Digital Art Classes at Sessions College

Instructor-Led Digital Art Classes

Professional Certificate in Digital Arts

Expand your creative drawing and design skills

ENROLL NOW for our next start:

August 1, 2024

Program Overview

In the Professional Certificate in Digital Arts program, students develop a foundation in the technical and creative skills for digital art and illustration. Students explore the intricacies of Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, building their understanding of color and composition through projects in traditional drawing and vector illustration.

  • Create digital artwork in Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator.
  • Enhance your drawing skills using traditional techniques.
  • Learn and apply current vector illustration methods.
  • Build a foundation in visual design.
  • Expand your artistic portfolio with expert feedback.

Instructor-Led Program

  • Project-based courses from industry-leading design and digital media professionals.
  • Learn at your own pace—no mandatory logins or preset meeting times.
  • Build skills through mentoring and critique from expert instructors.

A Better Way to Learn

Study at your own pace


Study 100% online from anywhere with 24/7 access to classes.

Learn by doing


Complete your program on your own time in 9 months or less.

Connect with pros

Industry Relevant

Develop in-demand skills for your creative field.

grow your portfolio


Customize your program with added courses and concentrations.

Digital Arts Courses

Program Curriculum

Designed for the busy adult learner, the Professional Certificate in Digital Arts is a 360 clock hour program completed in nine months studying part time. Our diverse selection of online digital art classes creates a program that’s robust, effective, and led by expert faculty with decades of experience as working artists.


Get expert feedback in classes taught by our industry-leading faculty.

Andrew Shalat

Andrew Shalat

Andrew Shalat is an author, designer/illustrator, educator, and Mac expert. Since 1985 he has been designing and writing articles about Macintosh, Mac software, and publishing technologies that have appeared in Macworld, and (for which he was a columnist writing "Shalat's Web"). He has been a regular speaker/faculty member at Macworld Expo since 2001 and has written three books: How to Do Everything with Online Video (McGraw-Hill, Osborne), Do It Yourself Mac Projects (McGraw-Hill), and MacDesign Out of the Box (Peachpit). Andrew is a regular contributor to design and Macintosh related sites including Inside Mac Radio, InDesign Magazine, and His design work covers a large range of media including book, CD and DVD covers, brochures, catalogs, outdoor signage, print ads, artwork, logos, Flash and Web design, and grocery lists. Over the past two decades, Andrew has taught literature, writing, Web design, and print design.

Bruce Bicknell faculty profile image

Bruce Bicknell

Bruce Bicknell is a writer, instructor, illustrator, animator, Web designer, video editor, marketing pro, and graphic designer based in Tampa, Florida. In his career he has worked on projects for Adobe Systems, ATI, Photoshop Elements Techniques, MacTribe, Yellow Machine, and Mac Design, to name a few. Bruce has Associate degrees in Computer Animation and Web Development from The International Academy of Design and Technology.

Jordon Schranz

Jordon Schranz

Jordon Schranz is an audio/visual artist and designer whose work has been exhibited internationally in New York, Chicago, El Paso, Berlin, Bogotá, and Ciudad Juárez. In addition he has performed hundreds of shows across the United States as part of the free jazz trio, "The Eastern Seaboard" and in the avant-rock group "Quivers" with Ninni Morgia, including New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Chicago, Atlanta, and Detroit.

Piper Nilsson Faculty profile

Piper Nilsson

Piper Nilsson is a graphic designer and educator. Piper was greatly influenced by studying art history at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and learned to apply principles of fine art to graphic design. She has over 10 years of experience teaching at Sessions. Piper has been working with the Web since 1997, when she began her career at a leading Web design agency. Working in various roles as a designer, programmer, and information architect, she blueprinted sites for such global clients as MetLife, Pepsi, ETS, and Citibank. Piper is currently working as a freelancer, based in Valencia, Spain. Her recent projects include a Spanish language podcast and travel app. Piper received a Sessions College outstanding instructor award in December 2011 and won a USDLA Platinum Award Best Practices Awards for Excellence in Distance Learning Teaching in April 2012. Piper holds an Associate's degree in Graphic Design from the Pratt Institute.

View All faculty.

Course Descriptions

4226 Illustrator Basics

Build a working knowledge of Adobe Illustrator, the graphic designer’s vector program of choice. Course projects explore selection tools, drawing tools, layers, the Pen tool, transformations/distortions, type tools, and modifying paths and shapes. Tapping the power of vector software allows you to produce detailed and scalable art for almost any application. Learn more

4501 Drawing I

Learn how to analyze what you see in the world around you and communicate it on paper. Through hands-on projects, and guided by a professional artist, you will explore the critical concepts of line, mass, form, perspective, value, and composition, building a solid foundation for all your art and design work. Learn more

4218 Photoshop Basics

Get a thorough grounding in Adobe Photoshop, the premiere image-manipulation tool for print design, Web design, and photography. You'll learn to choose and use the best techniques for common Photoshop jobs including selecting and isolating objects, creating image composites, masking and vignetting images, setting typography, and improving images with retouching and effects. Every designer must tame this creative powerhouse of a program. Learn more

4023 Design Foundations

Color is a fundamental medium for any artist or designer. Typography is what sets designers apart from other artists. Composition, literally the assembly or construction of elements, is the artful arrangement that guides the viewer's eye through an image. In this course, you will analyze everything from Grand Masters to Madison Avenue ads to tubes of toothpaste, and discover how color, type, and composition are combined to create effective and powerful visual communications. Class projects challenge you to build and apply your design skills in application to real-life creative scenarios.Learn more

