2024-2025 Undergraduate Course Catalog 
    Jul 12, 2024  
2024-2025 Undergraduate Course Catalog

Illustration, BFA

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Marty Blake, Program Coordinator

Shaffer Art Building, 315-443-3700


Martha Blake, Robert Dacey, Ginny Hsu, Frank Cammuso, Deborah Donhe, Steven Ellis, Phil McAndrew, 

Program Description

Using visual symbols and imagination, illustrators stimulate curiosity and interest, tell stories, illuminate, and motivate. Therefore, students in the illustration program must be able to draw and to communicate exceptionally well with visual images.

The curriculum, which leads to a B.F.A. degree, is centered on a series of studio courses covering figure drawing, drawing for reproduction, illustration concepts, and the history and development of illustration. At the same time, students embark on individual research projects in specialized areas of illustration. The program balances imagination and individual expression with the continuous development of skills in drawing, painting, digital media, and design as they apply to the communication arts. 

Students must complete a total of 122 degree credits for the Illustration, BFA. This includes 30 credits of liberal arts and science courses, 9 of which must fall under the AIC (Arts in Context) category.

Student Learning Outcomes

1. Demonstrate fundamental skill in traditional and digital media

2. Establish a distinct and unique personal style

3. Display professional level competency in the timely conceptual planning and final execution of their illustrations

4. Create illustrations with specifically articulated professional goals: towards the entertainment industry, editorial publications, in sequential work and / or graphic work

5. Build a professional presence on a multitude of platforms: online, in a physical portfolio and through self-promotional campaigns

6. Apply historical and current perspectives in contextualizing practice

Program Requirements

University Wide Requirement

Arts in Context Requirements: 12 credits

Art in Context can be satisfied by courses related to art and design history, theory and philosophy.

As part of these AIC classes, students must take ILL 255 History of Illustration.

Students must also take AIC 340 Visiting Artist Lecture Series, a 1-credit class, three times, for a total of 3 credits.

Students must also take one of the following survey classes from the Department of Art & Music Histories:

HOA 106 Art and Ideas II

HOA 176 The Visual Arts of the Americas

HOA 378 Twentieth-Century American Art

Students may also petition for a survey-style selected topics class that covers modern or contemporary art, under HOA 200, 300, and 400, to fulfill this requirement. Not all HOA selected topics classes will count; they must be focused on modern or contemporary art (roughly 1860s to present) and must be a survey class, meaning that they cover a broad range of work instead of focusing on a narrow topic.

*The required 12 credits should consist of 9 Liberal Arts & Sciences credits.

Liberal Arts & Sciences (12 credits/Academic Electives (11 credits)*

Academic electives are most courses offered outside of art, design, or transmedia (for example, courses offered in CRS, Arts and Sciences, Whitman, and other colleges outside of VPA). These academic courses usually have non-art-related content, such as math, natural sciences, astronomy, global history, political science, psychology, entrepreneurship, and languages among others. You can find a comprehensive list of approved academic electives here.

*The required 23 credits should consist of Liberal Arts & Sciences Electives (12 credits) and Academic Electives (11 credits).

Studio Electives: 18 credits

Studio electives are courses usually offered in VPA through art, design, or transmedia.  The content of the courses directly relates to the preparation of students for professional careers in art, design, and transmedia. The course content includes, but is not limited to, conceptualization, process, product, and critique of creative work in studio practice. These courses meet for a much longer time, for a minimum of four hours per week for the duration of the semester. Usual meeting patterns are: the class meets once per week for four+ hours, or the class meets twice per week, usually for two or more hours each. You can find a comprehensive list of courses that count as studio electives here.

Total Credits Required: 122

Degree Awarded: BFA in Illustration

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