Art Center College of Design | Pasadena, California | Learn to Create. Influence Change.


“Illustrators are thinkers, image makers, provocateurs and ultimately, artists who work in all creative fields.”

Ann Field, Chair

Degree: Bachelor of Fine Arts

Illustration is the defining art form of the 21st century. It connects high fashion and animated movies; retail environments and computer games; political, editorial and street art; books and children’s toys.

The unique ability of illustration to define social, political and cultural ideas makes it an ideal solution for advertising, publishing, feature animation, licensing, retail and editorial projects. To succeed in any of these areas, illustrators must not only master drawing skills but develop ideas and an understanding of illustration’s impact on contemporary culture.

Art Center’s Illustration program is renowned for teaching skills in drawing, painting, perspective, color theory and concept—matched with an education in the history of art, pop culture and ideas. After a thorough grounding in foundation courses, advanced students select an area of focus (or track) best suiting their talent and guiding the development of their practice with a focus on projects relevant to specific careers.

The tracks include:

  • Illustration Design: For students interested in contemporary culture who possesses a graphic sensibility, digital skills and the ability to mix hand and digital practice. Projects are relevant to today’s world of illustration: licensing, publishing, print and motion.
  • Illustration for Motion: For students interested in storyboarding and motion design and who can work collaboratively on motion pieces fit for advertising, music videos, retail environments and public service announcements.
  • Illustration/Fine Art: For students seeking to adapt their illustration skills to a gallery environment. Students participate in advanced classes within the Fine Art Department stressing self-direction, concept and originality.
  • Entertainment Arts: For students whose exceptional skill in drawing, painting and perspective is combined with a love for storytelling, character and narrative environments. Students prepare for a fast-paced career in feature animation.

In January, 2014, the Illustration department relocated to Art Center's newest South Campus facility at 870 South Raymond Avenue, housed within a light-filled, spectacularly renovated former post office building. Illustration students will now have access to added classrooms, individual studio spaces, a dedicated "homeroom" communal work space and several shared exhibition spaces.

Find out more about our department at artcenterillustration.com.

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