Students interested in pursuing a career in drawing and illustration have
several educational avenues open to them, ranging from evening and weekend
continuing education courses to two-year and four-year programs.
The school of art and design at Syracuse University, for instance, offers
a four-year fine arts degree with a major in illustration.
Students spend a lot of time in the classroom during the early stages of
the program, but that changes. "In the intro-level courses, students do
a lot of work in the classroom [and] studio, as they learn various media and
techniques," says school director Toni Toland.
"As they move forward, most of their work is done outside the class, and
class time is devoted to lectures and critiques."
San Jose State University also offers a fine arts degree in animation and
illustration. "The first year's schedule is largely foundation work in
drawing, 2D design, color, photography and art history combined with general
education requirements," says professor Courtney Granner.
Toland says a good student should expect to spend 20 hours per week outside
of class working on projects.
There are also many art colleges that offer two-year and even four-year
art programs. Community colleges also offer programs at the two-year level.
Many art schools and community art organizations offer short drawing
courses. You can take advantage of these in high school to start developing
Robert Belton is the associate dean of arts and education at a college.
He encourages students to get involved in the arts community and put together
a portfolio of their own work. "Our best students typically have a breadth
of experience," he says.
"Draw every day," advises Toland. "Keep referring back to your sketchbooks
for ideas for finished images. Draw from life. Go to the mall and make character
sketches of the people. Go to the zoo and draw the animals moving. Set up
still lifes using objects that have meaning to you and draw them."
Besides tuition and books, you may have extra costs associated with field
trips. Some programs require students to purchase supplies.
Occupational Outlook Handbook
For more information related to this field of study, see: Craft
and Fine Artists
Worldwide Arts Resources
A whole list of links to professional illustrators
Provides information on the technical fundamentals of perspective,
shading, color and painting