ILLUSTRATION

student working
student working
student working
student working
View Gallery View Gallery View Gallery

Students in the Illustration program learn to visually communicate ideas and narratives for print and electronic media.

Apply to NMUART Apply to NMUART Apply to NMUART

The Illustration Major at NMU

Students in the illustration program learn to visually communicate ideas and narratives for print and electronic media. With all of the visual information that we encounter on a daily basis in movies, television, games, and online, it is clear that illustrators play an important role in our increasingly visual hungry society. Common industries that commission freelance illustration, or employ illustrators include advertising, editorial, book, comic, entertainment, medicine, biology, fashion, and architecture. An illustration graduate will have experience in a variety of illustration forms to ensure that they have the ability to solve problems for many different clients. Students learn to develop their own original content, thereby adding their distinct voice to the visual culture, and preparing them to take advantage of new opportunities for illustration that open each day.

An emphasis on working from life and direct observation of the subject is an essential part of the illustration curriculum. In AD119 Introduction to Illustration and AD219 Illustration Forms an understanding of the basic visual language of design, color, and linear perspective is acquired through projects related to the publishing, editorial, and concept art markets. Digital media is introduced as an illustration tool during AD 319 Illustration Seminar, while students begin applying study of the human figure to more conceptual or narrative work. In upper level courses, AD 419 Illustration: Seminar and AD 456 Illustration: B.F.A. Seminar an emphasis is placed on personal discovery and the development of self-authored content. This final coursework tends to focus on a specific area within the illustration marketplace that interests the student, enabling the creation of a professional portfolio.

Class instruction addresses a range of media and techniques. Demonstrations, lecture, and art history examples are offered to illuminate technical issues and encourage exploration. Students are exposed to an atmosphere of creative thinking and critical analysis, while being encouraged to develop their own understanding of visual media. Through regular critique and discussion, students actively examine and respond to the work of their peers. The studio classroom is functioning best when it becomes a small artistic community where ideas and methods can be shared and discussed without prejudice. Ultimately, the skills and concepts that the students obtain early on will introduce them to the rewards and challenges of the creative process, and help form the groundwork for more advanced ideas.

click to collapse window

Illustration Students Learn to Develop Original Content Adding Their Distinct Voice to Visual Culture

Click to Learn More

Illustration Studio

The Illustration studio is located on the second floor of the Art & Design Building. The large multi-purpose studio has both natural and artificial light available. In addition to regular class hours, the studio is available to illustration students during evenings and weekends. Flat-file storage, sink, still life props, plaster casts, numerous power outlets, and a digital projector help foster a professional studio environment for traditional or digital media.

studio image
Illustration Studio
studio image
Still Life w/Plaster Cast
click to collapse window

The Illustration Studio is a Large Multi-Purpose Space with Available Natural and Artificial Light

Click to Learn More

Illustration Faculty

click to open/close
studio image

Steven Hughes

Assistant Professor
BS Kent State University
MFA Kent State University

Steven Hughes received his training at Kent State University, earning an MFA in Visual Communication Design with a concentration in illustration. He operates a freelance art studio, Primary Hughes Illustration, and serves as Assistant Professor responsible for the Illustration program at Northern Michigan University. His work has been used by The New York Times, American Greetings, Toronto Blue Jays Care Foundation, Light Grey Art Lab, Case Western Reserve University, Ohio Magazine, and been displayed in numerous gallery exhibitions around the US. Recently, one of his paintings was acquired by director Martin Scorcese. Hughes’ illustrations have won numerous awards, including a Silver Award from the Society of Illustrators of Los Angeles (SILA) in 2014, Merit Awards from 3x3 Magazine’s Annual Show, Creative Quarterly 100 Best 2013, Art Renewal Center 2013/2014 International Salon Finalist, and a Silver Medal in painting from The National Art Museum of Sport. His work has also been featured in publications that include, Illustration NOW! 5, AcrylicWorks: The Best of Acrylic Painting 2014, Drawing Inspiration by Michael Fleishman, and Infected by Art Volume 2.


EMAIL

sthughes@nmu.edu

WEBSITE

www.primaryhughes.com
studio image
Steven Hughes
studio image
Steven Hughes
click to collapse window

Illustration Courses

click to open/close

AD 119 Illustration: Foundations

4 credit hours
Offered: Fall Winter

Introduction to illustration methods and concepts that enable the communication of an idea. Projects emphasize constructive drawing techniques, linear perspective, compositional design, ideation, and narrative picture-making. 


