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Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) Degree

The School of Illustration's BFA program embraces the art of visual and conceptual storytelling in any medium. Students develop the skills necessary to transform themselves into skilled, distinctive, professional illustrators able meet the marketplace’s growing need for artists trained in visual problem solving in both traditional and digital media. Exciting career paths await in comics and graphic novels, children's books, advertising, editorial illustration, and interactive illustration.

BFA Illustration Unit Requirements

Core 36 Units
Major 42 Units
Art Electives 9 units
Liberal Arts 45 units
TOTAL 132 units

BFA Illustration Degree Requirements

  • 3 Written Communication courses
  • 4 Art Historical Awareness courses
  • 1 Historical Awareness course
  • 1 Quantitative Literacy course
  • 1 Cultural Ideas and Influences course
  • 1 Employment Communications and Practices course

And:

  • Minimum 2.0 GPA
  • Minimum grade of C- in all core courses, major courses, and LA 108 Composition for the Artist

Additional Information

BFA Program Learning Outcomes

Undergraduate students will meet the following student performance criteria:

Drawing

  • Effectively utilize line, edge, value and design in their work
  • Draw with opinion and evidence of individual style
  • Accurately and appropriately interpret the figure, landscape, and architecture

Composition and Color

  • Effectively use focal point, eye path and value
  • Create coherent thumbnails, comps, and layouts
  • Use color and value effectively to enhance story and ideas

Tools and Technique

  • Execute their illustration work using appropriate tools and media

Visual Problem Solving

  • Demonstrate in their portfolio the ability to meet client needs and solve client problems
  • Tell a story visually and/or create visually engaging and conceptually meaningful imagery

Personal Style

  • Illustrate in a consistent and uniquely identifiable style

Critical Thinking and Development

  • Demonstrate the ability to research for inspiration, reference, accuracy, and incorporate findings into client-based solutions.
  • Articulate intentions and analyze whether or not work meets objectives

Presentation Skills

  • Professionally articulate ideas and proposals

Professional Development

  • Create cohesive digital and printed portfolios that incorporate current industry practices and presentation standards
  • Generate and maintain a business/career plan
  • Understand and practice professional pricing, contract, and bookkeeping skills
  • (Midpoint) Clearly articulate career goals

Specialty Skills

  • Print & Publication and Comics: Create engaging narratives that demonstrate an understanding of the elements of storytelling: idea, structure, conflict, character, and imagery
  • Publication & Print and Comics: Display continuity and consistent character in layouts
  • Comics: Demonstrate an understanding comic art dialog and symbols through appropriate placement of communication symbols within layouts
  • Entertainment Art: Display their process for exploring and developing ideas and designs

Academy of Art University Learning Outcomes
Graduates of the Academy of Art University will demonstrate the ability to:

  1. Produce a body of work suitable for seeking professional opportunities in their chosen field of art and design.
  2. Solve creative problems within their field of art and design, including research and synthesis of technical, aesthetic, and conceptual knowledge.
  3. Communicate their ideas professionally and connect with their intended audience using visual, oral, and written presentation skills relevant to their field.
  4. Execute technical, aesthetic, and conceptual decisions based on an understanding of art and design principles.
  5. Evaluate work in their field, including their own work, using professional terminology.
  6. Recognize the influence of major cultural and aesthetic trends, both historical and contemporary, on art and design products.
  7. Learn the professional skills and behaviors necessary to compete in the global marketplace for art and design.

Associate of Arts (AA) Degree

The School of Illustration's AA program emphasizes the fundamentals of illustration and offers a balanced approach to classical and digital illustration techniques and ideation skills. Foundational illustration courses focus on figure drawing, anatomy, rendering, and traditional media including charcoal and paint. Digital media courses focus on imagery using both vector and bitmap tools.

AA Illustration Unit Requirements

Core 33 units
Major 15 units
Liberal Arts 18 units
TOTAL 66 units

AA Illustration Degree Requirements

  • 2 Written Communication courses
  • 2 Art Historical Awareness courses
  • 1 Employment Communications & Practices course

And:

  • Minimum 2.0 GPA
  • Minimum grade of C- in all core courses, major courses, and LA 108 Composition for the Artist

Additional Information

AA Program Learning Outcomes

Undergraduate students will meet the following student performance criteria:

Drawing and Composition

  • Demonstrate basic skills in drawing and composition
  • Use color and value support story and ideas
  • Create thumbnails, comps, and layouts as part of design process

Tools & Technique

  • Execute illustrations using appropriate tools and media

Critical Thinking

  • Demonstrate the ability to conduct visual research for inspiration, reference, and accuracy

Professional Readiness

  • Produce basic materials required for an entry-level job search

Academy of Art University Learning Outcomes
Graduates of the Academy of Art University will demonstrate the ability to:

  1. Produce a body of work suitable for seeking professional opportunities in their chosen field of art and design.
  2. Solve creative problems within their field of art and design, including research and synthesis of technical, aesthetic, and conceptual knowledge.
  3. Communicate their ideas professionally and connect with their intended audience using visual, oral, and written presentation skills relevant to their field.
  4. Execute technical, aesthetic, and conceptual decisions based on an understanding of art and design principles.
  5. Evaluate work in their field, including their own work, using professional terminology.
  6. Recognize the influence of major cultural and aesthetic trends, both historical and contemporary, on art and design products.
  7. Learn the professional skills and behaviors necessary to compete in the global marketplace for art and design.

