The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Illustration program at UArts provides a well-rounded approach to the unique art form of illustration. You'll learn skills in painting, drawing, figure modeling, creative visual problem solving, graphic design and much more. Illustration is a unique art form that is defined not by its medium, but by its context.

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

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.

Illustration student Shannon Ryan in front of brick wall covered with framed illustrations, black hair, smiling, brown dress with white circles, holding glass with red straw
Shannon Ryan


Named top college Junior in US by Society of Illustrators, 2017
Lizzy O'Donnell
Lizzy O'Donnell

BFA '17

Named top college Junior in US by Society of Illustrators, 2016
James Firnhaber sitting on stone wall smiling
James Firnhaber

BFA '16

Named finalist for top college Junior by Society of Illustrators, 2015

Click the images below to read more.

    Head shot of illustration faculty member Tim O'Brien, striped maroon shirt over white t shirt
    Tim O'Brien

    Designer of "The Hunger Games" book covers
    Christian Patchell at his drawing table
    Christian "Patch" Patchell

    Cartoonist, illustrator, designer
    Matt Curtius headshot
    Matt Curtius

    Advertising, book, and editorial illustration, designs wall coverings and clothing
    Adam Osgood Illustrations Faculty
    Adam Osgood

    Illustrator, motion designer, and educator who has worked with clients including Lionsgate, Yahoo, Hyundai among others.

    Sample Courses in the Illustration Major

    First Year
    Drawing: Objects & Space
    Drawing: Natural Forms & The Human Figure
    Body as Form

    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

    About the Curriculum

    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.

    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
    Headshot of Alex Dos Diaz
    Alex Dos Diaz 

    BFA '14

    Illustrator for numerous 'New York Times' articles
    Jonathan Bartlett headshot
    Jonathan Bartlett

    BFA '07

    Created work for Ralph Lauren, New York Times, Rolling Stone, The Atlantic, Playboy, Money, Fortune, Mother Jones, ESPN
    Regina Flath Illustration alumi headshot
    Regina Flath

    BFA '09

    Senior Designer at Random House Children's Books; invited to speak at 2017 New York Comic Con

    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. Below are a few places our alums have landed.


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