BA (Hons) Illustration
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BA (Hons) Illustration at BHSAD is a diverse course that encourages students to communicate ideas and narratives through a broad range of traditional, digital and time-based media. Students are expected to work with ingenuity and professionalism on commercial briefs, whilst also developing distinctive work pursuing personal interests. As well as creating imagery for magazines, newspapers or advertising, we develop skills in narrative art forms such as animation, picture books, comics, short films and interactive digital environments.

The course also provides a welcoming environment to students working in craft-based areas, such as printmaking, ceramics, street art and textiles. As such, BA (Hons) Illustration a varied and exciting subject area that provides a memorable student experience. 

Our teaching philosophy is underpinned by our belief in drawing as an essential tool for experimentation, analysis and idea development. This is reflected in skills workshops and the requirement for students to work every day in personal sketchbooks in addition to their other projects. Students also develop a wide range of transferable skills to prepare them for employment, such as presenting to peers and clients, writing project reports and evaluations, critiquing work in groups, and organising their own exhibitions and events.

BA (Hons) Illustration graduates progress to careers in editorial, publishing, advertising, children’s books, art direction, graphic design, film and animation, fine art, digital media, teaching and web design; as well as those who move on to further study at post-graduate level. 


The course is delivered full-time over 3 years across 6 semesters, by an international team of experienced educators and illustrators. 

Year 1 (Level 4)

In Semester A, students work alongside Graphic Design students on a range of design and illustration projects. The emphasis of this semester is on idea generation, establishing a productive design process and expanding visual skills in drawing, traditional media and digital design programs.

In Semester B, students commit to specialisation in Illustration and undergo a series of intensive projects exploring different facets of illustration practice. This semester also includes drawing workshops, development of film and animation skills and technical instruction in print, ceramics, pattern and bookbinding. 

Year One culminates in a study trip to London, with educational visits to degree and post-graduate exhibitions at Royal College of Art and D&AD New Blood, plus the Association of Illustrators and major museums such Tate Modern, Barbican and Saatchi Gallery. 

Core modules
  • Visual Communication L4
  • C&CS Level 4 Graphic Design and Illustration L4
  • Illustration Essentials Part 1 L4

Year 2 (Level 5)

Semester A begins with a study trip to St Petersburg for the Boomfest comics festival, St Petersburg Street Art Museum and Hermitage State Museum. In the studio, students focus firstly on research and reportage, and then move onto a study of visual storytelling. Alongside these projects, we develop visual skills in areas such as studio photography, costume design and large- scale works. During this semester, students are encouraged to consider their won personal direction as an illustrator and identify areas and techniques in which to focus their practice. 

In Semester B, students are challenged to develop their work through an increased focus on the demands of professional illustration practice.  Studio projects include international and local competitions, and students are given the opportunity to work on exciting and challenging live briefs with clients. Recent commercial partners include Cinzano, Benetton, Interview magazine, Lee Gamble, Art Moscow and JBNY. Students also undergo a series of short projects aimed at developing engagement with professional practice, including organising exhibitions, working in teams, presenting their work through portfolios and CVs, visits to industry contacts and lectures on professional practice.

Core modules

  • Illustration Essentials Part 2
  • Illustration Professional Development
  • Illustration Commissions
  • C&CS Level 5 Graphic Design and Illustration

Year 3 (Level 6)

During Semester A, students focus on their degree essay, a piece of critical writing that addresses key issues in contemporary illustration, and supports their studio practice. We also continue to work on live client briefs and international illustration competitions, plus a series of editorial workshops aimed at developing quick ideas and illustration drafts. 

The final semester of the course is focused on a Final Major Project (FMP), defined by the student, which consists of a focused, substantial project on a chosen subject. The FMP is both a statement of intent about where the student wishes to progress as an illustrator, and is also a culmination of the learning experienced on the course. This Final Major Project is presented to the public in the students’ graduation exhibition. In this final semester, students also compile and present a portfolio of their work, in readiness for life as a professional illustrator. 

