The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Illustration at University of the Arts helps students discover and develop their unique visual voice through training in technique, image making, concept development and self-promotion. We celebrate the range of career paths for illustrators, from children’s books to concept art to comics to product design, and beyond. Our curriculum encourages you to explore materials, processes and markets-areas to develop a portfolio of deeply personal work. Housed in the School of Design, the Illustration program encourages experimentation and collaboration with students in other majors, including those in Graphic Design, Product Design, Interaction Design, Animation and Fine Arts. Our small class sizes and shared studio spaces create a supportive environment that allows you to inspire, and be inspired by, one another.

Richard C. von Hess Illustration Gallery

The von Hess Gallery features three exhibitions per year by nationally recognized, award-winning illustrators who visit UArts to speak about their process, technique and the contemporary marketplace. The gallery’s unique mission is to educate our students and community about the profession of illustration and offer an opportunity to closely examine works by leading illustrators.

Learn More
by Loveis Wise '18
by Hyenjoo Lee ‘15
by Molly Egan ‘15
by Tilda Rose Sladek ‘19
by Charles Werbany ‘19
by Amanda Master ‘17
by Sophie Lane ‘20
by Damali Beatty ‘19
by James Tierney ‘11
by James Firnhaber ‘16
Mel Ramos ‘19
by Dakota Herman ‘18
by Sasha Zaliska ‘17

Each year, the Society of Illustrators celebrates the top college junior illustrators in the country. UArts students consistently rank among the top, having won the award the past two years. Click the images below to learn more.

Lizzy O'Donnell
Lizzy O'Donnell

BFA '17

Named top college junior in U.S. by Society of Illustrators, 2016; Zankel Award Scholarship winner
Charles Werbany BFA '19 headshot
Charles Werbany

BFA '19

designed large murals for several transportation terminals in Center City, Philadelphia
John DiMauro
John DiMauro


One of three finalists for the Society of Illustrators’ 2019 Will Eisner Scholarship

Click the images below to read more.

    UArts Adam Osgood headshot
    Adam Osgood

    Illustrator and motion designer who has worked with clients including Lionsgate, Yahoo and Hyundai
    Matt Curtius headshot
    Matt Curtius

    Illustrator who has worked for clients including Target, Chronicle Books and Leo Burnett
    a headshot of Christine Larsen.
    Christine Larsen

    Cartoonist and illustrator who has created work for Boom! Studios, Image Comics and Saatchi & Saatchi
    Jon Reinfurt
    Jon Reinfurt

    Illustrator who has worked for clients including The New York Times, NPR and the Smithsonian

    Sample Courses in the Illustration Major

    First Year
    Drawing as Seeing & Meaning
    Design Process, Theory & Communication
    Digital Design Lab
    Thinking Through Science
    Writing Placement I
    Free elective (your choice)
    Drawing as Thinking
    Design Studio
    Drawing: Natural Forms & Human Figure
    Writing Placement II
    Art History Survey I

    Second Year
    Communication Design
    Illustration I: Pictorial Foundation
    Figure Anatomy
    Art History II
    Critical Studies (your choice)
    Illustration II: Illustration Methods
    Responsive Drawing
    History of Drawing
    Words as Pictures
    Free elective (your choice)

    Third Year
    Concentration choice (see below)
    Illustration III: Materials, Concepts & Formats
    Figure Communication or Words, Images & Ideas
    Discipline History (your choice)
    Critical Studies (your choice)
    Illustration IV: Applications
    Free elective (your choice)

    Fourth Year
    Business Communications for Design Professionals or Design Internship
    College-wide These I
    Illustration Portfolio I
    Critical Studies (your choice)
    Free elective (your choice)
    College-wide Thesis II
    Illustration Portfolio II

    The Illustration curriculum is a blend of drawing, painting, figure modeling, picture making, illustration, creative visual problem solving, digital experiences, self-discovery through mentor-student relationship, history of pictorial image making, and specialized graphic design courses. Some courses are geared to developing foundational skills and others more focused toward professional application. This curriculum offers its majors a wide selection of unique options to explore related to their field and interest of study.

