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Animation and Illustration – BA

  • CAO Points: New for 2024 (Portfolio Required)

  • Campus: Athlone

  • years: 3

Course Overview

Graduates of the BA in Animation and Illustration will have the capacity to apply their knowledge and understanding of the fundamentals of illustration and principles of animation to a broad range of areas within the animation and illustration practice.

Our students develop the capacity for independent learning as well as producing work collaboratively. Solid analytical and IT-related skills, as well as critical reasoning through the twin emphasis of both animation and illustration, are vital to creating strong, visually appealing and imaginative artwork.

With a host of successful home-grown studios the opportunities within animated series, feature films and co-productions has risen steadily over the past number of years for graduates. Ireland has talented and technically sophisticated studios creating and producing content for print, television, cinema, video games, mobile platforms, immersive exhibitions, and virtual and augmented reality.

Additional Information

Your portfolio should reflect your enthusiasm for studying within the artistic areas of animation and illustration. You should demonstrate a high level of draughtsmanship, creativity, and experimentation through a wide range of media including, but not limited to, pencil, paint, mixed-media, photography, animated experiments. You are advised to choose only their best artwork. Curate your portfolio leaving our portfolio assessors with the impression that you have a passion for drawing and an interest in making things move. Do not include fan art. All work must be your own original artwork.

A minimum of one full sketchbook

Applicants must submit one completed sketchbook. Applicants who have additional sketchbooks may submit up to 5 sketchbooks in total if they wish. Your sketchbook should include a large amount of observational studies of both humans and animals. These can be quick sketches capturing movement and gestures. These are best submitted within
a sketchbook. You can include photographic work, as well as photographs of clay, collage, mixed media, stop motion models/sets and photographs of large pieces of artwork that you cannot fit into the portfolio itself. Storyboards, comic panels and poster design can be included. Please fix the pages together in sequence and clearly label and number them. Your storyboards can show an idea for a short film or advertisement using any style or medium you like to work in. Your sketchbooks can include visual development, concepts and ideas that you have been working on. Show us what interests you and what inspires you to make the work you make from the world around you. Visual exploration and doodling is what your sketchbooks are for!

8-10 pieces of Completed Artwork

These pieces are your main portfolio of completed work outside of your sketchbook. Try to have a variety of work in this section of your portfolio. Include longer studies of humans, animals, objects or landscapes rather than quick sketches. Take your time to observe and work into these pieces. They can be further developed with colour, tone and texture. Animation can be part of this section.

The course title is BA (Hons) in Animation and Illustration. The CAO course code is US802. You will receive notification regarding when to submit your portfolio a number of weeks before the assessments once you have applied through the CAO website.

The normal closing date for CAO applications is February 1st, 2024. The Portfolio Assessments for our BA (Hons) in Animation and Illustration will be held on Friday, March 15th 2024.

Digital portfolios can be submitted via email. Details of this will be sent to applicants closer to the assessment date. However, we advise that you present your portfolio in person if you can so we can see your work in its best format. For further information on portfolio requirements please see the FAQ document or contact Dr Yvonne Hennessy at email:

Digital portfolios can be submitted via email to

Contact Details

Dr. Yvonne Hennessy


What are the entry requirements?

Leaving Certificate

Grade O6 in five subjects. Two of these subjects must be Mathematics and a language (English or Irish). Note: An F2 in Foundation Level Mathematics will be accepted as meeting the minimum Mathematics requirement. *For all applicants, portfolio presentation is required.

Mature Applicants

Candidates applying as mature applicants may be required to attend an interview and may be requested to take an aptitude test to prove their suitability for a place on this programme.

International Applicants

International applicants should apply directly to the International Office at TUS, allowing plenty of time for completing the visa process. Applications for September start should be made by 1st June at the latest to ensure visas are processed in time. You should familiarise yourself with visa processing times for your country of origin to ensure you make a timely application. Find out more here.

Course Modules

  • Illustration 1.1

    Credits: 5

    Through a flexible, exploratory approach in a creative environment, the learner will explore principles and techniques, engaging in the processes of illustration. The emphasis is on learning through making.

