What Coursework is Included in a Typical Illustration Program? ACR Takes a Look.
|Children’s Book Illustration|
|Drawing the Graphic Novel|
|History of Political and Social Illustration|
|Illustration History & Practice|
|Materials & Techniques|
What is Illustration?
An illustration is a picture or diagram that helps make something clear or attractive. According the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), illustrators are fine artists that create pictures for books, magazines, and other publications and for commercial products, such as textiles, wrapping paper, stationery, greeting cards, and calendars. Illustrators increasingly use computers in their work. They might draw in pen or pencil and then scan the image, using software to add color, or they might use a special pen to draw images directly onto the computer.
What are the Types of Courses for Illustration Programs?
Illustration students develop their artistic skills through studio classes and critiques. They also practice techniques in both traditional and digital illustration and apply visual storytelling skills in hands-on, client-focused projects. Many top programs cover several commercial models including freelance, institutional, and contract-based. Through hands-on projects and studying common commercial models, illustration students learn the core business skills needed to thrive as a professional illustrator.
Illustration programs lead to the BA, BFA, MA or MFA. Some schools offer a PhD. Sample courses include:
- 3D Form and Space
- 3D Printing
- Animated Illustration
- Children’s Book Illustration
- Commercial Illustration
- Concept Art
- Contextual Character Design
- Creative Concepting for World Building
- Design Thinking
- Digital Communication
- Digital Illustration
- Drawing the Graphic Novel
- Figure Drawing
- Foundation Studio
- History of Political and Social Illustration
- Ideation Sketching
- Illustration Business Strategies and Entrepreneurship
- Illustration History & Practice
- Materials & Techniques
- Survey of Typography
- Visual Culture
Most programs offer internship opportunities and the chance to create a polished portfolio of the student’s best work.
What Can I Do With a Degree in Illustration?
Illustrators work in industries from art and design to engineering, legal and medical. Although employment opportunities are plentiful in a range of industries, many illustrators work in art, publishing, advertising, gaming, or multimedia. Illustrators can expect new opportunities to arise as the number of electronic magazines and other Internet-based publications continues to grow.
Possible job titles include editorial illustrator, book illustrator, comic book artist, exhibition designer, painter, medical illustrator, forensic or sketch artist, scientific illustrator, storyboard artist, architectural illustrator, mural designer, animation illustrator, legal illustrator, game artist, designer, creative director, art director, installation design, caricature artist, instructor, and freelance artist.
Programs to Consider: