Illustration - MFA/MA

Programme video: Illustration - MA/MFA

Our approach

As an MA/MFA Illustrator at ECA, you’ll be introduced to advanced study in illustration both in theory and practice. Projects at this level are focused, individual and are pertinent to your own particular research interests.

Whether you choose the one-year MA or the two-year MFA, you’ll focus on combining practical studio work with theoretical written work. This will include taking part in a range of live projects that will prepare you for professional practice and a seminar series that will examine the wider context of your studies. MFA students will take the opportunity to extending and expanding their range of work over the second year.

Excellent facilities

Drawing and printmaking are central to all we do. As a student, you’ll take advantage of extensive printmaking facilities including screen print, relief print, etching, lithography, digital print and printmaking, monoprint and calligraphy. You’ll also have the opportunity to take part in a weekly life drawing class and have the chance to study book binding, book arts, digital technologies and web publishing.

Live briefs, competitions and commissioned work

You’ll be encouraged to take part in collaborations with writers, designers and publishers. D&AD, Penguin, Macmillan Publishing and the V&A deliver competition briefs on an annual basis and our students regularly win prestigious prizes. And you’ll be involved in a number of projects with the wider University of Edinburgh across a range of academic subjects.

By the time you graduate you’ll be ready to progress to a wide-range of exciting careers from working as a picture book illustrator, a designer, freelance illustrator or within a leading agency.

Five top reasons to choose the programme:

  • Designated work spaces for all students in spectacular studios
  • Regular Life Drawing Classes, collaborative work, and professional practice
  • Advanced development of studio practice and theoretical study
  • Access to excellent Printmaking Workshop and Digital Arts
  • Advanced exploration of Book Arts, text & image, picture books, and authorial illustration

Student work


Jonathan Gibbs, Programme Director | View staff profile >


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Technical support

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News & events


Patrick Benson, author and illustrator of ‘Owl Babies’ on how the landscape can affect the the emotional impact of the story
Patrick Benson, author and illustrator of ‘Owl Babies’ on how the landscape can affect the the emotional impact of the story

The symposium explored the theme of 'landscape'.

_ALS4389 Childrens winner Ailsa and PRH Anna Billson 960 x 610.jpg

Photo of a prize winner with a judge
Ailsa Johnson (right) with Anna Billson, Children's Art Director at Penguin Random House
Image courtesy of Penguin Random House

Ailsa Johnson is awarded a work placement and £1,000 by Penguin Random House.


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