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:

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
Ana Sophia Garcia-Cubas Assemat

Ana Sophia Garcia-Cubas Assemat

$10,000 Scholarship Winner, 2020

CollegeXpress has been an instrumental resource for my scholarship search and has given me the opportunity to try my best so I can graduate from college debt-free.

Ida Akoto-Wiafe

Ida Akoto-Wiafe

High School Class of 2022

I wanted a school that wasn't too far away from home and could provide me with a full-ride scholarship. CollegeXpress helped me put into perspective the money I had to pay to attend those schools, which ultimately drove me to choose to attend a community college first to get used to being in college before transferring to the University of Michigan–Ann Arbor, one of the colleges I was able to research further on CollegeXpress.

Mataya Mann

Mataya Mann

High School Class of 2022

To say that CollegeXpress is a helpful tool would be an understatement as it is much more than that. Before finding CollegeXpress, all I knew was that I wanted to go to college, it was going to be insanely expensive, and I felt lost. CollegeXpress has given me access to resources such as helpful tips for applications and scholarship [opportunities], and helped guide me in a direction where I feel confident moving forward and pursuing a career. CollegeXpress has helped instill a spark in me that makes me want to continue and supports me in doing so.

Rhiannon Teeter

Rhiannon Teeter

$2,000 Community Service Scholarship Winner, 2012

I have spent a lot of time aggressively searching for scholarships. It was a long and frustrating process until I found the CollegeXpress network. This site made my search so much easier. With the simple check of a few boxes, the site sorted out scholarships I was eligible for and led me directly to the correct websites. Winning this scholarship has definitely given me and my family some financial relief, and CollegeXpress has allowed me to improve my chances of winning further financial aid. Thank you so much!

Heather McCarty

Heather McCarty

High School Class of 2020

CollegeXpress has helped me with the college application process. The tips and tricks for important essays were so helpful. I also gained useful knowledge about college life. Even though I’m fully online, CollegeXpress has helped me develop a sense of how college is in person. The experiences from college students that were featured on their Instagram page have shown the good, the bad, and the “secret” life on campus from a reliable perspective. Not to mention, they relieved my feelings of anxiety about the workload. I can now understand how it can be stressful, but it takes self-control and willpower to get assignments completed on time and with quality.

College Matches
X

Colleges You May Be Interested In

Vermont State University

Randolph Center, VT

Pace University

New York, NY

Ohio University

Athens, OH

Emerson College

Boston, MA