BA & FD Illustration

Illustration programmes at Plymouth College of Art offer a diverse image-making experience resulting in outcomes and contexts such as traditional publishing, independent books, zines and limited prints, through to online publishing and interactive, moving image outputs.

Throughout the programme students are encouraged to extend their drawing skills and the development of their conceptual thinking to progress towards a personal visual language and identity.

A competitive and demanding discipline, we value high levels of imagination and conceptual thinking, alongside problem solving skills and consideration of clients, contexts and audiences.

Interdisciplinary and collaborative practices are explored and professional aspirations are directed through opportunities to engage with national and international competitions and live briefs/commissions. 

Our aim is for students to develop a culturally curious attitude that keeps them aware of contemporary trends and actively engaged in creative communities as they pursue that ‘spark of originality’ that sets them apart from the crowd.

On this blog, you can click on the links to explore images created by students on YR1, YR2 and YR3 on the programme as well as work by our Alumni.   You can also find more information about us through our adventures and our creative inspiration - from Illustration cafe to the Illustration shed.

Here are a few examples of some of the initiatives we have developed to enhance and enrich our programme over the last few years:

Pylon Press

Pylon Press is a support structure for creativity where as a programme we explore independent publishing through collaborative projects and self authored texts.

Illustration Cafe

Where we draw, create, illustrate, play...invitation open to all.

Independent Illustration Practice

Our ongoing passion for entrepreneurial practice explored previously through the Illustration Bureau, the Illustration Stuff Fair and the Illustration 109 shop and more recently shops in Drake Circus.

Year One Modules

Introduction to Illustration

We kick start the first year exploring fundamental illustration principles - creative problem solving and visual communication - alongside the manipulation of a range of image-based media, materials and techniques.

Micah Shaw

Dom Tsoi
Michelle Keith 

Yasmine Davey

Nicola Vine

Visual Narratives

At its heart, Illustration is storytelling. Illustrators frequently tell stories and convey complex messages or concepts through their image making. 

Kelly Walton
 Russell Melhuish

Jonathan Habens

Jonathan Habens 

Image & Text

Our students explore the relationship between images and text, and are introduced to the design principles of layout and composition, as well as hand rendering techniques associated with typographic design, with the intention of integrating both image and text within a design context.  

Jordan Wray

Angie Henriques

Katie Vowden

Katie Turner

Caroline Morgan

Sam Thorne

Building visual language

Throughout the first year, students experiment and evaluate a range of creative communication techniques, applying and manipulating a range of image-based media, materials and techniques.

Bronwen Wells

Sasha Seraia

Joloyon Snell

Jonathan Habens

Ryan Salter

 Megan Rodgers

Eliza Meddings

Cindy Arscott's three portraits of Jacques Cousteau

Jordan Brown

James Rae

Charmaine McDonough

Ali Dann timeline

Isaac Goscombe timeline

Jon Habens timeline

Students explore problem solving and creative play with a range of
 creative print-making processes.  Workshops consist of a series of experimental print techniques, which are designed to develop an understanding and awareness of the processes used.

Year Two Modules

Professional Practice

At the heart of Illustration is the requirement to work to commission for a client - visually interpreting a message they want to convey to a particular audience in a given context.  Throughout this module our students respond individually or in teams to a range of creative Illustrative/image-making tasks.

We run an assignment titled 'Competitive Spirit' which is delivered in two stages: The Great Editorial Race followed by selection and completion of National/International Competition briefs.
The Great Editorial Race - where teams work together across 21 days to complete professional mock-ups of 10 editorial illustrations all to win some illustrated pounds and chocolate coins!

Kelly Walton's illustration for an article about borrowing  money

Megan Rodger's illustrate's Jools Holland 

while Briony Cloke illustrates Camila Batmanghelidjh

Sasha Seraia selected an article on sleep apnea - 

Katie Vowden's mock-up illustration - an article on Yoga as Therapy 

Dom Tsoi's mock up illustration for an article about dreams

Elliot Skelly's mock-up Little White Lies Cover - The Grand Budapest Hotel

Phill Darlington's short story illustration

In the second stage of the module, students select from a variety of national/international illustration awards - Macmillan Children's Book Prize, Penguin & Puffin Design Awards, Design Against Fur, Young Creatives Network Awards, D&AD student awards... 

Independent & Self Promo Practices 

As working outside the commission has become more popular, new spaces in which audiences can engage with illustration have developed over the last decade and self-directed and authorial (Illustrator as author) approaches to both creating and presenting work are explored by many Illustrators.  Work produced within this module is intended for sale so is carefully considered in terms of pricing, presentation, packaging alongside consideration of potential audiences, markets and outlets.

Deadline Day photo's for the Independent Practices module:

Ella Doherty's jewellery range

Pauline Reeve's pencil cases

Laura Week's first adventures with collectibles using resin moulds
Laura's limited edition red squirrel screen prints

Toby Allen's mini concertina books - Monster's in Hats

Hand-painted china dolls by Jonthan Habens and Zoe Binner
A full range of products designed and produced by Joanna Birkett 

A joker from Jordan Wray's pack of cards

Dan Budd's greek myth inspired limited edition screenprints

Self Promotion 

Year two students have the opportunity to research, design and produce creative self-promotional strategies that suit their particular aspirations.  Digital, print and portfolio outcomes are explored.

Chris Dodd's self promo mask

Micah Shaw's creative CV

A one day project to produce self promo badge packs

Haz Russell's creative CV

Sequential Image-making

Within this module our students take on the role of Illustrator as storyteller or communicator through the production of sequential images.  Developing their skills in exploring image-text relationships through visual narrative, they extend their awareness of the potential contexts of Illustration and the convergence of their practice with other disciplines, such as creative writing, graphic design and animation.  

Dan Budd

James Rae

Isaac Goscombe

Joe Griffiths

Kadi Vowden

Mikey Coombes