This course is a creative adventure which introduces you to an exploration of communication through image making and conceptual thinking.

Central to this will be your development and understanding of skills and processes using traditional and new media, theory and production methods. It offers fantastic opportunities for you to become an innovative illustrator and creative practitioner, learning to build and manage your own professional practice.


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.

You will use our excellent links with professional illustrators and creatives, agencies and experts across the creative industries to develop a professional focus to your personal practice through live projects, competition briefs and industrial experience. We will help you generate your own networking, collaboration and exhibition opportunities.

On graduation you will have an awareness of the professional opportunities available to you and the confidence and understanding to make informed decisions about your future.

The overall aim of the course is to help individuals to develop into independent, creative thinkers with the ability to deliver critically and visually engaged work within the professional context of contemporary illustration and the wider creative industries.


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

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course details

What You'll Study

Year One — You’ll explore a range of approaches to the communication of ideas through image making, with an emphasis on experimentation and critical 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 and play 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 image, media and visual language. You’ll apply your work to industrially relevant contexts and products while studying the theory and processes behind your practice. You’ll also learn essential business skills and explore the postgraduate opportunities open to you.

Year Three — You’ll focus on your own professional ambitions and further develop the business-related skills required for becoming a professional illustrator. You’ll negotiate your own creative projects and activities including competitions, live briefs, industrial research and experience; building a portfolio which reflects our focus. There will be opportunities to collaborate with other students from this and other courses, learning 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:

  • D&AD New Blood One To Watch Award 2016, 2017, 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. 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. This equates to 40 hours of study per week throughout the academic year.

For every 100 hours of study, approximately 25 hours are delivered as taught or staff-led sessions and the remaining hours are a combination of other types of supported learning and independent study.

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 publishing and editorial (children’s and adult books, newspapers and magazines, and digital and online platforms), public and mural art, 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. At the start of the first year you will be provided with a starter kit of equipment and materials that will help you during the first few months of the course. You will be provided with basic materials to help you complete set briefs. As you progress through the course, you will incur additional costs depending on the level and complexity of the work you are making and the materials you use.

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 & 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

At Level 6 the University will pay a contribution to the cost of materials, preparing your portfolio and/or exhibiting your work professionally.

Computers & Digital Equipment

Our course is offered using a blended learning model which means you will need to access some course materials and video conference using a computer or mobile de-vice (eg laptop, tablet or smartphone). If you are intending to buy a computer for your studies we suggest that you wait until you commence your studies. You will quickly find out what you need and what you 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. If you do not have access to a mobile device and are unable to afford one you may be eligible for further support from our hardship fund, more information can be found here.

You will have access to a range of digital equipment in course studios and central re-sources throughout your studies. You may decide to purchase your own equipment as your studies progress which may result in additional costs. These may include:

  • Wacom drawing tablet £70-£300
  • Mac or PC £500-£1,800
  • External hard drive £50-£120
  • Digital camera £100-£250

Books, Online Subscriptions & Competitions

You will have access to an extensive range of books, text and online resources provided by the University. There will also be opportunities to submit to national and inter-national competitions and live projects as part of your course. These resources are directly related 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 com-petitions. These may cost up to an additional £100 per year.

Educational Visits & Off-Site Activities

Due to current travel restrictions and the uncertainties caused by the pandemic no residential trips are planned for the autumn 2020 term. This situation will be assessed and reviewed as the course progresses so that opportunities for educational visits further afield can be explored. Costs for such trips are in addition to other costs but attendance is not mandatory.

We provide support for undergraduate students dependent upon their financial circumstances. Visit Undergraduate Financial Support 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

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


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"Illustration is the visual link between seeing and knowing. It is storytelling, reportage, protest and speculation."
Patrick Holley, Course Leader
BA (Hons) Illustration