Animation and Illustration

By Aedín Dunne - Last update

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Are you creative? Do you think you could add to a creative, changing and demanding industry? If you have an artist flare, can work well under pressure, have creative talent and skills then this could be an area you would work well in. 

What is Animation and Illustration?

Animation and Illustration courses will help you to understand the fundamentals of illustration and principles of animation to a broad range of areas within the industry. 

What third level courses are available?

Universities and colleges in Ireland are offering courses in the following subject areas: 

  • Animation and Illustration – AIT


  • Animation, Visual Effects and Motion Design
  • Visual Effects for Film, TV and Animation 
  • Animation and Digital Movie (PLC)
  • Animation Drawing Studies (PLC)

Studying Animation and Illustration in college

This Animation and Illustration course is offered by Athlone Institute of Technology though there are many similar courses available which are mostly PLC courses. This particular course is a Level 8 four year course and will give students the opportunity to develop their skills and to become prepared to work in the industry. 

Your first year of any undergraduate course will act as a foundation year. You will become familiar with the basic principles of Animation and Illustration in relation to performance. You will also become familiar with what is to come throughout your course and develop your skills and interest in different areas.

Modules that you will cover in your first year will include Explorative Animation, Explorative Illustration, Explorative Ideation, Explorative Drawing and Creativity in Context. Through your first and second semester you will focus on these modules which have the same titles but will contain slightly different content in both semesters. 

Your second year will introduce you to more in-depth and complex information and help you to develop that foundation you have built and expand your mind, creativity and more. Examples of modules you will cover in your second year will include Studio Animation, Studio Illustration, Narrative & Script Writing, Studio Drawing and Practice in Context. In your second semester of second year you will also begin to prepare for your work placement which you will do in your third year. 

In third year, you will focus on modules from Advanced Animation and Advanced Illustration to Advanced Narrative & Scriptwriting and Theory into Context: Critical Issues. As mentioned above, your second semester will be a full semester of work placement to help you to become familiar with the working world of Animation and Illustration and to not only apply the skills your already have but to also develop even further. 

Your fourth year is your final year. You will mainly focus on your dissertation proposal, project proposal and then begin to work on both. You will also keep focus on advanced drawing. 

Different courses will differ from college to college and even their layout and content covered. There are many PLC courses and a number of their PLC courses that may cover similar areas so be sure to research your course in depth to ensure you choose the right course for you.

Career Options 

The main employers in the animation and illustration world are animation companies, the games industry, advertising and marketing as well as the world of live action and special effects. 

Studying animation is the  perfect gateway into one of the most creative and exciting fields of work in the world. The rise in use and demand for technology and games lends itself to animators in Ireland and worldwide as a product in demand. 

There is also the option of continuing on your study at postgraduate level in order to specialise in a particular area. 

Important skills and qualities to have in this area include creativity, excellent communication skills, ability to work with others, ability to take and give direction, time management skills, organisation skills, ability to use technology, attention to detail, artistic ability, a skill for storytelling and the ability to work under pressure and meet tight deadlines. 

Related Jobs

  • Animator 
  • Games developer
  • Graphic designer
  • Illustrator
  • Web designer

Further Study

Visit for more information.


Different courses and different colleges will have different entry requirements. It’s always safest to check with the individual higher education institution which is available on their websites. As a general rule Leaving Cert students should have a minimum of six subjects which should include: Two H5 (Higher Level) grades and Four O6 (Ordinary Level) grades or four H7 (Higher Level) grades. Subjects must include Mathematics, Irish or another language, and English.

Specific courses may have their own requirements.Certain QQI courses may be accepted.

The points required for this exact course in AIT were 578 points in 2020. 

Where can I study?

For other courses in the area you would like to explore, you can do so here.

Did you know?

  • Walt Disney had just two animators working for him when Steamboat Willie was created in 1928.
  • The first ever American animated feature film was Snow White which cost $1.4 million in 1937.
  • The first animated feature generated completely on computers was Toy Story. 


Student Grant Scheme  

Course information 

Animator Job Description 

Aedín Dunne

Aesthetic Therapy Courses
Education - Primary Teaching


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