Our BA (Hons) Animation and Illustration course explores the connections between animation and illustration, helping you to create sequential narratives using a variety of methods – from the latest specialist 2D digital animation, 3D CGI used in industry and interactive techniques to traditional handmade image-making.
You will develop creative abilities, technical skills and a personal language within animation, as well as sequential imagery within graphic novels, with the focus being on illustration and design.
Perhaps most importantly, you’ll get time, guidance and support from a team of industry professionals, animators and illustrators who are dedicated to your creative development. As well as regular visiting industry speakers to inspire and guide you in your creative work, in your final year you will also receive guidance from an assigned industry advisor dedicated to the year.
At Cambridge School of Art, you’ll experiment and discover, try stuff out, venture into the unknown and find solutions, develop and create.
While developing a unique visual style, you’ll also focus on the core foundations: studying the world around you, refining your drawing skills, learning the fundamentals of animation skills using industry standard 2D and 3D animation software, such as TV paint and Maya and learning to create engaging stories through moving images.
You’ll go on group reportage drawing trips, with opportunities to visit museums, galleries and animation festivals in the UK and overseas. You’ll find lots of visual inspiration in Cambridge – from the Botanic Gardens to the art collection in the Fitzwilliam Museum, to the city’s architectural beauty and vibrant cultural and student life.
On campus, you’ll have access to our dedicated animation production studios, which feature high-end 3D CGI, Cintiqs and Rostrum camera, lighting and sound recording equipment. These are the tools you need for the wide range of animation methods we teach from traditional hand-drawn and stop-motion animation, experimental and interactive imaging to the up-to-date industry-standards of 2D and 3D digital animation. As well as this, all our Animation and Illustration students have access to printmaking facilities, photo and film studios, and life drawing studios.
As a student at ARU you’ll receive ongoing support to find placements and work experience through the Creative Industries placement work experience module, and you can also take an optional placement year. You’ll also get the opportunity to work on live briefs set by industry; we’ve previously worked with companies including Curveball Media and Allia Future, and more recently our students have worked with the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, creating a short animated ident to promote their collaboration with Chelsea Flower Show.
You'll develop a professional showreel and website, so you are ready to go out into industry, get the opportunity to present your work at festivals and fairs, as well as showcasing your talent through Present, our graduate exhibition website, and New Designers, London.
In 2021, recent graduate Hannah Lane’s short animated film A Snowy Surprise was shortlisted for the Cinemagic Film Festival Young Filmmaker Award, as well as being selected for Our Culture and the Bitesize Film Festival. Steven Goodison’s short film Wee Shadows was selected for screening at @FrightFest UK and various other festivals and Velina Garabedyan's film Wherever I Wander was selected for screening at five festivals.
Graduate Sabine Buhain received industry recognition at New Designers 21 - open to all final year visual communication students in the UK - winning the Aardman Academy Screening Award for Like It Was Yesterday. Sabine’s animation grabbed the judges’ attention with her ‘‘wonderful design and colour journey [creating] a world we immediately loved’.
As well as raising your industry profile through exhibitions and awards, you can attend guest lectures from some of the top animation studios in London, such as Passion Pictures, The Mill, FrameStore, Blue Zoo, Nexus Studios and Studio Aka and take advantage of our relationships with animators, illustrators and production studios such as Curveball Media, Sookio and Allia Future Business Centre, to build a strong body of work ready for a professional career in the animation and illustration industry.
This degree will prepare you for work in the creative industries as an 2D/3D animator, motion graphics designer, or illustrator, and many of our graduates now work with leading animation studios and UK broadcasters such as The Mill, 12 Foot 6, Slurpy Studios, The Like Minded, Filofax, BBC and Channel 4, as well as developing freelance careers in animation and illustration.
As well as the work presented in the carousel below, you can also check out the short films our students produced for BBC Radio 4's The Listening Project,, BBC Cambridgeshire, The Globe Theatre their live brief for Curveball Media, and the New Designers Screening Award 2021.
Course Leader: Jeffrey Crosby
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Iceni Darby, "Metamorphosis"See more of our Animation and Illustration students' work
A montage of major project work by our graduating animation and illustration students.
An animation by BA (Hons) Illustration and Animation student Esme Powell for her Major Project, 2022.
