Illustration Majors

If you love to draw or paint, you may be interested in a major in illustration. Read on to learn about degree options, course content and career possibilities. Schools offering Children`s Book Illustration degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Classes Will I Take as an Illustration Major?

As an illustration major, you'll be encouraged to find your own creative and original artistic style, while also following clients' directions. Your illustration classes will involve hands-on studio assignments and projects, where you'll receive direct feedback from your instructors. You'll also likely take basic business and management courses, where you'll learn to work with clients and companies in a professional manner. Some Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) programs will allow you to choose a specialization, such as design illustration or digital illustration, after your second year of study. Typical courses in a bachelor's program in illustration include:

  • Graphic design
  • Advanced illustration
  • Three-dimensional design
  • Painting
  • Typography
  • Storytelling through art
  • Marketing your art
  • Using color in illustration

At the end of your bachelor's program, your school might provide a chance to exhibit your recent work in a senior showcase. Some BFA in Illustration programs also offer internships, giving you a chance to work with potential clients on actual projects.

Common Courses Typography, color usage, painting, three-dimensional design, graphic design
Online Availability Fully online degree programs are available but rare
Possible Careers Graphic designer, illustrator, multimedia artist, animator
Job Outlook (2016-26)4% (for all graphic designers)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Can I Enroll in an Online Illustration Program?

You can earn your illustration BFA entirely online, although these programs are rare due to the studio requirements of most illustration schools. You also can earn an associate's degree in graphic design online, which will allow you to take illustration, design and photography courses. These programs can prepare you to transfer to a BFA in Illustration program.

For an online program, you'll typically complete all assignments and illustrations at home and e-mail them to your instructors. To submit drawing and designs, you'll usually need a digital camera and a flatbed scanner. Other technology requirements for an online illustration program might include a sound card, speakers, headphones, Adobe Flash, Adobe Reader and Quick Time Player.

What Can I Do with this Degree?

With a degree in illustration, you might find a job creating illustrations for advertising, children's books, graphic novels, magazines or newspapers. You also can choose to work as a freelance illustrator or an animator. A bachelor's degree in illustration, along with an emphasis in graphic design, can prepare you for work as a graphic designer or website designer.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), competition for artistic jobs is high since there are often more applicants than there are job openings. Artists who specialize in multimedia artwork or graphic design are expected to have the best employment opportunities. The average annual salary for illustrators and other fine artists was $49,380 per year in 2018, compared to $50,370 for graphic designers and $72,520 for multimedia artists and animators.

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