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.

Loveis Wise BFA '18 was commissioned to illustrate the cover of The New Yorker magazine, a professional illustrator's career goal, just three weeks after she graduated from the University of the Arts. 

'Growth & Decay' illustration by Natalia Jablonski '16
'Can You Find?' by Lizzy O'Donnell, 2016
by James Firnhaber '16
by Lizzy O'Donnell '17
by Molly Egan, '15
by Shannon Ryan '18
by Hannah Gregory '16
by Loveis Wise '18
by John Thomas '12
by John Thomas '12
by James Firnhaber '16
by James Firnhaber '16
by Aiden Jimeno '15
by Kei Tawara '10
by Crystal Ben '13
by Ellen Duda '12
by Jim Tierny '11
by Kate O'Hara '14


Liftoff! is the School of Design’s spring exhibition. This aptly titled launch showcases student work from our four programs: Graphic Design, Illustration, Industrial Design and MDes Product Design. With the help and expert guidance of faculty and staff, our students have created work that distinguishes them as artists and designers of the highest caliber. This exhibition marks not the end of their academic years, but the beginning of their professional careers.


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.

A picture of Julia Barnes sitting at a table and working.
Julia Barnes

BFA ’19

Named finalist for top college junior in the U.S. by Society of Illustrators, 2018
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

Click the images below to read more.

    Adam Osgood, Illustration Faculty
    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
    Christian Patchell at his drawing table
    Christian "Patch" Patchell

    Cartoonist, illustrator, designer; author of the inspirational and educational “I Put the Can in Cancer”

    Sample Courses in the Illustration Major

    First Year
    Drawing: Objects & Space
    Drawing: Natural Forms & The Human Figure
    Body as Form
    Intro to Illustration
    Digital Imaging

    Second Year
    Illustration I: Pictorial Foundation 
    Figure Anatomy  
    Illustration II: Illustration Methods 
    Responsive Drawing
    Words as Pictures

    Third Year
    Illustration III: Materials, Concepts and Formats 
    Figure Communication
    Illustration IV: Applications
    Figure Painting

    Fourth Year
    Illustration Thesis
    Illustration Portfolio

    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

    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

    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

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