Duncan Of Jordanstone Illustration Essay

Illustration addresses the on-going demand for compelling visual communicators who can engage their audiences. The curriculum focuses on creativity, authorship and interpretation. We deliver it through a mix of live and personal projects.

We will help you to embrace traditional and contemporary production processes. You will also developing a personal creative approach.  

We have excellent digital and printmaking facilities. You will use them to experiment with a wide range of media, including book works, photography, drawing, graphic arts, moving and interactive media.

You will get the chance to take part in a foreign study trip. Extra exposure comes in the form of  D&AD's 'New Blood'. This is an international showcase of the best graduates in visual communication and advertising. 

Study illustration to:

  • develop dynamic visual ideas
  • learn to take ownership of projects
  • enjoy a wide range of opportunities including narrative, book arts, photography, printmaking and interactive media 

At the end of the course you will be able to:

  • subject research findings to argument and analysis
  • structure research outcomes
  • present an image and text based format
  • explain the relationship between theory and practice in your own work 

We can offer you:

  • well resourced facilities
  • local and national links with industry
  • student focused teaching
  • opportunity to enter competitions and win awards

Student exchange

You can study abroad through exchange schemes that operate in many European and transatlantic countries.

The department normally organises an overseas study visit for all Level 3 students.

Who should study this course?

You are:

  • creative
  • imaginative 

You like:

  • working by yourself as well as in groups
  • a challenge

You want to:

  • develop your skills in using narrative and images to represent an overall idea or theme
  • work in groups to develop your skills
  • work independently to nurture your own projects

Communication Design

Illustration is one of three courses that comprise the communication design programme. The full list is animation, graphic design and illustration. While following your course in illustration, you will also get a wide range of opportunities to engage with communication design issues as well as your pathway choice in illustration.

The course develops conceptually agile and technically skilled illustrators who have a broad understanding of communication design coupled with deep knowledge and expertise in their chosen subject. 

Learn more about DJCAD

For further examples of student work, staff profiles and news visit the DJCAD website.

The following are the minimum, up-to-date entry requirements.

 EU and International qualifications

The programme of study initially involves projects and workshops designed to help you, through experiential learning, to understand the fundamental discipline of your chosen subject. Many different approaches to teaching and learning are used including regular seminars, practical lectures, studio demonstrations, individual tutorials and group critiques.

How you will be taught

Many different approaches to teaching and learning are used including:

  • Workshops
  • Studio demonstrations
  • Seminars
  • Practical lectures
  • Live briefs
  • Group tutorials
  • One-to-one tutorials
  • Group critiques
  • Self-assessment

Students are encouraged to develop their own directions within assignments and to engage in debate about their work.

How you will be assessed

Your progress is monitored with structured formal reviews and assessments. At Level 4 a team of internal and external examiners conduct the final degree examination.

What you will study

Level 1

Students can enter illustration after successfully completing our Art and Design (General Foundation) course (apply for course WW12) or on successful completion of a recognised Foundation Course or equivalent (apply for course W220). This is normal for many art and design courses.

In the Art and Design (General Foundation) course you will learn the core values which will enrich and expand your personal visual language, preparing you nicely for a further 3 years in Illustration.

Level 2

  • Tutor-set Briefs
  • Introduction to Technical Processes
  • Introduction to Computer Aided Design
  • Introduction to Creating a Personal Programme of Study
  • Creative Research Methodology
  • Contextual Studies

Level 2 of the programme is structured to provide a broad foundation of knowledge and experience. You will be introduced to relevant equipment and varied media used in the production process for your choice of specialism. Projects and assignments help you develop the relevant learning, research and technical skills, exploring creativity and individual aptitude through each process.

Level 3

  • Personal Programme of Study
  • Tutor-set and Live Briefs
  • Strategic Experimentation
  • Research and Development of Ideas
  • Cultural Experience Foreign Study Trip
  • Contextual Studies
  • Elective modules such as:
    • Visual Effects
    • Comic Art & Graphic Novels
    • Printmaking

Level 3 is designed to encourage experimentation, cross course projects, exploring ideas and making use of appropriate technical methods. All students prepare and present a programme of personal project work that reflects the research and development of ideas. During this year you will undertake a series of assignments designed to develop good professional practice necessary to succeed in your chosen career.

Level 4

  • Personal Programme of Research
  • National Competitions
  • Supporting Study Elective
  • Exhibitions in Dundee and London

In the final year - Level 4 - you will organise and present a personal programme of study that will form the major part of your submission for the Honours degree examination. You will be encouraged to integrate all aspects of your research with a written thesis and the production of your final outcomes. You will produce a body of work that will demonstrate a mature visual understanding of materials, methods and processes required to transform ideas into reality.

The demand for illustrators has increased as related commercial fields have expanded. Our graduates have gone on to have successful careers in the following fields:

  • publishing
  • design
  • editorial
  • advertising
  • art
  • animation
  • online media
  • sequential imagery
  • film & television

Placements, live project work and participation in national and international competitions all hone the employability and aspirations of our students. Students have found employment with many major design studios and organisations such as:

  • The New York Times
  • Bank of Scotland
  • The Guardian
  • Edinburgh International Fringe Festival
  • The Scotsman
  • Orange
  • The Herald
  • Umbro
  • TimeOut London
  • National Museum of Scotland


Others have gone on to freelance and establishing their own successful businesses. Extra curriculum activities such as the Enterprise Gym help students cultivate entrepreneurial skills.

