Taught course

Children's Book Illustration

Anglia Ruskin University · Cambridge School of Art

Entry requirements

A good Honours degree, normally in a related subject. Applicants with professional experience are also encouraged to apply. Entry is subject to submission of a portfolio, and an interview Non-Academic Conditions: Art Portfolio, Interviews. Portfolio requirements Your portfolio should include a maximum of 20-30 images with some examples of preparatory/sketchbook work as well as more finished samples. If you’re an international applicant, please host your portfolio online if possible and let us know the URL, or email it to us as a PDF. We’ll also accept CDs or hardcopy sent by post to our International Admissions Office, but please note that these will not be returned to you.

Months of entry


Course content

Follow in the footsteps of acclaimed children’s artists. Have the opportunity to show your work to publishers at book fairs and exhibitions. Get dedicated support from a team of internationally-recognised artists, who’ll help you to develop your own personal visual vocabulary and make connections with the children’s publishing industry.

This taught studio course, the first of its kind in the UK, will give you the dedicated support and knowledge you need to develop your practicein 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.
Illustration has recently been declared one of Anglia Ruskin's 'areas of proven excellence' and is built on a tradition that goes back to the founding of the Cambridge School of Art 150 years ago. 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.

The art of illustration for children has grown increasingly popular in recent years. Our heritage in the UK is particularly strong, going back to early chapbooks, through Thomas Bewick, Walter Crane, Randolph Caldecott, the 'golden age' of Arthur Rackham and Edmund Dulac, and through to the 20th century work of Edward Ardizzone and Quentin Blake, who holds an honorary doctorate from Anglia Ruskin University.

Many of our past students now enjoy careers as freelance authors andillustrators 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.

Core modules
  • Observation and Experiment
  • The Sequential Image
  • The Diploma Project
  • The Diploma Review
  • Masters Stage Project

Field trips

At our annual London graduation exhibition you’ll show your work to leading publishing companies and literary agencies. We also organise a stand at Bologna Children's Book Fair each year, where you’ll have more opportunities to secure a publishing deal with industry reps. As a direct result, our past students have signed contracts with publishers like MacMillan, Random House, Nosy Crow, Sarbacane (Fr), Donizelli (It), Child's Play, Walker Books, Harper Collins (NY), Doubleday (NY), Penguin (NY), Faber & Faber and Hodder, with advances against royalties ranging from 2000 Euros, with an independent publisher, to $50,000 for a 3-book deal.
Work experience

Our partnership with Walker Books and its American counterpart Candlewick Press will give you the chance to go on a work experience visit to their London offices. They also sponsor our annual Sebastian Walker Award for Most Promising Student.

Specialist facilities

You’ll work in dedicated illustration studios right next door to our Ruskin Gallery, with access to a fully-equipped printmaking studio.

Information for international students

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.

Fees and funding

UK students
International students

Qualification and course duration


part time
30 months
full time
18 months

Course contact details

ALSS Marketing
+44 (0)1245 686868