is a growing industry with demand in, for example, music and sports design, fashion, and comic and children’s book illustration. 

Central to the course is your development, understanding, and use of traditional and new media, theory, and production methods. There are fantastic opportunities for you to grow as a creative practitioner with access to new technologies and industry-standard software such as Photoshop and Illustrator.

You will have opportunities to apply your skills across a range of illustrative applications, including, but not limited to, editorial, publishing, packaging, product, print, music design, advertising, character, and animation. We support you to generate networking and exhibition opportunities, collaborating on multi-disciplinary projects with other students in our large workshops and breakout spaces.

You will benefit from excellent links with professional illustrators and creatives, agencies, and experts across the arts industries. Live projects, competition briefs, and industrial experience will enhance your awareness of the professional opportunities available to you.


Apply now

Please apply direct to the University for our BA (Hons) Illustration course using the links below.

Home applicants

Click here to apply via UCAS

International applicants

Click here to apply

If you need any assistance completing the form please contact the Admissions team at admissions@leeds-art.ac.uk.

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course details

What You'll Study

Year One – Explore a range of approaches to the communication of ideas through image-making, with an emphasis on experimentation and reflection. You’ll develop your practical, theoretical, and contextual understanding of the discipline through projects and seminars alongside workshops. There is an ongoing focus on discovery through making, supported by a lively programme of studio briefs.

Year Two – You’ll further explore a range of approaches to communicating ideas, concepts and messages through processes and visual language. Apply your work to industrially relevant contexts and products while studying the theory and methods behind your practice. You will also learn essential business skills and explore the postgraduate opportunities available to you. Likewise, you will grow in confidence and understanding to make informed decisions about your future.

Year Three – In your final year you will focus on your professional ambitions and further develop the business-related skills required for becoming a professional creative. You’ll negotiate your own creative projects and activities such as competitions, live briefs, industrial research, and work experience. Building a portfolio that reflects your focus and talents is essential as you learn to respond to the demands of the creative industries.

Work Experience

Work experience covers a broad range of activities and students are encouraged to undertake work placements during their time at university. As well as guidance from the course team our Careers, Employability and Enterprise team offer support that enhances employability skills and underpins engagement with industry.


Recent student successes include:

  • World Illustration Awards – Shortlist 2021
  • Penguin Student Design Award – 2nd Place winner
  • Carmelite Prize – special mention 2020
  • D&AD New Blood One To Watch Award 2018 and 2019
  • YCN Award Winners - 2016 and 2018
  • Commendation for book illustrations submitted for Pan Macmillan’s ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ 150th birthday
  • Illustrated book ‘Charley’s Kidney Transplant’ published by Leeds NHS Trust
  • ‘Warhorse’ book illustration - House of Illustration (Shortlisted & Exhibited)
  • Digital Art Story Telling - Winner of the International Creative Contest

Course Specification

Contact Hours and Teaching/Learning Methods

Undergraduate degree courses at Leeds Arts University are delivered and supported through a range of teaching and learning strategies. Courses are made up of modules, these are elements of study that are taught and assessed separately. Each module carries a clearly identified credit value, the accumulation of which will allow you to progress to the next level of the course. Around 100 hours of learning are expected for every ten credits of the course. Each level (year) of the course is made up of 120 credits and therefore requires 1200 hours of learning. Teaching is split over 2 semesters; each semester has 13 weeks of teaching and 2 weeks of assessment. 

For further information visit Undergraduate teaching & learning at Leeds Arts University.

Destination Careers

Graduates can work as freelancers, as employed illustrators or as part of a creative collective/studio. Careers include illustration for commercial, alternative and children’s publishing, editorial, site specific works, advertising, entertainment, packaging, product and retail. They may also work for illustration agencies as Studio Managers or Creative Directors. Graduates may also continue to postgraduate study. 

Entry Requirements

We’re looking for students with the best potential to succeed - irrespective of their background. That’s why we welcome a wide range of qualifications and experience.

Click here to view our entry requirements

Tuition Fees and Other Costs

Tuition Fees

Our current fees are listed here

Other Costs

Further costs of study are related largely to the costs of materials and depend very much on how individual students choose to respond to University briefs.

The costs below are the result of asking our students to state how much they spend during the year and creating an average, as such they are indicative only.

Equipment and Materials

  • Level 4 (First Year)
    Materials, printing etc. £150
  • Level 5 (Second Year)
    Materials, printing etc. £150-£250
  • Level 6 (Third Year)
    Materials, printing etc. £150-£400

The University pays a contribution to the costs of materials each year of study along with a further payment at Level 6 to help prepare your portfolio and/or promote your work professionally.

Computers and Digital Equipment

Teaching and learning are supported through access to some online events and learning materials. This might include visiting speakers or the chance to review lectures that have been recorded. The University also uses a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) to support learning. There are a range of computer facilities across the University available to access Monday to Saturday including weekday evenings. If you are intending to buy a computer we suggest you wait until you start your course. You will quickly find out what you do and don’t need. The Course Team will be able to offer you advice on what to buy and where to purchase it from, based on your creative needs and budget.

Books, Online Subscriptions and Competitions

There is an extensive range of books, text and online resources available through our library. There will also be opportunities to submit to national and international com-petitions and live projects as part of your course. These resources are directly re-lated to your studies and highlighted in modules as you progress through the course. Throughout your time on the course you may choose to purchase your own copies of key texts, subscribe to online networks and enter non-compulsory competitions. These may cost up to an additional £100 per year.

Educational Visits and Off-Site Activities

Educational visits to enhance your experience may take place throughout the course and can range from a visit to a UK conference, exhibition or gallery, to a European or international study trip. All trips requiring a student financial contribution are optional and costs will always be kept as affordable as possible. We do not guarantee that we will run international visits. The decision is made annually based on availability, cost and the number of students required to make the trip viable.

We provide support for undergraduate students dependent upon their financial circumstances. Visit Undergraduate Finance for further information.

Terms & Conditions and Key Information

International Opportunities / Visiting and exchange students

We are delighted to welcome undergraduate visiting and exchange students from Europe and around the world who would like to spend a semester or a full academic year taking credits from our exciting range of courses. You will be fully integrated into the academic and social life of the University during a period of full-time supervised study and your credits transferred back to your home institution.

You can join us through programmes such as Erasmus+, individual university partnerships or as an independent applicant. Please see here for more information and how to apply.

Leeds Arts University students interested in spending some time overseas can find information on the international opportunities available during your course here.

Questions? Contact international@leeds-art.ac.uk

3 Years
Study Mode
Full Time
Term Starts
Institution Name
Leeds Arts University
Institution Code
Awarded by
Leeds Arts University


BA (Hons) Illustration

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