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 Bachelor of Fine Arts 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 have the opportunity to begin the program by developing their skills in art foundations: drawing, 2-D design, and color theory. As they study art history and the history of graphic design, they begin to develop their own visual vocabulary. They have the opportunity to 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 have the opportunity to 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 have the opportunity to learn marketing, self-promotion, and career planning, as well as business and communication skills. Students also have the opportunity to 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 the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Illustration program are themselves professional illustrators who bring to the students not only the artistic skills of illustration but also the know-how to prepare for a 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. Graduates of the Illustration program are prepared to seek entry-level positions as assistants while they build a reputation on their way to becoming commercial or freelance illustrators or graphic artists. With acquired experience some illustrators advance into positions as Assistant Art Directors or Art Directors in Advertising, publishing, or other fields.