Investigate the connections between illustration and animation on our full-time Illustration and Animation degree at Cambridge School of Art. Choose to study abroad for one semester in the Netherlands, go on European field trips, and get support to find work placements. Create narratives using traditional and cutting-edge techniques, and turn your creative ideas into a rewarding career as a visual artist or animator.
- Our Design & Crafts courses ranked 8th in the UK for ‚Satisfied with Course’ and 3rd for ‚Satisfied with Teaching’ in the The Guardian University Guide 2020
- Benefit from a 150-year tradition of drawing and inspiring creativity at Cambridge School of Art
- Show your work to industry professionals at our end-of-course degree show
- Receive ongoing support to find placements and work experience.
- Study abroad for one semester in the Netherlands, and apply for funding to help cover the cost
- Take part in field trips to locations like Lisbon, Portugal and Lille, France
- Take advantage of all our industry-standard facilities, and get full training from our technical officers
Our Illustration and Animation BA (Hons) course will give you the skills you need to work as a visual artist. We often use visual language to communicate complex ideas and information and, with ever-evolving digital technology being used alongside traditional techniques, this is an exciting and fast-moving area to work in.
Here at Cambridge School of Art, you’ll investigate the connections between illustration and animation, creating sequential narratives using traditional and cutting-edge digital image-making techniques, and cultivating your creative abilities and technical skills.
While developing your personal visual style, you’ll also focus on the basics: refining your drawing skills through observation of the visual environment and telling stories through moving image. You’ll also look at the growing opportunities in contemporary illustration and animation practice, producing a portfolio that reflects your artistic capacities and meets the current demands of the creative industries.
In the first year of the course, you’ll explore both illustration and animation through studio-based teaching, software training, practical projects, group critiques and individual tutorials.
During the second year, you’ll focus on animation, developing your technical skills and exploring the creative possibilities of this art form through a number of individual and group projects. You’ll also have the chance to take part in work placements, research trips and live projects.
In your final year, you’ll hone your illustration and animation skills, and your personal style – while also producing a professional portfolio and exhibiting in the degree show.
Our ongoing contextual studies modules will support your practice-based work throughout the course. You’ll learn to confidently express your ideas and creative intentions by developing critical communication and presentation skills in a stimulating studio environment. This will prepare you for the final research project and your future career.
You’ll be supported by a team of lecturers and tutors who are all artists and researchers, committed to pursuing their own creative practice in the areas of illustration and animation. As well as benefitting from their experience and knowledge, you can also be confident of receiving the latest insights into the realities of working in the creative industries.
We work with employers to make sure you graduate with the knowledge, skills and abilities they need. They help us review what we teach and how we teach it – and they offer hands-on, practical opportunities to learn through work-based projects, internships or placements.
The skills, knowledge and experience you gain on our BA (Hons) Illustration and Animation course will allow you to move into the creative industries as an illustrator, artist or animator, confident in the use of cutting-edge digital design technologies and with an understanding of traditional animation, illustration and communication.
Many of our graduates now work with leading product and animation studios and UK broadcasters such as The Mill, 12 Foot 6, Slurpy Studios, Filofax, BBC and Channel 4. Our recent students have found success in many competitions, such as Marc Moynihan, who won the Red Bull Canimation Prize, and Jean-Louis Pecheur, who was the winner of the Animation Libation Global Animation Contest.
They’ve also produced short films for BBC Radio 4’s The Listening Project, and had their work screened at international festivals: Daisy, by Charlie Taylor, was shown at the Encounters Film Festival, the Fête de l’anim Animation Festival in Lille and the London Short Film Festival; Hold on Me by Georgia Yorke was shown at the Suffolk Film Festival, the Festival International du Court Métrage de Lille, and the Framed Film Festival at the Barbican, London.
You’ll also be able to take advantage of our industry relationships, and the networks we’ve built with local and international animators, illustrators and production studios. Our staff regularly go to animation festivals and seek out collaborations with creative partners, such as Les Rencontres Audiovisuelles, Breda University and St Joost Akademie.
Modules & Assessment
Year one, core modules
Illustration and Animation Practice
Illustration in the Round
Year two, core modules
3D Computer Generated Imagery
Debates and Practices
Year two, optional modules
Writing for Sequential Images
Business for the Creative Arts
Ideas Through Design
Emerging Media and Platforms
Year three, core modules
Professional Development in Animation
Year three, optional modules
Working in the Creative Industries
For a full breakdown of module options and credits, please view the module structure (pdf).
You’ll demonstrate your developing knowledge and skills through a number of methods.
Your ongoing (formative) assessment will include group and individual critiques and class discussions.
Meanwhile, at the end of each module you’ll demonstrate your overall progress through a combination of written and practical work. This will include sketchbooks, concept development, project proposals and work-in-progress, as well as final outcomes such as animated sequences, series of prints, websites or text-based research as required.
Where you’ll study
Your department and faculty
At Cambridge School of Art, we combine the traditions of our past with the possibilities afforded by the latest technologies.
Using our expertise and connections in Cambridge and beyond, we nurture creativity through experimentation and risk-taking to empower the makers and creators of the future.
Our academics excel at both practice and theory, making a real impact in their chosen fields, whether they are curating exhibitions, designing book covers or photographing communities in Africa. They are also regularly published in catalogues, books, journals and conference papers, their research classed as being of ‘international standing’, with some elements ‘world-leading’, in the most recent Research Excellence Framework.