Illustration 1: Illustration Sketchbooks

Course Level: 1 (HE4) | HE Credits: 40 | Approx. Duration: 12 months at 8hrs/week


The Illustration Sketchbooks unit provides a practical exploration of drawing through the development of a range of creative approaches. Recognising the central role of drawing within illustration, the unit encourages you to develop a sense of your own personal voice through experimentation with drawing, mark making and materials. A series of sustained drawing-based projects aims to support the development of your sketchbook as an on-going process and resource that can feed into your development as a creative practitioner.

The unit will introduce a range of approaches to drawing and documenting from life by undertaking observational, narrative and reportage drawing projects based on the idea of the ‘everyday’. Supporting these projects will be an examination of drawing as a way of capturing the seen world through reportage and figure drawing.

Using a series of motifs as a starting point, you will creatively explore the potential of a range of materials, processes and mark-making tools within your sketchbook. These motifs will provide a structure to examine the basic visual building blocks of image-making, through colour, tone, line and shape as well as encouraging experimentation with mixed-media.

The potential of your sketchbook to act as seedbed for new ideas will be explored through projects that encourage a process-led approach. These projects will explore drawing through repetition and variation, narrative structures, and other prompts that will encourage visual experimentation and the development of new approaches to image-making. Your learning log will provide a space to reflect on the results, make connections to the work of other artists and designers, and to help identify your own personal voice.

This unit will be removed as an elective unit from the BA Hons Creative Arts degree pathway from 28 February 2019


The aims of this unit are to:

  • A1 Explore creative approaches to drawing, mark-making and visual language as an illustrator
  • A2 Use observational drawing as visual research and idea development
  • A3 Experiment with a range of materials, processes and mark-making tools in developing your ideas
  • A4 Understand the historical and contemporary context of illustration and reflect on your own practice


On satisfactory completion of the unit you will be able to:

  • LO1 Develop methods to creatively explore and respond to briefs as an illustrator (A1)
  • LO2 Demonstrate your use of visual research in the generation of ideas for illustration (A2)
  • LO3 Use a range of visual approaches to develop and communicate our ideas (A3)
  • LO4 Demonstrate a critical and contextual understanding of illustration and reflect on your own learning (A4)

Course content

This will comprise:

  • Exercises, projects and assignments in unit materials
  • Formative assessment comprising written feedback and interaction with tutor via email, phone and/or webcam
  • Summative assessment
  • Peer support through engagement on student forums and critiques on blogs
  • Documentation of the learning journey through a learning log or blog
  • Independent research

The above hours are indicative and will vary from student to student