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About the course

On this innovative course you can turn your stories and creative concepts into narrative art by exploring the art of illustration and visual communication in children’s and adult’s narrative, together with editorial and journalistic illustration.

In dedicated studio space at our Below Bar campus, you’ll study a variety of units such as concepts and themes, visual language, critical discourse, editorial, fairytale and folklore and contemporary art critique, with options to specialise in your preferred area.

You’ll also propose, plan and produce a body of work that will draw together your technical and conceptual skills and demonstrate competence in studio protocols and proficiency in applying methods, materials and technologies. This innovative degree explores the art of illustration and visual communication in children’s and adult’s narrative, together with editorial and journalistic illustration.

Students are encouraged to experiment and develop their own voice in an environment where they will feel free to take risks and be ambitious in developing their personal approach to visual art as either a practitioner or critic and theorist. To underpin creativity and encourage understanding of transferable skills and management of learning, emphasis is placed on gaining hands-on practice, from working in the print room to drawing on the streets, and working on projects and case studies to gain experience of working on live briefs.

In previous years, students have been given the opportunity to exhibit, both in Southampton and London, and to have their work seen by a collection of art directors and agencies. Past students have also been encouraged to enter industry competitions to gain exposure for their creative work and have also been able to publish and print their work through our in-house printing organisation to sell at artists’ book fairs.

You have the opportunity to study abroad in one of our partner universities for a semester on this course.
Study abroad
If you're not quite ready for a full undergraduate degree, there's alternative entry through one of our foundation years.
Foundation year available
As part of your studies you will have the opportunity to undertake a work experience placement.
Built in work experience placement
This course has access to Solent's specialist facilities.
Specialist facilities
After successfully completing your studies, there's an opportunity to continue your studies at Solent.
Further studies

The course places a strong emphasis on experimenting and developing a voice.

What does this course lead to?

Course graduates have found a wide variety of roles, including freelance illustrators, gallery curators and technicians, printmaking technicians, graphic designers, private press publishers, junior web designers, and art and textiles technicians.

Who is this course for?

Solent’s BA (Hons) Illustration programme is perfect for students from a creative background who are aspiring to careers in printmaking, book illustration, graphic design or arts teaching.

Graduates will have developed a professional portfolio and will be well positioned to progress into further study at postgraduate level.

Facts and figures

UCAS codes icon

UCAS codes

Full Time

  • 3 Years Standard Entry W221
  • 4 Years Design Foundation Year WW22
Fees icon

Fees and costs

Tuition fees

The 2019/20 fees are not yet available. For guidance, the 2018/19 fees were:
UK and EU full-time fees: £9,250 per year
International full-time fees: £12,500 per year

For further information, please visit our tuition fees page.

Other costs

While most course costs are covered by your tuition fees, some essential resources and optional extras may need to be paid for separately. These additional costs are listed below. For advice on budgeting and managing your money, please contact

The 2019/20 other costs are not yet available. For guidance the 2018/19 costs were:

Year one:
Compulsory drawing materials and printing costs: £350 
Optional study trip: £300

Year two:
Compulsory drawing materials and printing costs: £350 
Optional study trip: £300

Year three:
Compulsory drawing materials, printing and exhibition costs: £500
Optional study trip costs: £300

Bursaries and scholarships

Solent University offers a range of bursaries and scholarships that provide financial assistance or waive fees for tuition or accommodation. Each bursary or scholarship has specific eligibility criteria. Check out our bursaries and scholarships pages to find out more.

Key entry requirements icon

Key entry requirements

112 UCAS tariff points from A-levels or equivalent

  • A-levels, a BTEC Extended Diploma at DMM or BTEC Diploma at D*D* or equivalent.
  • UK applicants will be asked to attend a portfolio viewing.
  • Applicants from outside the UK will be asked to send an electronic portfolio.
  • Direct entry into second or third year may be considered for this course
  • Applicants over the age of 21 will be considered based on relevant experience, without the tariff point requirements.
  • Alternative entry to this course is available through the Design Foundation Year.

We welcome applicants from a diverse range of backgrounds. Applicants who are not in possession of the minimum entry requirements but are able to demonstrate aptitude, enthusiasm and motivation will be considered on an individual basis and may be admitted subject to satisfactory interview and/or portfolio. Please contact us for further details.

English language requirements

Applicants who do not have English as their first language will be required to demonstrate an approved level of proficiency in the use of the English language. The agreed minimum requirements for this course are:

  • IELTS minimum 6.0 overall with a minimum of 5.5 in each individual component
  • TOEFL IBT minimum 80 with a minimum of 19 in each individual component
  • or equivalent.

Qualifications are checked before enrolment, and international students must bring their original certificates or certified copies when coming to study at the University.

The University also offers a pre-sessional English programme for international students who wish to improve their level of English before starting a degree course.

Study location

East Park Terrace

Got a question about this course?

Contact our Ask Solent team: 023 8201 5066

How to apply

Any student applying for the first year of a full-time/sandwich undergraduate course must apply through UCAS (University and Colleges Admissions Service). This includes mature, overseas and EU students.

Nearly all schools and colleges offer their students the facility of applying electronically through the UCAS website using 'Apply'; it may also be used by those applying independently in the UK and overseas. This facility and all course information can be found on the UCAS website:

Your application should reach UCAS by January if you hope to enter a course the following autumn. Early application is advised for the most popular subject areas. Late applications may be made until June. The UCAS Code for the University is S30, code name SOLNT.

