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Animation. Graphic Design. Game Art.

Illustration Schools in Ohio

Written by Michelle BurtonFebruary 19, 2016
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According to the Bureau of labor Statistics (BLS), illustrators create pictures for books, magazines, and other publications and for commercial products, such as textiles, wrapping paper, stationery, greeting cards, and calendars. Increasingly, illustrators are using computers in their work. They might draw in pen and pencil and then scan the image into a computer program to be colored in, or they might use a special pen to draw images directly onto the computer. While illustrators work primarily in creative industries, their skills are often needed in the technology, legal, and medical field. 

Nationwide, demand for illustrators who work on a computer is likely to increase as media companies use more detailed images and backgrounds in their designs, says the BLS. However, illustrators and cartoonists who work in publishing may see their job opportunities decline as traditional print publications lose ground to other media forms. New opportunities are expected to arise though, as the number of electronic magazines and Internet-based publications continues to grow.

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Fortunately, most art schools, and many traditional colleges and universities, offer a variety of degree programs for aspiring illustrators. And yes, Ohio has its fair share. In fact, several Ohio art schools rank among the best in the nation for illustration programs. Just a few include Cleveland Institute of Art (CIA) and Columbus College of Art & Design (CCAD). 

Ohio Illustration Schools

While Ohio is home to several dozen schools for artists and designers, six are considered the best for illustrators. These schools offer illustration programs at all degree levels and some offer drawing programs as well. Browse through the list below to find out which Oho schools offer programs for illustrators and where to find them. 

Ohio University – Degrees Offered: BFA, MFA Studio Art with a Concentration in Painting + Drawing

Art Academy of Cincinnati – Degrees Offered: BFA Illustration, BFA Painting + Drawing

Cleveland Institute of Art (CIA) - Degrees Offered: BFA Illustration, BFA Drawing, BFA Biomedical Art

Columbus College of Art & Design (CCAD) - Degrees Offered: BFA Illustration, BFA Fine Arts; MFA Visual Arts: New Projects (multidisciplinary program); Minor Illustration. Note: Available concentration areas include Illustration/Entertainment Design/Drawing, Illustration/Entertainment Design/Modeling, Illustration/Illustrative Design, Fine Arts/Drawings

University of Dayton - Degrees Offered: BFA Visual Arts with a Concentration in Illustration

Kent State University – Degrees Offered: BA, BFA Illustration, BA, BFA 3D Design, BS Photo Illustration; MA, MFA Visual Communication Design

More Illustration related programs to consider:  

Employment and Salary Trends for Ohio Illustrators

Ohio is home to the nation’s third largest population of fine artists including illustrators, painters, and sculptors. They average $25,380 per year, down significantly from $46,690 when the state was home to 220 salaried fine artists. It is important to note that many fine artists are self-employed. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the “Independent Artists, Writers, and Performers” ‘industry’ has the highest level and highest concentration of employment for fine artists.

This means it is safe to assume that the population of illustrators in the Ohio is likely much higher. Further, these individuals typically enjoy higher salaries and a better employment outlook. Independent artists average $43,390 per year and employment growth is much higher than the national average of three percent for fine artists.

Nationwide, the median annual wage for fine artists is $43,890, which was higher than the median annual wage of $35,540 for all occupations. According to the BLS, employment of fine artists is projected to grow three percent for the 2014-2024 decade, as mentioned, which is slower than the average for all occupations. However, this growth will result in 800 new salaried jobs in comparison to just 100 for craft artists and the “Artists and Related Workers, All Other” group.

The industries with the highest levels of employment for fine artists including illustrators, painters, and sculptors are:

  • Independent Artists, Writers, and Performers
  • Motion Picture and Video Industries
  • Other Miscellaneous Store Retailers
  • Newspaper, Periodical, Book, and Directory Publishers
  • Software Publishers

The top paying industries for fine artists are:

  • Wholesale Electronic Markets and Agents and Brokers (average annual $119,870)
  • Software Publishers ($94,680)
  • Scientific Research and Development Services ($76,580)
  • Employment Services ($72,120)
  • Motion Picture and Video Industries ($66,210)

The top five highest paying states for fine artists are:

  • Arizona ($95,600)
  • New York ($75,940)
  • Washington ($71,200)
  • Connecticut ($70,070)
  • California ($62,950)

In addition to Ohio, the state’s with the highest employment levels for fine artists are California (#1), New York (#2), Florida (#4), and Texas (#5). While employment opportunities can be found in many cities across Ohio, aspiring illustrators here may increase their chances of landing a position in the field by exploring larger cities. Consider Columbus, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Toledo, Akron, and Dayton. 

Awesome Animation Fact: The reason why Mickey Mouse was drawn with white gloves is because Walt Disney through that normal mouse nails were too violent for children to watch. Many cartoon and video characters followed this trend. -Pinterest Cartoon Facts, Sierra Smith