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b1 year full-time, 2 years part-time
££9,000 p.a UK & EU
Fees per anum UK & EU
DUniversity of Wales Trinity Saint David
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“I enjoyed so many things about HCA. We always had amazing and inspiring visiting illustrators and trips. The course is so well connected.”

– Tina Pearce

What we provide:

  • 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, including 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.
  • 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 with external clients.

Who we work with:

The BBC | Hay FestivalHouse of IllustrationThe 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

Career Options:

  • Animator
  • Concept Artist
  • Storyboard Artist
  • Graphic Designer
  • Illustrator
  • Cartoon Artist/Caricaturist
  • Fashion Illustration
  • Print Maker/Print Technician
  • Production Designer
  • Theatre/Television/Film
  • Fine Artist
  • Technical Demonstrator
  • Publishing
  • Script Writer/Author

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

  • 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.

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

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

Find out more about our new, purpose-built student accommodation in the heart of the City. The accommodation is located next to Hereford Railway Station and is mid-way between the two teaching campuses (College Road & Folly Lane)

HCA is an independent arts school surrounded by people who are passionate about the arts, media and performance. Find out more about why you should choose HCA.

See more student work and other inspiration

on our course Instagram

Watcha short film about our course
Amy Vale 1

Amy Vale

I love creating images. I think of illustration as a trade, a way of creating imagery with purpose. I liked the idea that images can tell stories and convey things words may not necessarily be able to.

Read Amy's story3
Emma Pryce

Emma Pryce

The most important lesson I learned while studying at HCA is that the way I draw is the way I draw! It’s great to learn different practices and skills to enhance what I do but, overall, what I create is what naturally comes out of me. The most honest way I can create anything is to embrace my style and build on that, as opposed to trying to be something I’m not.

Read Emma's story3
Max Low

Max Low

You have to be passionate about your chosen subject, because you’ll be doing it every day at college. Illustration suits me best, it has a clear purpose but also a total freedom. It also has a great sense of fun.

Read Max's advice3

"Illustration is motivation to read." Sir Quentin Blake

Speaking to HCA Illustration Students, Hay Festival, 2013

What you will study