  • Animation 1.1

    Credits: 10

    This is an introduction for learners to the principles and fundamentals of animation. The focus is on producing traditional hand-drawn animation exercises and on developing strong drawing skills.

  • Life Drawing 1.1

    Credits: 5

    The aim of this module is to introduce learners to various drawing and painting techniques in a creative environment.

  • Critical and Contextual Studies 1.1

    Credits: 5

    The aim of this module is to explore the world of visual arts culture and to investigate how meaningful visual content appears in multiple forms. Students will learn how the reality of living in a world of cross-mediation informs their experience, understanding and interpretation.

  • Environment Design 1.1

    Credits: 5

    The aim of this module is to introduce the learners to 3-dimensional environment drawing with the understanding of perspective. The module will walk the learner through the techniques of drawing in one-point, two-point, and three-point perspectives in the form of hand-drawn and painted layouts.

  • Illustration 1.2

    Credits: 5

    The aim of this module is for learners to engage with book arts by introducing them to various techniques for illustration. Learners will continue to be immersed in the experimental processes in contemporary illustration.

  • Animation 1.2

    Credits: 5

    The aim of this module is for students to extend their knowledge in using the principles and fundamentals of animation, and to begin to apply skills acquired within the life drawing and illustration modules. The learners will also begin to work with sound and music.

  • Life Drawing 1.2

    Credits: 5

    The learners are introduced to further anatomy studies, the sustained study of the figure, and light and dark/tonal work. The learners are also introduced to colour theory.

  • Critical and Contextual Studies 1.2

    Credits: 5

    This aim of this module is to introduce the learner to the theory and application of visual language. Learners will explore concepts and visual methods of communication as a means of extending the learner’s visual vocabulary and language with a view to stimulating creative thinking.

  • Environment Design 1.2

    Credits: 5

    The aim of this module is to introduce learners to environmental storytelling in the form of digital environments and backgrounds. The learner will further build on their understanding of perspective, with the help of digital painting software.

  • Sequential Art and Illustration 1.2

    Credits: 5

    The aim of this module is to introduce and engage learners with sequential art, image making and illustration. Learners will assimilate research and adapt techniques, methods and styles into visual narratives. This takes the form of comics and zines.

  • Life Drawing 2.1

    Credits: 5

    The aim of this module is to allow the learner to advance and hone the skills of drawing and painting, through practice in the studio setting and through specific workshops, such as anatomy, gesture and movement, and location studies.

  • Animation 2.1

    Credits: 5

    The aim of this module is to provide the students with the opportunity to further develop their skills and knowledge, and the necessary creative and technical abilities, required in producing character animation. The projects take the form of hand-drawn character mime and performance, which enhance the students’ skills in acting and gesture for animation.

  • Illustration 2.1

    Credits: 5

    The aim of this module is to develop unique creative approaches to new concepts and to identify appropriate working methods applicable to the production of book illustrations. The objective is to encourage the exploration of practical techniques and to develop an expanded visual vocabulary.

  • Critical and Contextual Studies 2.1

    Credits: 5

    The aim of this module is to investigate visual arts and culture from the practitioners’ perspective. Learners will examine how contemporary illustrators and animators work from the art of the past as part of their creative process, while building their own skills in visual analysis and creative and critical thinking.

  • Storyboarding 2.1

    Credits: 5

    The aim of this module is to provide the learners with the fundamental building blocks, knowledge, and the necessary creative skills required in producing industry standard storyboards and animatics.

  • Scriptwriting 2.1

    Credits: 5

    The aim of this module is to introduce learners to the fundamentals of visual storytelling through scriptwriting. Diverse ranges of techniques and formats are examined against the backdrop of narrative and non-narrative structures and strategies.

  • Life Drawing 2.2

    Credits: 5

    The aim of this module is to continue the development of the learners drawing and painting skills to an advanced level of proficiency. This will be realised through further experimentation and learning through doing.

  • Animation 2.2

    Credits: 10

    The aim of this module is to further expand the necessary creative and technical skills required to produce character animation. The students produce animatics, scripted dialogue and digital character animation. The student will also further advance their skills in visual research.

