What are the top illustration schools in Michigan for 2022?

Top Michigan Illustration Schools - 2022 College Rankings
1College for Creative StudiesDetroit
2Ferris State UniversityGrand Rapids, Big Rapids

Our 2022 ranking of the top illustration schools in Michigan. For an explanation of the ranking criteria, click here.

1. College for Creative Studies, Detroit, Michigan
College for Creative Studies

The Illustration Department at the College for Creative Studies (CCS) has an Illustration Program with BFA and Minor options. The 15 credit hour Minor requires includes nine credits of illustration electives. All courses will be selected from the Illustration BFA Program.

The College for Creative Studies Illustration BFA requires completion of 126-127 credit hours including 78 in studio areas, 42-43 in general studies courses, and six in general elective courses. BFA students may add the Art Education Certification curriculum, which requires an additional 27 credit hours. In addition to major coursework, BFA students will take courses in the Foundation Department in the first year of the program where they will study 2D and 3D design, digital tools, and drawing. Students in all CCS majors must also take courses in the Liberal Arts Department. Full-time students can expect to complete six academic hours and 24 studio hours each week.

One of two major components of the Illustration BFA Program is the opportunity to select a Pathway. Each Pathway allows students to create a focused portfolio for studio-based or freelance careers in Illustration. With the Entrepreneurial Studies Concentration, students who choose a pathway will also be prepared to launch their own studios. Pathway options include Comics and Sequential, Gallery Artist, Fashion, Lifestyle, and Licensing, Publishing, and Visual Development.

The second major component of the Illustration BFA Program is the Internship Experience. Upper division students have the opportunity to work some of the top local and global brands, corporations, studios, and museums. Examples include Cartoon Network, Converse, Disney Consumer Products, Hasbro, HoMedics, Insomniac Games, Anthropologie, Crispin Porter + Bogusky, Diane von Furstenberg, Fisher Price, Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners, Moosejaw, Reader’s Digest, Museum of Fine Art, Grand Rapids Symphony, WJBK Fox 2 News, the Museum of American Illustration, and Spark Communications.

Graduates of the CCS Illustration BFA Program go on to establish successful careers with industry leaders such as Disney, Nike, The Washington Post, Cartoon Network, Ford, Adidas, ESPN, Blizzard Entertainment, Converse, and The New York Times.

The College for Creative Studies is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Founded in 1906 as the Detroit Society of Arts and Crafts, CCS serves more than 1,400 students enrolled in more than 20 art and design programs leading to a BFA, MA, or MFA.

2. Ferris State University, Grand Rapids, Big Rapids, Michigan

Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University (KCAD) has a BFA Program with Illustration and Life Sciences and Pre-Medical Illustration options. A 15 credit-hour Illustration Minor is also available and consists of three Illustration electives, Introduction to Illustration, and Illustration Techniques. Across degree programs, Illustration students benefit from participation in the KCAD Illustration Society, summer travel/study experiences, and internships during the academic year and summer months. All students have access to KCAD galleries, labs, and the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts (UICA).

The KCAD Illustration BFA was established in the early 1960s. The program explores both traditional and emerging media, with 27 required semester hours of supportive studio courses and 39 credit hours of major studio courses. Course examples include Narrative Perspective, Design: Image, Rendering, Digital Illustration Painting, Illustration I-III, Advanced Inking, Natural Science Illustration, Graphic Design/Illustration, and Illustration Professional Practice. The KCAD Illustration BFA culminates with the completion of a portfolio of the student’s best work.

Graduates of the KCAD Illustration BFA program are prepared to pursue careers such Cartoonist, Storyboard Illustrator, Editorial Illustrator, Mural Designer, Art Director, Fashion Illustrator, and Freelance Illustrator.

The Life Science & Pre-Medical Illustration (Life Sci & Pre-Med Illustration) Program at KCAD combines general education courses with courses that explore medical illustration methods, computer-aided 3D design, medical terminology, drawing, computer animation, traditional media illustration and rendering. Courses for the professional, three-year BFA Program are delivered through KCAD, Ferris State University, Grand Rapids Community College, and Michigan State University. Course examples include Medical Illustration Methods I-III, Medical Illustration Animation, Making: Product, Illustration Digital Methods, Illustration Techniques, Dialogue & Personality, Graphic Design for Illustrators, and Medical Animation. The Life Sci & Pre-Med Illustration BFA Program culminates with Advanced Problems in Biomedical Art, the Capstone course.

Graduates of the KCAD Life Sci & Pre-Med Illustration BFA Program are prepared for advanced positions in the fields of Medical and Scientific Illustration. Some graduates go on to establish successful freelance careers, others go on to graduate study.

Ferris State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Established in 1884 and  located in Big Rapids, Michigan, the school serves 11,165 students enrolled in more than 190 programs across seven degree-granting colleges. Kendall College of Art and Design is one of the seven colleges within Ferris State University. Founded in 1928, and located in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan, KCAD serves more than 1,000 students enrolled in dozens of specialized undergraduate degree programs and several graduate and certificate programs.

As part of Ferris State University, Kendall College of Art and Design is accredited by the HLC. KCAD of Ferris State University is also an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).