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What is Illustration MA?

Creatively develop your illustration practise, and discover your mature, insightful authorial voice.

A central element of this course is the application and testing of communicative drawing, as well as drawing with identified purpose and intent. It’s an intense and productive process of enquiry and investigation, focusing on the acquisition of fluency, clarity and coherence in expressing visual narrative.

The techniques and technologies which form the practice-based mechanisms of illustration are also key, with the aim of achieving a dynamic, sophisticated and confident application of process. You will actively explore printmaking, digital painting, creative software and all forms of natural media.

Drawing will also form a methodology for research and investigation, supported by lectures and workshops, and delivered by illustration staff who have a wide range of industry and publishing experience.

Study style

You’ll learn through studio practice, lectures, workshops and reflective study. Assessment is 100% by coursework.

You’ll be guided in intellectual and critical enquiry through practice, lectures and reflective study. This course encourages enterprise and promotion alongside your own personal development. You’ll have opportunities to print, publish and disseminate your work in collaborative and personal publications for our imprint, ‘The Pittville Press,’ which is actively promoted at book fairs and publishing events. A series of intensive tutorials will direct you towards a creative portfolio strategy relevant to your personal aims.


  • Narrative Drawing
  • Research and Context
  • Professional Development
  • Mechanisms and Methodology
  • Major Project (Illustration)

Get Illustration MA course updates and hear more about studying with us.

Entry requirements

    • At least a 2.2 honours degree equivalent in this subject area.

    • You may be required to attend an interview. Please refer to our interview guide for further information.

    • A portfolio of work is essential

    • EU and international students need IELTS 6.5 overall (with a minimum of 6.0 in writing and 5.5 in any other component) or equivalent

Course modules


Fees and costs

See the further details of fees and potential extra costs when studying a course at the University of Gloucestershire.
Start date Location UCAS code Fee (UK)
per year
Fee (international)
per year
Sep 2021 Francis Close Hall, Cheltenham £7,000 £14,700
Sep 2022 Francis Close Hall, Cheltenham

Possible careers

Graduates from this course can go on to work in:

  • freelance illustration
  • graphic novels
  • roles in games art, character design, concept art, animation, storyboarding and visualisation for production design
  • education
  • art
  • printmaking.

Make the most of personal Support

The development of each student’s creative practice in intensively supervised by professional artists.

Students looking at their printed advertisement design

Print and publish your work

You’ll have opportunities to print, publish and disseminate your work in collaborative and personal publications for our imprint, ‘The Pittville Press,’ which is actively promoted at book fairs and publishing events in the UK and internationally. You can also publish work through our Cheltenham Illustration Awards.

A woman hanging a picture in a gallery

"I liked the atmosphere, the campus and the tutors so much that I decided to stay for my MA."

“This course really helps you find your voice when it comes to illustration. I currently work freelance for the Bright Children’s Illustration Agency and I have a book coming out later this year called ‘The Lost Diary of Sami Star’. The course has been key in helping me to develop my portfolio and secure clients.”

Katie Kear, Illustration MA student

photo of student in illustration studio

"I was born in Tokyo and grew up with the Manga and Anime cultures of the 1970s and 80s. I moved to the UK in 1991."

After working as an animator with the likes of Duran Duran and Channel 4, I joined Redkite Animations and worked on a number of projects with DC Thompson.

In 2008, I undertook a residency at La Cité Internationale de la Bande Dessinée et de l’image in Angoulême, France. Since then I have chosen graphic novels and comic books as my main creative outlets and my current project is reflection on natural disasters in Japan, including the aftermath of 2011’s tsunami.

Teaching is a great passion of mine, especially supporting young talents to develop their own, unique artistic voices in various contexts, such as animation, graphic novels and children’s books.”

Fumio Obata, Comic Book Author, Visual Artist, and Course Lecturer of Illustration

Lecturer in illustration studio

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