What is the top illustration school in Iowa for 2020?

Top Iowa Illustration School - 2020 College Rankings
1Iowa State UniversityAmes

Our 2020 ranking of the top illustration school in Iowa. For an explanation of the ranking criteria, click here.

1. Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa
Iowa State University

Iowa State University began as Iowa Agricultural College and Model on March 22, 1858. The school serves approximately 33,391 students enrolled in hundreds of academic programs in 10 colleges and schools. Programs for aspiring illustrators are offered through the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (LAS) and the College of Design.

The College of Design offers a Minor in Illustration for students interested in illustration for books, graphic novels, magazine articles, advertising and concept art for game design and film. The school says the minor “provides the ability to tailor a curriculum that serves these varied career interests,” whether students “want to work in the industry or freelance as an independent studio practitioner.” Course highlights include Sequential Narrative Drawing, Computer Modeling & Virtual Photography, Lithography: Digital/Traditional, Principles of 3D Animation, Illustration & Illustration Software, History of Comics, Intaglio & Monotype Printmaking: Digital/Traditional, and Illustration as Communication.

The College of LAS is Iowa State University's largest college and includes 22 academic departments and one professional school. LAS offers majors in the humanities, social sciences, physical sciences, biological sciences and mathematical sciences. Program options here include a BA in Biological/Pre-Medical Illustration (BA BPMI) and a Minor Biological Illustration. The Minor in Biological Illustration requires a minimum of 17 credits, including eight credits in biological science courses and nine credits in art and design courses.

The interdepartmental BPMI program is “designed for students who want to combine their interests and aptitudes in science and art,” says the school. Course highlights for the program include Application of Scientific Illustration Techniques, Comparative Chordate Anatomy, Computer Modeling, Rendering and Virtual Photography, Dendrology, Design Representation, Plant Anatomy, Plant Systematics, Scientific Illustration Principles and Techniques, and Watercolor Painting.

During the junior and senior years, students will complete a project or an internship experience, “in which they design and produce artwork that is suitable for publication or public display.” Study abroad opportunities are also available.

Graduates of the Biological Illustration Programs at Iowa State are prepared for graduate education in medical illustration at top schools or for immediate entry into fields such as “biocommunications, environmental display design, freelance illustration, museum display design, and various careers in the publishing industry.”