Artistic Opportunities Across Various Media: Illustration Degree

Are you very artistic, but would like to use your talent for real-world applications? Would you like to nurture your creativity while at the same time enhancing the opportunities that you have in terms of employment? The solution to this is to strive towards obtaining an illustration degree. Illustrations still have an important role to play in new as well as traditional media and by completing a degree in this field can help to realize your full potential as an illustrator.

Illustration Degree Information

Associate of Arts in Illustration Degree

 A two-year Associate of Illustration degree program can teach you to analyze as well as critique how illustration has developed as a visual language. Traditional art skills and practices are generally covered with this type of degree along with more contemporary ones. While a high school diploma or GED certificate is generally sufficient to apply to this type of program, you might also need to present a portfolio or pass an admission exam first if required. The bulk of courses in these programs usually focuses on anatomical studies and figure drawing, color, lighting and painting as well as 2-D and 3-D design. Certain programs also allow you to choose a specialization, for example fashion illustration.

Bachelor of Arts Illustration Degree

With a Bachelor of Arts Illustration degree you are typically taught about all kinds of illustrations, ranging from painting, drawings and other forms of traditional disciplines to web design, motion graphics and other digital technologies. These courses also aim to help develop your illustration skills, so that you might be able to create art that not only entertains, but is also informative or persuasive. Courses tend to include illustration design principles, composition and rhetoric, illustration history and practice, digital media principles and information illustration. At the end of the course a thesis and portfolio project might also be required. The overall completion time for a bachelor’s degree in this field is about four years.

Master of Fine Arts in Illustration

Completing a MFA program in illustration is usually a two-year process and requires you to have a bachelor’s degree. In addition to courses that cover traditional disciplines and digital technologies in the field of illustration, these courses also tend to feature business practices and creative writing. Some of the topics you can expect include narrative art, brand development, traditional and digital media integration and creative writing writing for illustrators.

Illustration Degree FAQ

Is It Really Possible To Study A Creative Arts Course Like This Online?

There are fully online courses available in the field of illustration, especially at a masters level. This is because people who are interested in a masters degree already have a bachelor’s degree or the equivalent professional experience in the industry. Online courses are also ideal for people who are already working in other careers, but would like to use a degree in illustration to switch career paths. Professional or family commitments also make it difficult, if not impossible, for numerous people to study full time on campus. When studying illustration online you generally have access to video lectures that can be viewed at any time of the day. The work you create as part of the course are also then shared with tutors and other students via easy to access online galleries. These galleries also allow for interaction with peers, such as critiquing each others work.

Many online courses also provide students with a virtual student environment from where assignment briefs, ebooks, sample work and other learning materials can be accessed. One-to-one sessions with tutors, based on your availability are also not uncommon and can take place via Skype or other messenger services.

Who Is An Ideal Candidate To Study Illustration?

First and foremost, you need some artistic skill to work as an illustrator. Classes can help you to improve your technique and expand your knowledge of composition or color, but it is no substitute for natural talent. This obviously means that creativity is also a plus. Although illustrating is an artistic skill, you will also need technical abilities to back it up as computer software is increasingly used over traditional methods when working in this field. Since illustrators generally work on assignments or deadlines you will need good problem solving skills as well. Finally, if you plan on working in a freelance capacity you will need good communication and social skills for dealing with clients and customers.

What Career Fields Might Be Accessible After Studying Illustration?

There are a wide range of fields that employ illustrators. These include obvious choices, such as publishing, broadcasting and broadcast entertainment, as well as a few more surprising ones, such as computer gaming and bio-medical. If business and marketing skills are included in the degree program you have completed, it can also better equip you to better follow a freelance career. Because contemporary illustration employs such a wide range of styles and techniques, it is a very creative and rewarding industry if you have a passion for creating art. Illustrators are able to engage a global market and with the growth of video game and graphic novel industries, there are plenty of avenues to explore.

How Much Can I Potentially Earn When Working As An Illustrator?

The salary that you can potentially earn can vary greatly depending on the industry in which you eventually find employment. For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate that fine artists - including illustrators - earn about $45,080 per year. On the other hand, Payscale.com reports that medical illustrators can potentially earn between $42,185 and $68,175 per year. When working as a freelancer your salary will depend on your skills, experience and ability to market yourself.

What Are The other Advantages To Studying Illustration?

Illustration is a skill that is set in an industry where technology is constantly changing and evolving. However, by obtaining a degree in this field you are able to sharpen your core skills, which is the ability to communicate ideas visually and to tell stories through illustrations. To make an impact in this industry you not only need talent and skill, but you must also know how to create compelling imagery. With a degree your knowledge of the theories and principles of illustration is improved and you should also gain a better understanding of the underlying technologies used in the industry. These skills and knowledge can be an advantage when working in any creative or artistic industry.

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