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Illustration at Norwich

Welcome Week starts on Monday 25 September and this is when we will meet you on campus and introduce you to our buildings and facilities. You will meet the staff team and other students on your course and take part in some introductory activities designed so you can get to know each other and remain safe on campus. You will also attend talks about the services and facilities the University offers.

The first taught day of your course is the Monday 2 October. Generally, you will have timetabled sessions on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays each week. The rest of the week will usually be independent study time for you to research and develop your projects.

Individual timetables will be given the start of the course. In addition to sessions on campus, there will also be digital teaching sessions such as lectures and individual tutorials too.

You will be introduced to all these elements so don’t worry about any of this now!

On independent study days, and days where digital teaching is scheduled, you will be able to access the campus to continue your work as needed, or you can elect to work remotely.

We will help you plan your time.

You will see that we’ve included some suggestions of things you might like to read, watch, and do before you arrive, and provided suggestions about equipment and materials you are likely to need.

We look forward to seeing you in September


What constitutes an artist’s materials list depends on their particular practice. Throughout the course you are asked to be innovative, experimental and open to new ideas, methods and ways of thinking and making.

When selecting materials try not to say no, try to think what if?

What happens when you tip food colouring into household emulsion paint or mix oil pastels with ink?

Things to watch, read, and do before you arrive

Watch the videos and explore the links below for ideas and inspiration


Exploring sketchbooks / Animating the Archives

An excellent short film highlighting the reasons for, and process of, maintaining a sketchbook featuring contemporary illustrators, designers and artists. See also:

Tate sketchbooks archive (opens in a new window)

Vitamin D3: Today’s Best in Contemporary Drawing

A recommended watch, although an hour long. The published book is available in the Norwich University of the Arts Library, when you arrive!

Axel Scheffler: Top 3 tips for budding illustrators.


Read online articles about illustrators and their sketchbooks

Its Nice That

Its Nice That is a website full of inspirational and diverse approaches to illustration. A great resource that offers both intellectual discussions, professional discussions, and work from emerging Illustrators.


Read about contemporary illustration online at The Association of Illustrators, providing an overview of contemporary illustration that supports students and industry professionals through online resources, competitions, and events.

Creative Reviewand Creative Bloq

Read and find creative inspiration from across art and design practices


ILoveOffset Explore this website as a fantastic resource and eclectic overview of illustration practice. The 5 Talks to inspire illustration has great talks from illustrators such as Martin Haake, Tomi Ungerer, and Tara McPherson.

Research museums, internet, libraries e.g., explore current news and themes such as endangered animal facts, features, characteristics, biology, science, environments, and links with current illustration and contemporary drawing including:

‘Pushing Paper’ – Introducing Contemporary Drawing (opens in a new window)

Sainsbury Centre

What’s on (opens in a new window)

Materials and Equipment List

Here is a basic list of materials that are an essential tool kit for your learning.

A materials toolbox container: something light, cheap and easy to carry. You can buy tool boxes from a local DIY store or Halfords for example. You will need one of these to transport your materials.

  • A range of sketchbook sizes (cartridge paper) e.g A4, A3, A2.
  • Drawing board MDF, A3+ (approximately 330 x 500mm) for location drawing. You can buy wood cut to size from your local DIY stores!
  • Masking tape
  • Soft pencils and graphite sticks
  • Charcoal, conte crayons
  • Dip pens, drawing inks.
  • Gouache paints
  • Oil pastels
  • Glue/PVA
  • Scalpel and blades
  • Metal safety ruler
  • Scissors
  • Brushes: Look at a range
  • Mixing pots, small pots with airtight lids

Extend and add to your existing materials

Consider the following:

  • Colour palettes, dark and moody, bright, wild and expressive
  • Surfaces – plain paper, brown paper, textured wallpaper, can you draw on sandpaper, wood, glass or metal?
  • Brushes, big & small, cheap or expensive, what is the difference?
  • Drawing implements, consider line, different weights & thicknesses
  • Experiment cheaply and with a wide range of materials
  • Learn the difference between expensive and cheap – learn what is important to you and where to best spend your money
  • Try what you don’t know, in lots of different combinations on lots of different surfaces