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Illustration Schools

Last Updated: February 02, 2023 by TACP Staff

Illustration Schools

The genius of illustration for fields such as filmmaking, architecture, literature, fashion and the like, have deemed the 21st-century illustrator a visual poet. The goal of an Illustration School is to guide and inspire students to master and apply the essentials of drawing, digital imaging, painting, and other creative arts. The graduate will take the industry by storm with an ability to utilize knowledge, technology and acquired flexibility in all aspects of illustrative design.

Best Illustration Schools in the U.S. for 2023

Good illustrations and drawings are often beautiful artistic representations of people, places, and things. Some invoke feelings of happiness, sadness, awe, fear, or nostalgia.

There are a number of different types of illustrations that we as humans might have the pleasure of feasting our eyes upon. Pen and pencil illustrations usually consist of clearly defined lines, while charcoal and pastel illustrations consist of thick lines and smudged areas of shading. These illustrations might grace publications like books, newspapers, or magazines, or they can be admired as they hang on a wall in an art gallery, business, or home.

Drawing and illustration typically requires a great deal of skill to create attractive and dynamic pieces of art. Most people admit that drawing is a skill that a person either has or doesn’t have. For instance, some people can create an artistic masterpiece with nothing more than a piece of paper and a #2 pencil in a short period of time. Others, however, have trouble drawing simple stick figures.

Nevertheless, even those with talent need education and guidance to make the most of their skills. Illustration schools are often just the thing for individuals looking to develop their talents and pursue an illustration career.

What Are Illustration Schools?

Illustration schools are educational facilities that offer training and education in drawing and illustration. These types of art schools allow students to hone their existing talents and learn new drawing techniques. Although it isn’t always necessary, an illustration school can help prepare artists for satisfying careers in illustration.

In today’s modern world, teeming with technology and computers, finding a true illustration job can be rather difficult. Many illustrators have been replaced by computer imaging programs, which are much faster at churning out graphics. Computer imaging programs lack some very important things, however, such as passion and originality.

Because there are so few illustrator jobs available, this is a very competitive field. Only the most talented will usually be able to make a decent living at illustrating. This is where illustration schools come in handy. They allow students to develop and improve their talents, making them invaluable assets for the right employers.

What Are the Different Types of Illustration Schools?

Reputable and accredited illustration schools typically aren’t true schools in the traditional sense. Most are generally “schools within schools”, meaning that they are just parts of larger educational facilities. Some traditional universities and colleges, for instance, have art departments that offer drawing or illustration degrees.

The majority of students who are pursuing illustration careers, however, will usually attend art institutes. These types of schools usually offer excellent illustration degree programs, and they are more focused on turning out graduates who are serious about illustration careers. The classes in art schools are often taught by professional, passionate, and successful artists who are very familiar with working in the art industry. Art institutes also enable students to connect with and learn alongside other passionate artists who share similar goals and interests.

Modern technology can be very useful when it comes to becoming a traditional illustrator. Some illustration schools, for example, offer degree programs online. These enable students to earn degrees in illustration in their own time while still attending to important obligations, like families and jobs.

What Are the Admission Requirements for Illustration Schools?

Obviously, talent is the number one requirement for being accepted at an illustration school. Individuals who wish to attend these schools should be able to draw relatively well.

Future illustration school students should also take drawing, illustration, and art classes while attending high school. If these are not available, they should take private drawing classes or tutoring.

An impressive portfolio is also usually another common requirement for most illustration schools. Illustrators’ portfolios usually consist of the best pieces of their artwork. Many schools will require several different types of drawings. Some may prefer tangible portfolios drawn on paper, while others may prefer scanned digital copies of applicants’ artwork. The portfolio requirements will vary, depending on the school, however, so it is important to check the requirements of each school you apply to and follow the directions precisely.

What Are the Different Degrees Offered by Illustration Schools?

Illustration schools might offer a few different types of certificates or degrees. A few schools, for instance, offer certificate programs in illustration. These usually take a year or less to complete, and they only cover the basics of illustration.

Associate in Art and Bachelor in Art degree programs are more common, however, and these usually take two and four years to complete, respectively. These types of illustration degrees typically cover more in depth aspects of this field. Online illustration programs are available as well.

Typical Classes & Curriculum

Not surprisingly, illustration school students will take a number of courses in drawing and illustration. They will take courses in drawing techniques and mediums, for instance. They will also learn to use several different types of drawing tools, such as pencils, pens, pastels, and charcoal. Aspiring illustrators will also learn about the different types of paper used for drawing and how to preserve illustrations when they are complete.

Depending on an illustrator’s career goals, most illustration schools also offer courses in several different types of drawing. This can include courses in portrait drawing, landscape drawing, and life drawing. Some careers might also require special courses as well. Medical illustrators, for instance, will often need to take several anatomy, medical, and science courses.

What Can I Do with an Illustration Degree?

Although it may seem extremely difficult, there are illustration jobs to be found. You just need to know where to look. Publishing houses and magazines often hire illustrators to create drawings and graphics for books and magazines, for instance. Hospitals and medical journals also often hire medical illustrators who create diagrams that are easy for people to comprehend. Illustrators with interesting senses of humor can work as cartoonists or comic book artists.

The majority of illustrators, however, work as freelancers. Some may draw portraits of people on the street or at craft fairs, and a few select few may have their artwork displayed in museums and art galleries. Authors will also often hire freelance illustrators to create artwork for their books, especially children’s books.

Do I Need a Degree to Work as an Illustrator?

A degree from an accredited illustration school is not always required, but it certainly can’t hurt. As mentioned above, the illustration field today is extremely competitive, especially considering many illustrators have been replaced by computer software.

Illustration schools enable students to hone their skills and work on strengthening their weaknesses in this area. By doing so, many illustration school graduates will have a better chance of securing illustration jobs and pursuing satisfying careers in this field.

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