Illustration Emphasis - B.F.A.
As an Illustrator, you can look forward to rich and diverse professional opportunities. Faculty will help you explore a variety of media and styles to find your best professional fit. Our alumni work in areas as varied as magazines, book covers, children’s books, website design, advertising, clothing design, greeting cards, educational materials, social/political advocacy, animation, and gallery work.
Students interested in an illustration education may pursue a B.F.A. in Studio Art with this emphasis, or pursue a B.A./B.S. degree in Art Education with this emphasis as well.
BFA in Studio Art, Illustration Emphasis
The B.F.A. in Studio Art is designed for students interested in a professional career in art. Aside from Illustration, seven other Emphasis Areas are available to choose from in the B.F.A. degree.
BA/BS in Art Education and K-12 certification
Students may also pursue a BA or BS Degree in Art Education in which they can choose to take Illustration courses.
Only illustrators with broad-based knowledge, good business sense, superior research skills, technical facility, and sustained commitment will succeed. The illustration curriculum for this emphasis is designed to help students become adept in these areas and to help them learn to balance historical perspectives of the field with an awareness of contemporary practices. In addition, majors are encouraged to balance aesthetic sensitivity with professional practicality and traditional craft with individual creativity.
“My education prepared me to do the actual work of illustrating these pieces but also prepared me to manage clear communication with clients, write contracts, and establish a work ethic dedicated to completing things in a proper time.”
—CHRIS SHEARER, BFA, STUDIO ART (ILLUSTRATION), 2006
Classes in the illustration program are held in the illustration and painting studios as well as computer labs in Calder Art Center. These diverse facilities help students cultivate the technical proficiency necessary to develop their individual artistic focus and personal approach to the field. Many students in the illustration emphasis have personal studio spaces in a common room that encourage informal discussions between peers.
Graduates of the Studio Art – Illustration program possess knowledge, experience, and unique skills that are highly desirable and transferable, enabling them to seek employment in career fields both within and outside of the fine arts. Art degrees can lead to future work opportunities in a gallery, non-profit cultural organization, or museum.
Illustration Emphasis Graduates Work As...
- Freelance artist/ entrepreneur
- Painter (portrait artist)/ mural artist
- Logo & Branding Designer
- Freelance illustrator
- Pattern Designer (wallpapers, carpets, etc.)
- Concept Artist
- Cartoonist/ graphic novelist
- Community-based artist
Where GVSU Alumni Have Worked...
- American Greetings
- Cabin Time Artist Residencies
- California Institute of the Arts
- Disney ABC Television Group
- New England Journal of Medicine
- State of Michigan, Education
- Zondervan Publishing
Illustration emphasis students are encouraged to pursue professional connections from the start in the program, engaging in internship experiences, on-campus employment, and the Illustration Student Club.
SIGIL Illustration Club
Student Interest Group Illustration (SIGIL) is a GVSU based illustration group open to all art and non-art majors, including university alumni. SIGIL is Grand Valley's very first organization for students who enjoy drawing and sharing their artwork with others. We meet weekly and make art, sell art, and bring new resources to Grand Valley's artistic community.
GVSU Career Center
The Career Center offers a wide variety of events to help you successfully land after graduating from GVSU!
For questions about the Illustration area, please contact:
1108 Calder Arts Center