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Illustration Design Degree Outlook

Like artists or animators, most illustrators lean toward drawing by hand. Many illustrators love to draw so much that they often take art classes before they seek higher education. Many illustrators can make a good living without a college education, but they will benefit from learning computer and business programs offered by colleges, as these lessons can help to expand the illustrator's skills.

Illustrators often work on contract, or by the project, as many companies now utilize computer animators or clip art to achieve objectives that illustrators filled many years ago. With that said, illustrators who develop a niche for their skills can find work within various industries.

Illustrators can work as story board artists for studios that produce television commercials, movies, or other multimedia presentations. Other jobs include those with publishing houses to design book covers and illustrations for magazines or books. Still other venues include specialized skills in medical illustrations, or those utilized by various industries that deal with animal health. Both the latter opportunities include specialized education to learn anatomy. In many cases, the illustrator works alone, no matter whether it's at home or in a commercial studio.

Illustrators can lean toward a more graphic aspect to their work, or a fine arts application. Graphic illustrations often are more straightforward, leaving little to the imagination. A fine arts, or conceptual, application would allow the artist some freedom in interpretation of various materials. The medical illustrator, for instance, has little leeway in how anatomy must be represented, especially if that illustration is used by professionals to conduct lessons or to perform medical analysis.

Many colleges offer degrees in fine arts; but it if you know you want to study illustration specifically, it would be best to find a school that combines a fine arts program with a program that caters to drawing with various media including computers. Multimedia programs often contain a component that deals with illustration as well. If you take art classes on the side, this can only add to your skills as a top-notch illustrator.

Some illustrators also develop products for expression that can be sold in venues such as art galleries, art fairs, or in online galleries. Additionally, some illustrators may enter the fashion field as fashion illustrators or costume design illustrators. Skills in drawing, painting, and in computer generated illustrations can help the illustrator become an artist known for a wide range of expression and technique. Sometimes this may spell more money in the bank account than if the artist developed one specific style.


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Master of Arts in Visual Communication Design
  • Liberty University provides a worldclass education from a christ-centered worldview
  • 100% online programs at associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels
  • No standardized testing if student meets admission requirements
  • Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
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Bachelor of Science, Graphic Design (Online)
  • Located in Hollywood, CA, offering degrees in film, music production, business, animation and more.
  • Scholarship, financial aid and military benefits are available for students who qualify.
  • Programs taught by award-winning industry professionals in real-world working environments.
  • Features industry-standard facilities including recording studios, soundstages, green screen, movie theatres and more.
  • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
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Graphic Arts (BS) - Offered Online through Independence University

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Digital Art & Animation
  • Turn your passion into your profession. Explore how Cogswell can help!
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  • Get a 21st Century education in creativity.
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