Please click the links below to apply through UCAS:

Mode of study
Full-time 3 years Apply

Design Foundation Year route:

Mode of study
Full-time 4 years Apply
How to apply

What you'll study

Year one

Core units

  • Skills Workshop 1
  • Concepts and Themes
  • Visual Research
  • History and Critique
  • Visual Language
  • Skills Workshop 2

Year two

Core units

  • The Society of Superstition and Phobia
  • Editorial
  • Contemporary Art Critique
  • Critical Discourse


  • Children’s Picture Book Illustration: Concepts
  • Narrative Book Illustration: Concepts
  • Children’s Picture Book Illustration: Realisation and Production
  • Narrative Book Illustration: Realisation and Production
  • Freelancing at Solent Creatives
  • Languages

Please note: Not all optional units are guaranteed to run each year.

Year three

Core units

  • Research and Authorship
  • Negotiated Study
  • Final Major Project


Web-based learning

Solent's virtual learning environment provides quick online access to assignments, lecture notes, suggested reading and other course information.

The Student Hub

The Student Hub is a central space where you can access all of the information and support you need during your time at University.

Professional and experienced staff can help resolve any query, and if they cannot answer the question themselves they will find the person who can.

Career support

Meet the course team

Jonny Hannah academic profile Jonny Hannah Senior Lecturer View profile
Louise Weir academic profile Louise Weir Lecturer View profile
Paul Osborne academic profile Paul Osborne Associate Lecturer View profile
Benjamin Lower academic profile Benjamin Lower Technician Instructor View profile

The university cannot guarantee any particular members of staff will teach specific aspects of the course in the future, but will endeavour to ensure the teaching team maintains their balance of experience and qualifications.


You’ll make extensive use of our print room facilities, including screenprinting, letterpress and etching presses. You’ll also have access to our modern IT suites, featuring the latest industry-standard software, including the latest Adobe Creative suite.

Students have free access to dedicated studio space at our Below Bar campus where they are able to experiment with a wide variety of media including intaglio and silkscreen print making, photography, digital imaging, drawing and painting to discover their own style. The creative space also boasts an in-house publishing press, which brings together industry-standard digital with traditional printing resources for student publications. In addition, there are letterpress, print-making, drawing and bookbinding facilities, all of which are designed to aid students’ journeys from initial concepts through to producing a final product for their portfolio.


The course team has strong industry links which have allowed past students the opportunity to work on live briefs from real clients.

Your future

Much of the industry works on a freelance basis, but in-house opportunities are available. You’ll work for a wide variety of clients, including publishers, newspapers and periodicals, advertising and design agencies, large manufacturers and the public sector.

In addition to fiction illustration, graduates can also work in fields such as fashion, textbook publication, architectural or medical illustration, and website and games production.

Suitable roles for graduates include:

  • Freelance illustrators
  • Gallery curators and technicians
  • Printmaking technicians
  • Graphic designers 
  • Private press publishers
  • Drawing and printmaking workshops.

Industry links

You’ll benefit from our programme of high-profile guest lecturers - previous speakers have included illustrator Holly Wales, Matt Curtis from the Sunday Times Magazine, and Hamish Muir, co-founder of MuirMcNeil. You’ll gain industry insight from links with the Association of Illustrators and advertising and design organisation D&AD. The course team will encourage you to enter industry competitions to gain exposure through your creative work.


We have strong links with a variety of clients, including local organisations such as Southampton City Council, and design bodies like D&AD and the Association of Illustrators. Every student will be given chances to exhibit, both in Southampton and London, and to have their work seen by a collection of art directors and agencies. You will also be able to publish and print your work through our in-house printing organisation, for sale at artist’s book fairs.

In addition to their studies at Solent, during their second year, past students have had the opportunity to spend a semester studying abroad at one of our EU partner universities in inspiring locations such as Valencia and Venice.

Graduate stories

Nate's story

Nate Kitch - Graduate

I really enjoyed my time studying illustration at Solent – it was a crucial three years in navigating and defining my style as a creative. One of the key factors in my progression was the lecturers on the course – with the majority of them working successfully in the field of illustration, it means they can give you a relative and justified opinion on the trends in illustration and can use this to engage with your work during crits, telling you where you are going right and wrong.

Personally I think this is an invaluable part of the course and really gives you confidence in what you are doing. The new studios are also a great environment to work in. With seminars held across the corridor, plenty of studio space with easy access to print and 3D rooms, you’re centred in a hub of creativity – not just with fellow illustration students, but graphic artists and fine artists too.

Exhibiting at D&AD was a huge opportunity, where I was able not only to liaise with fellow students from other top courses from all over the country but also with experts from within the industry. For me this was the most exciting thing that happened during my time at Solent. Having your works displayed whilst speaking to agents, editors and book publishers is almost surreal, and the contacts I built up from the industry would just not have been possible without having gone to the prestigious event. The fact that Solent pays for this to happen is such an important thing and you can’t help but feel that other universities who do not exhibit at D&AD are really selling their students short.

Another important fact I learnt at D&AD was the regard that Solent is held in for illustration. Many commented on the exciting depth and range of illustration we provided as a uni, but also how the course is beginning to fight its way up there with the likes of the London courses. After D&AD I was able to get in touch with my contacts and began setting up appointments and opportunities to let people know more about me and my work.

This led me to be where I am now, signed to an agent who then got me my first commission in a magazine. I don’t think where I am now would be possible without the tuition and guidance from Solent and the opportunities that they gave me afterwards. I feel very glad to have studied there and will always be willing to lend them a helping hand further down the line.

Further study

Enhance your career prospects by continuing your study at Solent.

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