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Illustration Animation BA(Hons)

Attendance UCAS code Year of entry
3 years full time W220 2017

Why choose this course?

Illustration has expanded from print to include many forms of communication. Based in the Design School, this course offers you a broad, practical and critical exploration of both illustration and animation and hybrid possibilities. It develops key skills in creative image communication, enabling you to succeed in your practice and develop in the direction you choose. Graduates consistently produce internationally recognised award-winning work.

We were ranked at number 8 in the UK (out of 74) for design and crafts in the Guardian University League Tables 2018.

Student Lorna talks about studying the Illustration Animation BA(Hons):

What you will study

Year 1 encourages an open-minded and exploratory approach to image making within a supportive critical environment. You will be introduced to the key areas of illustration and animation – idea development, observation and research, image and content relationships. Drawing, animation, digital crafts, presentation techniques, life drawing and location workshops are all taught.

There is an overseas field trip to a destination such as New York, Berlin, Florence or Venice, supported with a travel bursary for eligible students.

Year 2 enables you to explore different ways of communicating ideas, to critically challenge the subjects and develop your personal direction. You will work on set and self-initiated projects, developing your ability to create effective solutions. You may choose the option to specialise in animation. There is also the opportunity to study for a fourth year, through an exciting choice of international exchange partner institutions and placements.

Year 3 focuses on the development and resolution of personal work, with an awareness of professional practice. A series of set and live assignments will inform your self-initiated extended project. Helping you with your individual presentation will be industry research and engagement, web, portfolio and curatorial workshops.

Module listing

Please note that this is an indicative list of modules and is not intended as a definitive list. Those listed here may also be a mixture of core and optional modules.

Year 1

  • This module acts as the core to introducing the nature and content of the subject area. It is designed to be experienced in the studio environment across the academic year and in unison with the other two studio modules at this level.

    The content explores visual basics, interpretation, visualisation, sequencing and narrative from a variety of sources. The understanding of the relationship between objective evaluation, audience and personal forms of communication is examined in context of applied art forms and media.
    The generation, evaluation and application of ideas underpins set assignments and workshops.

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  • This module is the initial introduction to skills and techniques that articulate the principles of the subject in both studio and workshop environments. It is experienced concurrently with the other two studio modules at Level 4 (Year 1) with greater emphasis on process and materials. The use and exploration of imagemaking in a diverse and challenging range of media is central. From life-drawing workshops, location work, printmaking techniques, bookbinding and editions, digital applications and photography, 3D and timebased, the exploration of thinking through making is extended and synthesised.

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  • This module introduces and encourages the use of process in visual work; recording, reflecting, challenging, analysing, organising and presenting issues regarding the subjects and individual interpretations. A series of studio projects and activities frame key ideas and principles and introduce strategies and methodologies. The use of primary and secondary source material in the creative process is explored.

    It introduces approaches to the use of research and recording in relation to studio assignments in illustration and animation. Central to understanding is drawing and the learning log, utilising blogs to encourage reflective development, synthesis and resolution. It links the key theme of Level 4 (Year 1) 'principles' with the theme of Level 5 (Year 2) 'processes'.

    Summative presentation addresses portfolio and exhibition space to collate a body of work made over the academic year. The work displayed should demonstrate your full achievement and a consistent log of activity. It demands organisational, presentation and time management skills. It offers a reflective and diagnostic opportunity to choose an area of specialism with discussion and agreement with tutorial staff.

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  • This module presents a chronological history of illustration and graphic design production from the middle of the 19th century to the present day in Europe and North America. In doing so, its aim is to consider the different factors that have affected and influenced the production of imagery during this period. The first part of the module focuses on issues of processes and practices, and seeks to chart the developing relationship between the illustration and graphic professions, whilst conveying the overarching attitudes and ideas that have coloured artistic and design production and discussion. In the second part of the module you will consider the professional development of design for communication and media, the evolution of 'popular' mass imagery and the role of changing technologies and techniques, including the moving image and animation, in the development of image and text production and reproduction. Key themes relating to graphic arts and imagery, including the consumption of mass media and imagery, image and consumer culture and the emergence of 'new' media in art, design and communication, will be explored. The module engages with critical texts to allow you to examine the relationship between theory and practice in design and to gain an understanding of the development of graphic design and illustration as a cultural response to modernity. This module will provide a historical and critical framework through image-based lectures, screenings and study visits.

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Year 2

  • This module develops the practice of drawing from observation and from imagination as process. You use visual research to support and explore studio projects and develop individual approaches to creating images through interdisciplinary or collaborative work.

    You have the opportunity to improve your understanding of the importance of drawing in the development of applied illustration and animation and explore links with applied media such as printmaking, 3D workshops and computer applications.

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  • Choose between the following modules:

    • You will continue to be able to produce work in animated form, but by selecting this module those whose aspiration is to become a specialist animator, may deepen your knowledge of the subject and fully realise your ambition. It is also designed to reflect changes in the animation industry and includes team working now central to the process and practice.

      At the end of the first year during the final tutorial, you will be counselled on the choice of your Level 5 (Year 2) modules based on their creative ambition and potential in either illustration and animation or as specialist animators.

