Postgraduate courses in Illustration

Illustrations play a huge role in advertising, promotion for example, they enable us to associate logos with brands such as the famous golden ‘M’ for McDonalds and many others. They play quite an important role so it is essential that those creating the illustrations are of high quality and professional. 

Luckily, there are a few courses you can take at postgraduate level that will allow you to gain the necessary expertise.

What is an illustration?

Illustration makes things clearer through diagrams and pictures. Illustrations are decorations, interpretations or visual explanations of something through these pictures and diagrams that are designed for integration in print and digital published media.

What does an illustrator do?

As an illustrator you can expect to work irregular and flexible hours ranging from 30-40 hours a week. You may be expected to work long hours or unsocial hours in order to meet deadlines. The majority of illustrators work as freelancers or are self employed. The duties and tasks of an illustrator may include:

  • Work closely with clients and create illustrations based on their requirements 
  • Brainstorm with clients/marketing teams/designers 
  • Prepare rough drafts of designs according to specifications
  • Alter or change designs
  • Create illustrations combining painting, hand drawings and digital imagery
  • Plan, produce and present budgets
  • Use illustration software
  • Apply isometric techniques
  • Ensure work is of high quality 


There are many courses on offer in the area across the UK. Some courses offer the opportunity to study either part time or full time. Universities may have certain restrictions in place due to Covid-19 and may offer courses online. There are courses available in this area across a number of colleges and are very similar. Courses include:


Postgraduate courses in Illustration will allow students to diversify their professional practices by exploring narrative communication to engage with diverse audiences. You will look at how narrative and storytelling methods can be used to make information more accessible to people as well as how to develop your creative practice with exposure to methods such as digital and physical production among many more topics of importance. 

Children’s Book Illustration

Exactly as you’d expect, a postgraduate course in this area will give students the opportunity to enhance their skills in book illustration and practice through various projects to develop and perfect your craft. You will also be able to develop other skills needed to work as an illustrator such as your ability to negotiate, manage and coordinate projects to produce high quality results. 

 Communication Design: Illustration

This course aims to develop creative professional understanding of Illustration in the context communication design. A key focus of courses like this is to place an emphasis on the patterns of research you have developed and the visual methods you have gained and to then explore and unravel briefs. You will be expected to examine what, how, why and who and question all areas of importance as a designer. 

There are also courses available including Children’s Book Illustration and Graphic Novels, Illustration and Animation, Graphic Design and Healthcare and a number of courses under the title of Illustration which may differ in specific content bit, for the most part, will be very similar. 

Entry requirements 

Entry requirements may differ from course to course or university to university. Therefore, it is important to research your specific course in detail to ensure you meet the entry requirements. As these courses are postgraduate courses, you will need a bachelor’s degree. Some courses may accept a 2.2 degree while others will require a 2.1 in a relevant subject. 


Your salary may be impacted by a number of different variables such as your employment type, the area you’re working in, your experience and sometimes even location. It is believed the average salary of an illustrator in the UK is around £31,000. Starting salaries will start out closer to between £18,000-£23,000 and will increase with experience. 

Examples of areas Illustrators work in

  • Book Illustration 
  • Film animation
  • Computer games
  • Magazines
  • Giftware
  • Instruction manual diagrams
  • Posters
  • Product packaging
  • Newspapers
  • Greeting cards, birthday cards etc 

Skills and requirements

Skills and requirements helpful in this area include:

  • Creative
  • Imaginative
  • Excellent drawing and sketching skills
  • Drawing ability 
  • Photography skills
  • Artistics flair
  • IT and design software knowledge
  • Good negotiators 
  • Excellent verbal and written communication
  • Self-motivated
  • Deadline-driven
  • Focused
  • Problem solving skills
  • Adaptable 

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