2 years full-time for FdA (Foundation degree)

Upon successful completion of this course you'll have the option to join NTU's BA (Hons) Illustration and top-up to a Level 6 qualification. Please read the Progression section for further details.

Confetti, Nottingham

UCAS course code:

Institution code:

  • 64 UCAS Tariff points; and
  • GCSE - English and Maths Grade C / 4

To find out what qualifications have tariff points, please use our tariff calculator.

International qualifications

We accept qualifications from all over the world – check yours here:

English language entry requirements

You can meet our language requirements by successfully completing our pre-sessional English course for an agreed length of time, or by submitting the required grade in one of our accepted English language tests, such as IELTS:

Would you like some advice on your study plans?

Our international teams are highly experienced in answering queries from students all over the world. We also have members of staff based in Vietnam, China, India and Nigeria and work with a worldwide network of education counsellors. Find out more about advisors in your country.

Fees & funding

Visit our fees & funding page for more information.

Additional Costs:

Your course fees cover the cost of studies, and include loads of great benefits, such as the use of our library, support from our expert Employability team, and free use of the IT equipment across our campuses.

We advise you to budget between £50 - £250 for an external hard drive and appropriate art and design materials (sketch books, pencils etc.). Whilst you will be provided with storage for your work on the servers it is also good practice to back up your digital files to an external source.

Library books
Most study modules will recommend one or more core text books, which most students choose to purchase. Book costs vary and further information is available in the University’s bookshop. Our libraries provide a good supply of essential text books, journals and materials (many of which you can access online) – meaning you may not need to purchase as many books as you might think! There may also be a supply of second-hand books available for purchase from previous year students.

Field trips
All essential field trip costs will be included in your course fees. There may be the opportunity to take part in optional field trips, which do incur additional costs.

If you're undertaking a placement year, you'll need to budget for accommodation and any travel costs you may incur whilst on placement. Many of our placement students do earn a salary whilst on placement which can help to cover these living costs.

Print and copy costs
The University allocates an annual printing and copying allowance of £20 depending on the course you are studying. For more details about costs for additional print and copying required over and above the annual allowance please see the Printing, photocopying and scanning information on the Library website.

In just two years, our Illustration foundation degree will transform you into a skilled illustrator and dynamic visual communicator. Learn from expert tutors, collaborate on real-world projects with industry partners, and master diverse Illustration styles and techniques.

Equip yourself with the technical and creative tools to unleash your artistic vision, to become part of the global and ever-evolving illustration industry.

This Illustration foundation degree aims to create ambitious graduates who are equipped with the relevant skillset for entry into the illustration industry by ensuring the industry’s voice is embedded at the heart of the curriculum.

Therefore employability is an integral element of the course and you will be trained on the latest industry-standard software and hardware combined with ample opportunities throughout the programme to undertake appropriate work-based learning

Within individual modules the delivery of the material encourages increasing levels of skill development and student participation, ensuring that, as you progress through the course, you become a more confident and independent learner.  We aim to include a range of methods of delivery that may include;

  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Workshop
  • Group tutorials
  • Academic Tutorials
  • Presentations and pitches
  • Team working
  • Independent learning
  • Visiting industry professionals

All the modes of delivery are structured to develop on-going abilities and skills through exploring ideas and problem solving. The course will offer a broad range of assessment methods.

A variety of formative and summative assessment methods will be employed throughout the course such as:

  • presentations
  • idea development
  • research led projects
  • live briefs
  • essays
  • reports

Each assessment undertaken for each module will enable you to develop specific skills required by an illustrator.

A two year Foundation degree is a great choice if you want to have the option to graduate with a Level 5 qualification and start your creative career early. With an accessible UCAS tariff – this type of degree is perfect for you if you prefer a more practical approach to your studies. After completing two years you will graduate with an FdSc/FdA qualification and choose whether you want to continue and enroll on a top up year for a full BSc/BA qualification or whether you would rather stop your education and start your creative career.

What you'll study in year 1

In Exploring Illustration 1 you will explore and experiment with the fundamentals of illustration. You will learn how to successfully communicate through drawing, colour, line, and typography through using a wide range of techniques and materials, both digital and analogue.

The module puts an emphasis on ideation and creative processes, inviting you to reflect on your own practices through exploring the work of contemporary illustrators and fostering experimentation and playful approaches to the production of your own illustrations.

This module supports the practical and skill-based modules through deepening your understanding of the key principles that have shaped the theory of illustration and explores the development of visual culture.

This module emphasises the pivotal role of illustration in communicating and challenging ideas, with a focus on visual storytelling and the relationship between text and images. By undertaking this module you become equipped with a theoretical appreciation of illustration which in turn supports the development of your own creative and illustrative practice.

Visual storytelling is a powerful form of communication that transcends linguistic and cultural boundaries. In this module, through a blend of theory and hands-on practice, you will learn to harness the visual medium to convey compelling narratives, emotions, and ideas.

