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HND in Illustration

Course Code: AIH

Duration: 2 Years


Illustration is a highly specialized discipline within the field of Visual Communication. In our unique course, the students will not only focus on developing their drawing, painting and media skills, but will also learn to regard their work in terms of commercial viability.

Students will be actively encouraged to develop a range of illustrative styles and explore the entire gamut of illustrative practice, including editorial, archaeological, technical, advertising, instructional, fashion, as well as illustration for graphic novels, storyboards, greeting cards, websites, book covers and children’s books. Working on tailored and competition briefs will be a key component of the course. Workshops by visiting lecturers working in the field of illustration will take place throughout the course.


Year 1

  • Illustrative Style
  • Materials and Processes for Illustration
  • Media, Materials and Techniques for Illustration
  • Representational Illustration
  • Principles of Life Drawing for Illustrators
  • Contextual and Cultural Referencing in Art and Design
  • Fine Art Printmaking, Digital Image Creation and Development

Year 2

  • Comics and Sequential Art
  • Refined Life Drawing for Illustrators
  • Expressing Illustrative Style
  • Imaginative and Conceptual Illustration
  • Professional Practice for Illustrators
  • Layout, Design and Typography
  • Art, Design and Media Practice within the Digital Environment
  • Critical Studies in Art and Design.


View past students’ work.


Leaving Certificate/LCVP with a minimum H5 in Art and one other H5/O1 and three O6/H7 grades or equivalent or QQI level 5 award with a merit profile or BTEC National Diploma with a merit profile. The academic entry requirements may be waived for mature applicants (21+).  Suitable Level 5 courses include:


HND in Illustration

This award is made by the UK awarding body BTEC Pearson and is not, at present, placed on the Irish National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ).

A Higher National Diploma is recognised by the QQI as being comparable to the Higher Certificate at NFQ Level 6.

QQI Comparability Statement


Please bring to the interview a professionally presented portfolio of recent and original works including:

  • Drawing: Life and Observational both showing strong use of line, tone, texture and composition. Please include a wide range of media and a variety of subject matter.
  • Life Drawing: should include 10 – 12 examples of a variety of poses and media.
  • Colour: Work should include painting, collage, printmaking, textiles and mixed media.
  • Personal: work should be creative and conceptual.
  • Sketchbooks: work should show artistic/cultural interests as well as thought processes and ideas development.
  • Three dimensional work: can be photographed for inclusion in the portfolio.


Students will complete this course with an illustration portfolio ready to begin in the industry. Viable progression includes freelance illustration, design studios, newspapers and magazine publications, publishers, architectural firms, and museum work. Many students may choose to continue their art education to degree level.