Children's Book Illustration at Anglia Ruskin University - UCAS

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Course summary

Experiment with methods, explore ideas and critically reflect on your practice to develop your own personal visual vocabulary. Create original children’s book projects, supported by a team of internationally-recognised illustrators. The first course of its kind, MA Children’s Book Illustration was established at Cambridge School of Art in 2001 and is led by Course Leader Shelley Jackson. Over the last twenty years, we’ve seen hundreds of graduates publish children’s books around the world, many to critical acclaim. Students and graduates often dominate national and international awards, too. This taught, studio-based postgraduate degree is offered full-time or part-time. You’ll develop your practice in the art of children’s book illustration in a supportive, open and friendly studio environment with leading practitioners, including Alexis Deacon, Sophie Burrows, Birgitta Sif, Juliet Docherty, Charles Shearer, Dave Barrow, Arthur Vergani, Flavia Drago, Ella Beech and Marina Ruiz. See more of our students' work and exhibitions on Instagram: On each module of this Masters course you’ll propose and develop a project guided by our leading team of tutors—all practitioners with a wide range of specialisms. Teaching is primarily through one-to-one and group tutorials, seminars, workshops and studio critiques, in which you will learn about relevant theories, contexts and practices. As the course progresses, you are increasingly encouraged and expected to develop your work and research independently so that you’re prepared to enter the role of a freelance illustrator upon graduation. You’ll work in our dedicated illustration studios overlooking the Ruskin Gallery, with access to a fully equipped printmaking studio, other specialist facilities, and open access life-drawing sessions. With studio culture at the heart of the MA, you'll share and discuss your work with other students, attend course-wide lectures that will inform your studio practice, and participate in community activities. Since its foundation in 2001 by Professor Martin Salisbury, we have welcomed students from around the world who benefit from our international reputation and professional practice events. After graduation, we offer support to help you build connections in the children’s publishing industry through optional opportunities to showcase your work at Ruskin Gallery in Cambridge, in London, online and at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair. As a taster for our MA Children’s Book Illustration course you might also be interested in our Children's Book Illustration Summer School. Teaching times 2023-24 (subject to change for 2024-5): Full time - Monday and Thursday or Tuesday and Friday 9am-3pm, plus lectures and other activities on some Wednesdays. Part time - Wednesdays 9am-3pm, plus lectures and other activities afterwards. Careers Many graduates of our MA Children’s Book Illustration degree now enjoy careers as freelance authors and illustrators for children. Among them are Paula Metcalf, Marta Altés, Nadia Shireen, Birgitta Sif, Steve Antony, Matt Robertson, Flavia C Drago, Matty Long, Melissa Castrillon, Taylor Dolan, Nicola Kent, Emily Haworth Booth and Eva Eland. You may choose to show your work to leading publishing companies and literary agencies at our optional annual graduation exhibition held in London before returning to our own Ruskin Gallery in Cambridge. The graduation exhibition also includes a catalogue of student work shared with publishers, a website (, and social media campaign, all organised and funded by students separate of the course. Upon completion of the course, you may also choose to take part in our stand at the annual Bologna Children’s Book Fair, where tutors will show your work to publishers from around the globe. This professional development event is available only to our course graduates, requires an additional fee, and is separate of the course.


Year 1: Observation and Experiment; The Sequential Image; Illustrator and Audience: The Paradox; Research and Review. Year 2: Masters Stage Project.

Assessment method

Throughout the course, you will be asked to create various projects, to reflect on the work you have created, and to apply your own research to your craft. Both the Observation and Experiment module and Sequential Image module will be assessed 100% on your portfolio and reflection of your portfolio work and are marked on a pass/fail basis. The Illustration & Audience: The Paradox module is based 90% on portfolio and 10% on a research proposal. Your Research and Review dissertation will be assessed 100% on your 6,000-word essay, while the Masters Stage Project will be assessed 90% on your project work and 10% on your written report.

Entry requirements

A good honours degree (or equivalent), normally in a related subject. Applicants with professional experience are also encouraged to apply. If English is not your first language you will be expected to demonstrate a certificated level of proficiency of at least IELTS 6.5 ( Academic level) or equivalent English Language qualification, as recognised by Anglia Ruskin University. You will be required to submit a portfolio with your application. Following this, you may be invited to attend an interview of around 20 minutes, during which you may be asked to bring additional materials to evidence your skills and experience.

Fees and funding

Tuition fees

No fee information has been provided for this course

Additional fee information

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Children's Book Illustration at Anglia Ruskin University - UCAS