Illustrators express visually what they see, what they imagine, or what they understand in order to communicate ideas. They combine the fine-art techniques of painting, drawing, and design with narrative skills to create imagery for books, magazines, newspapers, and the Web. The Art Institute’s program in illustration offers students the opportunity to learn the technical skills of illustration and to develop their personal expressive style as illustrators.
The illustration program highlights the areas of conceptualization, imaging techniques, design and presentation. Students begin the program by developing their skills in art foundations: drawing, 2D design, and color theory. As they study art history and the history of graphic design, they begin to develop their own visual vocabulary. They progress with this knowledge into the technical aspects of illustration in the digital world, and later begin to develop their own styles in painting and illustration classes. Students learn photography, project management, print production, typography, and layout skills, which are important to their success as professional illustrators. Throughout the program, the business of illustration is a focus as students learn marketing, self-promotion, and career planning, as well as business and communication skills. Students also learn to construct their own Web site, which is an important aspect of an illustration career, allowing them to showcase their work to a wide audience.
The full-time faculty in illustration are themselves professional illustrators who bring to the students not only the artistic skills of illustration but also the know-how to develop a successful career in the competitive world of illustration. They share their knowledge as they lecture and critique student work throughout the program. As students near graduation, they compile their best work in illustration into a professional-quality portfolio which is displayed to the industry at the quarterly Portfolio Show. Illustration is an artistic field that may require students to start their careers as assistants while they build a reputation on their way to becoming commercial or freelance illustrators or graphic artists. Some illustrators advance into positions as assistant art directors or art directors in advertising, publishing, or other fields.
With my new skills, I can be...