MA Children's Book Illustration portfolios

Find out how to prepare your digital portfolio for the MA Children's Book Illustration course at Cambridge School of Art.

What do we look for in your digital portfolio?

Generally, your digital portfolio should include 15-20 pieces of work that show your skills through:
1. finished drawings/paintings/sculptures/etc
2. drawings from observation
3. process work.
These items should highlight your creativity, individuality, and openness to experimentation.

At Cambridge School of Art, we see drawing skills as particularly useful and want to see drawings from life, even if you have not taken drawing classes. These should include observational drawings of your surroundings/streets/cafes/people. We strongly believe that through careful observation, rather than drawing what you think you should see, you learn to understand objects, places, and figures, and build a library of images to use in your illustration work. We like to see that you have already begun this investigation in your sketchbooks.

While we expect to see some examples of your finished projects, we’re also very keen to see your working/thought processes. Drawing is the basis for the development of ideas so even if you mainly work in other media, please include examples of research and development of the ideas to show us how your ideas evolve. We will be looking for examples of your progress from initial ideas to final pieces, how you engage with your subject matter, and what inspired you to create your work.

There is no prerequisite that you have created work for a child audience before coming on the course. Furthermore, if you haven’t completed illustration work but you have worked as a ceramicist, designer, or other type of artist, we’d like to see examples of this. Please also include examples of where you have experimented with new art materials and created works using a variety of methods. We want to see that you are inquisitive and have the ability to investigate. No matter the medium, we are interested to see your content, composition, and creativity. We get very excited when we see candidates from diverse backgrounds who have had unique experiences they can bring to both their own work and the MA course.

How should you present your digital portfolio?

Please email a pdf of your work (you can convert to PDF using InDesign or Powerpoint if you don't have Adobe Acrobat DC) or a link to your personal portfolio website to admissions-ahss@aru.ac.uk (home applications) or internationaladmissions@aru.ac.uk (international applications).

Please host any videos on a video sharing site such as YouTube or Vimeo - you can set them as 'unlisted' and just send us the links. If you're unable to share your video via a video sharing site, please use a file sharing service such as Google Drive or Drop Box (make sure your file is less than 1GB).

If you would like to arrange a face to face portfolio review and tour, please contact the relevant Admissions team using the email addresses above.

Visit the MA Children's Book Illustration course page