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Online Illustration Degree

Associate Degree in Illustration

NEXT CLASS: AUG 24th | FALL 2020 applicants: Enroll by JUNE 30th to lock in 2019/20 tuition.

PROGRAM OVERVIEW

About This Program

The Sessions College Associate of Occupational Studies (AOS) in Illustration is an intensive two-year degree program for students seeking to enter careers in traditional and digital illustration. Developed for high school graduates and adult learners, the program offers a strong foundation in traditional drawing and painting and vector illustration, as well as a working knowledge of software and production techniques used by contemporary illustrators.

Illustration students begin their program with first year studies focused on visual arts skills using traditional drawing and digital drawing media. Classes provide training in Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator. Second-year classes place an emphasis on storytelling and developing illustration concepts.

Going to school online was one of the best choices I’ve made for my illustration career. It was affordable and convenient for my lifestyle: a full-time mommy, who home-schools while running a business online, and growing a social media presence! It provided the structure and discipline I needed to push my career forward.

Katherine Butts

Associate Degree in Illustration, Class of 2020

Student Work By: Katherine Orizal, Iliana Franco, Rose Lauer

Program Benefits

Launch your Creative Career

Earn a degree and launch your creative career in our most rigorous 2-year program.

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By Creatives, for Creatives

Collaborate with a community of creative learners and industry professionals.

Maximize Your Portfolio

Projects put you through your paces as you build a body of work. Your program culminates with a guided portfolio review.

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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.

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Convenient Online Application

Fast, convenient, and student-centered application process.

The Curriculum

The Associate of Occupational Studies Degree in Illustration is a 72-credit program completed in two years. Part-time schedules are available.

Illustration Major - Year One

First Semester

Second Semester

Third Semester

Illustration Major - Year Two

Fourth Semester

Fifth Semester

Sixth Semester

* Elective course may be replaced by any other 3-credit course in the program, subject to availability and prerequisites.

COURSE DESCRIPTIONS

Program highlights for Illustration majors in the AOS in Illustration program.

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. And most importantly, you’ll also discover that drawing can be fun. Did you know that spheres have inner edges? Or why artists measure with their thumbs? Grab your charcoal and chalk pastels... this course is your first step to developing your craft as an artist.

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.

ILL 142 Illustrator II - 3 credits

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.

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 206 Cartooning and Sequential Art - 3 credits

Explore storytelling through cartoons and sequential art. Learn how to create a narrative by developing a story or character in a series of scenes. Fundamental concepts in comic art are used as the springboard for projects, which may be completed in traditional or digital media.

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.

ILL 210 Technical Illustration and Infographics - 3 credits

This course explores approaches and concepts in technical illustration and infographics. Students learn methods for creating instructional illustrations that communicate clearly and effectively. Information design theories will be discussed and put into practice.

ILL 212 Life Drawing II - 1.5 credits

Tackle advanced techniques for life drawing. Learn how to observe and capture the clothed human figure and explore basic techniques for animal drawing. Form, structure, and motion will be essential concepts as you find ways to address subjects that interest and engage you.

ILL 208 Watercolor - 1.5 credits

Watercolor painting has a rich tradition dating back centuries, and is still enjoyed by today's artists for its unique color effects and wide range of techniques. Explore traditional watercolor techniques including washes, glazes, scumbles, resists, and more, and learn how to make the techniques part of your personal painting style.

OUTCOMES

Program Outcomes

By completing the program, Associate Degree in Illustration 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.

5. Projects

Produce and present a variety of illustration projects editorial illustration, sequential art, infographics, and portraits.

2. Technology

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

6. Critical Thinking and Writing

Employ critical thinking to generate, support, and convey ideas through writing for academic or professional contexts.

3. Illustration

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

7. Portfolio

Apply creative problem solving and constructive feedback to conceive, produce, and present an impactful body of work that showcases your skills to employers and potential clients.

4. Art/Design Principles

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

Outcomes Assessment

To learn more about our outcomes assessment process, visit our Academic Team

Sessions Student Work

FACULTY

Kevin Hedgpeth is an artist, illustrator, animator, and educator.
Jordon Schranz Jordon Schranz is an audio/visual artist and designer.
Fiorella headshot Fiorella Shalat is a sculptor, textile artist, and art educator.

VIEW ALL PROGRAM FACULTY

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

Instructor Biography Degree(s) Earned
Andrew Shalat

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.

  • MFA, Savannah College of Art and Design
  • MA in English and American Literature, Brandeis University
  • BA in English Language and Literature, State University of New York at Stonybrook
Bill headshot

Bill Drastal is an artist and animator who works for Bento Box Entertainment, an Emmy award-winning animation studio that produces network programs. Bill has experience developing character designs and animations for video games.

