Three female students sitting at table in cluttered art room laughing, painting

A Quick Guide to Majoring in Illustration in College

Interested in pursuing an Illustration major in college? Check out what you'll learn, where you can study, and what careers you can pursue with this degree.

Do you love drawing and creating art? Do you want a career as an artist? Do you want to go to college and study something you love? If you answered yes to all these questions, Illustration might be the perfect college major for you. Majoring in Illustration allows you to identify your strengths in the art field and can lead to a surplus of jobs, from graphic designer to concept artist or even a freelancer. Pursuing this type of career is very rewarding but it takes a lot of time and effort to get there. A great first step is majoring in Illustration in college to prepare you for all your future opportunities. Here’s what else you should know about this major and the career paths it can lead to.

All about Illustration

With a stroke of a pencil, artists can bring their creativity and emotions to life. At most colleges and universities, you’ll only be able to get a simple Fine Arts degree. This degree covers a wide range of art areas like painting, sculpting, and drawing. But majoring in Illustration is quite common at art schools, where students home in on a specific set of skills. When majoring in Illustration, you’ll be learning more in-depth about topics like drawing, design, and color theory. This major covers both traditional and digital techniques to make you more of a well-rounded artist, allowing you to collaborate with authors and preparing you for your future career.

Related: What Are College Art Classes Like? 

Colleges with Illustration majors and famous alumni

Colleges like the University of California, Los Angeles; Savannah College of Art and Design; and the School of Visual Arts in New York City are known for their high level of teaching in the art field. But many colleges offer majors or minors in Illustration and produce excellent and highly successful alumni. Here are a few artists that you may not have known were behind the cartoons: 

  • Derek Drymon (School of Visual Arts ’87) is a storyboard artist for many Nickelodeon shows like Spongebob Squarepants and CatDog
  • Tracy Yardley (Savannah College of Art and Design ’01) is a comic book artist who worked on Sonic the Hedgehog.
  • Eric Teitelbaum (University of California, Los Angeles ’68) is a cartoonist who created the comic strip Pink Panther.

Art courses in college

Basic courses like drawing, design, art history, and graphic design are prime examples of what many colleges make you take as an Art major. Classes like Drawing 101 and Design 101 will be courses you’ll take in the beginning of your academic career. After your freshman year, you’ll start to dive deeper into more specific courses related to your Illustration major, like color theory and character design. When taking art classes in college, you should expect to spend a lot of time on your art projects and homework. Spending hours on details just to make your art look visually appealing is common. You have to enjoy art and have a love for your craft to succeed.

Careers Illustration can lead to

There are so many things you can do with an Illustration degree. Illustrators work in a variety of fields, from fashion and digital media to map and book illustration. But you don’t have to become an illustrator; you could also become a graphic designer, an animator, or even a muralist. All your hard work will finally pay off when your passion turns into a job. You can work for companies like Disney and Pixar, bringing other people’s characters to life, or work for yourself and be your own boss.

Related: Alma Maters of Cartoonists

In the end, deciding on a major is hard, but knowing and following your interests and hobbies can make it so much easier. Taking artistic courses in college will help you decide if you want to become an artist for your career. College is a time to explore and determine your strengths, helping prepare you for your future. By majoring in Illustration, you can explore your artistic abilities and launch yourself on many amazing creative career paths.

Looking for colleges with top-notch art departments and majors? Check out our featured Visual Arts School Profiles and request more info in just one click!

Like what you’re reading?

Join the CollegeXpress community! Create a free account and we’ll notify you about new articles, scholarship deadlines, and more.

Join Now

Tags:
art art majors college academics college majors visual arts

About Yukeena Waye

Yukeena Waye is a high school senior from Georgia. Other than school, she loves reading, writing, and drawing. 

 

Join our community of
over 5 million students!

CollegeXpress has everything you need to simplify your college search, get connected to schools, and find your perfect fit.

Join CollegeXpress
CollegeXpress Logo

$10,000

Are you our next winner?

Register now for our scholarship giveaway

Ariyane

Ariyane

High School Class of 2021

CollegeXpress really helped me by letting me know the colleges ratings and placements. They gave me accurate information on my colleges tuition rates and acceptance. They even let me know the ration between students and faculty and the diversity of the college. Overall they told me everything I needed and things I didnt even think I needed to know about my college and other colleges I applied for.

Damian Rangel

Damian Rangel

September 2021 Mini Scholarship Winner, High School Class of 2022

CollegeXpress has helped me tackle college expenses, which will allow me to put more of my time and effort into my studies without the need of worrying as much about finances.

Victoria Fuss

Victoria Fuss

March Madness Scholarship Winner, Class of 2022

CollegeXpress has helped me dramatically. Moving on to the next level has been a dream of my mine since I was just a young kid, and the support and help CollegeXpress has given me will help me further my education. I couldn’t be more grateful to everyone at CollegeXpress!

Abhishek Kumar

Abhishek Kumar

High School Class of 2022

As a high schooler, I know how hard it is to plan for college. You have to consider a lot of factors: SAT/ACT scores, college searches, scholarships, and more. CollegeXpress has been a helpful resource that solves all these problems. One can easily create a free account and search away. They help you search for scholarships and colleges, they have graduate program search, they have lists and rankings, and so much more. CX also has a lot of articles and advice to read—whether it’s financial aid, test prep, campus visits, internships/careers, or anything. Not only that, CX gives out free scholarship money to students who sign up and create a free CX account. I love CX and will continue to use it! Thank you CollegeXpress for making my college journey easier!

Katelyn

Katelyn

High School Class of 2021

CollegeXpress gave me options of schools with my major and from there I was able to pick what was most important to me in a school. Everything was so organized that I could see all the information I needed.

College Matches