Illustration and Animation - BA (Hons)

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Why study this course?

Our Illustration and Animation BA degree is industry-focused, it will help you develop your creativity and hone the skills you'll need to practise as an illustrator and animator. With an emphasis on digital platforms, as well as more traditional forms of illustration, the course embraces ongoing developments in the way illustration is practiced, no longer confined to the page, but inhabiting a dynamic, three-dimensional digital world.

Visit our Tumblr page for some examples of what our students and graduates do.

More about this course

Built on a foundation of narrative, drawing and image-making, the fundamental skills of illustration and animation are taught through a variety of mediums. You’ll benefit from studio-based learning, industry partnerships and be encouraged to publish your work throughout your studies.

You’ll study in The Cass’s unique studio system in East London and make use of an unrivalled range of creative facilities to make your work — including photographic studios, printmaking, ceramics and woodworking studios, and technology including 3-D printing, Risograph printing and laser-cutting.

Whether you're creating a zine, a narrative for a start-up or a short film for digital publishing, this course is about telling stories and connecting with a variety of audiences.
A defining feature of the course is its focus on cross-disciplinary projects, allowing you to use a huge range of different mediums.

You'll typically work on several client-led briefs throughout your studies. You'll be encouraged to move between conventional illustration, animation and modern graphic technologies, with an emphasis on communicative and expressive drawing, screen-printing, printmaking, bookbinding, letterpress, drawn and stop motion animation, projection mapping, as well as digital and 3D illustration, using the latest industry-standard software.

The course prides itself on producing versatile makers in both artistic and commercial work. A typical destination for graduates may be in the field of illustration, animation, advertising, film & television, publishing, immersive theatre, visual effects, and art installation.

You’ll learn through our dedicated studios, curated by leading practitioners such as Nous Vous, Rachel Gannon, Emily Evans, Studio Cecilie and Gilles. We can provide excellent links to the industry and anticipate new developments in the field while also maintaining a respect for tradition. A high-profile lecture series – the Hothouse Talks – offers you the chance to engage with visionaries in the field of illustration and visual communication.

Assessment

You'll be assessed through project work, essays, individual practice and a final portfolio project including a dissertation. There are no examinations.

Fees and key information

Course type
Undergraduate
UCAS code W221
Entry requirements View
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Entry requirements

In addition to the University's standard entry requirements, you should have:

  • a minimum of grades BBC, one of which should come from a relevant subject area in the arts, humanities or social sciences (or a minimum of 112 UCAS points from an equivalent Level 3 qualification in a relevant art and design subject)
  • a portfolio ready for review (see below for more information)
  • GCSE English at grade C/grade 4 or above

If you do not have traditional qualifications or cannot meet the entry requirements for this undergraduate degree, you may still be able to gain entry by completing the Art and Design Extended Degree (with Foundation Year).

We encourage applications from international/EU students with equivalent qualifications. We also accept mature students with diverse backgrounds and experiences.

Suitable applicants living in the UK will be invited to a portfolio interview. Applicants living outside the UK will be required to submit a portfolio of work via email.

This course is also available as a four-year extended degree, the first year of which is a foundation year explaining art, media and design.

To study a degree at London Met, you must be able to demonstrate proficiency in the English language. If you require a Tier 4 student visa you may need to provide the results of a Secure English Language Test (SELT) such as Academic IELTS. For more information about English qualifications please see our English language requirements.

If you need (or wish) to improve your English before starting your degree, the University offers a Pre-sessional Academic English course to help you build your confidence and reach the level of English you require.

Portfolios and interviews

Your portfolio should be selective, but have enough work to show a range of your interests and talents. We are interested in seeing how you develop a project from beginning to end, not only finished work.

If you cannot bring certain pieces of your work to your portfolio interview, please take photographs and include them.

Physical portfolio

If you are coming in person to your interview we strongly suggest bringing a physical portfolio of work.

Things to bring:

  • Sketchbooks– we love to see your sketchbooks with ideas and notes, even if they are messy.
  • Examples of the development of a project from start to finish and the final outcome.
  • Some work that you are really proud of and want to talk about.
  • Some work that shows you experimenting with different processes.
  • Illustration and Animation BA applicants are particularly encouraged to show sketchbooks that have drawing and image making in them.

Digital Portfolio

If you are submitting an online application, please follow these guidelines.

Things to include:

  • Scans or photographs demonstrating items from the list above.
  • Storyboarding for motion-based work.
  • Also include scans of sketchbook pages showing development.

