How to take your illustration career to the next level

So, you’ve carved out a niche as an illustrator; you might even be making money from it. But something’s missing: your career isn’t taking off in the way you imagined. Well, the Online Masters Degree in Illustration offered by Falmouth University could be just what you need to bring your career to the next level.

Image licensed via Adobe Stock

Image licensed via Adobe Stock

You might be seeking ways to make your existing practice more successful. Maybe you want to transition to a new role, such as an agent, art director, teacher or movie concept artist, or shift your focus to a different sector, such as advertising, publishing, web design or animation. Or perhaps you don’t have a clear ‘next step’ yet, but want to explore new and innovative approaches, and identify and work towards new career goals as you go.

Whatever your situation, Falmouth’s Online Masters Degree in Illustration offers a fantastic way to develop your skills, reinvigorate your passion, and set you on the right path to fulfilling your career dreams.

What it involves

While this is a thoroughly academic course from a respected university, it’s also a practically focused one. All the tutors are working illustrators, and they bring a wide range of perspectives and process to help you boost your ability to innovate and visually problem solve.

They’ll help you to develop your illustration skills in a way that serves local and global audiences within the current environment of rapid technological and cultural change. You’ll learn to experiment with creativity to focus on the development of your unique ‘visual voice’. And you’ll boost your abilities to communicate and collaborate confidently with other professionals on a global scale.

And best of all, you can do all of this online, via an advanced educational platform that allows you to pursue around 20 hours a week of study, in a flexible way that suits your life entirely.

How it works

You access everything through an easy-to-use web interface. It means you can take the course no matter where you are in the world, as long as you have an internet connection. Some students have even successfully combined the course with their global travels!

Every week, this allows you to follow lectures and access learning resources through the website in a way that’s convenient for you. As well as regular video lectures, there are also slideshows, webinars and interactive online workshops. Some lectures are even provided as audio podcasts, so you can listen along as you work on your illustrations!

You’re set weekly illustration challenges and, as well as getting feedback from your tutors, you and your classmates discuss and critique each other’s work via the website. This makes for lively discussions, and in many ways, better conversations and interaction than you’d usually have on a campus-based course.

This not only builds strong and supportive relationships within the group, but it also helps to develop your skills of critique and communication when it comes to your work. And that’s important because let’s face it; most freelance illustrators in 2018 rarely, if ever, physically met their collaborators, clients or stakeholders. Most business nowadays takes place on the web, and so the online nature of the course simulates this perfectly.

Five ways to grow as an illustrator

To give you a brief taste of what the course entails, here are the five modules of Falmouth University’s Online Masters Degree in Illustration, and how they can help you develop your skills and boost your career in illustration.

1. Process and practice

In this module, you’ll examine contemporary illustration practise in the context of personal, global and professional insights, to establish the core principles of study for the course. Students are encouraged to reflect on how they might position their practice concerning editorial, advertising, site-specific work, non-fiction, children’s books, authorial practise and other areas.

2. Visual language

During this module, you’ll explore different approaches to core mark-making skills. You’ll be encouraged to strengthen your observational drawing skills, alongside more experimental methods. You’ll study global perspectives, assessing whether and when visual language requires translation. The aim is to initiate and consolidate the development of your visual language, and test it out in practical terms, with real-world industry briefs.

3. Narrative and storytelling

Here, you’ll examine the role of storytelling within visual communication across all contexts. This includes different approaches to sequential storytelling, including linear narratives, multiple narratives, narrative structure, plot types, counterpoints, character development, pace and flow, and the concept of the passage of time within a narrative context. This will culminate in the development of a portfolio submission that brings together theory and practice.

4. Professional practice

In this module, you’ll consider the professional practice of Illustration, its applications, procedures and networks within a contemporary global context, and build entrepreneurial skills to inform your career or business future. You’ll put theory into practice by creating your authorial artefact, prototyped and potentially ready to publish or deliver.

5. Major project

In this final module, you’ll develop and evolve your practice through a significant project, informed by an in-depth appreciation of relevant critical and cultural contexts, and positioned to support future direction within the global visual communications industry.

Whether you’re an experienced illustrator looking to grow your practice, or a graduate wishing to transition from another discipline, such as textiles, fine art, or even the social sciences, this course offers a super-flexible, academically rigorous and practically focused way of doing so. It's perfectly attuned to the needs of the 21st-century illustration market.

For more details of Falmouth University’s Online Masters Degree in Illustration, visit the website.

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