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Degree Overview: Bachelor’s Degree Program in Illustration

Majors Overview April 17, 2015

Get information about bachelor’s degree programs in illustration and their education requirements, coursework, career choices, and continuing education choices.

Information on Illustration Degree Program

Students enrolled in bachelor’s degree programs in illustration learn about creating graphics and artwork for various visual mediums, including the Internet, advertisements, posters, and books, among others. Areas of concentration for a specific type of illustration, such as children’s books, are available through some schools.

Schools may offer programs in online formats. In order to enroll in an online program, specific computer programs may have to be bought and hardware requirements met. Students enrolled in both kinds of programs will typically develop a portfolio.

Schools in some areas may not offer an illustration bachelor’s degree program, and prospective students interested in the subject may opt for related programs, such as:

•Bachelor’s programs in visual communications
•Bachelor’s programs in art
•Bachelor’s programs in graphic design
•Bachelor’s programs in Web design

Bachelor’s Programs in Illustration

Schools offer both Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) and Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) degree programs. More general education courses are available in the coursework of the B.A. programs, while more art and studio classes are required of students enrolled in B.F.A. programs.

Students receive exposure to various artistic techniques, illustration tools, and art and design theories. They may learn about image resolution, color theory, light and shadow, and form and space. They may be able to experiment with diverse media, including collages, digital graphics, inks, charcoals, pastels, and watercolors. It will be possible for them to practice illustration in numerous formats, including movie posters, maps, websites, fabrics, advertisements, magazines, and newspapers.

Their creativity, visual problem solving, and critical thinking skills are developed. They are taught about ways of attracting people’s attentions, complementing written works with appropriate illustrations, providing entertaining images, supplying information with graphics, and imparting aesthetic quality in their works.

Students are taught to use computer software such as Macromedia Freehand, Adobe Photoshop, and Adobe Illustrator for assistance with illustration production. Schools encourage the exploration by students of as many artistic options as they can while discovering their niches in the illustration field.

Education Requirements

Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a GED certificate or a high school diploma, in addition to submitting artist statements and portfolios. Illustration degree programs are commonly offered by specialized art institutions, thereby making admissions competitive.


Students are usually required to take introductory courses in digital media, painting, and drawing. Both studio and didactic components are available through core coursework that may include subject areas such as:

•Global perspectives in art and design
•Composition and media
•Concepts and metaphors
•Visual narratives
•Illustration materials and techniques
•History of illustration
•Illustration portfolio and presentation
•Survey of Western art

Career Choices

Armed with B.A. or B.F.A. degrees in Illustration, graduates can expect to possess the skills necessary for applying to jobs with museums, businesses, and publishing companies, among others. They may seek career options such as:

•Gallery art
•Computer game illustration
•Comic book illustration
•Product design

Continuing Education Choices

Graduates of the bachelor’s program may opt to pursue their illustration training by earning a master’s degree. The focus of advanced programs is on assisting students with polishing their techniques and training them in art criticism while preparing them for more advanced career roles.

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