Be sure to check the resolution and overall quality of your image to ensure submissions are not pixelated.

Modular structure

The modules listed below are for the academic year 2019/20 and represent the course modules at this time. Modules and module details (including, but not limited to, location and time) are subject to change over time.

Year 1 modules include:

  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Tuesday afternoon

    Critical and Contextual Studies (CCS) Level 4 aims to orient and critically engage students in the history and theory of their discipline, its extent and conventions, and its broader social and material context in culture and contemporary practice.

    The module helps students to reflect on what they see, and to read connections between different ideas that have shaped their discipline. In particular the module investigates how thinking and articulating ideas about practice in their field might be framed – for example in relation to history, the economy, society and the environment, or through theory and practice.

    The module introduces students to a range of academic skills needed to produce a graduate-level study in their final year. It helps students to develop their own interests, and to reflect on and take responsibility for the development of their own learning. This includes surveys in the history of their discipline, research and writing workshops, seminars, library sessions, visits and tours in addition to guided independent learning.

    Read full details
  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Monday afternoon
    • all year (September start) - Monday morning
    • all year (January start)

    This module is intended to enable graphic designers, publishers, illustrators and animators to explore the principles of their subject through intensive introductions to craft and digital based workshops and processes of making, combined with theoretical, historical and contemporary explorations within their subject areas.

    Successful design outcomes are reliant on sound design principles. These design principles inform and create opportunities for designers to apply creativity to the conception, development and eventual realisation of effective design solutions in relation to the subject area. Testing, experimentation and iteration are key to making new discoveries and developing as a visual communicator.

    This module introduces to a range of contemporary and traditional discipline-related design approaches and processes, some of which will be tested in design exercises. Processes experienced will involve research, documentation and analysis, as well as play, accident and chance.

    Design concepts will be tested through the application of workshop and studio methods. Materials, processes and technologies will be discipline-specific, developing creative outcomes relevant to the possibilities and constraints of the context, the needs of the client and users, and industry conventions.

    Students will be encouraged to develop a critically informed and personal approach to the process of 'making' and to extensively test new skills and processes learnt. Studios and projects will encourage understanding of practice in the context of a rapidly changing contemporary culture with ever-developing needs and problems; engaging with materials, media and processes to find an individual voice as a visual communicator.

    This module seeks to enable students to:

    • utilise different methods and techniques, recording and presentation of findings for graphic design, design for publishing, illustration and animation as appropriate discipline-specific skills in studio practice;

    • develop strategies for idea generation, problem solving and concept testing, and to design with reflection, rigour, innovation and personality;

    • learn and apply key knowledge (for example, material and process selection, historical exemplars) necessary to the exercise of design, including consideration of ethical issues;

    • demonstrate that consideration of the effects on users of design decisions is fundamental to the principles and practice of design work;

    • build a clear understanding of contemporary practice in the subject area.


    Projects will seek to enable a range of learning opportunities such as:

    • acquisition of workshop and studio skills for concept generation, design development, both traditional and contemporary, in discipline specific environments and contexts;

    • research and analysis through case study of object, context and process;

    • discussion of ideas, processes and approaches, developing confidence through shared experience;

    • peer and self-assessment opportunities fostering reflection and independent development;

    • set tasks and site visits that encourage teamwork, community networking and peer communication;

    • face to face and online study groups through the University E-learning environment.

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  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Monday afternoon
    • all year (September start) - Monday morning
    • all year (January start)

    This module introduces the idea of ‘graphic authorship’ as a way of thinking and as an approach to developing a personal practice as a graphic designer, designer for publishing, illustrator or animator. Through investigation and development, from conception to realisation, its purpose is to stimulate critical and creative methods of design in an evolving personal perspective. As good working practice, the module also encourages reflection in relation to critical reception of work. It asks students to consider the negotiable nature, contexts and implications of the personal positions and purposes adopted by creative practitioners.

    It surveys key historical and contemporary movements and practitioners known for their singular creative voice, considering what can be learned from the influence of their work in context of their own and later times. The module also looks at other creative factors and influences, whether tied to the professional field or not, in shaping individual practice.

    The module seeks to enable students to:

    • consider and discuss critical activity and roles as a creative practitioners in a chosen field of graphic design, design for publishing, illustration or animation;

    • understand relevant issues, choices and constraints within graphic authorship: can or should designers ‘author’ their own work or simply ‘transmit’ between the client and society;

    • appreciate factors that mediate how practice is received and understood through time, place, culture, commerce etc.;

    • gain secure knowledge of both precedent and contemporary practice in relation to questions of authorship, beginning to locate themselves within the contemporary disciplinary field accordingly;

    • practice strategies for creative influence/ reception, finding their own voices within practice, exploring the question of authorship through studios that further practical competence.

