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Graphics and Illustration GCE AS/A Level at Richmond-upon-Thames College

Course description

Graphics and Illustration AS/A level offers you the opportunity to develop your creative potential as a graphic designer or illustrator through a wide area of study. Every year students use their projects as a tool for expressing their personal interests, from children's books, packaging and promotion to fashion magazines, animation, new media and branding. Graphic communication is an exciting, dynamic, continually evolving field. On this course you will be taught the design process through a series of tutorials and practical workshops in design, drawing, illustration and typography.

We want you to be creative, to be inspired by the exercises set in the scheme of work, to try new ways of image-making and experiment with a wide range of different materials. You will be taught to use design and multimedia software and acquire the technical skills to be proficient in Adobe Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator; these will enhance your design and illustration work, until you are creating final pieces to a professional standard. As part of the course, you will also be introduced to a range of graphic subjects such as illustration, letterforms and packaging design. The course will nurture and encourage innovative and creative thinking, helping you to find your own voice and way of working within the broad scope of graphic communication.

Course content

Graphics and Illustration begins with an induction course which teaches core observational drawing techniques with visits to Warner Brothers Studios and Zoological Society London.


As part of the course, you will learn to draw and paint using a wide range of media including acrylics, oils and gouache; you will experiment with mixed media and work in a variety of craft disciplines. Your skills will develop to high standards through regular practice, including weekly homework. Projects are based on design briefs, involving research from direct observation, including the human figure, which often follows visits to galleries and museums. Teaching includes group work and individual demonstration of craft techniques. Graphic design students are also taught special lettering, typography, layout and illustration.


You will develop analytical, experimental and documenting skills, a specialist vocabulary and knowledge and understanding of the place of art and design in history and contemporary society.


Graphic communication is an art course covering advertising and editorial graphics and illustration. It should not be confused with graphics visualising for product design.


This course is a suitable foundation for students interested in progressing onto an applied art degree, the art and design foundation diploma (Pre BA) level 3, an HNC or HND in graphic design.


Throughout the year there will be a number of research trips, which are aimed at enhancing critical and contextual studies, and providing inspiration for your work.

Entry requirements

You will need an average GCSE points score of 5 including GCSE English at grade 5 and Art/Graphic Design at grade C plus a strong portfolio.


The course is assessed through exams and coursework.

Financial information

A studio fee of £60 (for the year) is payable at enrolment. This will cover a wide range of art materials, including mounting board, a sketchbook and a folder. You should also have art materials for working at home and must pay for occasional visits to museums and galleries. History of art books for contextual studies research are usually available from libraries, but you may wish to purchase your own. You will need to purchase a memory stick or portable hard drive to back up your work. There is a small charge for printing your work and this will need to be topped up during the year.

Future opportunities

There are many careers in art, craft and design. Most require further study at art school or university, usually via a one-year diagnostic pre-degree Foundation Diploma in Art and Design course. Careers in art and design include advertising, marketing, product design, model-making, film, TV and theatre design, animation, website design, special effects, digital photography, architecture, publishing, the media and teaching. With knowledge of a foreign language, it is also possible to work abroad. Success, as in most careers, requires determination and dedication and a career in art and design can be very rewarding. Also, the study of art and design can help you to develop transferable skills, such as working with groups and problem-solving, which are of crucial importance in any profession.

Further information

To find out more about this course please visit our website or contact us on or 020 8607 8302

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Richmond-upon-Thames College directly.

Last updated date: 18 October 2017
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