Immerse yourself in exploring professional and practical approaches to children’s illustration and gain an in-depth understanding of the relationships between image, text, readers and context in the world of children’s literature.
Developed and taught by leading teaching staff including children’s authors, this degree draws on both professional and critical perspectives from art and education, cultural studies, design and sociology to deliver a comprehensive and interdisciplinary approach to the subject.
Guidance from tutors and a choice of modules and assignments will enable you to develop personal projects, culminating in a practice-based dissertation. At the end of the programme you will have the opportunity to exhibit your work.
Throughout the programme you will develop and refine your practical illustration skills and ideas, working within short and longer project formats. These projects focus on materials and their combination, colour, tone, creating atmosphere, addressing the reader and the relation of illustration to text. You will have the opportunity to work in collaboration with students on the MA in Children’s Literature. This is an opportunity to develop and refine your work and ideas within the project format.
The sociopolitical context of children’s illustration
This degree not only develops your practical skills, but also challenges you to question the context in which children’s books are produced and interpreted, and how they can challenge or reinforce dominant ideologies. You will interrogate the power relations that determine what is published, distributed and selected to be read by children in schools.
Understanding the publishing landscape
You will gain knowledge and insight into the professional world of children’s publishing through exposure to professional networks such as the Association of Illustrators, guest lectures from established illustrators, studio visits, and a bespoke module in Children’s Publishing. This module develops an in-depth understanding of the children’s publishing landscape and your skills in self-publishing and establishing dialogue with designers, editors and agents.
Contact the department
Modules & structure
The core modules of this degree cover both the theoretical and the practical aspects of illustrating for children’s literature, with a module dedicated to learning the skills needed to successfully navigate the world of children’s publishing as a freelance illustrator.
The core modules you will study are:
- Children’s Literature and Cultural Diversity (30 credits)
- Children’s Book Illustration Practice (30 credits)
- Children’s Publishing (30 credits)
- Children’s Book Illustration Final Project – portfolio and reflective essay (60 credits)
In addition to the core modules, you will also have the opportunity to tailor your studies to your personal interests by choosing a 30 credit option module from the Department of Educational Studies, such as:
- Children’s Literature in Action
- Race, Culture and Education
- Early Childhood Education for a Diverse Society
- Revisiting Practice
Please note that due to staff research commitments not all of these modules may be available every year.
Education at Goldsmiths is ranked 8th in the UK for the quality of our research*
As a department we’re interested in seeing what education can tell us about the social, political and economic forces of our times. And what these forces mean for the everyday lives of individuals and groups.
We see education as a window through which to view the world, and as something with the power to define who we are and how we live.
That’s why our research delves into areas including culture and identity, gender, multilingualism, and youth cultures, and why we maintain a commitment to social justice and inclusion.
Find out more about the Department of Educational Studies.
*Research Excellence Framework 2014, Times Higher Education research intensity subject rankings
We are ranked:
1st in the UK for the quality of our research* Joint 1st in the UK for effective teaching** 8th in the world for communication and media studies***
Media and Communications
We’ve also been ranked by LinkedIn as one of the top graduate universities for media professionals, because so many of our graduates go on to find jobs in the industry.
The department includes some of the top academics in the world for this discipline – the pioneers of media, communications and cultural studies. They actively teach on our programmes, and will introduce you to current research and debate in these areas. And many of our practice tutors are industry professionals active in TV, film, journalism, radio and animation.
We also run EastLondonLines.co.uk – our 24/7 student news website – which gives students the opportunity to gain experience working in a real-time news environment.
And we run regular public events featuring world-renowned writers and practitioners that have recently included Danny Boyle, Gurinda Chadha, Noel Clark and Tessa Ross. So you’ll get to experience the latest developments and debates in the industry.
Find out more about the Department of Media and Communications.
*Research Excellence Framework 2014, Times Higher Education research intensity subject rankings
**Guardian University Guide League Tables 2017
***QS World University Rankings by Subject 2017
Skills & careers
As a graduate of the MA in Children’s Literature: Children’s Illustration you will have the skills and knowledge to succeed as a freelance children’s illustrator. In addition to honing your understanding and practice of children’s illustration, this degree will provide you with the professional skills to enter the industry with confidence.
Throughout the course you will benefit from the expertise and networks of renowned practitioners. The Children’s Publishing module will develop your knowledge of the sector and your professional skills, while the degree show and visits to London book fairs to meet publishers and agents will provide you with a platform to build professional relationships in the industry. You will also benefit from Goldsmiths’ networks with other institutions such as the Association of Illustrators.
Children’s Illustration at Goldsmiths draws on the expertise of renowned children’s authors and illustrators, as well as leading academic staff within the Departments of Educational Studies and Media and Communications.
Children’s authors and illustrators who currently contribute to teaching in the departments include Colin McNaughton and Professor of Children’s Literature, Michael Rosen.
For direct entry onto the degree, you should have or expect to achieve an undergraduate degree of at least upper second class standard in a relevant area such as graphic design, illustration or art, or have equivalent professional experience. You will also be required to provide a portfolio as part of your application.
If you do not have an existing background in illustration we may offer you a place on a pre-sessional conversion course. This will cover foundational elements of illustration, including observational and sequential drawing, introduction to materials, and the psychology of pictorial reading.
International students also have the option to study English language as part of the pre-sessional programme.
Successful completion of the programme will lead to entry onto the MA in Children’s Literature: Children’s Illustration.
We accept a wide range of international qualifications. Find out more about the qualifications we accept from around the world.
English language requirements
If English isn’t your first language, you’ll need to meet our English language requirements to study with us.
For this programme we require:
IELTS 6.5 with a 6.5 in writing
If you need assistance with your English language, we offer a range of courses that can help prepare you for postgraduate-level study.
How to apply
You apply directly to Goldsmiths using our online application system.
Before submitting your application you’ll need to have:
- Details of your education history, including the dates of all exams/assessments
- The email address of your referee who we can request a reference from, or alternatively an electronic copy of your academic reference
- A personal statement – this can either be uploaded as a Word Document or PDF, or completed online
- A portfolio showcasing your levels of skill and creative attributes. The portfolio should include between six to sixteen examples of previous illustrative or drawn work. The work in the portfolio should represent your visual practice, both commissioned and unpublished, and can include pieces such as finished or preparatory drawings, storyboards, character development, animated sequences. Translations for any examples provided in another language would be helpful. We prefer to see links to your portfolio, so it can be viewed online. Alternatively, media may be sent direct to the Media and Communications department, marked for the attention of the PG Co-coordinators but please note they are non-returnable.
- If available, an electronic copy of your educational transcript (this is particularly important if you have studied outside of the UK, but isn’t mandatory)
You'll be able to save your progress at any point and return to your application by logging in using your username/email and password.
When to apply
We accept applications from October for students wanting to start the following September.
We encourage you to complete your application as early as possible, even if you haven't finished your current programme of study. It's very common to be offered a place that is conditional on you achieving a particular qualification.
Late applications will only be considered if there are spaces available.
If you're applying for funding, you may be subject to an earlier application deadline.
Admission to many programmes is by interview, unless you live outside the UK. Occasionally, we'll make candidates an offer of a place on the basis of their application and qualifications alone.
Find out more about applying.