5 Best Illustration Colleges in the World (Worth, FAQs)

An education in illustration might be the perfect fit for a creative person who has a knack for telling stories or enjoys making pictures that fascinate and inspire others.

A degree in illustration is advantageous because of its adaptability.

When you’re doing what you love for a living, it doesn’t feel like work, and that’s why earning a degree in illustration can lead to such a satisfying career.

The skills you acquire can be applied in various fields, from architecture and filmmaking to advertising, medicine, and business.

No matter what the future holds, you may take comfort in the fact that creativity and the work of illustrators are valued by many.

However, choosing the ideal institution for your illustration education might be challenging, with many possibilities accessible worldwide.

Read on for details on the best illustration schools worldwide, including how to get in and how long their programs take.

Is Illustration School Worth It?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts a 14% rise in craft and fine artist jobs between 2010 and 2030. This equates to about 5,900 additional annual job openings.

You can learn subject-specific and transferable abilities while earning a degree in illustration.

You’ll be able to show that you’re creative by coming up with fresh ideas and adapting to what the customer wants.

The vast majority of illustrators take on freelance work, finding customers through self-promotion and professional connections.

Your monthly income is highly likely to fluctuate, increasing your uncertainty about whether this endeavor is worthwhile.

Attending an accredited art school can be more beneficial than trying to learn illustration on your own.

Admission Requirements for Illustration Colleges

Researching the prerequisites for admission to a school of illustration is crucial before submitting an application.

The following are the most fundamental necessities for applying to colleges of illustration:

Note: The quality of your portfolio will play a significant role in determining whether or not you get accepted to illustration school.

Time spent planning and creating a solid portfolio highlighting your artistic ability will pay off in the long run.

How Long Does it Take to Complete Illustration Colleges?

The length of time required to complete an illustration degree varies by institution and level of study. Graduate programs often take two to three years, whereas undergraduate programs typically take four.

Some universities and colleges provide expedited degree programs on campus or online.

It’s important to remember that the program’s length might change based on the student’s schedule and course load.

When compared to full-time students, part-time students typically take longer to graduate. There are also certificate programs of six months to a year’s duration offered by several illustration colleges.

Students looking to hone specific talents or bolster their portfolios would greatly benefit from enrolling in a certificate program.

5 Best Illustration Colleges in the World

1. Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) – Providence, Rhode Island, USA

Regarding providing a world-class education for aspiring artists, designers, and architects, the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) is at the top of the list.

More than two thousand students worldwide enroll each year in the university’s cutting-edge bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in architecture, design, the fine arts, the liberal arts, and art education.

Providence, Rhode Island, is home to RISD and has a vibrant arts scene and varied metropolitan neighborhoods within easy driving distance of New York City and Boston.

However, at RISD, illustration is a creative discipline characterized by intent rather than medium. Illustration is a field that teaches you to create visuals to communicate a message, utilizing the same techniques as other art forms.

Students in the illustration program get to learn the fundamentals and cutting-edge techniques necessary to produce work that conveys ideas clearly and effectively.

Through their independent investigation of various forms of media, students get a firm grasp of topical issues and ideas.

Professors help students develop their powers of observation and conceptualization and grasp the practical skills and procedures necessary to communicate their thoughts effectively.

RISD’s illustration program prepares students to use their skills for the greater good of society and the field by encouraging them to consider the illustrator’s position as an influential social actor.

2. School of Visual Arts (SVA) – New York, New York, USA

The School of Visual Arts has set the standard for excellence in training artists, designers, and other creative professionals for almost seven decades. It is one of the Illustration Colleges in the World.

SVA is a driving force in creativity and social responsibility because of its innovative curriculum, focus on critical thinking and faculty of accomplished working professionals.

The possibilities for an illustrator’s career are discussed in length at SVA. Students are pushed to be creative problem solvers who think beyond the box.

The program is rigorous, time-consuming, and picky. The program also allows students to socialize with other talented individuals while engaging in intellectual discourse and artistic exploration.

Students in SVA’s illustration department learn not just to read and cross-reference texts, explore visual styles, and create and produce substantial amounts of work but also the art of interpretation.

Students create well-rounded and complex works of art in the senior portfolio and junior thesis courses.

After completing the program, students frequently find lucrative employment options.

SVA illustration students have dominated student contests like the Society of Illustrators, American Illustration, and many others in the field.

The influence of the program’s alums can be seen just about anywhere. SVA takes great pride in its alums, which include some of the world’s top illustrators.

