The Illustration BFA program encompasses a wide range of professional markets, including graphic narratives from children's books to comics, character design, concept art, editorial, and surface design.
The Illustration program is all about productivity, professionalism, and serious play: you choose illustration because you have a story to tell, a character to bring to life, a sequence to storyboard, or are just compelled to make stuff. Using visual language and a wide range of tools and methods, you'll have the skills to conceptualize and execute projects that prepare you for a career in the professional world. We promote a variety of approaches to studio work, from traditional to experimental, from 2D to 3D, from classic mediums to the latest digital technology.
You'll begin with courses like Illustration Now, which combines making lots of work with exploring the many areas that contemporary illustrators occupy. Followed by Principles of Illustration in your second semester, where you learn the process by which great illustrative ideas are conceived and developed with art direction into compelling images. Your first year builds the foundation for you to become more sophisticated and thus professional in developing concepts, using appropriate techniques, and creating and presenting engaging work. This is an ongoing and iterative undertaking that begins in art school and continues throughout your art career.
Our innovative departmental offerings include a variety of approaches to making illustration including courses like Alternative Comix & The Graphic Novel, The Illustrated Product, Concept Art, Animal Anatomy, Character Design, Visual Journalism, Intro to Indie Games, Techniques: Mixed Media and many more. We encourage you to develop and follow what inspires you and to explore any of the many art making and academic approaches offered across programs at Lesley.
We guide you to your goals through rigorous and engaging course work and critique, individual mentoring, healthy and supportive competition and collaboration with your peers. Our active community includes the Illustration Club, well known visiting artists, trips to museums and other places of interest, exciting professional internships, and a philosophy of involvement in global and popular culture.
We know that the successful illustrator has a strong and unique voice that combines ideas, mediums and techniques, and the professional marketing skills to successfully promote work - from visual narratives in children's books and comics, to character design, storyboard, editorial, and surface design, Illustration offers infinite possibilities for you to leave your mark.
We are committed to your growth through a solid general education and studio based learning. It is our goal to help you develop awareness and self-direction as well as critical thinking and the concrete skills of your craft. We are committed to your development as an artist who knows the value of hard work, passion, innovation, fearlessness, collaboration, and play. Illustrators are shapers of popular culture both high and low; you've got something to give the world and we are here to facilitate that.
Specific evolution of skills for Illustration Majors:
Beyond traditional super-heroic narratives, sequential art in America (and beyond) is wide-open in both content and format. From short, autobiographical meditations to thousand page historical epics, indy and alternative authors create comics from low-tech to polished, from low-brow to avant garde. Weekly assignments will push your storytelling skills, while class lectures demonstrate the vast range of comic book genres and production methods. Your comics can be anything you want, and in this class, they will be.
Animal Anatomy The course is an introduction to the study of animal anatomy and kinesiology through drawing animals from life, animal skeletons and taxidermied specimens. It is designed to help create animal or animalistic characters as well as biologically accurate illustrations.
View the Illustration Course Catalog
Assistant Professor of Illustration
Associate Professor, Chair of Illustration
Animation and Motion Media
College of Art and Design
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Calling all high school juniors! Head to Cambridge this spring for our Junior Preview Day event. Learn more and RSVP to reserve your spot.
Learn more about Renee and Keith who were excited to recollect fond memories of art school, how they started working at FableVision, and how they fell in love.
Learn more about Illustration Student Danielle Maio. She talks with us about her favorite classes and her current artwork.
View the BFA Illustration Student Work Gallery
Start interacting with current illustration students and faculty and get an inside look at the College of Art and Design by
joining the Illustration Club Facebook Group and visiting the Illustration Club Blog.