Illustration bachelor of fine arts degree

95a65650-e2b7-432c-bafd-7b07804a39fd | 129531

Overview

Traditional drawing skills, the latest digital imaging technologies, and sculpted dimensional methods combine for effective visual communication.


The illustration major prepares students for a variety of careers within the visual communications field. The major provides an educational environment that supports the creative development of students and helps them to achieve their individual goals. Course work emphasizes traditional drawing and painting skills, the application of the latest digital media, and the use of dimensional media. Students learn conceptual skills, professional practices, and narrative story telling techniques while developing an individual style. These techniques and styles are then applied to produce illustrations suitable for advertising, publishing, editorial, and the service and gaming/entertainment industries. 

Electives

Students may select electives that enhance their studies or allow them to pursue an area of personal or professional interest. Electives are available in graphic design, illustration, graphic visualization, industrial design, interior design, fine arts studio, environmental design, ceramics, glass, metals, textiles, woodworking, film making, photography, and imaging technology. To be eligible for these electives, students must complete the foundation program or have the permission of the instructor. Additional selections are offered as special topics courses.

Industries


  • Performing and Fine Arts

  • Journalism, Media, and Publishing

  • Advertising, PR, and Marketing

  • Design

Typical Job Titles

Advertising Illustrator Architectural Illustrator
Animation Artist Art Director
Book Illustrator Caricaturist
Character Designer Comic Artist
Concept Artist Courtroom Artist
Digital Artist Dimensional Illustrator
Diorama Artist E-Learning Illustrator
Editorial Illustrator Fashion Illustrator
Game Assets Illustrator Graphic Designer
Graphic Novel Illustrator Illustrative Designer
Model Maker Motion Graphics Artist
Multimedia Illustrator New Media Artist
Political Cartoonist Presentation Illustrator
Production Artist Sequential Illustrator
Social Media Illustrator Storyboard Artist
Technical Illustrator Textbook Illustrator
Theater set Artist Visual Developer

Featured Work

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Curriculum

Illustration, BFA degree, typical course sequence

Course Sem. Cr. Hrs.
First Year
FDTN-111
Drawing I
This course is an introduction to the visualization of form, thought and expression through the drawing process. Concepts are introduced by lectures, discussions, demonstrations, research, and assigned projects. Designed to provide a broad introductory experience, students will experiment with a wide variety of media, tools, techniques and subjects to develop drawing expertise and problem solving skills related to design and composition. Course work will be assessed through critique, facilitating self-assessment, and the growth of both a visual and verbal vocabulary. The focus of the course is to provide awareness of the full range of ways in which drawing is used as a tool for both self-expression and communication.
3
FDTN-112
Drawing II
This course is an introduction to the visualization of form, thought and expression through the drawing process. Concepts are introduced by lectures, discussions, demonstrations, research, and assigned projects. Designed to provide a broad introductory experience, students will experiment with a wide variety of media, tools, techniques and subjects to develop drawing expertise and problem solving skills related to design and composition. Course work will be assessed through critique, facilitating self-assessment, and the growth of both a visual and verbal vocabulary. The focus of the course is to provide awareness of the full range of ways in which drawing is used as a tool for both self-expression and communication.
3
FDTN-121
2D Design I
This course is a structured, cumulative introduction to the basic elements and principles of two-dimensional design. Organized to create a broad introductory experience, the course focuses on the development of both a visual and a verbal vocabulary as a means of exploring, developing and understanding two-dimensional compositions. Concepts are introduced through lectures, discussions, demonstrations, research, assigned projects and critiques. The course addresses a wide variety of media, tools, techniques both traditional and technological, and theoretical concepts to facilitate skill development and experimentation with process. Visual comprehension, the ability to organize perceptions and horizontal thinking that crosses other disciplines and theories, are key foundational components to the development of problem solving skills. Accumulative aspects of the curriculum included the exploration of historical and cultural themes and concepts intertwined with aspects of personal interpretation and experience.
3
FDTN-131
3D Design I
This course presents a progressive study over two-semesters in terminology, visual principles, exploration, concept generation, process, and techniques of three-dimensional design. Using hands-on problem solving, student will develop an informed understanding of the 3D form and space with an emphasis on the elements and principles of visual design and their function as the building blocks and guidelines for ordering a 3D composition. A heightened awareness of form and space will be developed through lecture, assigned projects, and critiques. Students will also develop a personal awareness of problem seeking and solving, experimentation, and critical analysis. **Note: May be taken as a one-semester offering**
3
ILLS-206
2D Composition and Color
This course will provide students with instruction and assignments to practice and apply compositional picture plane dynamics using representational subject matter. Students will explore the principles of composition through the use of formal visual elements such as line, shape, value and color to achieve effective two-dimensional compositions.
3
ILLS-209
3D Applications: The Figure
Learners will build upon their experience in 3D Design I including materials, and building processes, while constructing the human figure. Sculpted figures will portray accurate human anatomic structure, inference of function, and balance.
3
ARTH-135
LAS Perspective 2 (artistic): History of Western Art: Ancient to Medieval
The subject of this course is the history of western art and architecture from Prehistory through the Middle Ages. We will examine the form, style, function, and meaning of important objects and monuments of the past, and consider these in their social, historical and cultural contexts. A chronological study will allow us to recognize when, where and by whom a given object was produced. Once these decisive factors are established, we may try to determine why the object was made, what it meant in its time, place and culture, and whose ideology it served. Since we are dealing with visual information, the primary goals of this class are to learn how to look, and how to describe and analyze what we see. At the end of the term, students will be prepared to pursue additional courses in the discipline, for they will have gained a foundational knowledge of the object, scope and methods of art history. The knowledge obtained in this introductory course will also guide students in their own creative endeavors.
3
ARTH-136
LAS Perspective 3 (global): History of Western Art: Renaissance to Modern
The subject of this course is the history of western art and architecture from the Renaissance through the early 20th century. We will examine the form, style, function, and meaning of important objects and monuments of the past, and consider these in their social, historical and cultural contexts. A chronological study will allow us to recognize when, where and by whom a given object was produced. Once these decisive factors are established, we may try to determine why the object was made, what it meant in its time, place and culture, and whose ideology it served. Since we are dealing with visual information, the primary goals of this class are to learn how to look, and how to describe and analyze what we see. At the end of the term, students will be prepared to pursue additional courses in the discipline, for they will have gained a foundational knowledge of the object, scope and methods of art history. The knowledge obtained in this introductory course will also guide students in their own creative endeavors.
3
ACSC-010
Year One
The Year One class serves as an interdisciplinary catalyst for first-year students to access campus resources, services and opportunities that promote self-knowledge, personal success, leadership development, social responsibility and life academic skills awareness and application. Year One is also designed to challenge and encourage first-year students to get to know one another, build relationships and help them become an integral part of the campus community.
0
 