AD 219 Illustration: Methods and Materials

4 credit hours
Offered: Winter
Prerequisites: AD 119

Exploration of traditional techniques and methods for illustration with an emphasis on the narrative potential of applying color (theory) and material usage.


AD 319A Illustration: Digital Media

4 credit hours
Offered: Fall, even numbered years
Prerequisites: AD 219 or instructor permission.

Exploration of digital media  as a picture-making tool for illustrators. Projects emphasize ideation in a commercial context.  


AD 319B Illustration: Narrative Figure

4 credit hours
Offered: Fall, odd numbered years
Prerequisites: AD 219 or instructor permission.

Exploration of the human figure as a structural form and vehicle for expression in narrative art and illustration. Emphasis is placed on anatomy, working from observation, construction, gesture, composition, research, and creating reference to aid imagination.


AD 419 Illustration: Concepts and Contemporary Practice

4 credit hours
Offered: Winter
Prerequisites: AD 303 or concurrent enrollment, AD 319A or AD 319B, or instructor's permission.
Note: May be repeated for up to 8 credits.

Development of conceptual and problem-solving abilities within the framework of varied commercial situations, while maintaining personal artistic voice. Ideation, research, and the professional practice of an illustrator are emphasized.  


click to collapse window

Illustration FAQ

click to open/close
What is the difference between a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Illustration and a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science?

The BFA is considered the professional studio degree, as it has more credits in the Illustration concentration and more specific requirements in studio, such as Sculpture, Drawing, Metal and Woodworking. The BFA also has more art history requirements and does not allow a minor. The BA and BS degrees provide students with the option to pursue a minor such as a major in Illustration and a minor in Music (20 credit hours). The BA also has a language requirement.

Does the school require a portfolio review before you are accepted into our programs?

If you are accepted into the university you are able to pursue a degree within the school. However, you can present a portfolio to the professor in your studio area who will use your work to gauge whether you should receive advanced placement credit (replaces course and credit hours) or a waiver (replaces course but not the credit hours) or at what studio level you should begin. This portfolio can be reviewed during a campus visit or with a faculty member during an office hour during the semester. Although there is no required portfolio review to enter the program, Art and Design majors must participate and complete a faculty review of their portfolios (Individual Art Review AD 303) which is scheduled the twelfth week of each semester.

What equipment is required for Illustration Majors?

Outside of the A&D Apple laptop requirement, complete with industry standard Adobe software, illustration students at the 300-level will be required to purchase a digital drawing tablet. Access to a point-and-shoot camera is helpful at the upper level. Classes also utilize a range of traditional media throughout the curriculum, including: graphite, charcoal, ink, watercolor, colored pencil, pastels, collage, acrylic, and options to explore additional media as student interest dictates.

What are the prospects for employment with a degree in Illustration?

Making a living in the illustration marketplace is certainly achievable, but the full-time studio and staff positions are not available like they once were. Graduates will likely engage in freelance illustration, thus being contracted by a range of clients on a project-to-project basis. That can be an exciting, and terrifying prospect for many parents and students alike. Topics of discussion in the curriculum will prepare the students for marketing their work, contract negotiation, intellectual property rights, pricing and ethical responsibilities, as well as other business issues necessary to start their career, but no amount of training can replace a student's desire, work ethic, and ability to face adversity in terms of giving them the best chance at success.

What emphasis will I find in the Illustration program?

An emphasis on working from life and direct observation of the subject is an essential part of the illustration curriculum. Students will also learn problem-solving skills enabling them to visually communicate ideas and narratives for a range of clients in print and electronic media. While a focus on one area of illustration can be developed, the experience gained from creating work for multiple outlets will help prepare students for entry into an evolving job market. In service of this idea, students learn to develop their own original content and take greater control over the work that they create.

Are there scholarships for incoming freshman?

The school offers the High School Freshman Scholarship (four $1000 awards) that is available each year with applications due in April.

See the web for details
Scholarship Information

More Questions?
Please write Professor Steven Hughes sthughes@nmu.edu
click to collapse window
Donate to NMUART Donate to NMUART Donate to NMUART
Top
Facebook Instagram Facebook Instagram