Search our site
Search our site
  • Illustration Animation BA (Hons)

Illustration Animation BA (Hons)

Why choose this course?

Kingston University is ranked No. 1 in the UK for design and crafts* in the Guardian University League Tables 2020 (*covers graphic design, interior design, illustration, animation and product and furniture design.)

This course combines two subjects to give you creative freedom for visual thinking, expression and communication. Illustration has expanded from the traditional printed page to explore many forms of visual media including digital interaction and virtual reality, objects, spaces and environments. We celebrate the cross-pollination of ideas and skills through the hybrid nature of the course. You'll benefit from dedicated studio spaces and the opportunity for collaboration between illustration and animation.

Built around drawing, the course is carefully structured to develop your individual voice, applying content to image communication to reach an audience. We encourage learning through making and you'll have access to all our workshops, from etching, ceramics to digital fabric printing, enabling you to test and prototype.

Group and individual assignments and presentations develop the range of skills essential to contemporary practice in all forms of applied image making. Projects with industry will test and shape your understanding in real world situations. Staff practitioners and alumni networks offer insight and contacts with international creative practice, including study visits and placements.

The Illustration Animation BA (Hons) course has a reputation for producing graduates who go on to be top practitioners in illustration and animation, as well as design direction and a broad range of creative careers.

Attendance UCAS code Year of entry
3 years full time W220 2020
Location Kingston School of Art at River House

Portfolio advice

Example of student work

We look for open mindedness and enthusiasm with a willingness to explore all the opportunities of illustration, animation and how the visual communicates.

Drawing as a practice and as a passion, not just for its own sake but as a means of communicating and expression.

We look for applicants who are self-motivated, who can work individually but also within a group. Also visual evidence of a desire to build imaginative creativity into a career and can show this ambition in a portfolio format.

Information required to support your application

Portfolio

Once we have received your application, you will be notified by email where you will either be requested to bring your portfolio to an interview OR you will be instructed how to upload your online portfolio.

If you are instructed to upload an online portfolio, you should initially include a selection of 20 'slides' of your work. These 20 online images should show not just your 'greatest hits' but the whole process, so you can have multiple images on some single slide pages. Please include at least 2-3 observational pieces, life-drawing and/or location. Please check that links to Flickr/Vimeo can be accessed and work.

Even if you have expressed an interest in animation, it is not a requirement to include moving image to gain an interview or be offered a place.

Applicants invited for an interview will be required to bring a physical portfolio. There is no correct format or size for a physical portfolio, but think about clarity of presentation and how the work can 'speak for itself' in sequence with or without you there to explain it. A volume of 10-15 sleeves providing 20-30 sides should be enough to represent yourself. Please protect the work and don't roll drawings up.

We are interested in seeing all the stages of your working process from the start of initial ideas, how they were developed and then resolved. All visual and narrative forms are considered from painting and drawing, graphic narratives, print and materials through to three-dimensional, lens and time based.

Digital skills

Not a requirement, but useful to show you can use applications. If you have moving or interactive image please ensure files are labeled with your name and project. If you are invited for an interview, we would prefer them brought to interview on an USB stick or disc rather than your laptop or pad.

Sketchbooks

Show at least some of your research and development books and sheets in the initial 20-slide submission. Please bring all your sketchbooks, workbooks and research collections if selected for interview.

Portfolio submissions

If you are requested to upload an online portfolio, your initial online portfolio submission can be via PDF, PowerPoint or Flickr.

If you reach formal interview you must bring a physical portfolio.

Reasons to choose Kingston

  • Kingston University is ranked No. 1 in the UK for design and crafts* in the Guardian University League Tables 2020 (*covers graphic design, interior design, illustration, animation and product and furniture design).
  • 100 per cent of students from this course are in employment or further study six months after graduating (DHLE 2015/16).
  • This course has an excellent reputation for producing graduates who become top practitioners in illustration and animation, design direction and a broad range of creative careers.

What you will study

Throughout the course you'll gain an understanding of text, image, narrative and sequence. We build strong observational skills through drawing as a basis for your development and equip you with the necessary techniques to realise your creative ambition.

Modules

Each level is made up of four modules each worth 30 credit points. Typically a student must complete 120 credits at each level.

