Illustration BFA Degree

Illustration major reasons graphic



Make your mark in this BFA program.

Perfect your drawing and painting skills, develop your artistic style, and unleash your visual creativity in our nationally-acclaimed Illustration major. 

Master the fundamentals of color, composition, and anatomy in both traditional and digital media, and learn to compose effective and compelling illustrations. Study character design, development, and storyboarding in our Visual Development program. Our students win awards, scholarships, and kick start their careers in illustration at industry giants like Apple, Blue Sky Studios, Cartoon Network, Disney, EA Games, GM, Google, Hallmark, Riot Games, United Airlines, and Zynga. 


Ringling Illustration students will select from two areas of emphasis:


The General Illustration curriculum begins with learning the fundamentals of color theory, composition, and anatomy, employing both digital and traditional media. The goal is to compose works that effectively communicate a message. The core of every illustration is a story to be told, a problem to be solved, or a perspective to be shared. Working in 2D and 3D, students in the Illustration major are introduced to and familiarized with professional industry techniques resulting in a comprehensive and cohesive portfolio that showcases a student’s distinct visual voice. Employment opportunities include surface design for fashion, children's books, editorial including magazine, newspaper, and book cover art, medical manuals, interactive web illustration, technical art, and advertising illustration. Ringling College General Illustration graduates have been hired by American Greetings, Apple, Blue Sky Studios, Cartoon Network, Disney, EA Games, GM, Google, Hallmark, Marvel Comics/Lucasfilm, Riot Games, United Airlines, Walt Disney, Zynga, and many others.


The Visual Development Emphasis focuses on concept art, used by illustrators to convey ideas across the entertainment spectrum in industries including gaming, comics, and graphic novels, film, television (live-action and animated), video, toy design, themed entertainment, publishing, and advertising. Students will learn to visualize and create the art for characters and environments that is later used by modelers, animators, designers, visual effects artists, and other creatives to bring the ideas to life through production. 


2020 Accepted Student Day

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Illustration: Awards & Accolades



#8 in the world for digital illustration for illustration major


most accepted by society of illustrators for illustration major



#2 illustration school by the art career project for illustration major




Illustration Sizzle Reel from Comic Con New York 2018

Illustration Alumni: Where are they now?

Ringling Illustration graduates are working in hundreds of industries around the world!



Morgan Davidson 14 
Freelance | Illustrator  

Teresa Mai 14
Creativo Surface Design | Graphic Designer  

Charlotte Mao 14
Google | Visual Designer  

Veronica Valencia 14
Floyd County Productions | Storyboard Artist  

Natalie Andrewson 13
Freelance | Editorial Illustrator  

Cameron Cottrill 13
Freelance Illustrator

Matt Howley 13 
Harper Collins Publishers | Cover Illustrator  

Andres M. Labrada 13
Freelance | Illustrator; Storyboard Illustrator  

Wren McDonald 13
Freelance | Illustrator; Cartoonist  

Patu Phan 13
American Greetings | Lead Illustrator  

Tyrell Dion Waiters 13
Abercrombie & Fitch | Associate Graphic Designer  

Brett Carville 12
Freelance | Contract Illustrator, Puppet Fabricator and Comic Illustrator  

Jordie Bellaire 10
Freelance | Comic Book Colorist  

Sarah Watts 08
Cotton+Steel Fabrics; Wattsalot
Cofounder/Designer; Illustration/Art Licensing  

Tristan Henry-Wilson 04
McCann Echo | Senior Graphic Designer; Oil Painter  

Tim Rogerson 04
Walt Disney Company | Fine Artist  

Daniel Miyares 02
Hallmark | Master Artist; Author/Illustrator  

Brian Blomer 01
United Airlines | User Experience Designer  

Shawn Barber 99
Memoir Tattoo | Co-owner/Tattooist; Safehouse Atelier; Instructor; Self Employed; Painter/Illustrator  

Phil Noto 92
Marvel Comics/Lucasfilm | Artist  



See more career opportunities on our career support page.


Turning Passion Into Profession



Opportunities for Illustration students


Student Publications
Students are invited to submit artwork each semester for collaborative, theme-based student publications. Contributing to these publications offers students exposure to art directors, editors, art buyers, and also helps them build a fan base. Current publications include a graphic novel called Meanwhile, a theme-based children's book, and a visual development book called Design Unscripted.


Work with our Career Services Center to prepare and guide you to finding an internship focused on your area of interest – we are here to help!  With networks around the region and the country, we help you gain exposure to professional best practices and practical application of your technical skills. We are constantly connecting with industry professionals to find new, exciting opportunities to put your skills to work and get a taste of real-world work demands. 



Society of Illustrators Annual Competiton 
To date, Ringling College students have won more awards in the 40 year history of the Society of Illustrators than any other college and comprise the highest number of accepted entries into the Society’s annual Student Scholarship Competition. About 300 works are chosen from more than 8,700 entries submitted by professors of college-level students nationwide. A competition which can kick start a career, the Student Scholarship Competition challenges students to bring their most sophisticated, well-crafted and original work to be tested by a jury of professional peers, including illustrators and art directors, who selects the most outstanding works created throughout the year.



The Collaboratory
We are proud to say that every Ringling student, regardless of major, is guaranteed the opportunity to gain professional work experience. Our Collaboratory Commitment pairs teams of Ringling students with local businesses to give students a taste of real-world projects, expectations, and deadlines. Facilitated by Collaboratory staff, students will meet with clients looking for creative, unconventional solutions to their branding and design challenges and execute the entire creative process of concepting, presenting, and building campaigns that meet their demands.

Design Center
Put your illustration skills to work in our in-house design firm where things get real. Working with our dedicated faculty and in-house designers, you will have the opportunity to solve real communications problems for external clients, as well as for Ringling College events, exhibitions, and recruitment efforts.


Check out our minors, learn more about our faculty or download the curriculum.



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