BA (Hons) Illustration

The OCA BA (Hons) Illustration degree curriculum focuses on drawing, image making, narrative and creative problem solving. Drawing and image making are central to the study of illustration in this Open degree and are explored through the use of sketchbooks, figure and reportage drawing and the relationships between ideas, visual research and outcomes in project work.

Degree overview

The OCA BA (Hons) Illustration degree curriculum focuses on drawing, image making, narrative and creative problem solving. Drawing and image making are central to the study of illustration and are explored through the use of sketchbooks, figure and reportage drawing and the relationships between ideas, visual research and outcomes in project work. Narrative illustration is examined through the use of sequential images, satirical illustration, visual storytelling, and in response to texts within the context of editorial illustration. Animation is introduced at HE Level 5 and students are encouraged to expand the definitions of illustration through contemporary practices such as street art and illustration as object. A process led approach to creative problem solving examines the interpretation of briefs, the generation of ideas, visual research and outcomes. Project work is framed around the client / illustrator relationship, moving from a tutor to student led approach as the course progresses. This progression encourages students to undertake work-related learning, self-initiated external projects or develop forms of self or online publishing. Opportunities for collaboration with peers is encouraged through course material and supported via the OCA’s online learning environment. Editorial based illustration informs the majority of the course, with students introduced to specialist practices including reportage, fashion, architectural and natural science illustration at HE Level 5.

Throughout the OCA’s Illustration Open degree, programme students are encouraged to develop personally meaningful work by interpreting their understanding of illustration and tailoring project work to their own creative and learning aspirations. They are supported in becoming visually literate illustrators, and in developing their own creative voice that they can apply to a range of contexts.

Illustration courses image

Degree aims

  • To offer high quality and stimulating study material and tutor support through which students can develop a specialist understanding of illustration practices.
  • To provide flexibility for students to meaningfully establish their own creative voice and a personal and/or professional understanding of their practice.
  • To develop autonomous learners capable of applying their skills, knowledge and understanding creatively within a range of contexts.

Course content

Full details of the content of the OCA BA (Hons) Illustration degree, and pathways available can be found through the degree handbook and pathway documents, downloadable below. If you need more information about the content of this Open degree and the course units available through it, please call the office to speak to an advisor.

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The OCA BA (Hons) Illustration degree handbook

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The OCA BA (Hons) Illustration degree pathway

Creative careers

The creative sector employs 1.5 million people in the UK alone. By studying with the OCA, you can kick-start your career in the creative industries by working part-time or doing an internship whilst gaining your academic qualifications at the same time.

You might find yourself working for an advertising agency or media organisation, or you may prefer to open your own illustration business or studio to pursue your own specific creative interests. As well as opening the door to creative arts-specific areas of employment, through employers such as publishing companies, advertising and marketing agencies, web design, animation or graphic design companies, an Illustration degree can also make you employable in areas outside of the creative sector e.g. in education or consultancy and curation. For more information on the careers your Illustration degree can lead to, please see the Illustration section on

Christian Lloyd

Programme Leader for Graphic Design, Illustration and Visual Communications

I am an educator, artist, and designer with an interest in do-it-yourself, community-based, and collaborative approaches to making art, design, and popular culture.

After graduating with a degree in Graphic Design and Illustration from Chelsea School of Art, I worked on print based graphic design and web projects for community, arts, and education sectors. Often collaborating with other people, my work aimed to inform, educate, or entertain in some way.

As an educator, I initially worked for a variety of adult education organisations, before writing and running a degree in Visual Communication at Leeds College of Art (2003-12). I have been an External Examiner at Havering College London (2008-10), and currently lecture in contemporary art and illustration at Huddersfield University. I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

I maintain a diverse arts practice that has included performance, moving image, painting, and printmaking. I am currently involved with a collaborative project called Bristow & Lloyd (, which playfully explores the ways in which we tell stories about our everyday lives. The work encourages participation and involves working with written or spoken word through typography, small publications, or sound. Our Home Rules exhibition explored different ways people govern their domestic spaces through a collection of hand rendered signs. In 2001 I undertook a Masters in Contemporary Fine Art Practice which focused on my “less avant garde more ‘ava go” performance work.


Illustration Degree course units

The available course units for the BA (Hons) Illustration degree can be viewed below.

Level 1 (HE4)

Level 2 (HE5)

Level 3 (HE6)

Enquire About this Degree

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All of our Open degrees are awarded by the University for the Creative Arts – one of the UK’s leading specialist universities.