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Optional Year

Year 1 encourages an open-minded and exploratory approach to illustration animation. You'll be introduced to idea development, visual research, and image and content relationships. Drawing, animation, digital crafts, presentation techniques, life drawing and location workshops are all taught.

There is an optional field trip to destinations such as New York, Berlin or Florence. Eligible students will be supported with a travel bursary.

Core modules

Introductory Principles

30 credits

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.

Working Methods

30 credits

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.

Research Recording and Presentation

30 credits

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.

Image & Text - Communication Design History for Illustration and Animation

30 credits

This module presents a chronological history of graphic design production from the middle of the nineteenth 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 process and practice, and seeks to chart the developing relationship between illustration and animation, and associated professions like graphic design and filmmaking, whilst conveying the overarching attitudes and ideas that have coloured artistic and design production and discussion. In the second part of the module students 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 students to examine the relationship between theory and practice in design and to gain an understanding of the development of graphic design as a cultural response to modernity. This module will provide a historical and critical framework through image-based lectures, screenings and study visits.

Year 2 enables you to explore different ways of communicating your ideas. You'll learn how to critically challenge subjects and develop your personal direction. You'll work on set and self-initiated projects, developing your ability to create effective solutions.

Core modules

Process and Purpose

30 credits

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.

Illustration Studio OR Animation Studio

30 credits

Choose between the following modules:

Context and Presentation

30 credits

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.

Critical Issues in Illustration and Animation: Research and Practice

30 credits

Building on the historical and thematic content introduced at Level 4, 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 their knowledge of their discipline. At the same time you will develop their 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.

Year 3 focuses on the development and resolution of a personal practice, with an awareness of professional contexts. 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 combined with web, portfolio, showreel and curatorial workshops.

Core modules

Practice and Realisation

30 credits

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.

Professional Practice and Presentation

30 credits

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.

Dissertation: Research and Reflection

30 credits

Building on the links between research and practice embedded at Level 5, the Critical and Historical Studies (CHS) Dissertation: Research and Reflection module focuses on in-depth research, critical enquiry and reflection on questions and critical issues emerging in students' own practice, and pertinent to the practice of their own discipline.

Over the module, students 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, students 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 CHS modules to studio practice, supporting students' self-presentation at Degree Show, in future post-graduate study, and/or professional practice in a variety of Art and Design contexts.

You'll have the opportunity to study for a fourth year abroad or to do a work placement, or even combine both.

The information above reflects the currently intended course structure and module details. Updates may be made on an annual basis and revised details will be published through Programme Specifications ahead of each academic year. The regulations governing this course are available on our website. If we have insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, this may not be offered.

Entry requirements

112 tariff points

Typical offer

112 UCAS points from Level 3 qualifications, including Art & Design subjects (i.e. A Levels, BTEC Diploma, Access Diploma, IB Diploma, etc). In addition, the preferred entry route is to first take a Foundation Diploma in Art & Design or recognised equivalent.

Additional requirements

Entry onto this course may require a digital portfolio as well as an interview as part of the application process. Details are available on the course page on the University's website. A short list of selected applicants are invited for an interview.

UK-based applicants will be required to attend an in-person group interview with their physical portfolio. Further details about the interview will be sent with emailed interview invitations.

Applicants based outside of the UK may not be required to have an interview but will be required to submit a digital portfolio.

International

All non-UK applicants must meet our English Language requirements. For this course it is Academic IELTS of 6.0 overall, with no element below 5.5

Gallery of student work

Teaching and assessment

Modules will be delivered by means of lectures, seminars, workshops, group critique, individual tutorials, demonstration, projects, briefings, study visits, peer learning, independent learning and study skills.

Guided independent study

When not attending timetabled sessions you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. This typically will involve reading journal articles and books, working on individual and group projects, undertaking preparing coursework assignments and presentations, and preparing for exams. Your independent learning is supported by a range of excellent facilities including online resources, the library and CANVAS, the online virtual learning platform.

Academic support

Our academic support team here at Kingston University provides help in a range of areas.

Dedicated personal tutor

When you arrive, we'll introduce you to your personal tutor. This is the member of academic staff who will provide academic guidance, be a support throughout your time at Kingston and who will show you how to make the best use of all the help and resources that we offer at Kingston University.

