What is illustration?

Illustration is the graphic representation of an idea, concept, or story.

What should I look for in an online illustration school?

The best online illustration schools should possess either regional or national accreditation from an accrediting body that is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

In addition, you can often recognize top online illustration schools based on:

  • The school’s name and status
  • The school’s history
  • Teacher credentials
  • Alumni network
In choosing the best online illustration school for you, you should consider the following factors:
  • Admission requirements
  • Residency requirements
  • Class and teaching style
  • Testing methods used
  • Course content and presentation
  • Program length
  • Class size
  • Student-teacher interaction
  • Technology use
  • Tuition and financial aid
  • Transferability of credits
  • Availability of a dedicated administration team and resources

What levels of online illustration programs are available?

The following levels of illustration degree online programs are available:

  • Online Illustration Certificate Programs
  • Online Associates in Illustration
  • Online Bachelor in Illustration
  • Online Masters in Illustration
  • Online PhD in Illustration

How long does it take to get an online illustration degree?

The amount of time it takes a student to earn an accredited online illustration degree depends on the level of illustration degree being pursued and the pace of the student.

Typically, the breakdown is as follows:

  • Online Illustration Certification Programs – 6 months to 1 year
  • Online Illustration Associates Degree – 2 years
  • Online Illustration Bachelor Degree – 4 years
  • Online Illustration Masters – 2 years
  • Online Illustration PhD – 2 to 5 years

What are some examples of online illustration courses?

Illustrators use a variety of materials and methods to create their art, which may be specialized for specific industries. Training in illustration involves many different types of courses, including:

  • Drawing and Design for Illustrators
    This course extends drawing and design skills by teaching image-making with an emphasis on shape, edge, value, color, and communication. Assignments, lectures, and demonstrations elaborate on commonly employed illustrative components such as observation, perspective, light and shadow, construction of form, space interpretation, texture, and style.
  • Illustration Materials and Techniques
    In this course, students explore and practice with mixed media on created surfaces. Various media, including acrylics, oils, watercolor, and gouache, are combined with other materials, such as pastel, colored pencil, and charcoal.
  • Digital Illustration
    Students use industry standard software to enhance traditional work and acquire important knowledge in the digital domain. Idea development within real-world parameters, originality, aesthetics, and technical proficiency are emphasized.
  • Scientific Illustration
    This course introduces students to the process of careful study and analysis of natural forms, systematic record keeping of field and studio studies, and the application of these studies in the development of formal illustrations.
  • Children’s Book Illustration
    This course introduces children's book illustration, with an emphasis on creating a professional package that may be sent to publishers. Students are introduced to the world of traditional and modern children's book illustration through lectures, demonstrations, and analyses of several nationally and internationally successful books.

What areas of illustration specialization are available?

Illustration specializations vary depending on the field in which the illustrator intends to work, and the media they intend to use. Common illustration concentrations include:

  • Editorial Illustration
  • Advertising Illustration
  • Medical Illustration
  • Scientific Illustration
  • Children’s Book Illustration
  • Book Illustration
  • Food Illustration
  • Digital Illustration
  • Humor/Caricature Illustration

What can I do with an illustration degree?

A competitive industry, illustration requires a strong art background, as well as an understanding of the field in which the illustrator is working. Common areas in which illustration degrees are useful include:

  • Children Book Writer/Illustrator
  • Cartoonist
  • Food Designer
  • Graphic Designer
  • Newspaper Illustrator
  • Medical Journal Illustrator
  • Advertising Artist

What is an illustrator?

Illustrators work with a variety of media to create one-of-a-kind artwork that represents a concept or story. They may work with magazines, book editors, the scientific community, or writers to craft their work.

What does an illustrator do?

An illustrator plans and executes art for a particular purpose. A natural world illustrator may draw detailed pictures of plants found in a particular area of a forest. A children’s book illustrator designs visual characters and settings, following the writer’s storyline. Medical illustrators draw accurate pictures of procedures or body parts, while book illustrators may design book covers and inside flaps. Illustrators may use traditional art supplies, including pencils, acrylics and watercolors, or more advanced tools including computer technology.

How much does an illustrator earn?