    Students will work independently and in groups as is required by the nature of the module’s aims. Seminars and critiques provide ongoing feedback on critical and creative development, permitting reflection on how work is received.

    Through case study discussions and indicative visual analysis, the module requires students to reflect on work produced by themselves and their peers, as well as in the context of historical and contemporary figures in the profession. Students will study original examples of relevant work on visits to cultural institutions, studios and other design related situations.

    The studio and module introduces a range of media, materials, processes and approaches for the realisation of concepts and ideas through workshops, seminars, critiques and presentations. Studio practice in development of disciplinary techniques encourages technical competence, knowledge of the field and opportunity to develop a critical voice and increasingly distinctive approach.

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  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Monday afternoon
    • all year (September start) - Monday morning
    • all year (January start)

    This module is intended to enable graphic designers, publishers, illustrators and animators to develop a range of knowledge, skills and approaches in the research, sketching and communication of information and ideas in visual form.

    Students will take part in a range of studios, workshops and lectures that introduce a wide range of traditional and contemporary drawing, visual research and communication media, methods and practices to help explore, record, select from, analyse and interpret the environment and the world of images, spaces and artefacts for a range of purposes.

    Through the regular practice of a wide range of visual communication methods, whether for the recording and communication of information, the generation of concepts and design or the expression of ideas, students will develop confidence and a key resource to support practice.

    Discipline specific projects will explore the recording and expression of line, colour, form, structure, light, space and perspective, texture, detail and context appropriate to the requirements of specific fields in a range of media and formats.

    The module seeks to enable students to:

    • study and practice a range of techniques and approaches in the research and recording of exhibitions, contemporary and historical practitioners within the field of visual communication, books, magazines and specialist blogs;

    • gain increasing fluency in a range of formal techniques in the generation and communication of ideas and information in visual form;

    • begin to develop a personal approach and a regular practice of drawing as a form of visual research;

    • begin to demonstrate critical interpretation of what is recorded and produced through visual research and communication practice through reflection.

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Year 2 modules include:

  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Thursday afternoon

    Critical and Contextual Studies 2 continues to orient and critically engage students in the history and theory of their discipline, its extent and conventions, and its broader social and material context in culture and contemporary practice. It builds on studies undertaken in Level 4 and prepares students as independent thinkers, capable of selecting an appropriate topic and producing a sustained piece of independent study in the form of a dissertation in Level 6.

    The module continues to situate the student within the process of constructing knowledge about their discipline, its history, context, and its professional and ethical dimension. It rehearses the analytical and discursive skills students need to become knowledgeable about the authorities, objects and methods in their field; to understand the roles, locations and responsibilities of important players whilst examining the broader ethical questions relevant to their discipline; and to become conversant with current debates across the subject area. This process may be approached from the point of view of the producer or consumer, the critic or the professional, the academic or the practitioner.

    Students are encouraged to think creatively and to take responsibility for the development of their own learning. The module recognises that the student is also an active contributor in the process: what students bring to the construction of knowledge counts – and how effectively they construct this knowledge depends on how well they understand the field of their discipline.

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  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Friday afternoon
    • all year (September start) - Tuesday morning
    • all year (September start) - Tuesday afternoon
    • all year (September start) - Friday morning

    Materiality (form, colour, surface and texture) affects meaning and value in all design. This module requires your critical evaluation of subtle and implicit design details, reflecting ethical and environmental design proposals expressed through materials and construction, considering how material selection and manipulation endows the artefact and/or interior with qualities and values.

    Students will explore and experiment with both physical and virtual material representation, drawing on concepts and ideas originally generated within the studio. Outcomes will be developed through material and/ or constructional experimentation including scaled interventions or working models. Students will realise relevant design solutions for studio briefs, in response to specific end-users and/or sites.

    Through in-depth practice-led research, students will consider the sustainable, social, functional and environmental impacts of material choices and the performance of these upon designed-spaces or objects.

    Students will work towards a professional standard of presentation, developing a logical and creative approach to design problem solving, appropriate to the needs of users and clients.

