Pennsylvania has an amazing history filled with so many firsts, you’ll lose count! The first piano was built here in 1775, the first presidential mansion is in Philadelphia, the first daily newspaper was published in Philadelphia in 1784, and the first baseball stadium was built in Pittsburgh. The Keystone State is also a pioneer when it comes to technology. Yes, Philadelphia is home to the first computer! Pennsylvania was even the first state to list its website URL on a license plate.
Pennsylvania and its many historic cities offer quite a bit when it comes to art and culture as well. Philadelphia, for example, is home to popular art museums such as Philadelphia Art Museum and the Institute of Contemporary Art, while Pittsburgh is home to Carnegie Museum of Art, The Andy Warhol Museum, Frick Art and Historical Center, and the Pittsburgh Center For The Arts.
In addition to art and culture, a rich history and a progressive spirit, Pennsylvania is home to some of the nation’s best colleges, universities and art schools. Carnegie Mellon, Penn State, Moore College of Art & Design, and The University of the Arts are just a few. This makes Pennsylvania an even greater place to study and start a career in illustration.
Pennsylvania Illustration Schools
Pennsylvania is home to several schools that offer a degree or a concentration in illustration. In addition, students interested in an advanced degree can earn an MFA in one of the state’s most picturesque settings—Marywood University. The campus is one of only four in the nation that is a designated arboretum.
Scroll through the list below to take a look at some of Pennsylvania’s best options for aspiring illustrators and what they have to offer.
Pennsylvania College of Art & Design - Degrees Offered: BFA Illustration
Moore College of Art & Design - Degrees Offered: BFA Illustration
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts - Degrees Offered: BFA, Certificate Fine Arts Illustration, BFA, Certificate Drawing, MFA Art
The University of the Arts - Degrees Offered: BFA Illustration
Marywood University - Degrees Offered: BFA Studio Art with a Concentration in Illustration, MFA Illustration
The Pennsylvania State University School of Visual Arts - Degrees Offered: BA, BFA, MFA in Studio Art with a Concentration in Drawing and Painting
More Illustration related programs to consider:
- Savannah, Atlanta, Hong Kong, France, and Online via SCAD eLearning
Employment and Salary Trends for Pennsylvania Illustrators
Pennsylvania is home to 60,020 professionals working in Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports, and Media (ADESM) occupations. Around 310 are salaried fine artists, which includes painters, sculptors, and illustrators. They average $43,070 per year down from $47,590 in 2013, when the state was home to 300 fine artists. Although the population of fine artists decreased over the last several years, of the top ten metro areas with the highest concentration of jobs and location quotients in this occupation, Lancaster, Pennsylvania is number nine on the list.
Nationwide, fine artists average $51,120 (mean) per year, down from $54,000 in 2013. The top paying industries for fine artists are:
- Wholesale Electronic Markets and Agents and Brokers (average $119,870 per year)
- Software Publishers ($94,680)
- Scientific Research and Development Services ($76,580)
- Employment Services ($72,120)
- Motion Picture and Video Industries ($66,210)
Although the average salary for fine artists decreased between 2013 and today, employment is expected to increase by four percent for the 2012-2022 decade. Also, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “demand for illustrators who work on a computer will increase, as media companies use more detailed images and backgrounds in their designs.” In addition, “new opportunities are expected to arise, as the number of electronic magazines, Internet-based publications, and video games grows.” The industries with the highest employment levels for fine artists are:
- Independent Artists, Writers, and Performers
- Motion Picture and Video Industries
- Other Miscellaneous Store Retailers
- Newspaper, Periodical, Book, and Directory Publishers
- Software Publishers
While illustrators may find employment opportunities in a number of Pennsylvania cities and towns, the state’s larger cities may offer a greater number of options. The state’s top ten largest cities are Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Allentown, Erie, Reading, Scranton, Bethlehem, Lancaster, Levittown, and Harrisburg.
Awesome Animation Fact: Tim Burton's stop-motion masterpiece "The Nightmare Before Christmas" had 24 frames to a second, meaning they had to pose characters 24 times for each second of the completed film. They had to move a character, take a picture, move the character, take a picture, and so on. That consisted of roughly 110,000 frames. -Buzzfeed