First Year Writing
3
 
Wellness Education*
0
Choose one of the following:
3
 
   LAS Perspective 5 (natural science inquiry)
 
 
   LAS Perspective 6 (scientific principles)
 
 
   LAS Perspective 7 (mathematical)
 
Second Year
ILLS-213
Illustration I
Illustration I is the primary core course for illustration majors in their sophomore year. The students approach major elements of technique, application, and theory in relation to becoming illustrators. Studio sessions involve basic problem solving, anatomy, pictorial composition, media applications, figurative expression, use of reference tools, and illustrative techniques. Class structure allows demonstrations of processes and experimentation for assignment development. Group and individual critiques will be used to evaluate work.
3
ILLS-214
Anatomic Illustration
This course will provide and in depth anatomical approach to drawing the figure. Students will obtain instruction and practice at drawing human anatomy including body and head postures, facial expressions, and hand gestures. Students will be taught anatomical proportioning while drawing from observation from models to convey emotions such as anger, sadness, fear, disgust, etc. Students will also learn to use photo support references. Works will be created in black and white and in color media using light and dark, and warm and cool effects.
3
ILLS-218
Dimensional Illustration I
This course will introduce students to an alternative style of illustration that will expand their thinking into the third dimension. Emphasis will be placed on planning and preparation of compositional elements in three-dimensional sculptural form and creative problem solving. Students will be encouraged to explore a variety of materials and techniques to complete projects.
3
ILLS-219
Digital Illustration I
Digital Illustration I will provide students with methods of conceptualizing, organizing and executing illustrations using the computer. Projects will expose students to various types of digital techniques using vector and raster-based software applications, and a variety of input and output devices for the creation of professional level assignments. The course will emphasize conceptual problem solving methodology and the language of visualization while providing a consistent foundation for digital illustration as it relates to professional illustration production. Color systems, digital terminology and pre-press file formats will be also be covered.
3
 
Art History Elective†
3
 
Illustration Core Courses
9
 
CAD Studio Electives‡
6
 
Illustration Professional Elective
3
 
LAS Perspective 1 (ethical)
3
 
LAS Perspective 4 (social)
3
Third Year
ILLS-313
Illustration II
This course focuses on preparing students to create work for a variety of illustration markets including the advertising, editorial, corporate and book publishing markets. Emphasis will be placed on the development and creation of a variety of finished illustrations that will demonstrate understanding of current industry trends and standards. Students will gain insight into the differences and nuances of these illustration specializations. Creative problem solving, stylistic self-expression, and technical proficiency will be emphasized. Students will participate in individual and group reviews and critiques.
3
 