Illustrators are often self-employed, and their earnings vary widely. The average annual earnings for a salaried illustrator are $42,650. Job growth is expected at an average rate. Illustration is a highly competitive field, and the number of candidates interested in illustration and other artistic work will continue to exceed the number of available positions.

How do I become an illustrator?

Students interested in how to become an illustrator must consider professional training to supplement their natural artistic aptitude. Illustration combines strong artistic senses with the ability to follow directions, create visions from the written word, and communicate effectively through art. An online illustration degree program provides basic and advanced illustration techniques, and future illustrators will benefit greatly from extensive practice. Drawing, sketching and sculpting skills add to an illustrators’ value in the field.

Illustration Schools (Campus)

SchoolCertificateAssociatesBachelorsMastersPhD
Arizona State University
1151 S Forest Ave
Tempe, AZ, 85287
http://www.asu.edu/
X
University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
100 Church Street SE
Minneapolis, MN, 55455
http://www1.umn.edu/twincities/index.php
X
University of Florida
355 Tigert Hall
Gainesville, FL, 32611
http://www.ufl.edu/
X
Liberty University
1971 University Blvd
Lynchburg, VA, 24502
http://www.liberty.edu
X
University of Washington-Seattle Campus
1400 NE Campus Parkway
Seattle, WA, 98195
http://www.washington.edu
X
Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus
201 Old Main
State College, PA, 16802
http://www.psu.edu/
X
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
601 E John Street
Champaign, IL, 61820
http://www.illinois.edu/
X
College of Southern Nevada
6375 W. Charleston Blvd.
Las Vegas, NV, 89146
http://www.csn.edu
X
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
440 Church Street
Ann Arbor, MI, 48109
http://www.umich.edu
X
Florida State University
211 Westcott Bldg
Tallahassee, FL, 32306
http://www.fsu.edu
X
University of Houston
212 E. Cullen Building
Houston, TX, 77204
http://www.uh.edu
X X
Riverside Community College
4800 Magnolia Avenue
Riverside, CA, 92506
http://www.rcc.edu/
X
Temple University
1801 North Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA, 19122
http://WWW.TEMPLE.EDU
X X
Pima Community College
401 North Bonita Avenue
Tucson, AZ, 85709
http://www.pima.edu
X X
East Los Angeles College
1301 Avenida Cesar Chavez
Monterey Park, CA, 91754
http://www.elac.edu/index.htm
X X
Brigham Young University
Main Campus
Provo, UT, 84602
http://www.byu.edu
X
North Carolina State University at Raleigh
2101 Hillsborough Street
Raleigh, NC, 27695
http://www.ncsu.edu
X X
City College of San Francisco
50 Phelan Ave
San Francisco, CA, 94112
http://www.ccsf.edu
X X
Santa Monica College
1900 Pico Blvd
Santa Monica, CA, 90405
http://www.smc.edu
X X
Virginia Commonwealth University
910 W Franklin St
Richmond, VA, 23284
http://www.vcu.edu/
X
Boston University
One Silber Way
Boston, MA, 2215
http://www.bu.edu
X X
San Jose State University
1 Washington Sq
San Jose, CA, 95192
http://www.sjsu.edu
X
Santa Ana College
1530 W. 17th Street
Santa Ana, CA, 92706
http://www.sac.edu
X
Texas State University-San Marcos
601 University Dr
San Marcos, TX, 78666
http://www.txstate.edu
X
Texas Tech University
Broadway and University Avenue
Lubbock, TX, 79409
http://www.ttu.edu
X
University of Utah
201 Presidents Circle
Salt Lake City, UT, 84112
