Experiment with methods, explore ideas and critically reflect on your practice to develop your own personal visual vocabulary. Create original children’s book projects, supported by a team of internationally-recognised illustrators.
The first course of its kind, MA Children’s Book Illustration was established at Cambridge School of Art in 2001 and is led by Course Leader Shelley Jackson. Over the last twenty years, we’ve seen hundreds of graduates publish children’s books around the world, many to critical acclaim. Students and graduates often dominate national and international awards, too.
This taught, studio-based postgraduate degree is offered full-time or part-time. You’ll develop your practice in the art of children’s book illustration in a supportive, open and friendly studio environment with leading practitioners.
On each module of this Masters course you’ll propose and develop a project guided by our leading team of tutors—all practitioners with a wide range of specialisms. Teaching is primarily through one-to-one and group tutorials, seminars, workshops and studio critiques, in which you will learn about relevant theories, contexts and practices. As the course progresses, you are increasingly encouraged and expected to develop your work and research independently so that you’re prepared to enter the role of a freelance illustrator upon graduation.
You’ll work in our dedicated illustration studios overlooking the Ruskin Gallery, with access to a fully equipped printmaking studio, other specialist facilities, and open access life-drawing sessions. With studio culture at the heart of the MA, you'll share and discuss your work with other students, attend course-wide lectures that will inform your studio practice, and participate in community activities.
Since its foundation in 2001 by Professor Martin Salisbury, we have welcomed students from around the world who benefit from our international reputation and professional practice events. After graduation, we offer support to help you build connections in the children’s publishing industry through optional opportunities to showcase your work at Ruskin Gallery in Cambridge, in London, online and at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair. As a taster for our MA Children’s Book Illustration course you might also be interested in our Children's Book Illustration Summer School.
You can see work by our graduating students on our Present showcase site.
Entry requirements are not currently available, please try again later.
"Since 2015, I have been a full-time freelance illustrator, illustrating for book covers, picture books, editorial, textiles, packaging and stationery. It’s what I hoped and dreamed of doing."
MA Children's Book Illustration graduateRead Melissa's story
As well as our dedicated illustration studio, you’ll have use of the following facilities:
All our Illustration students have access to facilities including:
"My book, Child of St Kilda, came out of my Masters project. I discovered printmaking for the first time in the fantastic print room, and it was a real lightbulb moment - it taught me so much about image making."
MA Children's Book Illustration graduateDiscover Beth's inspiration for her Kate Greenaway shortlisted book
Course Leader, Associate Professor
Senior Lecturer Practitioner
Professor of Illustration; Director, the Centre for Children’s Book Studies
Lecturer, Children's Books Illustration
Many graduates of our MA Children’s Book Illustration degree now enjoy careers as freelance authors and illustrators for children. Among them are Paula Metcalf, Marta Altés, Nadia Shireen, Birgitta Sif, Steve Antony, Matt Robertson, Flavia C Drago, Matty Long, Melissa Castrillon, Taylor Dolan, Nicola Kent, Emily Haworth Booth and Eva Eland.
You may choose to show your work to leading publishing companies and literary agencies at our optional annual graduation exhibition held in London before returning to our own Ruskin Gallery in Cambridge. The graduation exhibition also includes a catalogue of student work shared with publishers, a website (cambridgemashow.com), and social media campaign, all organised and funded by students separate of the course.
Upon completion of the course, you may also choose to take part in our student stand at the annual Bologna Children’s Book Fair, where tutors will show your work to publishers from around the globe. Like the graduation exhibition, this professional development event is available only to our course graduates, requires an additional fee, and is separate of the course. Many students also attend the fair in-person in order to participate in lectures and workshops or volunteer on our stand.
Graduation doesn’t have to be the end of your time with us. You could choose to continue your academic career with a research programme at ARU such as our PhD Children’s Book Illustration. Take advantage of our Alumni Scholarship and save £400 on your fees.
“My work has developed in so many ways since being here. After a year-and-a-half of study, I won the Macmillan Illustration Prize for my first book, Adventure at Night. Winning the prize has been unbelievable... [it has] opened doors everywhere.”
MA Children's Book Illustration graduateShu-Ti's story
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