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b3 yrs full-time, 6 yrs part-time
££9,000 p.a.
Fees per anum UK & EU
DUniversity of Wales Trinity Saint David
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Become a skilled visual communicator and make your mark on a rapidly transforming media landscape.

During your time studying BA (hons) Illustration at HCA, you will hone your ability to convey an emotion, weave a narrative, explain a complex issue and illuminate an astonishing array of subjects, all through the power of your image-making.

You will be armed with the fundamental knowledge needed to become an illustrator, encouraged to explore an amazing breadth of image-making techniques and inspired to create your own path as a creative professional during and beyond this course.

Studying Illustration at Hereford College of Arts offers the workspaces, contact time and opportunities needed to make great work.

This Key Information document gives you a summary of the core characteristics of the BA (Hons) Illustration degree at HCA.

On the Illustration degree at HCA, our priority is helping you to develop your unique, personal ‘voice’ as an illustrator. We do this by running a broad-based course, which means you will be supported to explore and develop a myriad of techniques and mediums before focussing-in on what makes your work identifiably your work.

Throughout the course you will have the opportunity to take part in many small group workshops and drawing classes. You will also benefit from talks by our experienced course tutors, workshop technicians and visiting illustrators. When it’s time to get to work on your projects, you can do so in your individual, personalised workspace.

We encourage group discussions and hold regular group feedback sessions so that students can encourage and support one another. One-on-one tutor time means you get the individual help you need with a variety of projects, where you could be making anything from an individual image for a newspaper to a picture book or zine.

With a sturdy footing in traditional processes, such as drawing and printmaking, Illustration at HCA also keeps its eye on the most contemporary practices. The course is associated with many high-profile illustrators and internationally renowned events. Illustration at Hereford also provides access to world-class workshop facilities and trips to cultural epicentres.  Live briefs with external clients mean you will gain first-hand professional experience before you even graduate.

Option Modules offer the chance to customise your program of study and collaborate across courses and years. All students take Critical Studies, where you can gain fascinating insights into the subject you love. You will explore your specialism and the work of those you admire. We will help you to see your own practice in context with your peers and predecessors; leading to, not only a greater understanding the rich and varied practice of Illustration, but who you are as an Illustrator. The things you discover in Critical Studies will help you answer the question: where do I want to take my practice?

Above all, individual development is the core of Illustration at HCA.

  • Small group teaching in a friendly studio environment.
  • Individual workspaces that you can make your own.
  • Exceptional access to tutorial support and technical advice.
  • Inspiring, high profile visiting practitioners.
  • Regular drawing classes and print workshops
  • Opportunities to produce a range of outcomes including: graphic novels, picture books, zines and small publications, maps, prints and more.
  • Live project briefs.
  • Develop your own visual language and evolve a unique style.

HCA Illustration students also have access to technical support in superb craft-orientated workshops that  use traditional print processes, including letter press, collagraphy, mono-printing, engraving, etching and screen-printing. Students benefit from excellent IT facilities and support that provides industry standard software on both PC and MAC systems. This includes the complete Adobe suite of products, including Photoshop, lllustrator and After Effects, plus I-stop Motion and Final Cut Pro for video post-production.

A range of expert visiting practitioners contribute to the course. These have included award winning illustrators: Clive Hicks-Jenkins, Jonny Hannah, Rebecca Gibbon, Matthew Richardson, Laura Carlin, Ian Murray, Geoff Grandfield, reportage artist Xaviere Pick and master printmakers Charles Shearer and Nick Morley.

The course facilitates live, collaborative projects with a range of local and national partners, including the internationally renowned Hay Festival where students have created large format murals and run workshops.

A great variety of organisations have partnered up with HCA Illustration including:

  • The BBC
  • Hay Festival
  • House of Illustration
  • The Courtyard Theatre
  • Inky Goodness and GLUG
  • Varoom – The Association of Illustration
  • Nicola Davies – Graffeg Books
  • Waterstones
  • Hereford Buttermarket
  • Herefordshire Libraries
  • Herefordshire British Legion
  • De Koffie Pot, Hereford

HCA Illustration graduates go on to have varied and interesting careers including:

Free-lance practitioners. 

Recent examples of commissions undertaken by HCA graduates include:

  • Editorial illustration for The Radio Times and the New Your Times
  • Children’s book commissions for several publishers, including: Quarto and Wide Eyed Books, Otter-Barry Books and Graffeg Books
  • Creating artwork for public relations publications for Herefordshire Council and Balfour Beatty
  • Creating site specific installations and ‘mural’ type artwork
  • Groups of students have grown ‘collective’ enterprises sharing studio space and developing small businesses

Full time employment:

Assistant Graphic Designers for TV and Film production

Animator & Video Production Engineer


There have been a number of graduates earning post-graduate teaching qualifications and gaining employment at primary, secondary and HE level.


Recent graduates have gone on to study on Masters programmes in both theoretical research and practice based programmes at a range of institutions.


Several graduates have successfully achieved full employment in arrange of roles relating to marketing and promotions at a range of institutions and companies.

  • Minimum age 18.
  • Successful portfolio interview.
  • Academic achievement – we would normally expect applicants to have achieved 80 UCAS Tariff Points at entry but, whilst qualifications are important, our offers are not solely based on academic results. We may make offers based on other evidence of talent and suitability for the course.
  • 80 UCAS Points on the New UCAS Tariff system for 2017 equates to 200 UCAS points on the previous points system – for more details please see tariff explanation and advice on the UCAS website.
  • Applicants whose first language is not English – proof of IELTS overall score of 6.0 with a minimum of 5.5 in all sections (reading, writing, listening & speaking) is required.
  • Applications from mature students with relevant experience will also be considered.
  • Recognition of Prior Learning Opportunities – the college welcomes applications from students with prior learning and/or previous experience. Further details on eligibility can be found on page 15 of our Admissions Policy.
  • Alternatively, please contact us at and we can offer further advice on HCA and the UWTSD awarding body requirements.

NB for Top-Up students different entry requirements apply – please see our Top-Ups application page for more information.

See more student work and other inspiration

on our course Instagram

Explore 3
Watcha short film about our course

"Illustration is motivation to read." Sir Quentin Blake

Speaking to HCA Illustration Students, Hay Festival, 2013

What you will study