Art (BFA) with an Emphasis in Illustration


Effective 1 June 2023 through 31 May 2024

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

This program is offered by the Leigh Gerdine College of Fine Arts/Department of Art, Design and Art History and is only available at the St. Louis main campus.

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.

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

All BFA in Art with an emphasis in Illustration majors must register for ART 1900: First-Year Exhibition in the spring of their first year. The First-Year Exhibition is an opportunity for students to display their work with their first-year cohort in a group exhibition with a public reception, offering an opportunity to consider their progress and direction, and celebrating their accomplishments. DADAH faculty review the work and offer feedback.

All BFA in Art with an Emphasis in Illustration majors must register for ART 2900 DADAH Critique in the first semester after completing 18 studio credits. For traditional freshmen this will occur in the fall or spring of their sophomore year. For transfer students this will occur in their first semester at Webster, or when they have a combined total of 18 studio credits. The DADAH Critique is a review of student progress by DADAH full and part-time faculty held on one day during the fall and spring semesters. Following the review, students will meet with their advisor to discuss faculty concerns and recommendations as written on the evaluation form by the advisor during the review. In some cases a student may be advised to undergo a second review in the following semester. 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 completion of the degree. Students receive either written notification of acceptance or a recommendation to resubmit after review of the portfolio and application are reviewed by the faculty of the Department of Art, Design and Art History.

Degree Requirements

For information on the general requirements for a degree, see Baccalaureate Degree Requirements under the Academic Policies and Information section of this catalog.

A minimum of 120 credit hours consisting of the following:

  • 73 required credit hours
  • 18 Global Citizenship Program credit hours (see distribution requirements below)
  • 29 elective credit hours

Required Courses

Core Distribution

  • ART 1010 Creative Strategies (3 hours)
  • ART 1150 Observational Drawing (3 hours)
  • ART 1310 Materials and Making (3 hours)
  • ART 1900 First-Year Exhibition (0 hours)
  • DESN 1500 Digital Visualizations (3 hours)
  • ARHS 2200 Current Art (3 hours)
  • ARHS 2210 Intercultural History of Art (3 hours)
  • ART 2900 DADAH Critique (0 hours)
  • ART 3900 BFA Review (0 hours)
  • ART 4030 Senior Critique (3 hours)
  • ART 4910 DADAH BA/BFA Exhibition (1 hour)
  • Drawing electives (see below) (6 hours)
  • Studio course distribution (see below) (15 hours)
  • Art History and Criticism electives (see below) (9 hours)

Illustration-specific courses

  • ART 2130 Illustration (3 hours)
  • ART 3120 Narrative Figure Drawing (3 hours)
  • ART 3150 Anatomy Studies (3 hours)
  • ART 3160 Topics in Illustration and Drawing (3 hours)
  • One of the following:
    • ANIM 4010 Character Design (3 hours)
    • ANIM 4040 Concept Art (3 hours)
  • ART 4130 Professional Practice for Illustrators (3 hours)

Content Outside of ART, DESN, or ANIM (3 hours)

In order to gain knowledge of a content area for illustration, students must take one course within a single area outside of their major, for example: ENGL, BIOL, RELG, etc. This course must be at the 2000-level or above and cannot be used as Global Citizenship Program credits. It should be within a subject that is directed toward the final thesis.

Other Program Requirements

  • Students must complete a minimum of 15 credit hours of coursework in drawing, including ART 1150 and six additional credit hours of drawing electives, and the additional requirements of ART 3120 and ART 3150.
  • Fifteen (15) credit hours of coursework selected from at least four of the following studio areas: painting, printmaking, graphic design, animation, photography, sculpture, time-based art.
  • Students must complete three ARHS courses at the 3000 level or above.
  • Students must complete the following GCP Program requirements:
    • Global Cornerstone Seminar (3 hours)
    • One (1) Roots of Cultures (ROC) course (3 hours)
    • One (1) Social Systems and Human Behavior (SSHB) course (3 hours)
    • One (1) Global Understanding course (3 hours)
    • One (1) Physical and Natural World or Quantitative Literacy course (3 hours)
    • Keystone Seminar (3 hours)
    • NOTE: Arts Appreciation and 1 SSHB is waived and ARHS 2200 or ARHS 2210 fulfills 1 ROC.
    • NOTE: One course of the above must be coded for the Ethical Reasoning skill; other GCP Skill Areas are fulfilled by DADAH Core Distribution courses.