Illustration is an important part of our visual heritage and culture. From childhood and throughout our lives, illustration helps us all make sense of a complicated world. It is a communication tool that entertains, describes, inspires, explains and educates.
Hear from graduate Max Lowe
As an illustrator, you will be called on to create imaginary but believable worlds as the visual stimulus for entertainment, education or persuasion. These worlds can be brought to life on anything from the printed page to the digital screen, including diverse and unexpected places within the urban landscape in advertising, murals or other installations.
This inspiring course explores both traditional and high-tech approaches to picture making and visual communication.
You will participate in a wide range of workshops and projects that will encourage you to develop a unique visual language and personal style, before applying it to a range of outcomes such as: graphic novels, picture books, zines and small press publications, maps, prints and more.
Throughout this broad-based course, you’ll focus on drawing and image-making processes that create imaginative and innovative ways to communicate to a variety of audiences.
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Your Creative Career
- Concept Artist
- Storyboard Artist
- Graphic Designer
- Cartoon Artist/Caricaturist
- Fashion Illustration
- Print Maker/Print Technician
- Production Designer
- Fine Artist
- Technical Demonstrator
- Script Writer/Author
More about the course
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, illustrator 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.
- Small group teaching in a friendly studio environment.
- Regular drawing classes and print workshops.
- A home: individual workspaces that you can make your own.
- Exceptional access to tutorial support and expert technical advice.
- Develop your own visual language and evolve a unique style.
- A programme of visiting lecturers from around the world bringing cutting edge practice to HCA students.
- Successful completion of a UK based level 5 qualification such as a Foundation Degree (FdA) or HND in a related subject (evidence of prior learning will need to be provided).
- Portfolio submission or audition (as applicable) and successful interview.
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.
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 practises 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.
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.
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What you will study
Investigative, experimental and analytical.
In the first year, you will explore the role of drawing as a core skill as well as the relationship between drawing and traditional print processes. You will study some of the fundamental forms of illustration, such as Fashion and Reportage illustration, which have a very clear reliance on the practice of drawing.
The second year furthers your exploration of illustration in many of its fundamental forms. You’ll have opportunities to develop and apply your image-making abilities through a range of contemporary outcomes. These include engaging with externally set projects and tasks in the form of collaborations, competitions and exhibitions.
Confirmation of Practice
Your final year is where you will hone your area of interest and/or specialism within illustration. You will have the opportunity to develop your research and illustration practice during your personal project and your dissertation. We support you to do this through negotiation and discussion as you plan and develop these bodies of work.
You will create a portfolio which showcases your individual, specialist illustration practice. You will also make introductory media and visual assets, such as innovative business cards and a striking web presence, to help you achieve your early career goals on graduation.