What are the top illustration schools in Michigan for 2020?

Top Illustration Schools in Michigan - 2020 College Rankings
1College for Creative StudiesDetroit
2Ferris State UniversityGrand Rapids

Our 2020 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

Founded in 1906 as the Detroit Society of Arts and Crafts, the College for Creative Studies (CCS) serves nearly 1,500 students enrolled in more than a dozen degree programs in 14 academic departments. Programs for aspiring illustrators are offered through the Illustration Department and include a BFA and a Minor in Illustration. Graduates of the BFA program may enroll in the school’s MFA programs in Color and Materials Design, Interaction Design, Integrated Design or Transportation Design.

The school says the BFA curriculum “emphasizes the fundamentals of image making, visual language and visual storytelling and teaches how to translate various traditional media into digital illustration.” Course highlights include Anatomical Figure Illustration, Digital Fundamentals, Figure Illustration, Illustration Techniques, 3D Techniques, 2D techniques, and Visual Narration. Students in the minor will choose five courses (15 credits) from the BFA curriculum.

Other BFA program highlights include access to a large network of key industry players via alumni, sponsored projects and a faculty of freelance illustrators, creative directors, art directors and concept and storyboard artists. Students also have the opportunity to complete an internship. Previous internships include Anthropologie, Cartoon Network, Diane von Furstenberg, Disney Consumer, Fisher Price, Insomniac Games, Mattel, Spark, WJBK Fox 2 News, and others.

Students will graduate from the BFA program with experience in traditional methods of illustration, newer digital trends, and with “the understanding of how traditional media translates into the digital illustration workflow process” known as “tradigital.”

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

Founded in 1928, Kendall College of Art and Design (KCAD) is a college within Ferris State University. The school serves more than 1,000 students enrolled in around 24 BFA, BS, MA, MFA, and Certificate programs. Among these programs are two options for aspiring illustrators—a BFA in Illustration and a BFA in Medical Illustration.

Launched in the 1960s, the BFA in Illustration teaches students to master multiple illustration techniques in both traditional and emerging media. Sample courses for the program include Digital Illustration Painting, Illustration Life Drawing, Illustration Professional Practices, Illustration Techniques, Rendering, and Watercolor Techniques for the Illustrator.

Program highlights include focused study of illustration, participation in the KCAD Illustration Society, and access to KCAD galleries, labs, and the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts (UICA). Students also have opportunities to participate in summer travel/study experiences as well as internships during the academic year and summer.

Graduates of the program are prepared to pursue careers as a freelance illustrator, as well as art director, cartoonist, editorial illustrator, fashion illustrator, mural designer, storyboard illustrator, and many others.

The BFA in Medical Illustration is a three-year program that consists of classes from KCAD, Ferris State University, Grand Rapids Community College, and Michigan State University. Students in the program will take a combination of Art, Communication, and Science coursework. Students will study Anatomy, Biology, and Medical Terminology, illustration techniques such as include All-Digital Illustrations, 2D Animations, Traditional/Digital Hybrids, Traditional Drawing Methods, and 3D (Digital) Modeling, and Visual Communications.

Graduates of the program are prepared to seek intermediate to advanced positions in the field or for further graduate or professional level study.