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Program Description

Just the Facts

Illustration. A program that prepares individuals to use artistic techniques to develop and execute interpretations of the concepts of authors and designers to specifications. Includes instruction in book illustration, fashion illustration, map illustration, rendering, exhibit preparation, textual layout, cartooning, and the use of various artistic techniques as requested by clients.

This program is available in these options:

  • Certificate / Diploma
  • Associate degree
  • Bachelor's degree
  • Graduate Certificate
  • Master's degree

High School Courses

See the high school courses recommended for programs in this career cluster:

See the high school courses recommended for programs in this pathway:

Related Careers

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Related Programs

Often similar programs have different names. Be sure to explore all your options.

Additional Information

Students interested in pursuing a career in drawing and illustration have several educational avenues open to them, ranging from evening and weekend continuing education courses to two-year and four-year programs.

The school of art and design at Syracuse University, for instance, offers a four-year fine arts degree with a major in illustration.

Students spend a lot of time in the classroom during the early stages of the program, but that changes. "In the intro-level courses, students do a lot of work in the classroom [and] studio, as they learn various media and techniques," says school director Toni Toland.

"As they move forward, most of their work is done outside the class, and class time is devoted to lectures and critiques."

San Jose State University also offers a fine arts degree in animation and illustration. "The first year's schedule is largely foundation work in drawing, 2D design, color, photography and art history combined with general education requirements," says professor Courtney Granner.

Toland says a good student should expect to spend 20 hours per week outside of class working on projects.

There are also many art colleges that offer two-year and even four-year art programs. Community colleges also offer programs at the two-year level.

Many art schools and community art organizations offer short drawing courses. You can take advantage of these in high school to start developing your skills.

Robert Belton is the associate dean of arts and education at a college. He encourages students to get involved in the arts community and put together a portfolio of their own work. "Our best students typically have a breadth of experience," he says.

"Draw every day," advises Toland. "Keep referring back to your sketchbooks for ideas for finished images. Draw from life. Go to the mall and make character sketches of the people. Go to the zoo and draw the animals moving. Set up still lifes using objects that have meaning to you and draw them."

Besides tuition and books, you may have extra costs associated with field trips. Some programs require students to purchase supplies.


Occupational Outlook Handbook
For more information related to this field of study, see: Craft and Fine Artists

Worldwide Arts Resources
A whole list of links to professional illustrators

Artists Network
Provides information on the technical fundamentals of perspective, shading, color and painting


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