http://www.utah.edu
X
California State University-Sacramento
6000 J St
Sacramento, CA, 95819
http://www.csus.edu
X
University of Nevada-Las Vegas
4505 S Maryland Pky
Las Vegas, NV, 89154
http://www.unlv.edu
X
Oakland Community College
2480 Opdyke Rd
Bloomfield Hills, MI, 48304
http://www.oaklandcc.edu
X
Iowa State University
137 Lynn Ave
Ames, IA, 50011
http://www.iastate.edu
X X
Portland State University
724 SW Harrison
Portland, OR, 97201
http://www.pdx.edu
X
Long Beach City College
4901 E. Carson St.
Long Beach, CA, 90808
http://www.lbcc.edu
X
Northeastern University
360 Huntington Ave
Boston, MA, 2115
http://www.northeastern.edu
X X
Palomar College
1140 W. Mission
San Marcos, CA, 92069
http://WWW.PALOMAR.EDU
X X
Central Michigan University
1200 S Franklin St # 121
Mount Pleasant, MI, 48859
http://www.cmich.edu
X
El Camino Community College District
16007 Crenshaw Blvd
Torrance, CA, 90506
http://www.elcamino.edu
X
College of DuPage
425 Fawell Blvd.
Glen Ellyn, IL, 60137
http://www.cod.edu
X
University of Illinois at Chicago
601 S Morgan
Chicago, IL, 60607
http://www.uic.edu/index.html/
X X
Pasadena City College
1570 E Colorado Blvd.
Pasadena, CA, 91106
http://www.pasadena.edu
X X
Mesa Community College
1833 W Southern Ave
Mesa, AZ, 85202
http://www.mc.maricopa.edu
X
University of Akron Main Campus
302 Buchtel Common
Akron, OH, 44325
http://www.uakron.edu
X
Santa Rosa Junior College
1501 Mendocino Avenue
Santa Rosa, CA, 95401
http://www.santarosa.edu
X X
Fresno City College
1101 E. University Ave
Fresno, CA, 93741
http://www.fresnocitycollege.edu
X X
De Anza College
21250 Stevens Creek Blvd.
Cupertino, CA, 95014
http://www.deanza.edu/
X X
University of Pennsylvania
1 College Hall 34th and Spruce Sts
Philadelphia, PA, 19104
http://www.upenn.edu
X
Western Michigan University
1903 West Michigan Avenue
Kalamazoo, MI, 49008
http://www.wmich.edu
X
San Antonio College
1300 San Pedro Ave
San Antonio, TX, 78212
http://www.alamo.edu/sac/sacmain/sac.htm
X X
Saddleback College
28000 Marguerite Pky
Mission Viejo, CA, 92692
http://www.saddleback.edu
X X
San Diego Mesa College
7250 Mesa College Dr
San Diego, CA, 92111
http://www.sdmesa.edu/
X
Ohio University-Main Campus
E Mulberry
Athens, OH, 45701
http://www.ohio.edu
X
Harrisburg Area Community College-Harrisburg
One HACC Dr
Harrisburg, PA, 17110
http://www.hacc.edu
X X
Drexel University
3141 Chestnut St
Philadelphia, PA, 19104
http://www.drexel.edu
X
Fullerton College
321 E Chapman Avenue
Fullerton, CA, 92832
http://www.fullcoll.edu
X X
California State Polytechnic University-Pomona
3801 W Temple Ave
Pomona, CA, 91768
http://www.csupomona.edu
X
Los Angeles Pierce College
6201 Winnetka Ave
Los Angeles, CA, 91371
http://www.piercecollege.edu
X X
Cerritos College
11110 Alondra Blvd
Norwalk, CA, 90650
http://WWW.CERRITOS.EDU
X
Southwestern College
900 Otay Lakes Rd
Chula Vista, CA, 91910
http://www.swccd.edu
X X
College of the Canyons
26455 Rockwell Canyon Rd
Santa Clarita, CA, 91355
http://www.canyons.edu
X X
Lansing Community College
419 N Capitol Ave
Lansing, MI, 48901
http://www.lansing.cc.mi.us
X X
The University of Texas at El Paso
500 W. University Ave
El Paso, TX, 79968
http://www.utep.edu
X X
Rio Salado College
2323 W 14th St
Tempe, AZ, 85281
http://www.rio.maricopa.edu
X
CUNY Queens College
65-30 Kissena Blvd
New York, NY, 11367
http://www.qc.cuny.edu
X
Sierra College
5000 Rocklin Road
Rocklin, CA, 95677
http://www.sierracollege.edu
X X
Community College of Allegheny County
800 Allegheny Ave