Illustration Professional Electives
12
 
CAD Studio Elective‡
3
 
Art History Elective†
3
 
Free Elective
3
 
LAS Immersion 1 (WI), 2
6
Fourth Year
ILLS-413
Illustration III
This course focuses on preparing students to function as professional working illustrators. Students will prepare and supply professional business materials such as job cost estimates, work and job delivery schedules, etc. along with assignment work. Emphasis will be placed on the development and creation of a variety of finished illustrations that will demonstrate understanding of current industry standards. Students will gain insight into pricing, time management, and effective communication relative to the illustration profession. Creative problem solving, stylistic self-expression, and technical proficiency will also be emphasized. Students will participate in individual and group reviews and critiques.
3
ILLS-501
Illustration Portfolio (WI)
Illustration Portfolio is the final preparatory course for the Illustration major. Its purpose is to provide students with information, strategies and guided instruction to market themselves and organize and create their final portfolio. Writing will be a substantial component of this course. The course will include marketing and business practices for the professional illustrator. Students will receive individual critique and analysis of work created in prior studio classes and progress to the definition of a career agenda. Projects will be customized for each students body of work and their career intentions. Presentation methods and business protocol will also be addressed. The final culminating project will be a finished portfolio. In addition to the portfolio document, students will be instructed in job seeking strategies including creating mailers and promotional materials, interviewing dynamics, resume writing, and correspondence.
3
 
Illustration Professional Electives
6
 
CAD Studio Electives‡
6
 
Free Electives
6
 
LAS Immersion 3
3
 
LAS Elective 
3
Total Semester Credit Hours
120

(WI) Refers to a writing intensive course within the major.

* Please see Wellness Education Requirement for more information. Students completing bachelor's degrees are required to complete two different Wellness courses.

† Art history electives are non-studio courses offered in the College of Art and Design or the College of Liberal Arts that examine the historical aspects of art, design, crafts, photography, print media, or film.

‡ Studio elective courses are those designated with studio/lab contact hours listed in the course description. 

