|1||Ringling College of Art and Design||Sarasota|
|2||University of Central Florida||Orlando|
|3||University of Miami||Coral Gables|
Our 2019 rankings of the top illustration school programs in Florida. For an explanation of the ranking criteria, click here.
Ringling College of Art and Design (RCAD) was established in 1931 by circus baron, art collector, and real estate developer John Ringling. The school opened with just 75 students and 111 course offerings. Today, Ringling College of Art and Design serves 1,400 students and offers BFA degrees in eleven disciplines and BA degrees in two. Just a few majors include Computer Animation, Film, Game Art, Motion Design, Visual Studies, and Illustration.
Offered through the Illustration Department, the Illustration BFA covers the fundamentals of color theory, composition, anatomy, and digital and traditional media. The school says that “working in 2D and 3D, Illustration students are introduced to and familiarized with professional industry techniques through exercises, demonstrations, guest speakers, critiques, collaborative projects, internships, recruiter workshops, and interactions with real clients in the area.” Sample courses for the program include Computer Illustration, Design and Topography, Figure Drawing, Film and Narrative, Illustration Media, and 3D Design for CA & IL.
Other program highlights include the opportunity to enter a semester-long exchange program or a four-five week summer program at Studio Arts Center International (SACI), located in Florence, Italy, internship opportunities at major companies such as Abercrombie & Fitch, Blue Sky Studios, Disney, Hasbro, and Pixar, and participation in The Annual Illustration show, Illest of the Ill—a department juried exhibition curated and coordinated entirely by students.
Students in the program also have access to two Cintiq labs solely for Illustration, access to three 24-hour Cintiq labs, painting and drawing studios, and a laptop for every student, fully equipped with the latest Adobe Creative Suite software.
Ringling College students have won more wards in the 40-year history of the Society of Illustrators than any other college, and comprise the highest number of accepted entries into the Society’s annual Student Scholarship Competition. Graduates leave the program with a “comprehensive, cohesive portfolio” that showcases their work and they will be prepared for illustration positions in a range of industries.
Graduates have been hired by American Greetings, Apple, Blue Sky Studios, Cartoon Network, Disney, EA Games, GM, Google, Hallmark, Marvel Comics/Lucasfilm, Riot Games, United Airlines, Walt Disney, Zynga, and many others.
Established in 1963 and home to more than 66,000 students across four campuses, the University of Central Florida (UCF) is the nation’s second-largest university. One of the nation’s youngest universities, UCF offers around 230 degree programs across 13 colleges. The College of Arts and Humanities is home to the School of Visual Arts & Design (SVAD), which offers BA, BFA and MFA programs in Studio Art. A Minor in Studio Art is also available.
Specializations include Book Arts, Ceramics, Drawing, Drawing and Printmaking, Drawing and Illustration, Painting, Photography, Sculpture, and Type and Design. The BFA in Studio Art with a Specialization in Drawing and Illustration requires more credit hours than the BA and is recommended for aspiring illustrators seeking immediate employment in the field or for students who plan to attend graduate school. Per the school, “the degree provides a solid foundation in techniques and theory in focused areas of competence.” BFA students must complete a portfolio and the Exhibit/Seminar course.
Sample courses for both Illustration programs include Advanced Drawing, Advanced Illustration, Art as Interface, Design Fundamentals-Three Dimensional, Intermediate Illustration, and Screenprinting. Students in all programs have the opportunity to complete an internship and participate in both local and international study experiences.
University of Miami was founded in 1925 and the school welcomed its first students in October 1926. The school consists of several campuses and facilities including the main Coral Gables Campus, which houses two colleges and seven schools that serve around more than 17,000 students. The University currently offers 133 bachelors, 139 masters, and 68 doctoral (64 research/scholarship and 4 professional practice) programs through 12 colleges and schools.
Founded in 1926, the College of Arts & Sciences, Department of Art and Art History, offers an MFA in Studio with a Concentration in Illustration. The 60 credit hour program is designed to take three years to complete and consists of 24 credits in the Studio Concentration, 12 elective credits, and nine Art History credits. The remaining 15 credits consist of Seminar in Contemporary American Art (3), Seminar in Studio Art (3), Exhibition Preparation (3), and Master's Thesis (6). All students will participate in the Incoming Graduate Student Exhibition as well as numerous other exhibitions throughout and in the final year of the program.
Graduates will leave the program with a portfolio of their work, which will allow them to seek positions in the professional, studio art world or to teach in academic and other environments.