  • BS in Media Arts and Animation, Art Institute of California, San Diego

Carolyn Zaikowski is the author of the novel A Child Is Being Killed (Aqueous Books, 2013) whose fiction, poetry, and essays have been published widely.

  • MFA in Creative Writing, Naropa University
  • BFA in Psychology, University of Massachusetts
Fiorella headshot

Fiorella Shalat is an artist and educator with expertise in commercial still life, microscope photography, and creative darkroom techniques.

  • M.Arch, CUNY City College of New York
  • BS in Art Education, CUNY City College of New York
James Smith - Illustration faculty

James Otis Smith is a New York based graphic artist and illustrator. As a freelancer he has worked in comics, illustration, motion graphics, and video and published several graphic novels.

  • B.A., Sarah Lawrence College
Jessica Peltz

Jessica Peltz has more than 20 years of industry experience in graphic design as an Art and Creative Director with ad agencies, design firms, publishing companies, and in-house corporations.

  • MA in Graphic Design, Savannah College of Art and Design
  • BA in Mass Communication, George Mason University
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.

  • MFA in Combined Media, City University of New York
  • BFA in Painting, Maryland Institute College of Art

Kevin Hedgpeth is an Arizona native who makes his home in Phoenix, where he actively writes and illustrates in addition to teaching college-level visual arts courses. He is co-author and illustrator of several published books.

  • BA in Studio Art at Arizona State University
Kristen Becker

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.

  • MA in Digital Arts, Maryland Institute College of Art
  • BA in Environmental Systems, University of Maryland
Lynne Cuda

Lynne R. Cuda is a 30-year IT professional who has worked in project management overseeing company-wide information systems selections, implementations and upgrades at hospitals, universities, and private companies.

  • MA of Computing Science, Texas A&M University
  • BS in Communications/Advertising, University of Illinois-Urbana
Margaret Penney

Margaret Penney is a teacher, designer, writer and media artist. As a Web and motion graphic designer, Margaret has worked on projects for Verizon, DC Immediate Care, TIAA-Cref, Nike, Delia's girls clothing, MTV, author Rosalyn Hoffman and artist Sol Lewitt.

  • MFA in Writing and Media Studies, Columbia University
  • BFA in Writing, Minor in Film, Johns Hopkins University
Michael Hamm

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.

  • Diploma in Graphic Design, Art Institute of Houston
Taz Tally

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.

  • PhD in Geology, University of California Santa Barbara

View all faculty.

Job Facts

A degree in illustration can help you land a position in a growing field with a great outlook. Here are some statistics to consider:

Facts are sourced from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook. For more information about photography careers and the community visit: ,Association of Illustrators, AIGA, or National Cartoonists Society.

31%

Median Income for Fine Artists, Including Painters, Sculptors, and Illustrators in Advertising, Public Relations, and Related Services in May 2017 was $49,520 a year, 31% higher than the median for all workers.

7 in 10

About 7 in 10 Fine Artists, Including Painters, Sculptors, and Illustrators were self-employed or independent artists in 2016.

GETTING STARTED

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

What's the Admissions Process?

Classes start in January, April, and August, with early start options in February, June, and October.

Students entering the 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.

To apply, you’ll need to complete our convenient online application and provide an application essay, official transcripts from high school OR for any college degree completed, and 5-10 samples of your art/design work. (Transcripts must be provided for any course you wish evaluated for credit transfer.)

How Long is the Program?

The Associate of Occupational Studies (AOS) program is a 72 credit program completed in six semesters or two years by a student on a full-time schedule. Students with transfer credit can graduate in under two years 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. That’s why more than 50% of our degree students complete their programs while working 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.
  • A digital camera that offers manual control over aperture, shutter speed, ISO and white balance .
  • 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 current tuition for full-time Associate Degree students is as follows:

Associate of Occupational Studies (AOS) Program
$365 per credit
$4,380 per semester
$13,140 per year
$26,280 total program tuition
Tuition for part-time students is $415/credit and paid by semester. Federal financial aid available for eligible students. Ask about our $500-$2,000 scholarships for exemplary applicants.

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. See Associate Degree Tuition and Payment options.

* Effective July 1, 2020, the tuition for Associate Degree programs will increase to $435/credit, for full-time and part-time students. Applicants who complete enrollment and acceptance prior to June 30th can enroll at 2019-2020 tuition rates.

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.

Adult Learner Scholarships. Ask about our innovative scholarships for adult learners. The Designed for You Scholarship Program can help you offset your tuition costs. 

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