Illustration Courses and Degree Programs

Illustration degree programs are offered at the associate's, bachelor's and master's degree levels. Acceptance may require a certain level of artistic talent, demonstrated through a portfolio. Continue reading for an overview of illustration degree programs and career opportunities in this field. Schools offering Children`s Book Illustration degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

Illustration programs emphasize technical illustration skills and artistic creativity. Illustration coursework gives you a fundamental understanding of art, design and image-making. Courses are available through undergraduate and graduate degree programs in addition to continuing education departments.

Degrees Associate's, Bachelor's, Master's
Online Available fully or partially online at the undergraduate and graduate level
Courses Typography, light and shadow, digital illustration techniques, color theory

What Are Illustration Degree Programs Like?

Illustration degree programs can be found in a broad range of schools, from traditional colleges and universities to private art institutes. At the associate's and bachelor's degree levels, you'll take general education classes along with your illustration and art coursework. Most programs require you to create an art exhibit by the end of the program. In addition, you might need to develop a portfolio that highlights your artistic accomplishments that you can use to demonstrate your abilities to possible employers upon graduation.

At the 2-year level, degree options include an Associate of Occupation Studies in Illustration and an Associate in Applied Science in Illustration, which will allow students to transfer into a bachelor's program. An Associate of Arts program is another option. The main 4-year degree is a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Illustration. The following are some common undergraduate course options:

  • Communication design
  • Digital media
  • Landscape drawing
  • Focal point and eye path in a composition
  • Illustration tools
  • Visual problem solving
  • Presentation skills
  • Professional development

What Are Graduate Degree Programs Like?

At the master's degree level, classroom instruction and studio time focus solely on artistic matters and the development of your personal illustrative style. Before being accepted into a program, you might need to showcase your artistic talents through a portfolio review. Students may choose a Master of Arts or a Master of Fine Arts in Illustration. There are also options for students to pair a Bachelor in Illustration with a Master in Business Administration or a Master in Art Teaching degree.

Which Courses Will I Take?

Illustration departments commonly hire professional illustrators and artists to teach drawing courses and illustration programs. Instructors generally take a hands-on approach to teaching, and courses commonly combine lectures, demonstrations and studio practice. Some courses that are typically incorporated into an illustration curriculum at any level include the following:

  • Art history
  • Figure drawing
  • Digital illustration
  • Light and color design
  • Painting
  • Color principles
  • Typography

What Are My Online Learning Options?

Some schools offer stand-alone illustration courses online. These might cover topics like the use of space in drawings or creative approaches to illustration. Courses often focus on a specific niche within illustration, such as botanical drawing, comic art, graphic novel illustrations or vector art. Some schools offer a series of courses you can complete to earn a certificate. If you'd like to earn a degree, a few schools offer undergraduate and graduate degree programs fully or partially online.

Where Can I Work After Graduation?

To work as an illustrator, you have the option of working in many different settings. You could become a children's or comic book artist, or you might find employment drawing and designing greeting cards or book covers. You could also work on sets for animation or television studios. If you'd like to develop a story with your illustrations, you could create the characters and scenes for video games or feature films. However, you could choose a more corporate route by working in publishing or advertising.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools