Our January entry (Spring Term) BA (Hons) degrees allow students to study flexibly at home, in the studio or at one of our dedicated international host institutions. You'll complete your first year of study by the beginning of August, progressing straight into your second year in September 2021 after a summer break.
How it works
We are excited to offer a selection of BA (Hons) creative courses through our new distance learning provision, starting in January 2021. Our vision for excellence in art and design distance learning, under the banner of our Connected Campus, affords students flexibility in their studies whilst being a valued part of our community.
These three-year courses all share a common distance-learning first year, while specialising in a chosen subject, then progressing into named awards in year two and three. The first year of your January Entry BA (Hons) Illustration course can be studied at home, in your own studio space, or at our dedicated international host institution. You will begin in January 2021, and your studies will finish in July 2021, allowing you to immediately progress on to your second year of study in September 2021.
What will I study?
Illustration has the power to characterise moments, evoke emotion and propose alternate realities. From indie publishing and children’s literature, through to comic books and commercial products - this course will empower you to make your mark. Our expert staff will support you in developing professional skills including creative problem-solving, project management, and working to briefs and deadlines.
The illustration is a competitive design discipline which requires high levels of commitment. Our expert staff will support you in developing professional skills including creative problem-solving, project management, and working to briefs and deadlines. We place a high value on imagination and energy, alongside conceptual thinking and idea development, and we will support you in honing your technical skills and knowledge of contemporary trends.
Throughout the programme, you will extend your drawing skills to develop your personal visual language and identity. You’ll explore traditional and forward-looking image-making in different contexts, including editorial, publishing (book design and illustration, comics and graphic novels), surface pattern and print, moving image, graphic design and design-to-sell products (zines, toys, stationery, limited edition prints, and more). We’ll also challenge you to develop a culturally curious attitude and be sensitive to the ethical responsibilities that illustration comes with.
Graphic Communication & Illustration - Plymouth College of Art | Subject Trailer from Plymouth College of Art on Vimeo.
How will I learn?
Our students benefit from high contact time with our dedicated Illustration team, who provide expert mentoring from an impressive range of specialisms including independent publishing, editorial, children’s books, printmaking, graphic design and art direction.UK students can enjoy access to our specialist facilities in Plymouth, International students can access facilities available at our dedicated host institution, based in China. Access to specialist facilities can support your studies, however, it is not essential to succeed in this course.
You will work within a supportive and challenging environment, to explore your subject both as an individual and in interdisciplinary teams. You’ll approach independent work with a critical mindset, considering the design, manufacture, marketing and distribution of your own original artwork, whilst seeking opportunities to collaborate with professional designers, creative directors, and animators to realise your ideas in charming new ways.
As well as introducing you to commercial practice, we also encourage you to explore your own ideas through self-directed and authorial approaches which will extend the boundaries of your visual language. As you develop your interests you can choose to tailor your study to a range of creative specialisms, including editorial illustration, children’s books, independent publishing, printmaking, graphic design and art direction.
From designing for Lego to writing and illustrating children’s books and gaining cult status in the world of independent apparel, our graduates enjoy diverse careers in the booming field of illustration, and this industry focus is truly embedded in our teaching. Your studies will be complemented by an impressive programme of visiting lecturers, publishers and manufacturers including Hallmark Cards. Sessions by visitors are recorded wherever possible and shared with the college community.
You’ll also enter your work into prestigious competitions such as the Macmillan Prize, Penguin & Puffin Design Awards, and New Designer of the Year; and benefit from opportunities to secure work placements and respond to live briefs from industry - establishing an enviable network of professional contacts over time.
What will I have access to?
Our UK students can enjoy access to resources both traditional and future-facing, including screen-printing and letterpress workshops, 2D and 3D animation studios, state-of-the-art digital production equipment, and creative software such as Adobe Creative Cloud, including After Effects for motion graphics and Indesign and Illustrator for page layout and vector work.
International students can access facilities available at our dedicated host institutions, based in China. Access to specialist facilities can support your studies, however, it is not essential to succeed in this course.
Although many of our students do come in with top grades and high UCAS points, these aren’t necessarily essential for entry. We typically ask for a minimum of 112 UCAS points, but we understand that talented artists, designers and makers can have a wide range of relevant strengths and skills beyond formal qualifications. We’re just as interested in exploring your portfolio and discussing your creative experiences as we are in seeing your grades.
We recognise the value of a variety of qualifications and relevant experience and welcome applications from students who have followed less traditional routes. We also accept a range of international qualifications and will look at each application individually.
Course and Units
The School of Design + Communication acknowledges the rich history of the design relative to industry and manufacturing, whilst embracing radical new forms of design as modes of intervention, play and transformation. By utilising new technologies, identifying emerging markets and defining more sustainable methods in their work, we bring purposeful design into everyday lives to solve the most urgent issues we face as a community and society.
Study with us and you’ll expand your critical approach alongside developing skills in research and analysis. Our creative programmes encourage diversity in thinking and making - from practical applications through to reflective, analytical writing.
We provide a dynamic, stimulating learning environment from which to test new models of practise while investing in the rich relationship between practice and theory - based on the potential in material and visual exploration, collaborative working, cross-fertilisation of ideas and the exploration of histories and contemporary contexts.
