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Assessment Assessment of the first three studio modules is weighted 80% on the visual submission and 20% on the essay produced in relation to the series of contextual study lectures that run each semester. The Diploma Review thesis is assessed 100% on the 60008000 word essay. The Master’s Project is assessed 90% on the body visual work, 10% on the written project report. Work is normally handed in for assessment within two weeks of the final taught session of each semester.

Links with Industry The course has built strong links with the children’s publishing industry. The annual London graduation exhibition, which takes place in a leading West End gallery in February, is attended by representatives of most leading publishing companies and literary agencies. A more formal partnership exists between the course and Walker Books who work regularly with the students and provide work experience visits to their London offices. The annual Sebastian Walker Award is a cash prize given to a selected student by Walker Books at the graduation show. Recent graduates of the course have been published by, among others, Walker Books, Random House, MacMillan Children’s Books, Hodder Children’s Books, Templar, Child’s Play, Frances Lincoln, Little Tiger Press and Blue Apple. Students and staff attend the Bologna Children’s Book Fair in Italy each year, where the course now has a stand and presents unpublished student work to a global publishing audience.

Entry Requirements for the MA Successful applicants will normally have achieved a good honours degree in Illustration or a related practical Art & Design area. Professional experience can also be taken into consideration. All applicants who meet the basic academic requirements are invited for a portfolio interview. This course receives a high number of applications and the interview is the most important part of the application process. Candidates will be expected to demonstrate through the portfolio a keen interest in and knowledge of visual narrative communication but will not necessarily have practical or professional experience in children’s book illustration. Our students include a significant number from non-traditional routes. We are happy to give informal consultative interviews prior to application.

Fees Our current fees are available online at

The Staff Team: Martin Salisbury (Course Leader and Professor of Illustration) Freelance book illustrator and course founder (2000). Author of ‘Illustrating Children’s Books’ (A&C Black, 2004), ‘Play Pen’ (Laurence King, 2007) and ‘Children’s Picturebooks’ (Laurence King, 2012). Pam Smy Illustrator of numerous books including ‘Follow the Swallow’ with Gruffalo author, Julia Donaldson and the acclaimed ‘Lob’ by Linda Newberry. John Lawrence (Visiting Professor) One of the UK’s most highly respected illustrators, Lawrence has illustrated around 200 books in a career spanning over fifty years. Other contributing staff: David Hughes: Hughes’ brilliant draughtsmanship has won him numerous UK and International awards. Renowned for his editorial work, he is also a prolific author-illustrator of children’s books under his pseudonym, Sandy Turner. James Mayhew: Mayhew’s Katie books have sold over a million copies around the world. He has also illustrated and written books on themes of opera, ballet and folk tales. Marta Altés: Marta is a young picturebook maker from Barcelona who is now based in the UK. A graduate of this course, she has already published several picturebooks with Child’s Play and MacMillan Children’s Books. Her book, My Grandpa (MacMillan) was shortlisted for the Waterstones Picturebook of the year 2012. Walker Books: Staff on the editorial and design side of children’s publishing at Walker contribute regularly to the delivery of the programme in a unique collaboration. Alexis Deacon: One of the most admired of the younger generation of picturebook makers, Deacon has been named one of the Ten Best New Illustrators by Booktrust. Paula Metcalf: Acclaimed author of numerous picturebooks with MacMillan Children’s Books. Formerly Artist in Residence at the Roald Dahl Museum. Salvatore Rubbino: Named as one of the Top Ten New Illustrators by Booktrust, Salvatore has produced two acclaimed picturebooks with Walker Books recently; A Walk in New York and A Walk in London. Recent guest presenters include: Fabian Negrin, Oliver Jeffers, Axel Scheffler, Sunkyung Cho, Anthony Browne and Beatrice Alemagna.