The fees you pay will depend on your fee status. Your fee status is determined by us using the information you provide on your application.

 Find out more about fee status

Fees for students starting 2018-19

Scottish and EU students can apply to the Students Award Agency for Scotland (SAAS) to have tuition fees paid by the Scottish Government.

Rest of the UK students can apply for financial assistance, including a loan to cover the full cost of the tuition fees, from the Student Loans Company.

Tuition fees for Overseas (non-EU) students are guaranteed not to increase by more than 3% per year, for the length of your course.

Students applying for Illustration must successfully complete our 1 year Art and Design (General Foundation) course. In this instance you should apply using the UCAS code WW12.

Alternatively, if you have already completed a recognised foundation course or equivalent elsewhere then apply directly to Illustration.

You will be prompted by our Admissions Team to submit your digital portfolio (and answer a few questions in respect of your interest in studying art & design at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design), via the University of Dundee Applicant Portal, thereafter, if required, we may contact you to arrange an interview in person or via Skype.

We have more information on your portfolio in our How to Apply section.

If you require further information on any aspect of the application consideration process or the undergraduate programme in general, please do not hesitate to contact us.




Unistats data set - formerly the Key Information Set (KIS)

 DegreeUCAS CodeUnistats Data
Apply NowIllustration BDes (Hons)W220

Ben Bainbridge, Illustration Graduate

"Within Illustration I was able to explore different areas of the specialism I was interested in. This helped me understand my subject a lot more and really benefitted me as a young designer. With regular artist talks and workshops from professionals I was able to see how the industry worked past art school. They were not only informative, but inspiring too."

Emma Goldstraw, Illustration Graduate

"Duncan of Jordanstone has always been something of a "Mecca" for me. Any courses that were on offer, or exhibitions - I was there! The Illustration course allowed me to try various methods and ways of working that I had never done before. The course also allowed me to experience new technology, computer programmes and digital media. The staff in the department are all very supportive and approachable. Most importantly they helped me build my own confidence about my own work. It is an extremely proud feeling to know that I have an excellent degree from one of the top art schools in the country."

In 1972 a Committee of Enquiry was convened, chaired by Sir Charles Wilson, principal of Glasgow University, to consider whether the Dundee Institute of Art and Technology should continue with its existing structure or if the two disciplines might be better served by the establishment of two independent colleges. The Committee decided on the two-college approach and, following approval by the Scottish Secretary of State, the Dundee Institute of Art and Technology was dissolved in August 1975 to create Dundee College of Technology and Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art.

The Art College remained independent under its own Board of Governors until 1 August 1994 when it became a full faculty of the University of Dundee. Since the period of its independence, the Art College has fully occupied the purpose built complex on the Perth Road into which it had begun to move in the 1950s.Under its new arrangement, a number of diploma courses offered by the College received validation as Ordinary and Honours degree courses by the Council for National Academic Awards. Included in these were Design (1976) and Fine Art (1980). In 1974 the University of Dundee had created a Faculty of Environmental Studies which validated the degrees of the Schools of Architecture and Town & Regional Planning from the inception of the College. The University and College had a close working relationship, no doubt partly due to the geographical proximity of the two campuses, and by 1988 the University of Dundee validated all degree courses at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art.

Prior to its merger with the University, the College had grown to be the largest college of art and design in Scotland. It offered a range of courses in architecture, town & regional planning, environmental management, painting, sculpture, illustration & printmaking, printed textiles, constructed textiles, interior & environmental design, graphic design, ceramics, jewellery & metalwork, food and welfare studies, hotel and catering management and hospitality. Additional postgraduate areas of study available within the College were computer-aided architectural design, electronic imaging, film & television production and European urban conservation.

Chessor L Matthew Dip Arch, FRIBA, AMPTI, ASIA (Ed) was the first principal of Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art by virtue of continuing in his post as principal of the Art College section of the preceding institution. He had taken up the post in 1964 and continued into the Art College's independent period, remaining in office until the end of session 1977/78, when he was succeeded by Myer Lacome FRSA, MSAID, MSTD, Minst Pkg. Lacome was succeeded by Robert Miller-Smith FCSD, FDIA, FSTD, FRSA, who was in turn succeeded by Christopher Carter BA(Hons), PhD, MRTPI, FBIM, FRSA, the last principal of the Art College, holding the office for the final session.

The name of the College comes from James Duncan of Jordanstone and Drumfork, who in 1909 bequeathed part of the residue of his estate, worth around 60,000 at the time, in order to found a school of industrial art in Dundee. Part of his purpose was to include a women's institute, which is how the Art College came to teach hospitality industry related courses. The bequest was used by the Dundee Technical Institute and School of Art but Duncan's dream of a separate art school was not fulfilled until 1975.

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