MA Illustration: How can it help me achieve my goals?

Wed 8 Feb 2023

Could an MA Illustration help you achieve your ambition's in the field? Read this guide from the Falmouth Flexible Course Leader. 

In this post, Falmouth Flexible MA Illustration Course Leader Barnaby Lickens-Richards explains the purpose of doing a master’s degree in the subject, who can benefit from the research-based study involved, and how the MA differs from a BA Illustration. Barnaby Lickens Richards  

Read on to find out more: 

What does an MA Illustration involve? 

The Falmouth Flexible online MA Illustration develops the technical knowledge and skills acquired during a BA (or equivalent work-related experience) through extended academic and practice-based research.  

In the field of illustration, the purpose of MA study is not to dovetail personal practice to accord with commercial outputs but to innovate within the discipline, pushing the boundaries of what has gone before.  

We do this by being true to our concerns, developing our individual voice and finding appropriate visual means through which to share our work within the ever-changing and expanding cultural landscape.  

It is through the visual articulation and appropriate contextualisation of diverse perspectives that our creative community grows. 

Interested to hear what an MA Illustration student thinks of the course? Read our interview:

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What makes a successful applicant?  

Typically, successful applicants for our online MA Illustration either:  

  • Have an established art-based practice which they are looking to deepen or re-orientate through further academic and practical research 
  • Don’t have an established art practice but can articulate a defined research interest they wish to pursue through illustration. They will have relevant experience within this other area.  

How does an MA Illustration differ from a BA Illustration? 

MA study is two pronged by nature. It seeks to develop practice through a combination of academic research and practical visual development. The tools you use to create your work are entirely up to you.  

An MA is research based and research sometimes leads us down dead ends. That’s ok! We record, articulate, and learn from our mistakes.  

As such, MA study is not for everyone – if you do not enjoy writing you will find the course problematic. If you want to be tutored in learning new techniques and styles  a BA may be more suited to your needs.  

An MA sits between a BA and PhD. The written component is an integral part of our course. As such, we also provide a gateway to further areas of study, including illustration, education, and research.  

What kind of work do MA Illustration students create? 

For their Final Major Projects, previous students have chosen to work in diverse areas including filmmaking, exhibition and mural work, three-dimensional artefacts, sequential art, picture books, small press, education tools for the neurodiverse, online and product-based games.  

MA’s reward innovation and so we especially welcome projects which look to extend the possibilities of what illustration can be. 

How can an MA Illustration help me succeed? 

Finally, the success of an MA cannot be judged by a mark and cannot be fully gauged on its completion. MA Illustration online aims to help each student develop a rich vein of sustenance to sustain a vibrant critical visual practice over many years.  

Its focus is the concerns underpinning practice and how effectively these preoccupations are developed and brought to fruition. If you are interested in applying, please consider what concerns and interests you would like to develop through your illustration practice. 

What next? 

If you’re interested in whether an MA Illustration could help you achieve your goals, complete our contact form and a member of our friendly Course Adviser team will get in touch to discuss your ambitions further with you.  

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