What are the top illustration schools in Florida for 2023?

Top Florida Illustration Schools - 2023 College Rankings
1Ringling College of Art and DesignSarasota
2University of Central FloridaOrlando
3University of MiamiCoral Gables

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

1. Ringling College of Art and Design, Sarasota,
Ringling College of Art and Design

Ringling College of Art and Design (RCAD) houses the Illustration Department, which has an Illustration BFA with a General Illustration or Visual Development Emphasis. Program features include a rigorous studio-based curriculum with a liberal arts foundation; participation in real-world projects with local businesses; networking opportunities with visiting artists from major studios such as DreamWorks; and internships at Pixar, Disney, and Hasbro, among others.

The RCAD Illustration BFA also provides access to painting and drawing studios, two Cintiq labs exclusively for illustration, and three additional Cintiq labs with 24-hour access. Every RCAD Illustration student receives a laptop fully equipped with the latest Adobe Creative Suite software.

The General Illustration Emphasis explores illustration as it relates to traditional and digital media, 2D and 3D, and techniques used in the industry. The program also explores the fundamentals of anatomy, composition, and color theory. Course examples include History of Illustration, 2D Design, Illustration Media, Development of Art & Ideas, Advanced Illustration, Figure Drawing, and Professional Practices.

The Visual Development Emphasis explores illustration as it relates to comics, games, and animated and live-action productions for film, TV, themed entertainment, advertising, publishing, graphic novels, and toy design. Course examples include 3D Design for Illustration, Film & Narrative, Visual Development I-IV, Figure Anatomy, Painting I-II, and  Writing Studio.

To enhance either emphasis area, RCAD offers 10 Minor options consisting of 15 credit hours taken outside the BFA degree program. Examples include Graphic Design, Realistic Painting, Business of Art + Design, Visual Development, Creative Writing, and Film Studies.

In addition to the internship program, Illustration BFA students have the opportunity to participate in RCAD’s semester-long exchange program or a four to five week summer program in Florence, Italy at Studio Arts Center International (SACI). Students may also participate in RCAD’s Annual Illustration show Illest of the Ill.

Graduates of the Illustration BFA Program at Ringling College of Art and Design have been hired at major studios and companies such as Marvel Comics, United Airlines, Google, Hallmark, EA Games, Cartoon Network, Apple, Walt Disney, Lucasfilm, GM, Zynga, American Greetings, and Riot Games. 

Ringling College of Art and Design is a private, not-for-profit college that serves more than 1,600 students enrolled in eleven majors leading to a BFA degree, two majors leading to a BA, and minor options in 10 areas. Founded more than 130 years ago by circus magnate John Ringling, RCAD is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

2. University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida
University of Central Florida

The College of Arts and Humanities at University of Central Florida (UCF) houses the School of Visual Arts and Design (SVAD), which has two paths to study Illustration. Options include the Art BA with a Studio Track and the Studio Art BFA. Both Programs allow students to Specialize in Illustration, Book Arts, Drawing, or Drawing + Illustration. BFA students may choose one Specialization, while BA students may select several. Other options include Type and Design, Painting, Photography, and Sculpture.

Course examples across programs include Intermediate Illustration I, Computer Art, Image, Culture, and Society, Art as Interface, The Illuminated Book, Design Theory and Methods, Visual Storytelling & Visual Development Workshop, The Professional Environment, Type and Design, Advanced Illustration, History of Illustration, Art of Walt Disney, Book Binding, Experimental Painting, Photography and Art, Procedural Animation, and Drawing Intensive.

Both the Studio Art BFA and Art BFA provide the opportunity to compete an internship and/or participate in the UCF Study Abroad Program.

The Studio Art BFA culminates with the BFA Exhibit/Seminar course. BA students will complete a professional portfolio of their best work.

Graduates of the Art and Studio Art Programs at University of Central Florida are prepared to pursue careers such as Illustrator for Animation, Film, and Games, Storyboard Artist, Fine Artist, Advertising Illustrator, and Comic Book Illustrator. University of Central Florida alumni have gone on to establish careers at places such as Google, Apple, YouTube, and Amazon, Google.

University of Central Florida opened in 1968 as Florida Technological University. On the first day of classes, the school had less than 2,000 students. Today, UCF serves around 70,400 students, making it the largest university by enrollment in the state of Florida, and one of the nation’s largest universities. The school provides 240 bachelor’s degrees, 214 master’s degrees, and 81 doctorate degrees across 13 colleges. University of Central Florida is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

3. University of Miami, Coral Gables, Florida
University of Miami

The College of Arts and Sciences (C&S) at University of Miami (UofM) employs 450 full-time faculty that serve approximately 4,840 students. The largest academic unit at UofM, the College provides more than 2,500 course options across 38 Majors, 46 Minors, and dozens of graduate programs. The C&S also houses the Department of Art & Art History, home to the Studio Art MFA Program.

This three-year program has five Concentrations including Digital Imaging-Illustration/Photography, Printmaking, Painting, Sculpture, and Ceramics. All Studio Art MFA students will take 24 credits in their chosen Concentration, as well as 12 elective credits, and nine Art History credits.  Students in the Digital Imaging-Illustration/Photography Concentration have access to courses such as Experimental Illustration for Print and Interactive Media, Seminar in Studio Art, Graduate Digital Photography, Multimedia, Graphic Design, Lithography, Computer Assisted Printmaking, and Graduate Painting. In the Special Projects/Multimedia/Portfolio course, students will prepare their Illustration Portfolios for presentation and critique.

The Studio Art MFA Program at University of Miami culminates with the Thesis and Exhibition. Graduates are prepared for advanced level positions in areas such as Fine Art, Animation, Advertising, Television and Film, Publishing, Game Development, and Graphic Design. Program alumni are also prepared to pursue positions at Art Galleries, Museums, and Theaters, as well as in Consulting and Teaching.

Founded in 1925, University of Miami opened its doors with 646 full-time students enrolled in programs across the College of Liberal Arts, the School of Music, and the Evening Division. Today, this private research university serves more than 19,000 students enrolled in nearly 350 majors and programs across 12 colleges and schools. University of Miami is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).