Recommended materials, activities, and resources lists

A palette knife on a palette covered in oil paint, with two beakers of oil on the side.

Our Cambridge School of Art Course Leaders have put together a list of recommended resources and materials to help you get ARU-ready before your course starts in September.

Please bear in mind these are all recommendations. You are not required to purchase any of these materials or read all the resources before your course starts. Once you are fully registered, you'll be able to access a few of these resources from our online library as well. So take your time - you're not expected to access them before you register.

BA (Hons) Animation and Illustration

Materials list for Animation and Illustration - Course-specific requirements

Digital equipment

The following equipment is recommended if you want to work from home. You will have access to Microsoft Office 365 and Adobe Creative Cloud and good access to PCs and Macs and drawing tablets on campus so this is not a requirement.

  • A laptop that can easily work with AV programs. We recommended a MacBook Pro 13-inch laptop with Apple software, though you can choose to install a Windows system on this laptop.
  • A5/A4 WACOM drawing tablet or equivalent
  • WD 1 TB Elements Portable External Hard Drive 1000GB

For more information see specific technical requirements.

Other equipment

  • A5/A4 -Sketchbooks (available at the university)
  • Faber-Castell 9000 Art Set 12 x Pencils
  • Black fine liner pens (a range, waterproof ink)
  • Black ink
  • A range of paintbrushes
  • A4 Piece of Perspex
  • At least two different colour pencils: Faber-Castell Polychromos or Caran D’Ache
  • Erasers (soft and hard)
  • A colour range of chalk pastels, such as Derwent Academy Soft Pastels Pack of 24
  • Box of willow charcoal
  • Masking tape
  • Fixative or a strong-hold hairspray
  • Plastic A2 folder
  • Pritt stick
  • Scissors
  • Scalpel
  • Cutting board
  • Acrylic paints (you will be instructed in class which colours)
  • £20 towards 3D/Stop motion puppet materials
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BA (Hons) Digital Media Production

Suggested summer activities

On campus, you fill find all the material you need to fully engage with your course, but, if you want you can try and do the following during the summer:

  • Think about what you would like to get out of the course, and write some ideas down (we will be making a course manifesto together in September)
  • You can try and keep a summer diary, include, photos, video, sound, drawing or whatever you like use. I challenge you to make it into an interesting format.

Most of all, come in September, ready to learn and to say YES to all opportunities; we have lots of exciting projects for you!

BA (Hons) Fashion Communication and Branding

You will find all the resources you need on campus, but you may want your own laptop for homeworking. For more information, see our specific technical requirements.

Other than that immersive yourself in your inspirations in the fashion world! Why not start with our conversation with Anya Hindmarch on The Future of Luxury: sustainability and retail?

BA (Hons) Fashion Design

Here is a list of recommended tools you will need as you start your course. You will use most of these throughout your degree and beyond graduation. All the books recommended for your course throughout your degree are available in the University library.

Suggested sources: Morplan / Amazon (Student discounts available)

Product: Pattern Master (metric)
Description: A ruler used for pattern cutting and adding seam allowance
Approx cost (subject to change): £23.95

Product: Tape Measure
Description: Measuring
Approx cost (subject to change): £0.99

Product: 1 meter rule
Description: For pattern cutting large patterns (Perspex)
Approx cost (subject to change): £18.95

Product: Tracing wheel
Description: Re-patterning - tracing patterns
Approx cost (subject to change): £9.25

Product: Varyform Curve
Description: Pattern drafting
Approx cost (subject to change): £14.95

Product: Graders Set square
Description: Pattern drafting
Approx cost (subject to change): £15.95

Product: French curves
Description: Pattern drafting (set)
Approx cost (subject to change): £3.59

Product: Flexicurve
Description: Pattern drafting
Approx cost (subject to change): £6.95

Product: Tailors chalk
Description: For marking out patterns onto fabric (box of 50)
Approx cost (subject to change): £9.25

Product: Awl
Description: Used to make holes and pattern manipulation
Approx cost (subject to change): £2.79

Product: Pattern Notcher
Description: Mark notches in patterns/blocks
Approx cost (subject to change): £19.95

Product: Pattern drill
Description: Creates neat, 4mm dart holes
Approx cost (subject to change): £8.95

Product: Pins
Description: Pinning for toiling, during manufacture
Approx cost (subject to change): £4.50

Product: Pin Cushion
Description: Manufacturing of garments
Approx cost (subject to change): £4.35

Product: Stitch unpicker
Description: Unpicking stitches
Approx cost (subject to change): £0.89

Product: Tailor shears
Description: Fabric use only (Wilkinson 25 cm)
Approx cost (subject to change): £42.95

