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HND in Illustration

Course Code: AIH

Duration: 2 Years

Developing drawing skills & illustration styles: advertising, fashion, graphic novels, greeting cards, websites, book covers and children's books.
Developing drawing skills & illustration styles: advertising, fashion, graphic novels, greeting cards, websites, book covers and children's books.


Illustration is a highly specialized discipline within the field of Visual Communication. This unique course enables our students to develop strong visual language and narrative skills, while developing a range of illustrative styles.  Students will focus primarily on developing their drawing, digital and media skills while also learning to regard their work in terms of commercial viability.

Students will be actively encouraged to engage in a range of methods, both traditional and non-traditional, to realise their ideas and will explore the entire spectrum of illustrative practice.  This will include editorial, archaeological, technical, advertising, instructional, fashion, as well as illustration for graphic novels, storyboards, greeting cards, websites, book covers and children’s books. Working to tailored in-house and live competition briefs is a key component of the course and enables students to gain valuable feedback from tutors and industry sources alike.

Ongoing talks and workshops by visiting guest lecturers enrich and inform the students’ own practice and build important and beneficial links to the world of professional illustration.



Year 1

  • Principles of Life Drawing
  • Contextual Studies
  • Professional Development
  • Media Practices
  • Individual Project
  • Visual Narratives
  • Material Practice
  • Techniques & Practices

Year 2

  • Advanced Life Drawing
  • Art Direction
  • Applied Practice
  • Advanced Art Practice Studies
  • Conceptual Practice



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. 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 a varied and exciting 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.

Students may also apply for advanced entry to honours degree programme in national and international third-level institutions.