What are the top illustration schools in Colorado for 2023?

Top Colorado Illustration Schools - 2023 College Rankings
1Rocky Mountain College of Art and DesignDenver
2University of Colorado, DenverDenver

Our 2023 ranking of the top illustration schools in Colorado. For an explanation of the ranking criteria, click here.

1. Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design, Denver, Colorado
Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design

Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design (RMCAD) houses an Illustration Program with two Bachelor’s degree options—the Illustration BFA and the Illustrative Design BFA. The Illustration BFA Program has Concentrations in Children’s Books and Sequential Art. An Emphasis in Concept Art is also available. BFA Program features include small class sizes; access to state-of-the-art facilities and software; self-promotion coursework; collaboration with professional Illustrators; focused one-on-one instruction; and portfolio development.

Course examples for the program include History of American Illustration, 2D Design: Elements + Principles, Illustration I-III, Typography for Illustration, Children’s Book Illustration, Character Design, Digital Landscape Painting, 3D Design: Space + Materiality, Illustration Media, Observational Drawing, Digital Illustration I-II, and Illustration Marketing. In the Junior or Senior year, students may complete an internship, and the final year of the program students will complete Illustration Graduation Portfolio I-II.

Graduates of the Illustration BFA Program at Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design are prepared for careers in Children’s Book Illustration, Editorial Illustration, Comic Books, Technical Illustration, Concept Art for Games and Animations, Product Design, Graphic Novels, Licensing, and Medical Illustration.

The Illustrative Design BFA is a hybrid degree that combines Graphic Design and Illustration. The program explores storytelling, communication design problems, sustainable practice, design, typography, digital media, and portfolio development. Other program features include year-round classes, hands-on training, a combination of both online and on-campus coursework, personalized instruction, small class sizes, and portfolio development. Classroom tools include Adobe Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, and After Effects.

Graduates of the Illustrative Design BFA Program at Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design are prepared to pursue positions such as Illustrator, Graphic Designer, Motion Designer, Typographer, Package Designer, and Creative Director.

Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design began in 1963 as Rocky Mountain School of Art. Serving more than 1,000 students, RMCAD offers 16 degree and certificate programs offered in campus/hybrid and online formats. Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and it is an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).

2. University of Colorado-Denver, Denver, Colorado
University of Colorado Denver

The College of Arts & Media at University of Colorado Denver (CU Denver) has a BFA Program with an Illustration Emphasis that prepares students for freelance careers or full-time positions within a wide variety of creative fields. An Illustration Minor is available for students in other creative Majors. Consisting of 18 credit hours, the Minor includes course options such as Digital Painting, The Graphic Novel Workshop, and Painting, Drawing and the Printed Image. Illustration I: Image Making and Two Dimensional Design are just a few required courses.

The Illustration BFA at CU Denver is a 120 credit hour program that provides access to state-of-the art digital labs, industrial equipment, and sculpture studios. Students also have opportunities to work on projects for places such as Pixar and the Denver Art Museum, as well as local art galleries and studios.

Course examples for the Program include Illustration I: Image Making, Illustration II: Digital Media, Illustration III: Investigative Methods, Illustration IV: Thesis Development, 3D Design, The Graphic Novel Workshop, Typography, Painting, and The Business of Art.

The Illustration BFA Program at CU Denver culminates with the Illustration BFA Thesis course worth three credits. Graduates work in areas such as Advertising, Product Illustration, Editorial, Marketing, Children’s Book Publishing, Medical Illustration, Games, Interactive Illustration, Animation, Scientific Illustration, Comics, Magazine Illustration, and Graphic Novels.

University of Colorado Denver began in 1912 as an extension of the University of Colorado Boulder. The school became CU Denver in 1973 making it an independent campus. Organized into eight colleges and schools, CU Denver serves 15,000 students enrolled in more than 110 academic degrees. University of Colorado Denver is accredited by Higher Learning Commission (HLC).