Core modules
  • Illustration Advanced Practice Part 1
  • Illustration Advanced Practice Part 2
  • Graphic Design and Illustration L6 Degree

Upon successful completion of Year 3 students will be awarded a Bachelor of Arts Degree  

Course director: Christopher Rainbow

Student work

Admission requirements and processes

To enrol on the course, applicants have to produce a portfolio of their works and evidence of their English language competence. A grade 6.0 or higher on the IELTS scale is acceptable and  the CAE and FCE qualifications are considered. If the applicant cannot produce a certificate, their English is tested together with prospective students who are applying for the Foundation Art & Design Course.

Enrolment is based on the results of portfolio assessment and interview with one of the tutors. Your knowledge and skills reflected in your work should be comparable to the knowledge and skills students acquire at Foundation level. Interviews and portfolio assessments are usually scheduled in the 3 days following the language test.

Transfer to Year 2 will be possible only if a student attended a higher education institution which uses a credit-based system. For these purposes, the number of previously received credits is compared with the number of credits which is necessary for transfer to the relevant stage of a British undergraduate course.

First group of Year 1 BA Photography students starts in September, 2016.

Applications are accepted from March until August 31st, 2016.

Classes begin in September, 2016.

Period of study 

Full-time - 3 years 

Tuition fees

Full-time GBP 5,100/year* 

Students as a rule pay their tuition fees once a semester, that is, twice a year, but at their request can choose to pay on a monthly basis.
*This proposal does not constitute an offer, the prices are subject to change. Cost of services and conditions of their provision will be specified in the contract.  

What documents are required if you apply

Online application form 

Copy of previous education certificates and academic qualifications

2 photos 3х4 cm

Copy of your passport

Personal statement

Entry examinations

Applicants who apply for Year 1 of British higher education courses, need to sit the following:

English exam

Portfolio assessment

Entry interview

During the admission exams, the admissions staff will arrange a convenient date and time for demonstration of portfolio and interview, after that, the matriculant will be allowed to pass the English test. English test is not required for students from English-speaking countries or if an IELTS or equivalent certificate is produced.

For Russian residents, interviews are conducted according to the schedule which you can find on our FAD page. The schedule of entry examinations for the BA courses is the same for applicants who apply for the Foundation Art & Design Course (go to the course page).

For international students we can organise the skype interviews. In such cases the portfolio can be sent via email. 

Required level of English

IELTS band 6.0 (or equivalent certificate). Along with the IELTS results, the following certificates are also accepted:

CAE (Certificate in Advanced English) grade C or above;

FCE (First Certificate in English) grade A.

If a prospective student does not have an IELTS certificate of the required level but successfully passed BHSAD English test as part of BHSAD entrance exams, he/she needs to obtain an IELTS certificate before the start of the first semester on Year 1.

Required portfolio

The range of work in your portfolio should cover a broad spectrum of media, materials and approaches. Projects may be submitted in different disciplines including but not limited to graphics, drawing, painting, textile, photography, decorative art, design, web-design, animation. First of all, the admission committee would like to see how you can generate and develop your ideas; that is why, besides finished projects, the portfolio should also include notebooks with sketches, sketchbooks, written works (articles, essays, if any). Please try to present examples of the best and most recent projects which reflect your creative abilities.

Your portfolio needs to be printed (А3 format or larger). Animation and CG works should be presented on CDs or memory sticks. It advisable to show photographs of large works which otherwise would be difficult to transport.

Download presentation with examples and recommendations for portfolio development (PowerPoint, 3,9 Mb).

Interview procedure

Prospective students will be asked questions regarding their educational and professional backgrounds in order to make a final decision about admission on to the course. Please be ready to tell the interview panel about yourself, your design experience and projects in your portfolio. You may be asked about the history of creation of a particular work and the context in which it was created. The panel may ask you about well-known designers to learn about the influence of creative activities of other designers and artists on you, the reason why you follow them and the main incentive for your development in terms of your occupation.

Please contact if you have any questions: or +7 (495) 640 30 15


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of Art and Design, 2003 - 2019

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