Product: General purpose scissors and small scissors
Description: General use and manufacturing - as a pack
Approx cost (subject to change): £12.50

Product: Propelling pencil (2H,0.5mm leads)
Description: Pattern drafting/technical drawing/illustration
Approx cost (subject to change): £2.41

Product: Pencils HB, 2B
Description: Drawing (pack of 12)
Approx cost (subject to change): £1.29

Product: Coloured pencils
Description: Drawing/illustration (as a set)
Approx cost (subject to change): £10.75

Product: Mapac Clear Project Bag A3
Description: Clear plastic folio for transporting patterns and other work to studio and to submit work
Approx cost (subject to change): £2.99

Product: Masking Tape
Description: Pattern cutting manipulation
Approx cost (subject to change): £1.09

Product: Fine Tipped Pens
Description: Technical drawing and fashion illustration, e.g. Pilot box of 12 (or buy as a single item)
Approx cost (subject to change): £22.95 (box of 12)

Product: Eraser
Description: Technical drawing and fashion illustration
Approx cost (subject to change): £0.79

Product: Pritt stick glue
Description: General use
Approx cost (subject to change): £1.39

Product: Scalpel / craft knife
Description: General use
Approx cost (subject to change): £2.09

Product: Hand sewing needles
Description: General use
Approx cost (subject to change): £0.69

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BA (Hons) Fine Art

Art activity

Start a small sketchbook (either A6, A5 or A4) and visit an exhibition, and make a few pages of drawings/notes on what you see, including some thumbnail studies of artworks.

Try to make each page interesting as an artistic statement in itself, thinking about composition, editing, mark-making, negative space, etc.

Drawing "thumbnail studies" of individual artworks may help animate each page and enhance your understanding of each work. (See below for some examples of lively studies of artworks based on a museum visit).

Please write details of the exhibition, location and individual artworks alongside, and please also include a short reflective comment on what you have learnt from each artwork / artist, identifying where their interests might lie, and to start understanding their thoughts about art.

The exhibition can be in a local art museum or gallery near where you live, and could be as part of a trip to Cambridge or London.

Larger museums and galleries currently require visitors to book in before visiting, via the gallery website.

Please remember the excellent range of free exhibitions which are available to see in different locations, such as Tate Modern or Tate Britain in London, or the Fitzwilliam Museum or Kettle’s Yard in Cambridge.

The New Exhibitions website will be a helpful point of reference when planning a trip to a gallery.

Thumbnail study examples:

Various sketches and notes of art studies
Various sketches and notes of art studies

 

Kit list

Books

Michael Archer – Art Since 1960

This book is a key text which we use when teaching the course, so we suggest that you buy a copy. You might prefer to get a good quality used copy, as these are much more affordable.

Please read chapters 1, 2 and 3:

  • Chapter 1: The Real and its Objects (pages: 11-59)
  • Chapter 2: The Expanded Field (pages: 60-108)
  • Chapter 3: Ideology, Identity and Difference (pages: 109-141)

Here are some more recommended books that you can buy, or find in the ARU library.

  • Art in Theory 1900 – 2000, Harrison, C and Wood, P.J. (Wiley-Blackwell 2002). An important text book containing key essays / statements by artists and critics that will help support studies in both studio and contextual modules. The course will draw heavily on this book, so we would advise you to buy a copy.
  • After Modern Art 1945-2000, Hopkins, D. (Oxford 2000). The course will draw on this book, so you may wish to buy a copy, but there are also copies available in the ARU library.
  • This is Modern Art, Collings, M. (London: Seven Dials 1999). An additional book that may be of interest to you as a fine art student. It accompanied a tv series of the same name, which is available on DVD in the ARU library, along with copies of the book.
  • Harvard Referencing Guide. A crucial guide on how to reference in your essays at ARU.

Websites

Key websites that will be a very useful resource when you're researching artists and exhibitions:

Websites for local galleries and art organisations in the Cambridge area:

Basic materials

Useful websites for books, tools and materials:

Required materials

Please purchase these materials before arriving - they will provide your basic needs for studying the practical modules on our BA Fine Art course.

Art storage

  • Tools and art materials box (lockable)
  • Padlock
  • USB memory stick
  • A1 portfolio

Painting and drawing materials

  • B, 2B and 4B pencils
  • Medium sized charcoal
  • Acrylic paint (a range of colours inc. black and white)
  • A range of paint brushes
  • (2x) A4 or A5 sketchbooks
  • Rubber
  • Pencil sharpener
  • Scissors
  • 1” masking tape
  • Painting pallet
  • Pallet knife
  • Painting apron or shirt
  • Glass jars
  • Painting rags

Tools

  • Craft knife (or Stanley knife)
  • 30cm metal ruler
  • Small claw hammer
  • Steel tape measure
  • Phillips screwdriver (medium size)
  • Pliers
  • 1.5” panel pins
  • Staple gun
  • Bradawl

Optional Materials

These may be be useful for your studio work:

  • Digital camera
  • Coloured pencils
  • Pastels or Conté crayons
  • Oil paints and mediums
  • Black drawing ink

BA (Hons) Graphic Design

The following equipment and is recommended for home working while studying the course.