Your workload

Time is spent in timetabled teaching and learning activity

  • Year 1: 60%
  • Year 2: 50%
  • Year 3: 40%

Contact hours may vary depending on your modules.

Type of teaching and learning

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Year 1
  • Scheduled teaching
  • Guided independent study
Year 2
  • Scheduled teaching
  • Guided independent study
Year 3
  • Scheduled teaching
  • Guided independent study

 

How you will be assessed

Assessment typically comprises coursework (eg essays, reports, self-assessment, portfolios and dissertation). The approximate percentage for how you will be assessed on this course is as follows, though depends to some extent on the optional modules you choose:

Type of assessment

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Year 1
  • Coursework
Year 2
  • Coursework
Year 3
  • Coursework

Feedback summary

We aim to provide feedback on assessments within 20 working days.

Your timetable

Your individualised timetable is normally available to students within 48 hours of enrolment. Whilst we make every effort to ensure timetables are as student-friendly as possible, scheduled teaching can take place on any day of the week between 9.00am and 6.00pm. For undergraduate students Wednesday afternoons are normally reserved for sports and cultural activities, but there may be occasions when this is not possible. Timetables for part-time students will depend on the modules selected.

Class sizes

To give you an indication of class sizes, this course normally enrolls 104 students divided into 4 groups of 26 and seminar sizes are normally 4-8. We also teach 1-2-1. However this can vary by module and academic year.

Who teaches this course?

This course is taught in the Design School, Kingston School of Art. Our staff are practising illustrators, animators, designers and researchers who'll enrich your student experience with contemporary issues, events and challenges. Specialist guest speakers reinforce the currency of the course, providing the latest insights into practice.

Fees and funding

2019/20 fees for this course

The tuition fee you pay depends on whether you are assessed as a 'Home' (UK or EU), 'Islands' or 'International' student. In 2019/20 the fees for this course are:

 Fee category  Amount
Home (UK and EU students) £9,250*
Overseas Year 1 (2019/20): £15,300
Year 2 (2020/21): £15,600
Year 3 (2021/22): £15,900
Islands (Channel Islands and Isle of Man) To be confirmed by the Island Authorities

* These fees are annual and may increase in line with inflation each year subject to the results of the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF).

Eligible UK and EU students can apply to the Government for a tuition loan, which is paid direct to the University. This has a low interest rate which is charged from the time the first part of the loan is paid to the University until you have repaid it.

Additional costs

Depending on the programme of study, there may be extra costs which are not covered by tuition fees, which students will need to consider when planning their studies.

Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching, assessment and operating University facilities such as the library, IT equipment and other support services. Accommodation and living costs are not included in our fees. 

Where a course has additional expenses, we make every effort to highlight them. These may include optional field trips, materials (e.g. art, design, engineering), security checks such as DBS, uniforms, specialist clothing or professional memberships.

Text books

Our libraries are a valuable resource with an extensive collection of books and journals as well as first-class facilities and IT equipment. You may prefer to, or be required to, buy your own copy of key textbooks.

Computer equipment

There are open-access networked computers available across the University, plus laptops available to loan. You may find it useful to have your own PC, laptop or tablet which you can use around campus and in halls of residences.

Free WIFI is available on each of the campuses.

Printing

In the majority of cases coursework can be submitted online. There may be instances when you will be required to submit work in a printed format. Printing and photocopying costs are not included in your tuition fees.

Travel

Travel costs are not included but we do have a free intersite bus service which links the campuses and halls of residence.

Note for EU students: UK withdrawal from the European Union

EU students starting a programme in the 2019/20 academic year will be charged the same fees as those who began in 2018/19 (subject to any annual increase in accordance with the applicable terms and conditions and the Kingston University fees schedule).

They will also be able to access the same financial support for the duration of their course as students who began in 2018/19, even if their degree concludes after the UK's exit from the EU.

No assurances have yet been made regarding 2020/21 and beyond. Updates will be published here as soon as they become available.

