Join a course that scored 94% for Teaching on my Course and 91% for Learning Opportunities in the National Student Survey 2023. With its vibrant studio culture and small class sizes, combined with excellent printmaking, 3D, photography and life-drawing facilities, our illustration course has consistently high student satisfaction ratings.
We know that our students want to learn from the best, so all of our tutors are professional illustrators. They’ll help you find your visual style and kick-start your career. But they’ll never forget the reason you chose to study illustration in the first place. At Cambridge School of Art, you’ll find there’s always time to experiment, discover, discuss and create.
Our studios and workshops are second to none, and you’ll spend lots of time working there. As well as practising and experimenting with your drawing and observation skills, you’ll get the chance to explore related areas such as storytelling, editorials, animation, printmaking, text and image, and moving illustrations.
But you won’t be restricted to the studio: you’ll also go on gallery visits, local drawing trips, and our annual overseas visit to cities such as Porto and Seville, and take part in live briefs for partner organisations. Our students have recently worked with Cambridge University Botanic Garden, producing designs for their educational resources; Cambridge Gateway From India, researching and creating an information board to accompany the new Gateway Stones on Mill Road; and Cambridgeshire Constabulary, creating and exhibiting artworks for their KNOW Violence Against Women project.
There’s even the chance to study abroad for a semester, in the Netherlands or Poland – with funding on offer to help cover the costs.
We know that your future career is important and you want to build your CV. So we’ll encourage you to grab every opportunity for real-world experience – entering national and international competitions, working on live industry briefs, and taking up internships.
As an illustrator, a world of possibilities awaits you. You could illustrate books, become a graphic artist, design stage sets or product labels, and even work on animated films.
One of the highlights of our students‘ academic year is the annual drawing trip to Lisbon. Each year our our second and third year students have the opportunity to join a course drawing trip to Lisbon, Portugal.
Let us show you where your talents can take you:
In 2021, Illustration Course Leader Chris, graduating student Guoste and alumnus Lizzie talked to New Designers about what illustration is, whether it’s the course for you, and how to apply. Watch the video on the New Designers Futures Programme website.
Course Leader: Chris Draper
Entry requirements are not currently available, please try again later.
Alua Imanalina, "On 'Hearth, Home and Homeland'"See more of our Illustration students' work
Klara picked up the Association of Illustrators Spotlight Award at New Designers 2023.See more of our award-winning students
Tess made the longlist of the AOI World Illustration Awards 2023 for her book Ewe Lamb.See more of our award-winning students
Take a look at some of the latest work by our BA (Hons) Illustration students.
Leah won the 2023 Stratford Literary Festival 'Design a Book Jacket' Competition with her cover for the festival’s Young Poets Collection, earning a cash prize and a commission with publisher Little Toller Press.Find out more about Leah’s win
Our 2nd year BA Illustration students collaborated with Cambridge Constabulary and their client Social Change to raise awareness of violence against women, misogyny and behaviour in Cambridge.Find out more about the Cambridge Constabulary Live Brief
Children's book author and illustrator Kristin talks about her career since graduating from ARU's BA (Hons) Illustration in 1998.ARU Spotlight Podcast: Kristin Roskifte
BA (Hons) Illustration Course Leader Chris Draper talks about the importance of curiosity and developing your own artistic voice.
Course Leader Chris talks about his journey as a practising illustrator, from education to professional life.ARU Spotlight Podcast: Chris Draper
Illustration student Guoste talks about what made her choose to study at Cambridge School of Art.
Winner, ‘New Talent’ category, World Illustration Awards 2021.
Winner, ‘New Talent’ category, World Illustration Awards 2021.
BA (Hons) Illustration student Kata talks about her experiences on the course.
Winner, Network Rail's "Wish I Was There" competition 2021.
As well as our dedicated illustration studio, where you’ll have your own desk, you’ll have use of the following facilities:
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.
The creative industries are booming in the UK, employing more than two million people. With a wealth of careers to choose from, our graduates have found success as book illustrators, graphic designers, luxury homeware designers and more. Want to follow in their footsteps?
Cambridge is the perfect place to gain experience – a creative hotspot that’s home to thousands of established businesses and start-ups.
There are plenty of opportunities to get your work seen, too. At the end of your final year, you’ll take part in our degree show and the New Designers graduate exhibition 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 employers, 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.
To amplify your career ambition, you will need to actively dedicate time outside of your studies, whether you choose to explore placements, internships or volunteering. Or you could make a social impact by collaborating with our partner organisations through our volunteer scheme Students at the Heart of Knowledge Exchange (SHoKE). These all give you an edge, providing you with experience that you will be able to evidence on your CV and talk about in interviews.
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’re a member of the Association of Illustrators (AOI), giving you access to practical information and support – and the chance to make professional connections.
"My images have been licensed for greetings cards, puzzles and ceramics – and I'm proud to say that my fabric is available to buy from Liberty London."Catherine Rowe
BA (Hons) Illustration graduate and founder of Catherine Rowe DesignsCatherine's story
Do you have a question that we haven't answered so far? Talk to our application experts. You can also ask our Student Ambassadors about life at ARU.
We're here Monday-Thursday 9am-5pm (please note we close at 3.30pm on the first and third Thursday of the month for staff training), and Friday 9am-4.30pm.
Applying for one of our art and design courses? Get expert advice on putting together a portfolio that showcases your skills.Portfolio tips and advice
Read this institution's report