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  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Friday afternoon
    • all year (September start) - Tuesday morning
    • all year (September start) - Tuesday afternoon
    • all year (September start) - Friday morning

    As humans, we live in a continuous and ongoing relationship with the made world, where the former and the latter each inform the other. This module aims to show how understanding of the human body (its scale, proportions and movement) and awareness of sociological and physiological human behaviour are key aspects of successful design. This module will examine how humans live and work together and how the body is a site for debate, performance and politics through contemporary and historical civilizations.

    Close observation of the interaction between the body and its immediate environment will be at the core of this area of study. It will show how analysis of the human being, at a range of scales, is vital to relevant, safe and ethical, innovative design that responds to physical and sensory needs. Environmental observation and reflection will be documented through a range of media, analysed to support the generation of concepts and design ideas.

    Informed selection and application of material processes are an intrinsic part of the design and production of both objects and the made environment. Workshop activities will explore and test ideas, resolving design issues through modelling in traditional and digital materials and technologies. Material experimentation and knowledge will enhance both the concept and its communication.

    You will normally select from a range of studio projects, working with contemporary ideas and practicing designers, mentored by professional practices as appropriate to the project.

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  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Thursday morning

    This module develops and applies the knowledge and skills established in DN4008 Interior Materials and Technologies, and in preparation for DN6029, Integrated Design Practice, at Level 6. The module will develop students’ understanding and confidence in approaching the production of interior spaces through strategic and detailed design processes.

    The module focuses in detail, through a series of analytical and reflective precedents, on how different aspects of context and history, and of material, construction, services and environmental design, interact in the context of large or complex interiors and buildings. The module will provide a progressively more detailed knowledge of the interior from structure through interior organisation, to details of fixings, fittings and surfaces.

    The module introduces methods, terms and techniques that can be used to evaluate and describe the range of different relationships that appear under the heading of technology. In particular, the module investigates interiors that may involve multiple clients, for example, retail, hotels or public buildings. It examines how and why standards are developed as well as the remit for research and experiment.

    The development and production of a range of drawn (manual and CAD) and written information is used to establish an understanding of professional standards in design communication and the individual’s scope to represent ideas and decisions precisely.

    The module features a work placement adding practical, relevant, insightful experience to the curriculum where a strategic and informed approach to the workplace can start to develop, this is embedded and developed through CV and portfolio development techniques.

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Year 3 modules include:

  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Wednesday afternoon
    • all year (September start) - Wednesday morning

    Critical and Contextual Studies (CCS) Level 6 results in an independent dissertation. It builds on two years of undergraduate study that critically engages students in the history and theory of their discipline, its extent and conventions, and its broader social and material context in culture and contemporary practice.

    Students undertake an enquiry into a topic of their own choice and, based on this enquiry, develop a sustained critical study in support of their practice, building on techniques and knowledge developed in previous years. This study demonstrates the student’s ability to thoroughly research a topic, use appropriate methods of investigation, and work in a methodical and organised way to develop a coherent argument. It affords a sophisticated instrument for interrogating, testing and presenting ideas, and encourages the student to deploy and develop a variety of skills to show how well they can conduct and present a critical investigation.

    The module rewards criticality and innovation, and provides a platform for ambitious independent work. To this end, it offers individual supervision designed to support the student’s learning. The subject matter of the dissertation can be theoretical, technical, or historical. In terms of format, the dissertation may be envisaged in different ways and can include visual, technical or other non-written material which may form the subject of the enquiry and comprise an integral part of the whole.

    The dissertation may be practice-based and include field-work and primary research in its methodology; or it might be academic and theoretical in its outlook and draw predominantly on secondary sources. Its form and approach can reflect a broad range of discipline-specific approaches based on discussion and agreement with the supervisor and/or course leader.

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  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Friday morning

    The module provides a link between the completion of their undergraduate studies and interior design practice. It establishes a student’s ability to integrate the key areas of their interior design knowledge within the context of their major design project and through this, their readiness for professional practice.
    The coursework records and responds to the process of design development and, using a range of specialist contributions, introduces a range of issues, interests and perspectives. The process is recorded, evaluated, presented and reviewed in relation to the comprehensive design project.
    At the end of their undergraduate studies the module aims to provide students with the means to demonstrate, through and in relation to their own design work, the extent of their understanding and evaluation of key areas of professional interior design knowledge informing a design project.
    This module aims to enable students to demonstrate that within their comprehensive design project they have a knowledge, understanding of and ability to evaluate the following five areas of study and that this is effectively and appropriately communicated:

    A. cultural context
    B. professional and regulatory requirements
    C. environmental and sustainability
    D. construction, materials and specification
    E. communication

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  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Friday afternoon
    • all year (September start) - Tuesday morning
    • all year (September start) - Tuesday afternoon
    • all year (September start) - Friday morning

    This Major Project module enables Interior Architecture & Design students to prepare for independent practice in the workplace or to progress onto higher studies. It is the opportunity to synthesise specialist knowledge and skills and effectively communicate these. In this module, students will carry out the project conceived and developed in the parallel Project Design and Development module, fully realising it in appropriate form by the end of the module.

