Most illustration programs are offered through fine arts departments and can be completed either in-person or online within four years. Courses in illustration are also available in both for-credit and non-credit formats through continuing education departments. In general, coursework involves honing a diverse number of artistic and arts-related business skills. Core concepts include the following:
- Color and composition
- Tools and techniques
- Traditional and digital design
- Professional presentation and marketing
- Historical and contemporary illustration
List of Common Courses
Basic Illustration Concepts Course
This introductory course covers basic drawing techniques, such as composition, design and color. Students work with various mediums to learn how to communicate ideas through illustration. The course is designed to give students a firm understanding of proper drawing techniques while also allowing them to develop their own techniques and artistic personas.
Introduction to Book Illustration Course
This course teaches students to create stories utilizing illustrations. Students read fiction and produce illustrations based on their artistic interpretations of the stories. Additionally, they explore various book genres to observe to what extent illustrations can vary among genres.
Children's Book Illustration Course
The children's genre focuses on bringing out narratives through illustrations, so that the pictures themselves can tell cohesive stories. Participants investigate a variety of children's books, including those spanning both children and adult markets, and are required to make illustrations capable of speaking to a broader, more mature audience. Students usually take this course midway through an illustration program; it is sometimes offered as an elective course in certificate programs.
Comic Book Illustration Course
Comic book art is a unique area of illustration because it is the illustrations themselves that are primarily used to tell stories. This course inspects the elements and design techniques used in comic books, such as storyboarding, layout, composition and sequential illustration. Students study the different stages of comic book creation and story development, and examine the evolution of the comic book/graphic novel medium.
Digital Media in Illustration Course
Students learn to use illustration software, such as Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop, to enhance their hand-drawn illustrations and create digital versions. Participants' goals are to master the tools, layouts, coloring techniques and other numerous features of various illustration-oriented software programs.