    Instructional emphasis is on discovering and developing the artist within the illustrator and their unique point of view. When artists find their unique expression, they can take advantage of all the outlets available to their work. The program prepares individual students for a life in the arts and the flexibility to enter diverse professional areas within it.

    With faculty guidance for career preparation, students seek out, apply to and receive internships at professional venues ranging from individual artist studios to large branding firms including Cartoon Network, Sterling Publishing (Barnes & Noble), and Anthropologie (Urban Outfitters).

    Students graduating from the Illustration program will:

    • Demonstrate knowledge of figure study and picture making, along with traditional and digital technical skill development, leading to successful image making as it relates to the multi-faceted and ever-changing illustration industry;
    • Discover and develop point of view. This includes acquiring critical drawing and thinking skills and developing intellectual curiosity leading to successful problem solving and meaningful visual communication;
    • Understanding the unique aesthetic of the illustrator as designer and the development of knowledge and skills leading to successful design outcomes;
    • Discover the languages, concepts, and practices of contemporary illustration across connected disciplines and have options to further explore those areas in depth;
    • Acquire and demonstrate knowledge of the history of illustration;
    • Demonstrate habits of mind (studio process, research, personal discipline, time management, professional culture of the program) as well as the ability to critique, articulate their work, and present ideas;
    • Acquire and demonstrate knowledge and skills of professional development (presentation, audience awareness, marketing, promotion, business, Web design, entrepreneurship).  Preparing for a life in the arts and the flexibility to enter diverse professional areas within it

    Within the Illustration Major, concentrations are available by completing additional coursework in one of the following areas: Animation Movement, Animation Visual Development, Game Art, Graphic Design Communication, Graphic Design Typography, Photography, Painting, and Printmaking.

    To explore the full curriculum, click here.

    Click the images below to read more.

    Headshot of Loveis Wise in jungle
    Loveis Wise

    BFA '18 (Illustration)

    Illustrated cover of The New Yorker; clients include The New York Times, Vice, Buzzfeed and others
    Headshot of Alex Dos Diaz
    Alex Dos Diaz 

    BFA '14

    Illustrator for numerous New York Times articles, such as “At a Therapeutic Ranch”
    Jonathan Bartlett headshot
    Jonathan Bartlett

    BFA '07

    Created work for The New York Times, Rolling Stone, The Atlantic, many other publications
    Regina Flath Illustration alumi headshot
    Regina Flath

    BFA '09

    Senior Designer at Random House Children's Books; New York ComicCon speaker
    Shannon Ryan at UArts
    Shannon Ryan

    BFA '18

    Named top college junior in U.S. by the Society of Illustrators, 2017; Zankel Award Scholarship winner
    Julia Barnes sitting at a table working
    Julia Barnes

    BFA ’19

    Named finalist for top college junior in the U.S. by Society of Illustrators, 2018
    A picture of Kayla Miller in front of a floral background
    Kayla Miller

    BFA '13

    Author and illustrator of the best selling Click graphic novels published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

    Learn about UArts alumni Leanne Biank, Leah Greenberg, Grace Hirsch and Natalie Jablonski, illustrators, art directors, and designers at Printfresh Studio in Philadelphia.

    Our alumni work with a variety of companies and organizations internationally. 

    20th Century Fox · American Museum of Natural History · Blizzard Entertainment · Cartoon Network · Disney · DreamWorks · ESPN · Facebook · Fisher Price · Hallmark · Harper-Collins · Hasbro · Houghton Mifflin Harcourt · Knopf · Little Brown · Major League Baseball · Martha Stewart · Marvel Comics · Mattel · MTV · NASA · National Geographic · Newsweek · Nickelodeon · NPR · Oprah · PBS · Penguin Group Publishing · Random House · Reader’s Digest · Scholastic · Simon & Schuster · The New York Times · The New Yorker · The Wall Street Journal · Time Magazine · US Postal Service · Warner Brothers · Wizards of the Coast

    Get Started

    Start your application

    Begin your application today. Our admissions team will help you throughout the process.

    Apply Now

    See UArts for yourself

    The best way to get to know UArts is by visiting our campus in person. Come see a show, visit a gallery, and get to know the neighborhood.

    Plan Your Visit

    Not sure where to start?

    We're glad you want to learn more. Our admissions team is happy to send additional information about our school.

    Request More Information