Pittsburgh, PA, 15233
http://www.ccac.edu
X X
Johnson County Community College
12345 College Blvd
Overland Park, KS, 66210
http://www.jccc.edu
X
St. John's University-New York
8000 Utopia Pky
New York, NY, 11439
http://www.stjohns.edu
X
San Joaquin Delta College
5151 Pacific Ave
Stockton, CA, 95207
http://www.deltacollege.edu
X
Milwaukee Area Technical College
700 W State St
Milwaukee, WI, 53233
http://matc.edu
X
Glendale Community College
6000 W Olive Ave
Glendale, AZ, 85302
http://www.gc.maricopa.edu
X X
Los Angeles Valley College
5800 Fulton Avenue
Los Angeles, CA, 91401
http://www.lavc.edu
X
Los Angeles City College
855 N Vermont Ave
Los Angeles, CA, 90029
http://www.lacitycollege.edu/
X
Santa Barbara City College
721 Cliff Drive
Santa Barbara, CA, 93109
http://www.sbcc.edu
X X
Central Piedmont Community College
1201 Elizabeth Avenue
Charlotte, NC, 28204
http://www.cpcc.edu
X X
California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo
One Grand Ave
San Luis Obispo, CA, 93407
http://www.calpoly.edu
X
Modesto Junior College
435 College Ave
Modesto, CA, 95350
http://mjc.edu
X X
Bakersfield College
1801 Panorama Dr
Bakersfield, CA, 93305
http://www.bakersfieldcollege.edu/
X X
Foothill College
12345 El Monte Rd
Los Altos Hills, CA, 94022
http://www.foothill.edu
X X
Montclair State University
1 Normal Avenue - 855 Valley Road
Montclair, NJ, 7043
http://www.montclair.edu
X
San Diego City College
1313 Park Boulevard
San Diego, CA, 92101
http://www.sdcity.edu/
X X
Kirkwood Community College
6301 Kirkwood Blvd SW
Cedar Rapids, IA, 52406
http://www.kirkwood.edu
X
Moraine Valley Community College
9000 W. College Parkway
Palos Hills, IL, 60465
http://www.morainevalley.edu
X
Appalachian State University
504 Dauphblan St.
Boone, NC, 28608
http://www.appstate.edu/
X
Delgado Community College
615 City Park Ave
New Orleans, LA, 70119
http://WWW.DCC.EDU
X
Anne Arundel Community College
101 College Pky
Arnold, MD, 21012
http://www.aacc.edu
X X
Moorpark College
7075 Campus Rd
Moorpark, CA, 93021
http://www.moorparkcollege.edu/index.shtml
X X
Universidad Del Turabo
Carr. # 189 Km 3.1
Queensbury, PR, 778
http://www.suagm.edu
X
University of Central Oklahoma
100 N University Dr
Edmond, OK, 73034
http://www.uco.edu
X
Cosumnes River College
8401 Center Parkway
Sacramento, CA, 95823
http://www.crc.losrios.edu/
X
Brookdale Community College
765 Newman Springs Rd
Lincroft, NJ, 7738
http://www.brookdalecc.edu
X
University of Miami
University of Miami
Coral Gables, FL, 33124
http://www.miami.edu/
X
Columbia College
1001 Rogers Street
Columbia, MO, 65216
http://www.ccis.edu
X
Rochester Institute of Technology
1 Lomb Memorial Dr
Rochester, NY, 14623
http://www.rit.edu/
X X X
Cypress College
9200 Valley View
Cypress, CA, 90630
http://www.cypresscollege.edu
X
Academy of Art University
79 New Montgomery
San Francisco, CA, 94105
http://www.academyart.edu
X X X
Reedley College
995 N Reed Ave
Reedley, CA, 93654
http://www.reedleycollege.edu
X
Chabot College
25555 Hesperian Blvd
Hayward, CA, 94545
http://www.chabotcollege.edu
X X
San Bernardino Valley College
701 South Mount Vernon Avenue
San Bernardino, CA, 92410
http://www.valleycollege.edu
X X
Wichita State University
1845 Fairmount
Wichita, KS, 67260
http://www.wichita.edu
X
Western Washington University
516 High St
Bellingham, WA, 98225
http://www.wwu.edu
X
Washtenaw Community College
4800 E Huron River Dr
Ann Arbor, MI, 48105
http://www.wccnet.edu
X X

Schools by State

Best Cities for Illustration Schools