MA Children's Book Illustration

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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.

An illustration from a  book showing an animal reading a newspaper Watch the video

How ARU helped me win at the World Illustration Awards

"The tutors on this course are amazing...[they] push your work in a new direction". Mariajo Ilustrajo, Winner of the 2023 Klaus Flugge Prize and Best New Talent at the World Illustration Awards 2020

Already have an ARU degree? You may be eligible for our Alumni Scholarship for students starting postgraduate courses.

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, including Alexis Deacon, Sophie Burrows, Birgitta Sif, Juliet Docherty, Charles Shearer, Dave Barrow, Arthur Vergani, Flavia Drago, Ella Beech and Marina Ruiz.

See more of our students' work and exhibitions on Instagram.

Course options

Course options

Key facts

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Entry Requirements


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Fees and Paying for University

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"I've witnessed first hand how the children's illustration program at Cambridge School of Art is absolutely dedicated to connecting its students to publishing professionals worldwide... I love finding US artists in their program, and I can't wait to hire more!"


Editor, Peachtree Publishing Company Inc., Atlanta

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Facilities and accreditation

Students working in one of the studios in Cambridge School of Art

Studios and workshops

As well as our dedicated illustration studio, you’ll have use of the following facilities:

  • a specialist printmaking studio with facilities for etching, screenprinting, relief printing, plate lithography, risograph and letterpress
  • a life drawing studio 
  • a 3D workshop with facilities for wood/metal work, laser cutting, 3D printing and an annexe for 'wet' work including plaster, clay and mould making
  • photography studios and darkrooms
  • Mac suites for digital imaging and book design.
Drawers of movable type in a printmaking studio

Industry-standard equipment

All our Illustration students have access to facilities including:

  • the full Adobe Creative suite
  • Macs
  • scanners and wide-format printers 
  • printmaking workshop
  • letterpress workshop
  • photography and video equipment, including digital cameras and lighting kits.


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 (, 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.

Apply now for MA Children's Book Illustration

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