  • Illustration 2.2

    Credits: 5

    The aim of this module is to allow the learner to formulate a variety of creative approaches in the development of ideas, identify appropriate working methods and apply contemporary illustration practices. Learners apply this to concept art and production design packs.

  • Critical and Contextual Studies 2.2

    Credits: 5

    The aim of this module is to provide a framework for interpreting and applying theoretical approaches to various case studies. The learner’s analytical and critical thinking skills will be developed through review and investigation of relative themes and narrative devices used in contemporary practices

  • Placement Preparation 2.2

    Credits: 5

    This module prepares learners for work placement in Year 3. Students will learn how to apply and prepare for placement. Emphasis is also placed on interview and presentation skills, communicating in the workplace, and the acquisition of technical skills necessary for effective participation while on placement. Learners are introduced to personal professional practices and career development.

  • Illustration 3.1

    Credits: 5

    This module is concerned with the development of using creative imaging to create contemporary illustrations for print and digital publishing.

  • Animation 3.1

    Credits: 5

    The students further expand the necessary creative and technical skills required to produce advanced animated media. They will demonstrate their knowledge of appropriate timing and posing, staging and composition to effectively portray character interactions and dialogue. The students will develop advanced skills in communicating animation projects through storyboarding and presentations.

  • Life Drawing 3.1

    Credits: 5

    Through advanced drawing and mark-making the student will develop their own unique approach and response to the live model. The student has the opportunity to investigate the human form and to demonstrate their artistic and technical skills.

  • Environment 3.1

    Credits: 5

    The aim of this module is to allow learners to advance and master environment storytelling through digital painting techniques and skills. The focus of the module will be to create professional environment art in the form of concept illustrations and background paintings.

  • Studio Preparation 3.1

    Credits: 5

    This module prepares learners for the practice-based, group studio project in Semester 6. It builds on the skills and knowledge acquired in Years 1 and 2 to further develop the learner’s knowledge of story, scriptwriting, production design packs, animatics and the process of pitching a new concept.

  • Critical and Contextual Studies 3.1

    Credits: 5

    The aim of this module is to equip the learner with the necessary skills for research and independent study. The learner will apply critical approaches through analysis of theoretical studies. In consultation with the lecturer, the learner will prepare a written review, identifying and evaluating literature appropriate to the area of study.

  • Studio Production 3

    Credits: 10

    The aim of this module is to give the learners the opportunity to experience working on an industry-standard production. The module will take place over a 6-week period at the beginning of Semester 6. The module aims to emulate a standard studio-environment and will broaden the learner’s skills and creative capabilities to give a greater understanding of how to take a project from script to screen and/or to print. Working as a group will help to replicate a studio environment. Each learner will have a responsibility to carry out their work in a creative and timely manner; to meet production schedule deadlines; and to be flexible and versatile while working as a team. The learner will have the opportunity to use a broad range of image-making practices, pulling from their skills in Years 1 and 2,

    to demonstrate enhanced awareness in animation and illustrative techniques; to apply those techniques to best realise the collaborative project.

  • Critical and Contextual Studies 3.2

    Credits: 5

    The aim of this module is to equip the learner with the necessary skills for animation and illustration based academic research. The learner will propose and produce an extended piece of written work.

  • Work Placement 3.2

    Credits: 15

    The aim of this module is to provide learners with an opportunity to engage in the professional world of the animation and/or illustration industries. The module will take place for 6 weeks in the second half of Semester 6. This gives the learners the opportunity to stay on with their placement company for the summer months, if this opportunity arises. They will experience first-hand the creative processes involved in working in a team environment on an industry standard project, along with building awareness of the differing roles and stages of development involved in the creation of professional work.

What can you do after this programme?

Graduates may gain employment in roles such as; background artist, character designer, animator, scene prep, comic and graphic novel artist and agency illustrator. This programme will particularly suit applicants who wish to work in creative industries.

Successful graduates of this programme are eligible for Level 8 Honours programme in Animation and Illustration within TUS.

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