You will explore the fundamental principles of storytelling and gain insights into how visuals can be used to engage, inform, and captivate your audience. The module will also dive into various storytelling techniques across different creative fields and you will have the opportunity to apply these techniques in your chosen discipline, ensuring that you can weave impactful narratives that resonate with your audience.

This module will give you the opportunity to apply your acquired knowledge and skills to respond effectively to an illustrative based 'real' brief. Through practical tasks, discussions, and active engagement with different techniques and methods, you will demonstrate your creative journey and showcase how you apply your  skills and understanding of the places and spaces of contemporary illustration to create visual outcomes that respond to the needs of 'real' briefs.

What you'll study in year 2

This module will explore experimental and cutting-edge practices in contemporary illustration. This exploration will invite you to discuss evolving illustration practices while embracing innovative and unconventional approaches to image production.

The module provides you with opportunities for collaborative work and risk-taking to foster creativity and respond to a series of mini projects. It will also help you develop resilience and problem-solving skills by emphasising critical thinking and reflection.

This module delves into the history of illustration and the profound social and political impact illustration has had and continues to have today. From murals and protest signs to the digital realm, this module will examine how illustration serves as a powerful medium to communicate ideas and amplify voices.

An emphasis is placed on critical analysis and academic writing, enabling you to analyse and understand the broader context in which illustration plays a vital role in shaping and reflecting society's dynamics.

This module will encourage you to critically reflect on the concepts and ideas driving your creative practice whilst also encouraging you to explore a variety of materials, processes and platforms for your work.

In this module, you will complete a self-directed project to engage with the evolving landscape, spaces and places of illustration. Through the production of your own work you will be actively analysing and developing an understanding of the current challenges and emerging trends within contemporary illustrative practices.

In this module, you'll acquire the knowledge and skills essential for thriving in the ever-evolving creative industries. Delve into the dynamic landscape of this sector, gaining insights into the various roles and responsibilities specific to your discipline.

Explore the wide array of employment routes and opportunities within your area of expertise, and examine the nuances of freelance work. You will work on a live brief to help develop those crucial networking skills, equipping you for success in this vibrant field.

Additionally you will explore the impact of digitally networked cultures, creative portfolios , brand-building, sustainable digital business models and the impact of new technologies.

On this course you'll study in Confetti HQ - our £9.1million digital media hub. You’ll have access to:

  • Industry Spec Workstation PCs
  • Bookable Green Screen studio space
  • Motion capture studio
  • Adobe Creative Cloud
  • Autodesk suite

Work experience

Our Talent Development team work closely with Course Leaders to link students with opportunities across the industry. As a student studying at Confetti, you'll also benefit from its commercial creative businesses.

These include Metronome, our live music and events venue; our esports and live streaming complex, Confetti X; commercial broadcast television channel, Notts TV; and Antenna; a co-working space for the creative industries.

There will be regular opportunities to work with these businesses, whilst Confetti also supports and has connections with local music festivals, creative businesses, and is part of Nottingham Trent University.

At Confetti, we offer students the chance to ‘Do It For Real’ – to get out into real industries and experience working in various roles that will add to your professional portfolio.

Our Talent Development team work closely with Course Leaders to link students with opportunities across the graphic and digital design industry.

In a thriving city, students will have the chance to work with a wide range of organisations, big and small. Check out this recent blog on how a leading Nottingham creative agency is providing work experience and job opportunities for Confetti students.

Industry Week

We offer lots of opportunities to our students throughout the year, but we really dial it up with our annual Industry Week. Like no other, we go off timetable for a week, inviting some of the biggest names the creative industries to deliver talks, workshops and masterclasses for our students. We organise these types of events to enrich our students' education with real world experiences.

Check our our past Industry Week guests on our OnDemand service here.

Top-up to a full honours degree

After finishing your foundation degree, you may decide to go straight into industry or top-up to a full honours degree.

If you achieve a Commendation or higher grade, you'll be able to progress onto the Level 6 (Final Year) of the popular BA (Hons) Illustration at NTU course.

For those completing their foundation degree with a Pass, you'll have the opportunity to progress onto Level 5 (Year Two) of the course.

If you choose to progress onto the full honours degree at NTU, you'll be invited to a transition tutorial with the Illustration course team at NTU. The aim of the tutorial is for you to meet the course team; present your work; and for the team to ensure any appropriate support (if necessary) is made available to you before you progress.

Future careers

You can also move straight into your career, in areas which might include:

  • Freelance illustration
  • In-house illustration/design
  • Education
  • Animation
  • Printmaking
  • Project management
  • Digital imaging
  • Multi-media production

Open Days

Saturday 2 March - London
Saturday 23 March - Nottingham
Saturday 27 April - Nottingham