Follow in the footsteps of acclaimed children’s artists. Work with a dedicated support team of internationally-recognised illustrators to develop your own personal visual vocabulary. Make connections in the children’s publishing industry.
- Develop your own personal visual vocabulary supported by a team of internationally-recognised illustrators.
- Benefit from a 150-year tradition of drawing and inspiring creativity at Cambridge School of Art.
- Follow in the footsteps of many award-winning children’s book illustrators.
This taught studio course, first of its kind in the UK, was developed by our distinguished Professor Martin Salisbury, who still contributes to teaching on the course. It will give you the dedicated support and knowledge you need to develop your practice in the art of children’s book illustration.
Within the broad guidelines of each module, you’ll propose and develop a project, with guidance from internationally recognised illustrators, writers and publishers of children's books. You’ll share and discuss your work with other students in group critiques, and attend lectures and seminars that will inform your studio practice.
The illustration at Anglia Ruskin is built on a tradition that goes back to the founding of the Cambridge School of Art in 1858. Our MA students work in dedicated illustration studios right next door to the Ruskin Gallery, with access to a fully equipped printmaking studio.
By studying with us, you’ll follow in the footsteps of alumni such as designer and war artist Edward Bawden, acclaimed graphic satirist Ronald Searle, and Roger Law and Peter Fluck, founders of the TV phenomenon Spitting Image.
Course Leader: Shelley Ann Jackson.
Many of our past students now enjoy careers as freelance authors and illustrators for children. Among our published graduates are Paula Metcalf, Marta Altés, Nadia Shireen, Birgitta Sif, Rebecca Patterson and Jo Empson.
You may decide to take your work to a deeper level with a research degree, like our PhD Children’s Book Illustration.
You can show your work to leading publishing companies and literary agencies at our annual graduation exhibition, held at a venue in London before returning to our own Ruskin Gallery in Cambridge. You can also choose to take part in our student booth at the annual Bologna Children's Book Fair, where you can set appointments with publishers to show them your portfolio and dummy books, as well as attending lectures, workshops and parties.
Modules & assessment
- Observation and Experiment
- The Sequential Image
- The Diploma Project
- The Diploma Review
- Master's Project: Art and Design
Throughout the course, you will be asked to create various projects, to reflect on the work you have created, and to research and apply that research to your own craft.
The Observation and Experiment module will be assessed 100% on portfolio and your own reference of your portfolio work. In the Sequential Image module, your portfolio will be worth 80% of your grade, and an essay makes up the other 20%. The Diploma Project module grade is based 90% on portfolio and 10% on a research proposal. Your Diploma Review thesis will be assessed 100% on your 6,000-word essay, while the Master's Stage Project will be assessed 90% on your project work and 10% on your written report.
As you advance through the course, you’ll learn to work progressively more independently, preparing you for life beyond graduation.
Where you'll study
Your department and faculty
At Cambridge School of Art, we combine the traditions of our past with the possibilities afforded by the latest technologies.
Using our expertise and connections in Cambridge and beyond, we nurture creativity through experimentation and risk-taking to empower the makers and creators of the future.
Our academics excel at both practice and theory, making a real impact in their chosen fields, whether they are curating exhibitions, designing book covers or photographing communities in Africa. They are also regularly published in catalogues, books, journals and conference papers, their research classed as being of ‘international standing’, with some elements ‘world-leading’, in the most recent Research Excellence Framework.
You will work in dedicated illustration studios right next door to Ruskin Gallery, with access to all of Cambridge School of Art's other facilities and full training provided. These include traditional letterpress and printmaking workshops as well as digital facilities such as animation and graphic design studios.
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.
Interview and portfolio
You will be required to attend an interview of around 20 minutes, during which you will evidence your discussion with a portfolio or if you are resident outside of the UK, an e-portfolio.
For more information on how to prepare and submit your portfolio please visit our portfolios and interviews page, or go straight to the detailed guidance for MA Children's Book Illustration portfolios.
We welcome applications from international and EU students and accept a range of international qualifications.
Improving your English language skills
If you don't meet our English language requirements, we offer a range of courses which could help you achieve the level required for entry.
We also provide our own English Language Proficiency Test (ELPT) in the UK and overseas. To find out if we are planning to hold an ELPT in your country, contact our country managers.
English language requirements
If English is not your first language, you'll need to make sure you meet our English language requirements for postgraduate courses.
About the School
What we think, or what we know, or what we believe is, in the end, of little consequence. The only consequence is what we do. At ARU, taking the leap, defying the odds, and striving to succeed is what ... Read More