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What to Expect

If you focus on Illustration you will develop understanding and mastery of the design process and work to set briefs, at the same time as developing your own authorial voice and interests through independent projects. You will work in sequential and stand-alone form, and also be encouraged to experiment with moving image to develop the increasingly essential animation skills needed today. 

If you focus on Animation, you will develop understanding of traditional animation techniques and principles, and combine this knowledge with new digital technology in order to build a showreel that highlights your skills as an animator and presents you as a rounded professional. 

All students will develop their understanding of narrative techniques in sequence and stand-alone forms, and will have opportunities to respond to a range of short-form projects. As well as building working knowledge of Adobe Creative Cloud, you can experiment with software such as TV Paint, Cinema 4D, After Effects and Premiere, building your confidence with industry standard tools that allows you to mix expert technical knowledge with creative freedom and become an innovator in the field.

Together, you will apply this knowledge to projects that explore the expanded field of illustration and animation in the digital and post-digital world. You will consider the sites, spaces and situations in which both are produced and displayed, and develop your understanding of the importance of social engagement with audiences and readers in print, digital or experiential platforms. 

Practical knowledge is enriched through lectures and seminars that explore questions of design authorship, and historical and theoretical positions on visual storytelling as an important vehicle of communication in the 21stcentury. At the same time, working alongside artists, designers and visual communicators across our MA programmes you will develop the research skills at the heart of innovative visual practices. Shared inter-disciplinary modules question the ways that globalisation, new technologies and disruptive strategies are driving contemporary practices of art and design. In our international community, you will think what it means to be a responsible future creative and global citizen, with the insight and self-awareness to locate your own emerging practice within the ethical, technological and globalised contexts relevant to you. 

Recognition of the field’s hybrid nature is central to the course ethos. As well as building the confidence for traditional free-lance practice, the course introduces new commercial and career opportunities for working across digital, web, branding and print. This is reflected in our Visiting Lecturer programme: as well as traditional book and editorial illustrators, speakers have included in-house digital and commercial illustrators for contemporary brands including Buzzfeed; political cartoonists; and motion graphics designers working in corporate branding, media and TV.

In addition, the course offers opportunities for work experience that helps you make industry contacts, build your CV and prepare you for work in a creative agency or studio, as well as freelance illustration or animation work. Internships offered by our industry partners including Hearst Magazines UK set our programme apart and give students experience of visual communication in industry—and the growing importance of illustrative content in print and online.

Previous illustration and animation graduates have produced diverse and ambitious final projects including murals and public illustration; fashion illustration; fashion film and animation; animation for corporate brand communication; interactive games design; educational illustration; and children’s illustrated books, including an interactive pop-up book to teach sign language, and an educational book to promote awareness and acceptance of young people with SEN and OCD.