Art with an Emphasis in Illustration (BFA)


Effective 1 June 2016 through 31 May 2017

Please see the Undergraduate Catalog Archives for PDF versions of past catalogs.

This program offered by Leigh Gerdine College of Fine Arts/Department of Art, Design, and Art History

Program Description

The BFA in Art with an emphasis in Illustration, like other intensive studio degrees, includes a comprehensive examination of the history and theories of visual studies. This approach allows for a wide range of interests and styles, suited for technical, editorial or narrative illustration. 

A study of the creative strategies of global artists throughout history and a core exploration in a range of media encourage students to seek imaginative and innovative approaches to both individual and client-based challenges. More directed study leads to a practical knowledge of the common materials and techniques for illustration, both past and current. ·

The Illustration emphasis culminates in coursework and a thesis project that connect the students' work to content in areas outside of studio practice, such as science, literature, politics, or any range of contemporary global concerns. Through humor, drama, or instructional work students learn how illustrators can be a distinctive voice in shaping our culture.

Students in the BFA program with an emphasis in Illustration fulfill most of the same core requirements as for the BA in studio art. In addition, they must complete 9 further credit hours in Art History and Criticism; 30 credit hours in Illustration-specific courses; and 6 credits in a content area outside of studio practice.

This program is offered through the Department of Art, Design, and Art History in the Leigh Gerdine College of Fine Arts. Please see the Colleges, Schools, and Departments section of this catalog for further information.

Learning Outcomes

Successful graduates of the Illustration program will be able to:

  • Express an individual, creative voice through illustration.
  • Utilize the formal vocabularies of art, art history, and illustration.
  • Practice drawing as a foundation for the complete process of illustration, from concept exploration to finished execution. 
  • Access a broad range of studio experience.
  • Implement the technical skills, theory, and methods applicable to the field of illustration.
  • Draw upon the history of art as a wellspring for ideas, solutions, and meanings within a contemporary, global society.
  • Apply their skills and imagination to create illustrations for content areas outside of studio practice.
  • Assemble a professional portfolio of illustrations for graduate schools or employers.

Special Requirements

Advanced standing as a major in the Department of Art, Design, and Art History is achieved by faculty evaluation of a portfolio of the student's studio coursework during Major Acceptance Review. This evaluation is usually done during the first semester of the sophomore year or after a student has successfully completed 30 credit hours of study, providing the student has completed a minimum of 18 credit hours of studio coursework. Following Major Acceptance Review, students are formally advised of admittance to the department as candidates for the BA program or are advised to resubmit their portfolios the following semester. Students whose portfolios do not receive a favorable evaluation when resubmitted are advised to seek another department for their major. The department notifies students of portfolio review dates. 

Students must apply for BFA candidacy by completing the BFA candidacy form and presenting an acceptable selection of specialized work. This must take place one year prior to graduation. Successful completion of a written application and submission of a selection of work that demonstrates emphasis specialization, technical facility, and conceptual sophistication are required for acceptance. Students receive either written notification of acceptance or a recommendation to continue pursuing a BA after review of the portfolio and application by the faculty of the Department of Art, Design, and Art History.

Degree Requirements

A minimum of 128 credit hours consisting of the following:

  • 84 required credit hours
  • Applicable Global Citizenship Program hours, as adjusted for Art and Design BFAs
  • Electives

Global Citizenship Program for Art and Design BFAs

  • FRSH 1200: First Year Seminar
  • 6 credit hours from courses designated ‘Roots of Cultures’ (ARHS 2200 or ARHS 2210 can fulfill GCP and major requirements simultaneously.)
  • 3 credit hours from courses designated ‘Social Systems & Human Behavior’
  • 3 credit hours from courses designated ‘Global Understanding’
  • 3 credit hours from courses designated ‘Physical & Natural World’ or ‘Quantitative Literacy’
  • KEYS 4XXX: Global Keystone Seminar

NOTE: Except where specified otherwise, the above courses must not also satisfy major requirements. GCP skills requirements may be fulfilled with the courses above, courses in the major, or electives. Arts Appreciation is satisfied in meeting the requirements for the major.

Required Courses

Required Core Courses (33 hours)

  • Art 1010 Creative Strategies (3 hours)
  • Art 1110 Introduction to Drawing (3 hours)
  • Art 1120 Principles of Drawing (3 hours)
  • DESN 1210 Design Concepts (3 hours)
  • Three-Dimensional Requirement (choose one) (3 hours)
    • DESN 1220 Design: 3-D 
    • ART 2510 Sculpture I 
    • ART 2530 Ceramics: Space 
  • ART 2110 Beginning Figure Drawing (3 hours)
  • ART 2120 Intermediate Drawing (3 hours)
  • ARHS 2200 Current Art (3 hours)
  • ARHS 2210 Intercultural History of Art (3 hours)
  • ART 2900 Art Major Acceptance Review (0 hours)
  • One of the following advanced courses: (3 hours)
    • ART 4110 Advanced Drawing*
    • ART 3850 Topics: Illustration
  • ART 4020 Visual Arts Seminar (3 hours)

*ART 4110 is an individually based practicum where Illustration students will work on focused Illustration projects.

Studio Course Distribution (15 hours)

15 credits from at least four of following areas: Painting, Printmaking, Electronic and Time-Based Art, Graphic Design, Animation, Photography.

BFA-Specific Courses (30 hours)

  • ART 3900 BFA Review (0 hours)
  • DESN 1500 Digital Visualization (3 hours)
  • ART 2130 Illustration (3 hours)
  • ART 3150 Anatomy (3 hours)
  • ART 3120 Narrative Figure Drawing (3 hours)
  • ART 3140 Digital Drawing (3 hours)
  • One of the following Animation courses (3 hours)
    • ANIM 4010 Character Design
    • ANIM 4040 Concept Art
  • ARHS courses at 3000 level or above (9 hours)
  • ART 4950 BFA Senior Thesis (3 hours)

Content Outside of ART, DESN, or ANIM (6 hours)

In order to gain knowledge of a content area for illustration, students must take two courses within a single area outside of their major, for example: ENGL, BIO, RELG, etc. These courses must be at the 2000 level or above and cannot be used as Global Citizenship Program credits.