    Students will exercise and display their abilities in selecting, analysing and applying knowledge, skills and understanding to a negotiated and fully researched project in order to properly understand their strengths, interests and position in their field, and the potential for future professional development.

    Students will show that they understand the complex and changing nature of problems in the professional sector of Interior Architecture and Design and can devise and apply realistic strategies for constructing, applying and managing a process designed to provide solutions.

    A professional standard of realisation, contextualisation and presentation will be expected, providing the elements for a portfolio of practice with which students may enter the field of employment, self-employment or further studies.

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  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Friday afternoon
    • all year (September start) - Tuesday morning
    • all year (September start) - Tuesday afternoon
    • all year (September start) - Friday morning

    Together with their Major Project Realisation module, this module is intended to prepare interiors students for independent practice, entry into the professional workplace, or for higher study.

    Through synthesis of knowledge of processes and principles, using an appropriate range of intellectual, creative and practical skills, students will research, analyse, design and develop a self-directed project. This will naturally require in-depth investigation of a site, its cultural context, human inhabitation, activity and enterprise through a well-constructed design process involving practical and digital 2D and 3D methods of exploration and communication as a significant body of creative work for public exhibition.

    A negotiated and approved proposal will confirm the individual project. Using creative exploration and experimentation, students will undertake research, selection, concept development, material investigation, modelling/ prototyping and visualisation. The final outcome will be produced in the course - specific Major Project Realisation modules, and will be distinctive to the course in approach, scale, communication and visualisation or making and modelling.

    This module will ensure that students critique and reflect upon their own work and position in the creative sector. The module emphasises self-direction and personal focus whilst acknowledging external and professional expectations and constraints.

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What our students say

"Intellectually stimulating. I have learned new techniques and my understanding of the subject has broadened. I have made some really good connections."

"Tutors are the highlight of the University. You can see the passion they have for art and design, as well having the passion to teach us."

"My dissertation tutor put me at ease and helped me a lot with writing."

"The new studio idea is really successful and my studio leader is absolutely amazing."

"An incredibly diverse cross section of students. A real incentive to want to work hard and produce a stunning range of work through dialogue with tutors... The opportunity to find myself, and despite having different career motives now, be fully supported by all staff in and around the subject area. A vast library spanning three different buildings. A university-wide ethos that stands for true social equality."

"Excellent tutors and lecturers. A good range of facilities were available, all of which are well supervised by helpful technicians and tutors."

"I have definitely learnt a lot over my three years, gained confidence in my work and met some brilliant people."
National Student Survey

After the course

Upon successful completion of the degree, you’ll be equipped with the skills and attributes required to succeed in the complex and diverse world of illustration in the design and visual communication industries. Possible career destinations include publishing, editorial, graphic design, advertising, web-design, authorship and self-publication, concept design, film and theatre and freelance/commission-based illustration.

Additional costs

Please note, in addition to the tuition fee there may be additional costs for things like equipment, materials, printing, textbooks, trips or professional body fees.

Additionally, there may be other activities that are not formally part of your course and not required to complete your course, but which you may find helpful (for example, optional field trips). The costs of these are additional to your tuition fee and the fees set out above and will be notified when the activity is being arranged.

Unistats - key information set

Unistats is the official site that allows you to search for and compare data and information on university and college courses from across the UK. The widget(s) below draw data from the corresponding course on the Unistats website. If a course is taught both full-time and part-time, one widget for each mode of study will be displayed here.

How to apply

If you're a UK/EU applicant applying for full-time study you must apply via UCAS unless otherwise specified.

Non-EU applicants for full-time study may choose to apply via UCAS or apply direct to the University. Non-EU applicants looking to study part-time should apply direct to the University. If you require a Tier 4 (General) student visa, please be aware that you will not be able to study as a part-time student at undergraduate level.

When to apply

The University and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) accepts applications for full-time courses starting in September from one year before the start of the course. Our UCAS institution code is L68.

If you will be applying direct to the University you are advised to apply as early as possible as we will only be able to consider your application if there are places available on the course.

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