About This Program
The Undergraduate Certificate in Illustration provides a thorough foundation in digital and traditional illustration for computer artists. In just two semesters, you’ll gain an understanding of the fundamentals of vector graphics, still life and figure drawing, color theory, composition, painting, and how to implement these concepts using today’s digital arts software tools Photoshop and Illustrator. Students gain a valuable introduction to the practices and workflows of commercial illustrators.
Despite my passion for illustration, I simply could not afford a full time, on-campus degree. Sessions online program has allowed me to overcome the hurdles of my financial and schedule restrictions, and it has been an absolutely life-changing experience.
Student Work By: Maggie Brownstone, Rose Lauer
Advance Your Creative Career
Advance your creative career in a focused 2-semester program.
By Creatives, For Creatives
Collaborate with a community of creative learners and industry professionals.
Enhance Your Portfolio
Enhance your portfolio with creative projects that put you through your paces.
Structure and Flexibility
Weekly deadlines keep you on track, but with no set login times you can build your studies around your schedule.
Education You Can Afford
Affordable programs with low per credit tuition, and financial aid available for those who qualify.
Open Enrollment Program
Open enrollment with a convenient application process.
Studying Online at Sessions
Founded in 1997, Sessions College has delivered accredited and affordable fully online programs for creative professionals for more than 20 years. Take a virtual college tour in this video!
The Undergraduate Certificate in Illustration is a 24-credit program completed in two semesters. Part-time schedules are available.
- DES 121 Photoshop I - 3 credits
- DES 104 Color Theory - 1.5 credits
- DES 105 Design And Composition - 1.5 credits
- DES 141 Illustrator I - 3 credits
- DES 111 Drawing I - 3 credits
- ILL 202 Digital Illustration II - 3 credits
- ILL 111 Life Drawing I - 3 credits
- ILL 204 Painting I - 3 credits
- ILL 209 Commercial Illustration - 3 credits
The program builds a foundation for entry-level illustration and design work or further study. All credits can be later transferred into the Associate in Illustration degree program.
DES 121 Photoshop I - 3 credits
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.
DES 104 Color Theory - 1.5 credits
Focus on developing appropriate color systems for graphic design projects. Projects explore the principles, terminology, and applications of color theory, with an emphasis on manipulating color. A working knowledge of the expression and perception of color, and color interaction, lends credibility and sophistication to a designer’s work.
DES 105 Design and Composition - 1.5 credits
Discover the principles of effective composition in print design and advertising. Composition, literally the assembly of elements, is the artful arrangement that guides the eye and unifies a design work. Case studies and hands-on projects address closed/open space, negative space, movement, and more.
DES 141 Illustrator I - 3 credits
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.
DES 111 Drawing I - 3 credits
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.
ILL 202 Digital Illustration II - 3 credits
Learn advanced illustration and Adobe Illustrator techniques for communicating your creative concepts. This course explores 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.
ILL 111 Life Drawing I - 3 credits
Follow traditional method to learn the standard measures and proportions artists use to achieve naturalistic and expressive figure drawings. Illustrations and activities guide students through the structure of the human skeleton and help them understand how the body’s anatomy shapes its external form. The course builds progressively from the fundamentals to the challenges of portraiture, three-dimensional form, composition, and expression.
ILL 204 Painting I - 3 credits
After a thorough orientation to the painter’s materials (paint, canvas, brushes, and solvents), students study a systematic and time-honored approach to painting that enables them to capture proportion, perspective, and lighting. Students learn how to build a foundation with preparatory sketches and underpainting, then gain control over value through monochromatic painting and color studies.
ILL 209 Commercial Illustration - 3 credits
Explore business applications for your illustration work, from editorial and commercial to advertising and marketing. In this survey course, you will explore different genres of project work, learning how contracts and copyright work and how to represent yourself professionally and effectively.
By completing the program, Undergraduate Certificate in Illustration students develop the following competencies:
Draw and paint utilizing traditional media and classic techniques, demonstrating a command of proportion, perspective, value contrast, and the human figure.
Create images and graphics by effectively and efficiently using creative software including Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and other industry technologies.
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 artwork by applying knowledge of color and composition.
Produce and present a variety of illustration projects.
Sessions Student Work
What Our Students Say
VIEW ALL PROGRAM FACULTY
Get expert feedback in classes taught by our industry-leading faculty.
Andrew Shalat is an author, designer/illustrator, educator, and Mac expert who is a regular speaker at Macworld and has written several books on design for McGraw-Hill and Peachpit Press.
Fiorella Shalat is an artist and educator with expertise in commercial still life, microscope photography, and creative darkroom techniques.
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.
Kristen Becker is an educator and a graphic and business designer specializing in e-commerce. With over 12 years of experience as an award-winning educator, Kristen has developed curriculum and taught courses in graphic design, multimedia, and e-commerce/marketing.
Michael Hamm is a Senior UX Designer who has worked for Oracle Corporation and Expedia, and an Adobe Illustrator expert with over 20 years of experience in the creative field.
Piper Nilsson is a graphic/Web designer and educator. Piper has been working with the Web since 1997, working in various roles as a designer, programmer, and information architect, Piper blueprinted sites for such global clients as MetLife, Pepsi, ETS, and Citibank.
Dr. Taz Tally is the president of Taz Tally Seminars and Taz Tally Photography and author of numerous graphics and print production books and instructional videos, CDs, DVDs and online training courses on scanning, prepress and printing, Photoshop, and color correction.
View all faculty.
Our online application process makes getting started easy, fast, and convenient.
What's the Admissions Process?
Students entering the Undergraduate Certificate program are expected to have earned a high school diploma, GED, or state-approved home school equivalent. Any students under 18 years of age will need to provide the signed permission of a parent or guardian.
Classes start in January, April, and August, with early start options in February, June, and October. Our online application is simple and convenient, and there is no application fee.
How Long is the Program?
Two Semester Program.
The Undergraduate Certificate program is a 2-semester, 24 credit program. Students can graduate in under eight months and part-time schedules are available.
Will the Program Fit My Schedule?
Weekly deadlines help you stay on track. And with no set login times, you can build your studies around your schedule, wherever you are located. Many of our students complete their programs while working part-time or full-time.
What Software or Supplies Do I Need?
To take this program, you’ll need the following:
- Mac or Windows computer with an Internet connection.
- Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator CC software.
- Your computer must meet software manufacturer requirements.
- Basic drawing and painting supplies including pencils, charcoal, newsprint, and sketch paper.
- Webcam, headphones or speaker, VPN connection, and microphone connected to the computer for live proctored exams.
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?
The tuition and fees for Undergraduate Certificate students are as follows:
|Undergraduate Certificate Tuition|
|$510 per credit|
|$6,120 per semester|
|$12,240 total program tuition|
A $200 registration fee is required to process your enrollment in the program. Registration fees are nonrefundable after 5 days from the scheduled beginning of program orientation. (Active service members are exempt from registration fees.) See Undergraduate Certificate Admissions.
Is Financial Aid Available?
Federal Student Aid. Federal student aid is available to students who qualify. If you are eligible, you may be able to fund your program using Pell Grants and Federal student loans. Check out our Financial Aid Information pages and ask to set up an interview with our Financial Aid Director.
Military Student Aid. Military servicemembers and their families who are eligible for GI Bill Education Benefits or active service member Tuition Assistance (TA) may also be able to utilize these programs to pay for their education.
Get Started Today
Take the first step on a rewarding creative journey towards earning an Undergraduate Certificate in Illustration.