Cambridge & Chelmsford

MA Children’s Book Illustration Faculty of Arts, Law and Social Sciences

Image by Anca Sandu

For further information Click: Email: Call: 0845 271 3333

To apply please download a form or apply on-line:

“For children, pictures are the most easily assimilated form of learning they can look upon.” Bishop Comenius, 1658

Modules 1 Observation and Experiment: Personal Project One (30 credits)

This module constitutes a foundation for the course. Focusing on drawing, students propose and execute a thematic drawing project exploring a subject through observation and imagination. There is no requirement for the visual work to be consciously aimed at an audience of a particular age group. This reflects the course ethos of the importance of developing a visual language as an artist rather than pursuing preconceived notions of stylistic appropriateness. Supporting lecture programme.

2 The Sequential Image (30 credits)

MA Children’s Book Illustration Illustration at Cambridge School of Art has been declared one of our university’s ‘areas of proven excellence’. This is built on a tradition which goes back 150 years to the opening of CSA by John Ruskin. Notable alumni include designer and war artist, Edward Bawden, acclaimed graphic satirist, Ronald Searle and the founders of the TV phenomenon, Spitting Image, Roger Law and Peter Fluck. The MA in Children’s Book Illustration was designed and validated in 2001. It is the first of its kind in the UK. Since beginning with a small cohort of students, the course has developed an international reputation, attracting students from all corners of the world and boasting numerous graduates whose work as published author-illustrators has impacted significantly on the genre. Interest in the art of illustration for children has grown considerably in recent years. The increasingly global nature of the children’s publishing industry today is reflected in the research and practice of the staff team. Our Centre for Children’s Book Studies is a focal point for the research activities around this course. We work closely with the Research and Teaching Centre for Children’s Literature at the nearby University of Cambridge, our respective Masters students regularly sharing lecture and seminar programmes.

How the MA is organised This course can be taken full-time or part-time. The fulltime mode takes one and a half years (three semesters), part-time takes two and a half years (five semesters). All students graduate in January. Part-time students have one full day a week’s studio teaching (currently Wednesday) and need to be able to commit a further day each week to the project work in their time. Full-time students enjoy the use of the Ruskin studios throughout the week on top of their two days of teaching (currently Tuesday and Thursday) and shared Wednesday afternoon lectures. Students are able to make use of the Department’s printmaking, life-drawing, computing, animation and photography facilities.

Teaching The MA in Children’s Book Illustration is a taught studio programme that focuses on the creative development and direction of each individual student artist. The teaching is delivered primarily by internationally recognized artists, writers and publishers who are working professionally in the field of children’s book illustration. Each module requires you to propose and develop a project through negotiation with tutors, within the broad parameters of the module definition. One to one tutorial support is seen as a key element of the student experience along with group critiques, briefings and seminars.

You will propose and design a project that is presented in sequential, visual form. Workshops and seminars examine and discuss how we read visual sequence. Outcomes do not have to be aimed at children at this stage but must communicate clearly in sequential form. Supporting lecture programme.

3 The Diploma Project (30 credits)

You will propose and negotiate a completed visual statement designed to communicate with a child audience of a stated age group. Projects can vary greatly in form of outcome to include, for example, picture books, animated films, series of posters, portfolio of illustrations to fiction or non-fiction texts for older children. Outcomes may be in any form or medium. Supporting lecture programme.

4 The Diploma Review (30 credits)

As the major written element of the programme, you will propose and negotiate a 6000- 8000-word essay, which places your own visual practice in the historical and contemporary context of the discipline. You will reflect on your practice exploring personal influences and aspects of the ‘industry’ that are of particular interest, historically or theoretically. The purpose of this module is to bring a more informed and reflective aspect to personal creative practice. Supporting lecture programme.

5 Master’s Stage Project (60 credits)

This is the final, summative project, successful completion of which leads to the award of MA. You will negotiate and propose a substantial creative visual project which you will undertake with a mixture of scheduled group teaching and individual tutorial support. Projects will vary greatly in nature and form but will be sequential and will ‘speak’ to the child. You are encouraged to be creatively ambitious and to challenge perceived restrictions on the nature of a suitable visual diet for children.

MA Children's Book Illustration brochure 2013-14  

Course information for the MA Children's Book Illustration at Cambridge School of Art, Anglia Ruskin University, for 2013-14 entry.