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    • This module explores the illustrator as investigator looking for new ways of working and resolving projects. Assignments challenge and explore assumptions addressing format, narration, communication and illustration. You will be encouraged to establish individual directions of creative enquiry and contribute to group activities, whether projects or exhibitions. Collaborative and interdisciplinary study will also be involved. A range of assignments will be set varying in complexity.

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  • This module supports your development of a body of work that accurately reflects your personal understanding of illustration and animation processes. It forms the intermediate stage of the your understanding of the subjects, looking at your work in the context of meaning and audience. It provides awareness of context, structures and strategies and concludes with the evaluation, reflection and presentation of coursework.

    Key ideas, processes and contextual forces are introduced by lectures, individual and group research, seminars and presentation. You will also be encouraged to develop a critical awareness through visual and theoretical discussion and analysis of the media and record their findings in an ongoing reflective log. Individual and group presentations will summarise key areas of historical and contemporary practice.

    You are required to present and exhibit the range of your creative and contextual development in a number of appropriate formats: eg exhibition, portfolio, study log, blog or website. Studio work from all Level 5 (Year 2) modules will be included in the presentation formats.

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  • Building on the historical and thematic content introduced at Level 4 (Year 1), this module focuses on the theorisation of discipline-specific issues arising in the contemporary practices of animation and illustration. Through a combination of lectures, seminars, workshops, tutorials, screenings and relevant fieldwork visits, you will deepen your knowledge of your discipline. At the same time you will develop your own emerging research interests and independent visual and academic research skills common to historical and theoretical studies and design practice. With a focus on the development and intertextuality of visual narrative forms in the structuring of meaning, the module applies this understanding to contemporary case studies. Lectures and seminars will deepen critical and theoretical engagement with current issues through appropriate case studies and bodies of interpretative material. Workshop tasks and assessments are carefully designed to foreground projects that support your understanding of their own discipline within the wider of context of design practice. Appropriate research methods are introduced through practical activities that reflect on issues arising in the module's contemporary content and that are developed through your independent research into an area of your own choosing.

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Year 3

  • This module presents a series of set and self-initiated assignments that support a critical, individual and imaginative approach to communicative illustration and animation. Normally between two to five projects involving different levels of commitment, scope and ranges of media are initially undertaken, at least one of which is 'live' working with an external client.

    In the second session, the 'capstone' project (the final major project) is proposed, negotiated and delivered against a time constraint. The assessment of this work is formative so that subsequent studio work builds on this experience to formalise reflective and discursive synthesis.

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  • The degree show presentation gives you the opportunity to exhibit a body of original creative work that demonstrates your highest achievements. It provides a platform to the professional world of communication arts. Normally a minimum of two projects/elements are selected for presentation and exhibited in forms appropriate to the assignments. The strategy and direction of this presentation is planned and developed with an acknowledgement of future graduate plans. All research and development work, referred to as supporting studies may be included for assessment purposes and removed prior to public viewing.

    This module is also designed to capstone theoretical and practical knowledge of the profession regardless of destination. A symposium is scheduled that summarises ethics, business practice, financial administration and marketing for creative imagemakers /illustrators / animators.

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  • Building on the links between research and practice embedded at Level 5, this module focuses on in-depth research, critical enquiry and reflection on questions and critical issues emerging in your own practice, and pertinent to the practice of your own discipline.

    During the module, you will initiate and develop an individual research topic; identify and evaluate appropriate archives, bodies of critical literature, visual/material sources and research methods; manage their study time; engage with and respond to tutorial dialogue and peer feedback, and apply critical and analytical skills to produce a 6,000-word written dissertation, supported by a series of lectures, seminars and tutorials.

    Following the submission of the dissertation, and to support the realisation of studio capstone projects, you will be assisted with the conception and development of an individual statement that enables self-reflection and locates students within the contemporary contexts of their discipline. Consolidating the research, reflexive and critical skills acquired throughout students' programme of study, the statement engages and applies learning undertaken within previous modules to studio practice, supporting your self-presentation at Degree Show, in future postgraduate study, and/or professional practice in a variety of art and design contexts.

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Keep in touch with news, events, awards and generally what's going on with the Illustration Animation BA(Hons) at Kingston University.

You will have the opportunity to study a foreign language, free of charge, during your time at the University on a not-for-credit basis as part of the Kingston Language Scheme. Options currently include: Arabic, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.

Most of our undergraduate courses support studying or working abroad through the University's Study Abroad or Erasmus programme.

Find out more about where you can study abroad:

If you are considering studying abroad, read what our students say about their experiences.

Key information set

The scrolling banner(s) below display some key factual data about this course (including different course combinations or delivery modes of this course where relevant).

We aim to ensure that all courses and modules advertised are delivered. However in some cases courses and modules may not be offered. For more information about why, and when you can expect to be notified, read our Changes to Academic Provision.

A copy of the regulations governing this course is available here

Details of terms dates for this course can be found here

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Graduates secure BAFTA award nominations

Kingston University graduates secure BAFTA award nominations

Award nominations for documentary and short animation films.

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