4227 Illustrator Advanced

Create photo-realistic illustrations, complex patterns, rich designs and learn how to speed your efforts with helpful workflow features. You'll build on your existing Illustrator skills to tackle high-end projects with depth, dimension, and wow-power. Learn more

4222 Digital Illustration Advanced

Learn advanced illustration and Adobe Illustrator techniques for communicating your creative concepts. This course explores how a professional illustrator approaches creating editorial illustrations, icons, retro poster designs, illustrations with depth, and identity designs. Open-ended projects will help you develop portfolio-quality illustrations, and peer discussions and critiques will provide valuable interaction opportunities. Learn more

Build Your Own Learning Path

This program is adaptable to a wide range of experience levels. Choose the option(s) below that best meet your learning goals.

Option 1


New to the field? Simply complete all required courses in the certificate program.

Option 2


Already have some industry and/or software experience? Customize up to 50% of your programChoose from courses in Graphic Design, Web Design, Motion & Video, and more by choosing alternate courses.

Option 3


Need more training? After you've completed your program, add concentrations at reduced tuitionChoose from concentrations in Graphic Design, Digital Photography, Digital Media, and more to enhance your creative skills.

Program Outcomes

By completing the program, Professional Certificate in Digital Arts students develop the following competencies:

1. Drawing

Draw and paint utilizing traditional media and classic techniques, demonstrating a command of proportion, perspective, value contrast, and the human figure.

2. Technology

Create digital images and illustrations by effectively and efficiently using creative software including Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and other industry technologies.

3. Illustration

Conceptualize, create and provide illustrations for a range of commercial applications in traditional or digital media.

4. Art/Design Principles

Demonstrate the ability to produce visually compelling work by applying knowledge of color, typography, and composition.

Sessions Student Work

Career Outlook for Illustrators

Illustrators produce a wide range creative work for a myriad of industries including illustrating for editorial, books, concept art for games and animation, technical and medical illustration, advertising, logo design, packaging, cartoons, digital art, and more. Illustrators need to demonstrate technical expertise, artistic ability, business skills, creativity, customer-service skills, dexterity, and interpersonal skills.

Job Titles

Graduates could be employed as Editorial Illustrator, Children’s Book Illustrator, Concept Artist for Games and Animation, Technical and Medical Illustrator, Product Design and Licensing, Freelance Illustrator, Production Artist, Graphic Designer, Assistant Designer, Concept Artist, and User Experience (UX) Designer.

Median Annual Wage

According to the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics the median annual wage* for craft and fine artists including illustrators was $52,910.

In May 2023, the median annual wages for craft and fine artists including illustrators in these top industries they work within:

Federal government, excluding postal service$105,640
Motion picture and sound recording industries$95,970
Personal care services$49,170
Independent artists, writers, and performers$45,970

Job Projections

Employment opportunities for illustrators are projected to grow 4 percent from 2022 to 2032.

There are about 5,500 projected openings for craft and fine artists including illustrators each year, on average, over the decade.

What Students Say

I had thought about a degree in Digital Arts for a long time but couldn't commit to another BA or an AA degree. The Sessions Professional Certificate has been perfect for me so far in terms of timing, flexibility, and cost.

Jeanne Gonzalez

Professional Certificate in Digital Arts, Class of 2022

Getting Started

Our Digital Arts Certificate online application process makes getting started easy, fast, and convenient.

What's the Admissions Process?
Open Admissions.

The Professional Certificate is open admissions, with classes starting each month. To apply for the program, simply complete our free, no-obligation application and select your program options. Applicants are expected to have graduated high school.

How Long is the Program?
Nine Month Program.

The program can be completed in nine months studying on a part time schedule. Since you study at your pace, you may complete it sooner! If you need more time to complete, there is a painless extension policy for an additional 6 months of access for students who qualify based on academic progress.

Will the Program Fit My Schedule?

There are no set login times, so you can complete your program at your own pace in our most flexible program. A designated Student Advisor will track your progress from class to class, providing you support and motivation.

What Software or Supplies Do I Need?

To take this program, you’ll need the following:

  • Mac or Windows computer with an Internet connection.
  • A digital camera for photographing drawing work.
  • Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator CC.
  • Your computer must meet software manufacturer requirements.

There are no textbook or course material costs to participate in this online program. Student discount on Adobe Creative Cloud software is available to enrolled students.

What are the Program Costs?

Sessions College programs are flexible and affordable. There are no textbooks required; tuition costs include all digital materials.

Tuition and FeesProfessional CertificateProfessional Certificate PLUS
Registration Fee$200$200
Total Cost$2,750$3,750

Paid in Full Discount: Total cost is $2,700 (regularly $2,750) for Professional Certificate students who pay in full. Total cost for Professional Certificate PLUS students who pay in full is $3,700 (regularly $3,750).

Enrollment in any certificate program requires a $200 registration fee (non-refundable after 5 days of enrollment in the program). All tuition and fees must be paid on time, including those paid by third parties.

Can I Use a Payment Plan?

Most definitely. Affording your education is easier with our Payment Plan.

  1. Pay for your Professional Certificate with 11 monthly payments of $250, or pay for your Professional Certificate PLUS with 13 monthly payments of $288.
  2. Once you’ve set up your plan, your payments are automatic.
  3. Your first payment which includes a $200 Registration Fee.