3. ArtCenter College of Design – Pasadena, California, USA

ArtCenter College of Design represents a novel approach to art and design education.

The ambitious strategy relies on the college’s conservatory-style approach to education, its emphasis on cross-cultural and interdisciplinary discussion, and its requirement that students have access to cutting-edge facilities for learning and creating.

Through ArtCenter’s illustration program, students will gain the skills to become compelling visual storytellers.

Students will acquire problem-solving, thinking, and multipurpose artistic talents with their perspectives on the arts and consumer culture.

Students will be in a prime position to spark discussions on the social, political, and cultural ideas that characterize their generation as illustrators in print, digital, and multimedia contexts.

Drawing, painting, and illustrating skills for new media will be honed under the tutelage of industry veterans, and students will have the option to focus on one of six subfields (illustration design, entertainment arts, entertainment arts consumer products, fine art painting, motion design, or surface design) once they’ve mastered the basics.

By working with people from other fields, students may hone their unique perspectives and prepare to contribute to dynamic team projects with top animation, film, and advertising firms.

Students may succeed as employees and company owners in the dynamic creative industries by taking advantage of the many business and professional practice courses.

4. California College of the Arts (CCA) – San Francisco, California, USA

California College of the Arts (CCA) – San Francisco, California, USA is one of the Illustration Colleges in the World.

Promising students worldwide flock to the California College of the Arts because it is widely regarded as one of the world’s top art and design institutions.

CCA trains creative, ambitious students to think critically and solve pressing societal problems using various media.

Students in the illustration program will learn to make artwork that looks more than pretty.

Artists who work in illustration bring life to tales, probe the depths of their experiences, and add to the debate on societal concerns using analog and digital mediums.

Because the program’s home is a prestigious art and design university, students can access state-of-the-art facilities, including computer labs, print and painting studios, shops, laboratories, and a community of thinkers and makers ready to interact.

Students will learn to bring creative ideas to life with flexibility and creativity if they approach illustration from various angles.

Some of California’s best-known artists and designers teach at this school, where they draw on their extensive professional networks to create innovative curricula and practical course materials.

The stimulating atmosphere, faculty mentorship, and heritage of non-conformity and original thinking unique to the Bay Area will help students acquire a marketable skill set adaptable to a variety of illustration career routes as well as a distinctive creative voice.

CCA Illustration alums, instructors, and students have all been recognized as winners at the national level.

5. Royal College of Art (RCA) – London, England

The primary focus of the Royal College of Art is on the fine arts, with a secondary focus on the principles and practice of art and design about industrial and commercial processes and social developments, as well as other subjects related to it.

Contemporary creative activity is challenged, transformed, and placed in a global perspective through the Visual Communication curriculum.

It broadens the impact of visual communication by prioritizing maker agency, experimentation, and critical reflection.

In an interdisciplinary setting, the curriculum analyzes the function and significance of visual communication in contemporary culture and society.

Students can reevaluate the field and its job in society by asking probing questions about the work.

Activating alternative narratives is a pressing necessity, and the students’ work responds to and engages with the present sociopolitical challenges that affect most of the world.

This program’s overarching philosophy applies to all Experimental Communication, Graphic Design, and Illustration tracks.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Best Illustration Colleges in the World

What is the best degree for an illustration career?

A bachelor’s degree in illustration or a closely related field is required for entry-level positions. However, a master’s degree opens doors to better employment and pay.

Can one study illustration online?

Yes. Several universities have extensive online illustration courses. However, it is crucial to investigate each program extensively and ensure it fulfills your educational requirements.

What is the average salary for an illustrator?

A freelance illustrator’s pay ranges from $50,000 to $80,000 annually. Statistics show that in 2023, the average yearly salary for fine artists, which includes illustrators, is $63,200.

Where do illustrators get paid the most?

New York


Getting a degree in illustration is a path that will lead to many positive outcomes. Choosing the right institution for studying might be difficult because there are so many to choose from.

One can make a well-informed decision about their education when they are familiar with the necessary prerequisites, the length of the program, and the best illustration colleges in the world.

Prospective students should take plenty of time to build a compelling portfolio and submit applications to several schools.

The chances of becoming a successful illustrator are greatly improved once students enroll in one of the best illustration colleges in the world.

Studying at one of the best illustration colleges will set students up for success as illustrators in any chosen field, be it publishing, advertising, or animation.

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