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Illustration Overview

As an Illustration major you will be able to enter the field of commercial art. If you love drawing, experimenting with color, working with a variety of media, and communicating visually, then you can choose from a variety of illustration areas.

You may pursue a career in advertising illustration, book and children’s book illustration, character development, storyboarding, scenic design and background painting, fashion and figure illustration, technical, architectural, medical and biological illustration; or specialize in wildlife, product illustration, or cartooning. Illustrators work as staff artists or free-lance artists for: books (including children's books), advertising studios, magazines, newspapers, direct mail, and/or greeting card companies, and in animation. They also work for department stores, the automobile industry, other manufacturing industries, film, television, various government agencies, or in computer graphics. Some of our graduates have worked or are working for companies such as J. Walter Thompson, DC Comics, Marvel Comics, The Cartoon Network, and Warner Brothers. 

Your first course in illustration will be AD 120 Drawing/Illustration, and the second will be AD 219 Illustration Forms. These introductory courses will explore concepts and techniques of commercial art used by illustrators in the print media as well as film, television, and computer graphics. The upper level courses, AD 319 Illustration: Seminar and AD 419 Illustration: Seminar, emphasize personal development of ideas and techniques in two areas of illustration. In AD 456 Illustration: B.F.A. Seminar, the focus will be on one area of illustration so that the final professional portfolio can be developed and completed. There are a number of other courses you will enroll in to fulfill the requirements for a degree in illustration. Depending on your goals, you can select course work towards the B.F.A., B.S., B.A., or A.S. degrees.

After a successful four years in the illustration program our graduates are able to compete with any Illustration graduates in the U.S. From 80% to 90% of the graduates of the Illustration program found jobs in illustration and related commercial areas. In recent years, graduates in illustration have started careers in Michigan's Lower Peninsula, Kentucky, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Oregon, Texas, New York, California, and Chicago as well as in Michigan's Upper Peninsula and other states.

The School of Art and Design consists of 15 full-time faculty who are practicing artists and designers, exhibiting their work at the regional, national, and international levels. Each instructs an area of specialization such as ceramics, drawing/painting, photography, etc., and often teach our core courses as well. Our size and ratio of students to faculty allows for a more personal and in-depth teaching approach than can be found in larger universities and should be considered in your choice of schools.