Follow in the footsteps of acclaimed children’s artists by studying your Children’s Book Illustration MA degree at ARU. Work with a dedicated support team of internationally-recognised illustrators to develop your own personal visual vocabulary. Make connections in the children’s publishing industry.
Find out more about teaching options and studying during COVID-19 in the Entry requirements section, below.
Our Children's Book Illustration taught studio course, the first of its kind in the UK, was developed by our distinguished Professor Martin Salisbury, who still contributes to teaching on the course. It will give you the dedicated support and knowledge you need to develop your practice in the art of children’s book illustration.
Since its inception in 2001, the MA Children’s Book Illustration at Cambridge School of Art has seen hundreds of illustrators publish thousands of picturebooks, many to great acclaim. View recent publications.
MA Children’s Book Illustration students and graduate often dominate international and national awards shortlist many of them going on to win.
Recent awards include:
Within the broad guidelines of each Children's Book Illustration module, you’ll propose and develop a project, with guidance from internationally recognised illustrators, writers and publishers of children's books. You’ll share and discuss your work with other students in group critiques, and attend lectures and seminars that will inform your studio practice.
Illustration at Anglia Ruskin is built on a tradition that goes back to the founding of the Cambridge School of Art in 1858. Our MA degree students work in dedicated illustration studios right next door to the Ruskin Gallery, with access to a fully equipped printmaking studio.
By studying your Children's Book Illustration degree at ARU, you’ll follow in the footsteps of alumni such as designer and war artist Edward Bawden, acclaimed graphic satirist Ronald Searle, and Roger Law and Peter Fluck, founders of the TV phenomenon Spitting Image.
Course Leader: Shelley Ann Jackson.
You might also be interested in our Children's Book Illustration Summer School as a taster for this Masters course.
Many of our past students now enjoy careers as freelance authors and illustrators for children. Among our published graduates are Paula Metcalf, Marta Altés, Nadia Shireen, Birgitta Sif, Rebecca Patterson and Jo Empson.
You may decide to take your work to a deeper level with a research degree, like our PhD Children’s Book Illustration.
You can show your work to leading publishing companies and literary agencies at our annual graduation exhibition, held at a venue in London before returning to our own Ruskin Gallery in Cambridge. You can also choose to take part in our student booth at the annual Bologna Children's Book Fair, where you can set appointments with publishers to show them your portfolio and dummy books, as well as attending lectures, workshops and parties.
Modules are subject to change and availability.
Throughout the course, you will be asked to create various projects, to reflect on the work you have created, and to research and apply that research to your own craft.
The Observation and Experiment module will be assessed 100% on portfolio and your own reference of your portfolio work. In the Sequential Image module, your portfolio will be worth 80% of your grade, and an essay makes up the other 20%. The Diploma Project module grade is based 90% on portfolio and 10% on a research proposal. Your Diploma Review thesis will be assessed 100% on your 6,000 word essay, while the Master's Stage Project will be assessed 90% on your project work and 10% on your written report.
As you advance through the course, you’ll learn to work progressively more independently, preparing you for life beyond graduation.
At Cambridge School of Art, we combine the traditions of our past with the possibilities afforded by the latest technologies.
Using our expertise and connections in Cambridge and beyond, we nurture creativity through experimentation and risk-taking to empower the makers and creators of the future.
Our academics excel at both practice and theory, making a real impact in their chosen fields, whether they are curating exhibitions, designing book covers or photographing communities in Africa. They are also regularly published in catalogues, books, journals and conference papers, their research classed as being of ‘international standing’, with some elements ‘world-leading’, in the most recent Research Excellence Framework.
You will work in dedicated illustration studios right next door to Ruskin Gallery.
As a Cambridge School of Art student, you can also receive access to, and full training in, all of our other industry-standard facilities. These include traditional letterpress and printmaking workshops as well as digital facilities such as animation and graphic design studios.
Materials: costs depend on direction and ambition of your work, though students are expected to experiment with materials, techniques and ways of making throughout the course so should be prepared to purchase a range of supplies (estimated £250 per year). Though it is not required, many students prefer to purchase their own books to use for the major essay module and would need to consider this cost, as well, which will depend on the specific topic, scope, and availability of books.
Technology: Students will need regular access to internet for engagement with email and Canvas, our online teaching platform. Scanning and printing of work is necessary for creation of mock-ups of project outcomes. While students may use campus computer systems, there will likely be a need to access computer systems from home for the above uses.
Optional London graduation show (including catalogue design, printing and mailing; gallery space rental and private view for publishers): has ranged from £170 to £250 over the past few years, depending on how many students participate and the options they choose. There is an additional cost for each student to prepare their work, which will depend on the individual choices they make, such as how they choose to print, bind and display their artwork and dummy books.
Optional Bologna Book Fair stand portfolio inclusion: approximately £340, plus costs of preparing work and creating promotional materials. Many students also choose to attend the fair, which would incur additional travel costs. Neither the London show nor Bologna Book Fair are requirements of the course.
You can pay your fees upfront, in full or in instalments – though you won't need to pay until you've accepted an offer to study with us.How to pay your fees directly
You can pay your fees upfront, in full or in two instalments. We will also ask you for a deposit of £4,000 or a sponsorship letter. Details will be in your offer letter.Paying your fees
It’s important to decide how to fund your course before applying. Use our finance guide for postgraduate students to learn more about postgraduate loans and other funding options.
We offer a fantastic range of ARU scholarships and bursaries, which provide extra financial support while you're at university.
You will be required to attend an interview of around 20 minutes, during which you will evidence your discussion with a portfolio or, if you are resident outside of the UK, an e-portfolio.
For more information on how to prepare and submit your portfolio please visit our portfolios and interviews page, or go straight to the detailed guidance for MA Children's Book Illustration portfolios.
Whether you're studying entirely online or through a blend of face-to-face and online learning in September 2020, you'll need a computer and reliable internet access to successfully engage with your course. Before starting the course, we recommend that you check our technical requirements for online learning.
Studying during COVID-19
Due to national restrictions all universities in England, including ARU, are only able to provide face to face teaching on campus for a limited number of courses. Visit our restrictions page for details.
In response to the COVID-19 global pandemic the majority of our apprenticeship courses are being delivered online only using our established online learning systems. The provision offered is subject to change due to the possibility of further Government restrictions, however the University remains committed to delivering teaching and ensuring a COVID-19 secure environment for those that are on campus.
We welcome applications from international and EU students, and accept a range of international qualifications.
Whether you're studying entirely online or through a blend of face-to-face and online learning from September 2020, you'll need a computer and reliable internet access to successfully engage with your course. Before starting the course, we recommend that you check our technical requirements for online learning.
If you don't meet our English language requirements, we offer a range of courses which could help you achieve the level required for entry.
If English is not your first language, you'll need to make sure you meet our English language requirements for postgraduate courses.
Check the standard entry requirements for IELTS requirements for this course.
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