Certificate

The four year certificate program provides students with a disciplined approach to the study of Illustration. Student portfolios will demonstrate the variety of skills and creativity developed. Graduates enter the field prepared for professional opportunities in Illustration. Students take electives and art history courses to round out their experience. Unlike the BFA program, students pursuing the Certificate program do not take liberal arts coursework.

Certificate in Illustration Unit Requirements

Core 36 Units
Major 42 Units
By Advisement 24 units
Art Electives 12 units
Art History 6 units
TOTAL 120 units

Illustration Certificate Requirements

  • Minimum 2.0 GPA
  • Minimum grade of C- in all major coursework

Certificate Program Learning Outcomes

Undergraduate students will meet the following student performance criteria:

Drawing

  • Effectively utilize line, edge, value and design in their work
  • Draw with opinion and evidence of individual style
  • Accurately and appropriately interpret the figure, landscape, and architecture

Composition and Color

  • Effectively use focal point, eye path and value
  • Create coherent thumbnails, comps, and layouts
  • Use color and value effectively to enhance story and ideas

Tools and Technique

  • Execute their illustration work using appropriate tools and media

Visual Problem Solving

  • Demonstrate in their portfolio the ability to meet client needs and solve client problems
  • Tell a story visually and/or create visually engaging and conceptually meaningful imagery

Personal Style

  • Illustrate in a consistent and uniquely identifiable style

Critical Thinking and Development

  • Demonstrate the ability to research for inspiration, reference, accuracy, and incorporate findings into client-based solutions.
  • Articulate intentions and analyze whether or not work meets objectives

Presentation Skills

  • Professionally articulate ideas and proposals

Professional Development

  • Create cohesive digital and printed portfolios that incorporate current industry practices and presentation standards
  • Generate and maintain a business/career plan
  • Understand and practice professional pricing, contract, and bookkeeping skills
  • (Midpoint) Clearly articulate career goals

Specialty Skills

  • Print & Publication and Comics: Create engaging narratives that demonstrate an understanding of the elements of storytelling: idea, structure, conflict, character, and imagery
  • Publication & Print and Comics: Display continuity and consistent character in layouts
  • Comics: Demonstrate an understanding comic art dialog and symbols through appropriate placement of communication symbols within layouts
  • Entertainment Art: Display their process for exploring and developing ideas and designs

Academy of Art University Learning Outcomes
Graduates of the Academy of Art University will demonstrate the ability to:

  1. Produce a body of work suitable for seeking professional opportunities in their chosen field of art and design.
  2. Solve creative problems within their field of art and design, including research and synthesis of technical, aesthetic, and conceptual knowledge.
  3. Communicate their ideas professionally and connect with their intended audience using visual, oral, and written presentation skills relevant to their field.
  4. Execute technical, aesthetic, and conceptual decisions based on an understanding of art and design principles.
  5. Evaluate work in their field, including their own work, using professional terminology.
  6. Recognize the influence of major cultural and aesthetic trends, both historical and contemporary, on art and design products.
  7. Learn the professional skills and behaviors necessary to compete in the global marketplace for art and design.

Classes

Not ready for a degree program? Explore our course catalog and take classes based around your interests and schedule online or in our world-class facilities in San Francisco.

Undergraduate Degree Breakdowns

Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA)

Rooted in practical skills and professional knowledge, the BFA degree provides students with a disciplined approach to the study of Illustration. The general education program (Liberal Arts) supports major coursework by promoting the breadth of knowledge, critical thinking and communications skills necessary to analyze issues from multiple perspectives. Student portfolios will demonstrate the variety of skills and creativity developed. Graduates enter the field prepared for professional opportunities in Illustration.

Associate of Arts (AA)

The Associate of Arts degree provides students with an introduction to a particular field of study in art and design with a firm foundation in the concepts and problem-solving skills of that field. Once earned, the Associate's degree can also be used as a stepping stone to the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. The Academy of Art University Associate of Arts Degree is specifically designed for seamless transition into the Academy of Art University Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree and to apply for entry level positions in the industry.

 

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Lisa Berrett

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