Illustration professional electives

Course
ILLS-319
Digital Illustration II
Digital Illustration II will provide students with advanced methods of conceptualizing, organizing and executing illustrations using the computer. Projects will expose students to various types of digital techniques using vector and raster-based software applications, and a variety of input and output devices for the creation of professional level assignments. The course will emphasize conceptual problem solving methodology and the language of visualization while providing a consistent foundation for digital illustration as it relates to professional illustration production. Color systems, digital terminology and pre-press file formats will be also be covered.
ILLS-358
Dimensional Illustration II
This course will offer students the option to continue an exploration of three-dimensional illustration. Emphasis is placed on creative problem solving, drawing skills, planning, preparation, compositional elements of three-dimensional low relief and sculptural form. Students are encouraged to explore a singular medium to complete projects in series presented in a consistent style.
ILLS-359
Illustrative Design
ILLS-368
Pop-up Books
ILLS-364
Editorial Illustration
Editorial Illustration takes an in-depth look at creating images for the newspaper and magazine publishing industry. Emphasis will be placed on creating a wide variety of finished illustrations. The course focuses on the visual interpretation of editorial subject matter. Critical thinking, visual criticism, and rhetoric will also be a required component of work generation and conceptualizing. Presenting thumbnails that explore a variety of concepts is emphasized. This course may be retaken one time.
ILLS-369
Digital Mixed Media
This course provides students with the opportunity to explore the creative potential presented through the imaginative combination of both traditional and digital media. Students will be expected to utilize and combine skills learned in traditional and digital illustration courses to provide exciting and fresh illustrations unrestricted by a singular medium.
ILLS-461
Illustration History
Illustration History will provide students with a historical overview and discussion of the field of illustration. Students will be presented with illustration in a developmental context. Visual examples, illustrators biographies, descriptive information, and terminology will define and distinguish illustration and provide topics for discussion. The course will cover revolutionary illustrators, evolutionary trends, and styles from 1880 to the present. Special emphasis will be placed on particular illustrators whose artistic contributions to the field have defined and influenced changes and new movements. Work in traditional mediums and more recent digital mediums will be covered.
ILLS-462
Journalistic Illustration
ILLS-465
Book Illustration
This course focuses on preparing students to create work for the book publishing industry. Emphasis will be placed on creating a wide variety of finished illustrations that will appeal to picture book markets as well as a range of other publishing categories. To create a basis for their illustrations, students will visualize existing narratives and/or author their own story concepts. This will involve story development and storyboard conceptualization. Creative expression and technical experimentation will be encouraged. The course will culminate with the student creating a completed dummy suitable for presentation to book publishers.
ILLS-466
Personal Focus
This course requires students to create several illustrations on a topic, genre, or market relating to personal interests, experiences, directions, portfolio requirement, and career goals. Emphasis will be placed on the display of the student's individual aesthetic choices including realism or stylization, personal color palette, characterization, compositional sense, and other considerations. Works may be thematic or individualistic in content. Although this is not an independent study course, students will be expected to create a plan of work for the course in consultation with the instructor.
ILLS-467
Animating Digital Illustration
Animating Digital Illustration will provide an introduction to illustrating for multimedia projects by creating computer generated animations and presentations. Adobe Flash in combination with other imaging and motion software will be used. Assignments will investigate not only illustrated animation, but also sound, music, color and special effects. The course will emphasize conceptual problem solving methodology, color systems, digital terminology and motion file formats.
ILLS-468
Fantastic Illustration
Fantastic Illustration takes an in-depth look at creating images for the fantasy and science-fiction publishing industry. Emphasis will be placed on creating a wide variety of finished illustrations. The course focuses on the visual interpretation of subject matter specific to these specialized genres of illustration. Critical thinking, visual criticism, and rhetoric will also be a required component of work generation and imaginative conceptualizing. Stylistic options and technical approaches to the subject matter will be emphasized.
ILLS-472
Sketchbook Illustration
This course will facilitate the use of sketchbooks as a creative, developmental tool for illustrators and artists. Students will complete assignments by draw on location and in class to explore subjects and environments to create a visual reference material in the form of a sketchbook journal. Material documented in the sketchbook will then provide visual reference for more complete illustrations.
ILLS-477
Caricature Illustration
This course will provide and in depth look and practice at creating humorous, symbolic or acerbic images of people for this specialized area within the field of Illustration. Assignments will challenge students to create characters for a variety of purposes and media. Emphasis will be placed on interpreting facial expressions, body postures, and clothing. Students will work in black and white and in color media producing a wide variety of finished illustrations. Students will be instructed in production methodologies, character diagramming, and color systems.
ILLS-482
Political Cartooning
Political Cartooning is an introduction to this very popular, humorous approach of illustration that is widely used by newspaper and magazine publishers. Students will apply humorous, satirical, ironic, etc. content to their illustrations. Research, brainstorming, and exploration of techniques and media are emphasized. The history of visual joke telling is reviewed.
ILLS-498
Illustration Internship
The illustration internship will provide students with the option to work in the illustration or visual communication field. Students may apply for internships to businesses based on the availability of positions and business job needs. Students must obtain permission of an instructor and complete the Internship Permission Form to enroll.
ILLS-550
Topics in Illustration
Focused investigation of, and practice in, a selected topic in illustration. Subject offerings will vary by sub-field specializations in the illustration field. A subtopic course description will be published each term course is offered and may have limited repeatability. The course, however can be repeated.
ILLS-563
Zoological and Botanical Illustration
This course utilizes subjects found in the natural world as resources for applied and fine art applications. Working from live and preserved subjects, students will accurately depict animal and plant images, which may be used descriptively in print and electronic media.
ILLS-569
Advertising Illustration
This course will deal with creating illustrations used to advertise products, services and events. Assigned projects will give students a better understanding of the wide range of assignments advertising illustrators are asked to produce by advertising agencies and corporate accounts. Students will experience the fast paced working conditions inherent in the advertising industry.
ILLS-579
Digital Editorial
Digital Editorial will introduce students to editorial illustration. Importance will be placed on interpretation of editorial subject matter and preparation of digital imagery for print reproduction. Students will apply approaches to creative illustration while creatively interpreting editorial text and visual narratives. Students may use vector and raster-based software applications and a variety of input and output devices. Stylistic issues, conceptual strategies, production restrictions, and color systems will also be covered.
ILLS-599
Illustration Independent Study
Illustration Independent Study will provide students with the ability to study in a specialized area with an individual faculty member. Students, with the assistance of a faculty adviser will propose a course of study. Illustration Independent Study students must obtain permission of an instructor and complete the Independent Study Permission Form to enroll.

Admission Requirements

Freshmen Admission

For all bachelor’s degree programs, a strong performance in a college preparatory program is expected. Generally, this includes 4 years of English, 3-4 years of mathematics, 2-3 years of science, and 3 years of social studies and/or history.

Specific math and science requirements and other recommendations

  • Studio art experience and a portfolio of original artwork are required for all programs in the schools of Art and Design.
  • A portfolio must be submitted. View Portfolio Requirements for more information. 

Transfer Admission

Transfer course recommendations without associate degree

Courses in studio art, art history, and liberal arts. A portfolio of original artwork is required to determine admissions, studio art credit, and year level in the program. View Portfolio Requirements for more information. 

Appropriate associate degree programs for transfer

Related programs or studio art experience in desired disciplines. A portfolio of original artwork is required to determine admissions, studio art credit, and year level in the program. View Portfolio Requirements for more information. Summer courses can lead to third-year status in most programs.

Learn about admissions and financial aid