Illustration Degree: What to expect?

Admit it, you still browse through picture books at the library and can name your favorite from your childhood. Heck, you might even still own it. There’s a reason kids love picture books, and it has little to do with the story. Brightly colored pictures and lifelike animals bring to life exciting worlds and characters that become close friends.

For those with the ability to draw and the desire to work with others, a job as an Illustrator might be the perfect fit. In this job, you work with Authors and Designers to draw maps, cartoons, books, and even the latest fashion illustrations or exhibits.


Before you can pick up your colored pencils in a professional capacity, you first need a degree in illustration. Luckily for you, there are plenty of options to choose from, and you can pick one that fits your budget, schedule, and future career plan.

If you want to get your foot in the door, look for either an associate’s or a bachelor’s degree in illustration. You’ll take classes like figure drawing, interactive illustration, and development of comics. These classes walk you through the basics of drawing before teaching you the more complex flow that is the creation of a comic or picture book.

For those who can’t or don’t want to spend hours in a classroom, there are a variety of online illustration programs available. Through these, you can get everything from an associate’s to a master’s depending on the school you choose to attend.

Next Step

For those already in the field or hoping to break in post-college, consider getting a master’s in illustration. This degree will allow you to work on your drawing, painting, and figure-rendition skills, and teach different forms of media in a more in-depth manner.

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