An animation by BA (Hons) Illustration and Animation student Ethan Dredge for his Major Project, 2022
An animation by BA (Hons) Illustration and Animation student Hannah Vernon for her Major Project, 2022
An animation by BA (Hons) Illustration and Animation student Fay Matthews for her Major Project, 2022
An animation by BA (Hons) Illustration and Animation student Becky Holloway for her Major Project, 2022
An animation by BA (Hons) Illustration and Animation student Ruta Stalmokaite, 2022
An animated film by BA (Hons) Illustration and Animation student Fay Matthews for the Fibrosis Research Group, explaining the medical condition fibrosis.
BA (Hons) Illustration and Animation student Ruta Stalmokaite talks about her experience on the course.
Collaborative animation by Ruta Stalkmokaite, BA (Hons) Illustration and Animation, and Alex Camp, BSc (Hons) Audio and Music Technology.
A short motion graphics animation by Ruta Stalmokaite, BA (Hons) Illustration and Animation student at Cambridge School of Art, ARU.
An animation by BA (Hons) Illustration and Animation student Nica Petrova for her final major project at Cambridge School of Art, ARU.
An animation by BA (Hons) Illustration and Animation student Vania Felix for her final major project at Cambridge School of Art, ARU.
An animation by BA (Hons) Illustration and Animation students Olena Kalinina and Karina Alimova for their final major project.
An animation by BA (Hons) Illustration and Animation student Esme Powell for her final major project at Cambridge School of Art, ARU.
An animation by BA (Hons) Illustration and Animation student Velina Garabedyan for her final major project.
Hannah talks about her major project animation "A Snowy Surprise" and shows it in full for the Present Showcase 2021. The film was shortlisted for the Cinemagic Film Festival Young Filmmaker Award, and was also selected for Our Culture and the Bitesize Film Festival.
Steven Goodison’s short film “Wee Shadows” was selected for screening at FrightFest and various other festivals in 2021.
Graduate Velina Garabedyan's film “Wherever I Wander” was selected for screening at five festivals in 2021.
As well as our dedicated animation base rooms with workstations for stop motion and digital animation, you’ll have use of facilities including:
Our new digital workshop includes a variety of computer aided manufacturing machines, helping you learn up to date manufacturing and design processes as well as supporting many traditional techniques. These technologies include:
Our Creative Showcase shines a spotlight on what makes ARU creative and cultural – our spaces, places and people. Find out more about our community, the difference we make, the stories we tell, and the things that inspire us.
Meanwhile, Present is an exhibition that you curate for yourself. Explore the work of our graduating students in this eye-catching virtual degree show.
Alternatively, take a guided tour and meet our students.
With an understanding of traditional animation and illustration, combined with expertise in cutting-edge digital design technology, our graduates have found success with leading animation studios and broadcasters, including Channel 4 and the BBC.
On our Sequential Practice module, you’ll focus on preparing for life beyond university, creating a showreel, a website and promotional material, as well as hearing guest speakers from some of the top animation studios in London, such as Passion Pictures, The Mill, FrameStore and Studio Aka.
Cambridge is the perfect place to gain experience – a creative hotspot that’s home to thousands of established businesses and start-ups. And, at the end of your final year, you’ll take part in our degree show in London – the perfect launchpad for your career.
Graduation doesn’t need to be the end of your time with us, of course. You might decide to stay at ARU and study for a Masters, such as our renowned MA Children’s Book Illustration. Take advantage of our Alumni Scholarship and get 20% off your fees.
Informed by artists, creative agencies and production studios, our courses support an integrated approach to employability. You’ll have opportunities to develop the skills and abilities they are looking for and gain a deeper understanding of how your academic learning relates to the world of work through Live Briefs and Ruskin Modules.
You will need to dedicate time outside of your course to develop your employability, through placements, internships or volunteering or through our partner scheme Students at the Heart of Knowledge Exchange (SHoKE). You can evidence this experience on your CV and talk about it in interviews to give you that all important edge.
Our Employability and Careers Service offers a range of expert advice and support to build your unique professional profile, including tailored career appointments, advice on writing your CV, and help to complete job applications. You’ll have 24/7 access to the Careers Centre, our comprehensive online digital resource, which empowers you to start building a Personal Career Development Plan from the very start. Design your future at ARU.
“We asked students to create an animation ident. What amazed us most was the quality of the thinking, and the variety of ideas and execution. We’re very much looking forward to working with them next year."LEE CARNIHAN
As Marketing Manager at Curveball Media, Lee helps to set live briefs for our Illustration and Animation studentsFind out more about our students' work with Curveball Media
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