2020/21 fees for this course

The tuition fee you pay depends on whether you are assessed as a 'Home' (UK or EU), 'Islands' or 'International' student. In 2020/21 the fees for this course are:

 Fee category Amount
Home (UK and EU students) £9,250*
International Year 1 (2020/21): £15,600
Year 2 (2021/22): £15,900
Year 3 (2022/23): £16,200

* These fees are annual and may increase in line with inflation each year subject to the results of the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF).
Eligible UK and EU students can apply to the Government for a tuition loan, which is paid direct to the University. This has a low interest rate which is charged from the time the first part of the loan is paid to the University until you have repaid it.

Gallery of student work

Facilities

You'll use your studio spaces and facilities to experiment and explore new ways to push the boundaries of projects and open discourse across disciplines.

Collaborative and multi-disciplinary teamwork is actively encouraged between students, across faculty courses, international institutions and with industry.

Throughout the course, you'll be encouraged to explore and develop expertise in current approaches, techniques, media, sustainability and application including communication, narrative, interactive, information, animation and moving image, and environment.

Skills and techniques such as drawing, visualising, moving image, printmaking, rapid proto-typing, analysis and research, human factors, presentation all support project work by helping realise solution-led ideas.

After you graduate

Careers and progression 

Our graduates are employed worldwide in roles such as freelance illustration and image makers for magazines and newspapers; book publishers; film and TV production companies; and by advertising and design groups.

Some pursue careers in animation, games, multimedia, special effects and design for film and TV; others pursue postgraduate study in the UK or overseas.

Exceptional achievements by Kingston School of Art students mean our students enjoy a reputation for innovation and creativity. Achievements include awards from BAFTA, Design and Art Direction Student Awards, the Macmillan Prize, the Penguin Student Design Award, the World Illustration Awards and the Royal Television Society Awards.

Examples of recent graduate destinations 

Illustration Animation BA (Hons) graduates have gone on to the following roles:

  • 3D artist 
  • Advertising art director 
  • Animator 
  • Artist 
  • Artist freelance 
  • Advertising campaign planner 
  • Design manager 
  • Gallery coordinator 
  • Graphic designer 
  • Illustrator 
  • Landscape artist 
  • Marketer 
  • Printmaker 
  • Production assistant 
  • Publishing assistant 
  • Visual artist  
  • Employers 

Illustration Animation BA (Hons) graduates have gone on to work at the following organisations:

  • Accessorize 
  • BBC 
  • Central Academy of Fine Arts 
  • Disney UK 
  • Financial Times 
  • Foster + Partners 
  • GMTV 
  • Haymarket Media Group UK 
  • London Print Studio 
  • Media.com 
  • OKIDO magazine 
  • Oxford Press 
  • Paul Holland 
  • Sony Computer Entertainment Europe 
  • The Walt Disney Company Ltd 
  • Tussauds Studios
  • Wimbledon School of Art

 

Links with business and industry

The Course engages with industry collaborations during years 2 and 3. There is an exclusive animation competition with Penguin Random House each year, and annual collaboration with the Royal Opera House and we have many live projects with publishing, health and cultural institutions.

Student successes

Student award winners (2019)

Three of our students were nominated for the top prize in the Royal Television Society Student Awards 2019. The students were:

  • Matt Armitage - winner of Best Animation 2019 for his graduate film "Brass"
  • Media Shebany - shortlisted finalist, Best Short Feature
  • Tash Dupker - shortlisted finalist, Best Short Feature

This is the eleventh time we have won at the RTS in the last 13 years.

Student success stories (2017/18)

  • Jennifer Zheng's film Tough won the Royal Television Society Awards in addition to being nominated for a BAFTA.
  • Hannah McNally and Martha Halliday won D&AD Black Pencil for their animation that discusses living with autism.
  • Daisy Moore was shortlisted in the Penguin Design Awards 2018.
  • It's Nice That! nominated three of our final year students as 'The Best in the UK' and Varoom Magazine picked out two of our students as the 'Graduates to Watch'.
  • Soojin Kwak won second prize in The Macmillan Prize 2018 (Children's Books) for her book 'Annie the Hat Maker'.
  • Student winners at the Creative Conscience awards 2018 included Alex Hoskins, Rachel Hopkins, Laura Bartlett, Amy Tibbles and Tom Fisher.
Student successes

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).

Undergraduate study
Site menu