*Please note unit details listed are correct at time of publication and indicative content only. If you have any questions about course content and structure please email email@example.com
Module 1: Academic Skills for Creative Learning
Module 2: Exploring Practice
Module 3: Contextual Studies
Module 4: Professional Practice
Module 5: Amplifying Practice
Module 6: Interdisciplinary Practice
BAIL201 Sequential Image-making
BAIL202 Independent and Self Promotional Practices
BAIL203 Professional Practice & Professional Development Plan (PDP) 2
GCOP200 Contexts of Practice 2
BAIL301 Research and Experimentation
BAIL302 Creative and Professional Development
BAIL303 Creative and Professional Conclusion
BAIL304 Contexts of Practice 3
Careers & alumni
We are committed to your professional development and encourage our students to regularly self-reflect and provide peer-to-peer feedback. As one of our students, you’ll build confidence, learn to recognise your personal strengths and identify transferable skills - all essential attributes for employment and a sustainable practice beyond graduating.
During the programme, you’ll get the opportunity to work on live project briefs and benefit from a regular programme of visiting lecturers who work in the industry. We have developed strong industry links, such as with greetings card manufacturers Hallmark, who frequently offer students valuable internships, giving them fantastic vocational opportunities as well as connecting them directly with prestigious industry professionals.
Our strong international connections also allow our students to take a semester of study with one of our partner institutions within Europe and North America, and in turn, we welcome overseas students from those institutions to join us in our studios, creating an exciting cultural exchange.​
Children’s Book Illustrators
Mike Coombs 2014 graduate: Junior Designer and Concept Artist at Design by Touch – working on toy design and invention.drawcrowd.com/mikecoombsart
Jordan Wray 2014 graduate: Employed by Tiger Print and represented by Astound, New York.cargocollective.com/jordanwrayillustration
Tobey (Mole) Brown 2011 graduate: Designer for Lego at their headquarters in Denmark.
Lize Meddings 2012 graduate: Freelance Illustrator and zine-maker – Sad Ghost Club.facebook.com/LizeMeddingsIllustration
James Rae 2015 graduate: design, illustration & animation for Papaya Pods in Barcelona.jamesraeillustration.com
Jack Viant 2015 graduate: Freelance Illustrator.jiantillustration.co.uk
Sam Thorne 2014 graduate: Junior Art Director at social media marketing agency 33 Seconds – clients include Amazon and Peugeot.samuelbthorne.tumblr.com
Stu Harmer 2014 graduate: Freelance Illustrator for Newaza Apparel (Los Angeles), StickerBomb (NY), Hunger Club and more.
Access to specialist resources will support your learning but is not essential to succeed on the BA (Hons) Illustration course, starting in January 2021.
Upon progressing to the second year of study, all Spring Entry students will be based on-campus and have full access to studios, equipment and seminars. With excellent access to technical support, professional studios and audiovisual equipment, you will gain unrivalled access to the full spectrum of art, design and media-making facilities on-site.
Film and Photography Studios
Our students make full use of our industry-standard dedicated studio spaces – including our infinity cove, green screen, and specialist sound studio (with Foley pit and vocal recording booth) – plus our stop-motion suite, our darkrooms, and plenty of individual edit suites, all up-to-date with the latest industry-standard software, etc.
The Learning Lab comprises several teams who design and deliver activities, resources and workshops to support the academic and professional development of all HE students. Find out about The Library, Careers, Learning Technologies & IT Support and more.
Drawing Studios and Drawing Lab
With north-facing windows, a ‘methods and process’ area, individual studio space and a specialist life-drawing studio, our impressive, open-plan, triple-height Drawing Studio is a huge space, perfect for many different activities and specialisms.
Animation and Fame Art Studios
Our Animation Studio is well equipped with 25 x PC Computer Workstations with 4K monitors, Dragonframe Animation Digital Compositing Software and the full Adobe Creative Suite.
Our ‘fabrication laboratory’ is kitted-out with the latest in digital design technologies – from 3D printers to 3D scanners, a vinyl cutter, CNC milling machine, CNC router and laser cutter. It adds a whole new level of opportunity for students across all creative walks of life.
Imprint Lab and Digital Print Bureau
Our Digital Print Bureau offers affordable and quick print services for all our students who are looking for anything from large-format or solvent printing, to photo printing, scanning or vinyl cutting, and a wide range of finishing services.
Multimedia Lab & Equipment Resource Centre
Our Multimedia Lab offers you the kit and expertise to become skilled in a wide range of processes and techniques across the fields of photo media, moving image and sound.
Woods and Plastics Workshop
Alongside the latest in new technology, we value the long-standing traditions of making in wood and plastics – and have developed an excellently-resourced workshop that is open to all our students. It boasts a wide range of kit, including an impressive CNC router, plenty of saws and lathes, and strip-heaters, as well as greenwood-working facilities.
With views out to sea and 35 metres of print tables to encourage experimentation, our Printed Textile Design Studios also boast a fantastic Mimaki fabric printer, digital embroidery resources, industrial sewing machines, sublimation printers, a dye lab, heat presses, a tufting gun and a Mac suite. It’s got to be one of the best-printed textile workshops in the UK.
In the Material Lab, you will be encouraged to acquire haptic – touch-based – and manipulative skills and gain an understanding of material properties.