Drawing majors have a wide variety of careers to choose from. Artists with drawing and illustration skills are in high demand at advertising agencies, animation studios, film studios, creative firms, architecture firms, and more. Other interesting fields for artists specializing in drawing include medical, legal, research, and science. The State of Virginia is home to dozens of schools that offer art and design programs, and several are tops for drawing (and illustration) majors. Before we discuss Virginia’s best schools for drawing majors, below are just a few job titles for artists with a specialization in drawing:
- Advertising (storyboard artist, mock-up artist, presentation artist)
- Architecture (architectural sketching and rendering)
- Fashion Design (sketch artist)
- Law (sketch artist, courtroom artist)
- Newspapers (comic art, caricature artist, political cartoonist)
- Publishing (cover artist, children’s book illustrator/artist)
- Set Designer
Virginia is home to a variety of accredited colleges with top-tier art and design programs. Just a few include George Mason University (Fairfax), University of Virginia (Charlottesville), Virginia Commonwealth University (Richmond), Virginia Tech (Blacksburg), and Hampton University (Hampton). Continue reading to learn more about Virginia’s best options for drawing majors and where to find them.
Virginia Drawing Schools
Virginia is home to 129 Title IV degree-granting colleges and universities. Virginia has the tenth highest number of Title IVs in the country. Schools with Title IV status are eligible for federal financial aid programs, which is great news for aspiring artists attending private school.
Tuition for most private schools is typically much higher than tuition for state schools. The cost difference can be as much as $20,000 per academic school year in some states. Fortunately, even the most expensive private schools in the State of Virginia are accessible to students with financial need. Scroll through the list below to take a look at Virginia’s best drawing (and illustration) schools and what they have to offer.
Marymount University - Degrees Offered: B. A. Art, Graphic Design; B. S. Information Technology with Specialization in Interactive Media; Minor in Illustration, Studio Art, and Media and Performance Studies
Bridgewater College - Degrees Offered: B. A., B.S. Art, Studio Art with Specialization in Digital Media, Drawing, Photography, Visual Design; Minor in Art
Virginia Intermont College - Degrees Offered: B. A., B. F. A. Art with Concentration in Drawing, Graphic Design, Printmaking; B.F.A. Design and Technology; Minor in Photography + Digital Imaging
Lynchburg College - Degrees Offered: B.A. Art with Studio Art (includes Painting, Drawing, Sculpture, Photography); B.A. Art with Emphasis in Graphic Design; B.A. Communications with Electronic Media Focus; Minor in Studio Art
Mary Baldwin College - Degrees Offered: B. A. Studio Art with Emphasis in Drawing, Extended Media, Graphic Design, Photography, Printmaking; B.A. Art Management, Film Studies, Film Production; Minor in Film Studies, Film Production
More Virginia Drawing related programs to consider:
- Atlanta, Georgia; Savannah, Georgia; Lacoste, France; and SCAD eLearning
Employment and Salary Trends for Virginia Artists Specializing in Drawing
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports salary and employment information for artists and designers as a “major group,” and fine artists as a “subgroup.” Artists specializing in drawing are categorized as fine artists. Fine artists include illustrators/drawing, sculptors, and painters.
According to the latest report by the Bureau (March 29, 2012), Virginia is home to 49,990 artists and designers, up from 40,780 in 2002. They average $56,940 per year, up from $42,310 in 2002. The state is home to 290 fine artists, up from 220 in 2002. They average $34,030 up from $39,810 in 2002.
As mentioned, Virginia based artists specializing in drawing work in a variety of fields from animation to film and video to visual effects. The following information should give you a good idea of what to expect for several popular career fields for artists specializing in drawing.
Art Director: Virginia is home to 560 salaried art directors, up from 400 in 2002. They average $85,950 per year, up from $64,490 in 2002.
Multimedia Artist & Animator: Virginia was home to 710 salaried multimedia artists & animators in 2002. Today, the state is home to 470. Salaries are up from $44,230 in 2002 to $57,990 today. It is important to keep in mind that many companies and studios prefer to hire independent contractors rather than hire in-house staff. The Bureau does not report employment figures for independent workers. This means, the State of Virginia is likely home to hundreds of independent workers with varying salaries.
Graphic Designer: Virginia had a population of 3,550 salaried graphic designers in 2002. Today, the state is home to 5,280. Salaries are on the rise as well. In 2002, West Virginia-based graphic designers averaged $38,430. Today, the average salary is $53,950. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “senior designers, who may supervise junior staff or have some decision-making authority that reflects their knowledge of graphic design,” earned a median salary of $60,000.
“Solo designers who freelanced or worked under contract reported median earnings of $57,000. Design directors, the creative heads of design firms or in-house corporate design departments,” earn $95,000. “Graphic designers with ownership or partnership interests in a firm or who are principals of the firm in some other capacity” average $95,000 per year.
Film Industry: Virginia is home to more than 2,000 salaried professionals in the film and video industry. Depending on the specialization, salaried film industry professionals may average anywhere from $51,000 up to $71,000. In 2002, the state was home to fewer professionals in this field, and they averaged $31,000-$44,000 per year. The film industry employs more independent workers than any other industry so salary and employment figures would likely higher if the Bureau tracked solo workers.
Whether you decide to work for a creative agency or fly solo, some of the biggest companies, studios, and potential clients can be found in major cities. Virginia Beach is the state’s largest city followed by Norfolk, Chesapeake, Arlington, and Richmond. Newport News, Alexandria, and Hampton have a population of less than 200,000, but they are still on the list of principal cities. At less than 100,000 residents, Roanoke and Portsmouth are also listed as principal cities, so they are worth exploring as well.