You will have access to Microsoft Office 365 and Adobe Creative Cloud and good access to PCs and Macs on campus, so this is not a requirement.

Digital equipment

Other equipment

  • Sketchbooks for each module
  • Black fine line pens
  • The usual – good quality pencils, sharpener, ruler, rubber etc.

Note: you may also need to purchase further materials for working on-campus such as A2/A3 black zip-up plastic leaf portfolio, storage boxes, clear wallets, plastic A4 sleeves and black binders etc.

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BA (Hons) Illustration

The following equipment and is recommended for home working while studying the course.

  • A5/A4 sketchbooks (available at the University)
  • Faber-Castell 9000 Art Set 12 graphite pencils
  • Black fine liner pens (a range, waterproof ink)
  • Black ink
  • A range of paintbrushes
  • A4 piece of Perspex
  • At least two different colour pencils - Faber-Castell Polychromos or Caran D’Ache
  • Erasers (soft and hard)
  • A colour range of chalk pastels, such as Derwent Academy Soft Pastels pack of 24
  • Box of willow charcoal
  • Masking tape
  • Fixative or a strong-hold hairspray
  • Plastic A2 folder
  • Pritt Stick
  • Scissors
  • Scalpel
  • Cutting board
  • Acrylic paints (colours will be specified in class once you begin your course)
Read more about .

BA (Hons) Interior Design

Materials

Although you can find computers and model-making tools on campus, you may also find it useful to have your own equipment for working on projects from home.

  • Your own laptop, with a dedicated (i.e. not shared) graphics card.
  • A3 cutting mat
  • 1:25 figures standing (pack of six)
  • 1:50 figures standing (pack of six)
  • Architect's scale ruler
  • Chromed steel safety ruler
  • UHU stick (40g)
  • Masking tape (18mm x 50mm)
  • 3M Magic Tape (19mm x 33m)
  • Scissors, large (190mm)
  • Scissors, small
  • Swann Morton scalpel blade remover
  • Swann Morton scalpel (No. 3) with blades
  • Large set square, big enough to draw on A3 paper. (The adjustable ones are good but more expensive).
  • Tracing paper - a pad of A3 will be useful for your technical drawings. We also recommend generally having a roll of tracing paper for this module and studio that is not so precious.
  • Long tape measure (for surveying spaces)
  • Graphite pencils (a range including HB, 2B and 4B), eraser and sharpener
  • Isometric paper - no need to buy a pad, if you have a sheet printed off on A3 you can use this multiple times with tracing paper over the top.
  • Drawing paper (A3 minimum)
  • A range of papers generally to collage is always useful, drawings on grey or brown packaging paper can be very successful particularly using a white crayon and ink or graphite. You may wish to bring a range of coloured or textured papers to lessons.
  • Uni Pin Fine Line pens - these can be purchased in multipacks of different widths.
  • Watercolour paper and watercolour paints/brushes.
  • Promarkers or other quality marker pens. The colours we find useful are not the primary bright ones that usually come in the multipacks but the softer tones, neutrals and greys. Think about what you are likely to draw before purchasing colours.
  • Inexpensive plain paper or sketchbook.

Books

In terms of books, these two are great introductions to interior design. However, please do not feel obliged to purchase them or read them before your course starts. Both are completely voluntary, and you'll be able to get them from the library once fully registered and on campus.

  • Thomas, H., 2018. Drawing Architecture (London, Phaidon Press).
  • Taylor, M. (Ed), 2006. Intimus: Interior Design Theory Reader (London, Academy Press).

BA (Hons) Photography

You will find all the photography resources you need on campus, but you may want your own laptop for homeworking. For more information, see our specific technical requirements.

You’ll be able to access e-books once you register. When you’ve done that you might want to look at the introduction of Photography: a critical introduction, by Liz Wells (6th ed., 2021).

Also, if you are local to Cambridge and can get to Kettle’s Yard, it’s worth visiting the Howardena Pindell exhibition. Or do go in your first few weeks at ARU, as we will be experimenting with similar techniques. It will also be useful for your Photographic Practice and Context module, as her work conveys themes of racism, feminism, violence, slavery, and exploitation.