2019 Illustration Rankings
Top Illustration School Programs in Ohio - 2019 College Rankings
RankingSchoolCity
1Columbus College of Art and DesignColumbus
2Cleveland Institute of ArtCleveland

Our 2019 ranking of the top illustration school programs in Ohio. For an explanation of the ranking criteria, click here.

1. Columbus College of Art and Design, Columbus, Ohio
Columbus College of Art and Design

Columbus College of Art and Design (CCAD) is one of the oldest private art and design colleges in the United States. Established in 1879, the school is home to more than 1,300 students enrolled in 12 bachelor’s degree and two master’s degree programs covering a broad range of subjects. Programs for aspiring illustrators include a BFA in Illustration with Concentrations in Illustration/Entertainment Design/Drawing; Illustration/Entertainment Design/Modeling; and Illustration/Illustrative Design.

An Illustration Minor is available as well as an MFA program. Project proposals for the MFA can be based in Illustration, Painting, Drawing, Animation, Interactive Design and many other areas.

Columbus College of Art and Design has also launched a BFA in Comics and Narrative Practice. The curriculum for this program includes nearly a dozen illustration courses.

All students may participate in CCAD’s International Exchange Program, which highlights study at China Academy of Art, Hangzhou, China; Universidad Mayor, Santiago, Chile; Xi’an Fine Arts Academy, Xi’an, China, and Northumbria, Newcastle, England. Students may also study at CCAD-approved programs at Studio Art Centers, Florence, Italy, and University of Arts London, London.

CCAD BFA graduates have landed positions at American Greetings, Cartoon Network, CBS News, DC Comics, Disney Consumer Products, DreamWorks, Hallmark, Hasbro, Marvel Comics, Ogilvy & Mather, Pixar, Sony Pictures, The Wall Street Journal, and many others.

2. Cleveland Institute of Art, Cleveland, Ohio
Cleveland Institute of Art

Established in 1882, Cleveland Institute of Art (CIA) is an independent college of art and design that serves 615 students from around the globe. The school offers 15 majors in Crafts, Design, Digital Arts, and Fine Arts. Programs for aspiring illustrators include BFA degrees in Illustration and Biomedical Art (Medical Illustration).

The BFA in Illustration provides the opportunity to experiment with a variety of traditional materials and techniques, including acrylics, collage, inks, pencils, and oils, "while mastering contemporary digital processes using Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator." Students in the program will learn to create polished illustrations for all current and emerging markets including advertising, entertainment, gaming, licensing, publishing, and social expression.

Other program highlights include field trips to professional art studios and advertising agencies, interaction with visiting artists, and the opportunity to share the final portfolio with employers, illustrators, and designers, who are invited each year to CIA. Per the school, graduates of the program “will be prepared to enter the industry as a staff artists, freelance illustrators or creative entrepreneurs.”

The Biomedical Art (Medical Illustration) program is one of only a few BFA degrees of its kind in the United States. The program “combines applied art, science, and technology to create visual education materials on scientific and medical topics.” The curriculum “incorporates leading-edge digital media techniques, interactivity, and animation.” Students in the program learn how to “blend artistic talent with knowledge of natural science, a biomedical intellect, and strong visual communication skills.”

Sample courses for the program include Computer Imaging and Animation, Editorial Illustration and Instructional Design and Multimedia. Students and graduates of the program benefit from CIA’s professional partnerships with Case Western Reserve University, University Hospitals Case Medical Center, the Cleveland Clinic, the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and the Cleveland Botanical Garden. Graduates have gone on to land positions such as Art Director, Biomedical Illustrator, Illustrator, 3D Animation Artist/Designer, and many others.