What are the top illustration schools in Tennessee for 2023?

Top Tennessee Illustration Schools - 2023 College Rankings
1Belmont UniversityNashville
2Nossi College of ArtNashville

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

1. Belmont University, Nashville, Tennessee
Belmont University

Belmont University (Belmont) is home to Watkins College of Art. Accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), Watkins has a studio-based Illustration Program that includes the University’s General Education Program known as the Belmont Experience Learning Life (BELL) Core. Courses in the Core cover the Arts, Humanities, Religion, Science, Quantitative Reasoning, Social Sciences, and Wellness.

Leading to a BFA, the Illustration Major explores the illustration process, traditional and digital media, visual storytelling, graphic design and typography, technical and conceptual development, service learning, and professional practices. The program is also multidisciplinary, allowing students to develop projects and portfolios in areas such as Book Illustration, Editorial Illustration, Sequential Art, Advertising Illustration, Character Design, Art Licensing , Illustration Design, and Surface Design.

Other BFA Program features include access to fully equipped, state-of-the-art computer, drawing, and printmaking labs; the Belmont University Study Abroad Program with experiences in places such as Spain, Hong Kong, China, England, Italy, Japan, Ireland, and Greece; artist workshops; and faculty and guest exhibits. BFA students also have the opportunity to enroll in the Belmont USA program, which consists of semester-long experiences in New York City, Los Angeles, and Washington D.C., and up to two internships. Through Belmont USA, Watkins BFA students have gained experience at places such as Warner Bros., The Buntin Group, Anderson Design Group, Prosper Press, Advent, and Vanderbilt University Creative Services,.

The Watkins Illustration BFA Program at Belmont University culminates with the Senior Project and Professional Portfolio of the student’s best work. Projects will be presented at the Watkins Senior Exhibition.

Graduates of the Illustration BFA Program at Belmont University are currently employed as Comic Book Artists, Animators, Children’s Book Illustrators, Graphic Novelists, Brand Identity Designers, Character Designers, Creative Directors and Partners, Designers-Illustrators, Owners of Design Agencies, Illustrators with National Agents, Creative Entrepreneurs, Illustrators at Design/Illustration Firms, and Art Educators.

Belmont University opened in 1890 as Belmont College for Young Women. Today, the school serves a co-ed population of 9,000 students from every state and more than 30 countries. Belmont provides more than 110 programs at all degree levels across 13 academic colleges. Belmont University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

2. Nossi College of Art, Nashville, Tennessee
Nossi College of Art

The only college in Tennessee designed specifically as an art school, Nossi College of Art (Nossi) has a Bachelor of Graphic Arts (BGA) in Illustration Technology Program that requires 133 credits to graduate. The curriculum for this four-year program consists of courses such as Book Publishing Illustration, Advanced 3D Technologies, Production Art, Illustration for Stock Art, Graphic Design Processes, Alternative Mediums, Adobe for Illustrators, Illustration Environments, Sequential Art, Motion Graphics, Advanced Photoshop, Advertising and Editorial Illustration, Advanced Typography, 3D Animation, and Success Strategies.

During the last semester of the program, students will compete an internship. This goal of this program completion requirement is to help students gain valuable work experience before graduating. Nossi students will work part-time with cooperating employers for class credit.

Also during the final year of the Illustration Technology BGA Program, students will complete the Independent Study, Portfolio and Promotion, and Capstone courses. In the Capstone course, students will have the opportunity to create a body of illustrations that can be used in a promotional campaign.

Graduates of the Illustration Technology BGA Program at Nossi College of Art will be prepared to pursue positions such as Editorial Illustrator, Political Cartoonist, Children’s Book Illustrator, Concept Artist, Animator, Fashion Illustrator, Game Artist, Sketch Artist, Comic Illustrator, Storyboard Artist, Multimedia Artist, Advertising Illustrator, Exhibition Designer or Illustrator, 3D Modeling Artist, Package Designer, and Sequential Artist.

Nossi College of Art was established in 1973 by Nossi Vatandoost, an artist listed in Who’s Who of American Women and Who’s Who in America. Nossi launched as a Fine Art School in Madison, Tennessee with Painting, Airbrush, and Photography. Today, Nossi College of Art provides programs in Illustration, Graphic Design, Photography, Filmmaking, and Culinary Arts to approximately 300 students each year. Nossi College of Art is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).