BFA Studio Illustration Concentration

Developing unique portfolios that demonstrate competent professional skills and visual literacy

“To fiction illustration the illustrator should bring the accuracy of journalism, to journalism the drama of fiction, and to editorial illustration the contradictions of reality.” Robert Weaver, 1979

Illustrators are more than picture makers or stylistic interpreters. The best illustrators offer more than a design framework; they are storytellers. They contribute visual points of view and add value to editorial and advertising projects through their pictorial content.

Illustrators need more than drawing and painting skills; they need a strong liberal arts background, particularly in history, literature and writing. The ability to deliver the complete story in illustration is crucial. The hybrid illustration, an image whose matrix is a synthesis of drawing/painting and computer manipulation, will enjoy success in the marketplace in the foreseeable future – if one’s content is supportive of his/her technical skills.

This concentration is designed to:

  • Develop a student’s personal expression through the exploration of concept, communication, thought – process and technical skill.
  • Identify and improve upon weaknesses in concept, design, and technique.
  • Focus the student’s work to best develop a personal aesthetic.
  • Create an awareness of the business aspects of illustration, including effective promotion and client service.

Visual Storytelling is a skill that must be developed in order to adequately translate information visually to an audience. When you read literature, your mind’s eye makes and transforms imagery to support the content of the narrative. You produce a linear sequence (pictures without words). Additionally, you employ filmic devices to help construct the sequencing (long shots, close ups, close sequence). The critical question becomes: how do you visually adapt and refine what is a natural cause and effect, and then manipulate, edit, and perform for an audience?

Illustrators have fluency in the visual narrative, expressing the continuity of idea and stylization to a diverse audience. In the Illustration concentration, we examine image and narrative within the broader context of art and design. Students will be required to do written analysis, generate, visualize and present ideas, and convey their personal visual language and conceptual approaches to graphic arts. By their graduation date, students should be able to formulate a range of responses in the production of imagery, and sustain a coherent approach to the development of visual material over a sequence of images.

Illustration Concentration at KSU:

  • Brings together visual art and creative writing skills to focus on the growing need for original content, and content creators, in advertising, video games, picture books, graphic novels, film, illustration and animation.
  • Prepares artists and authors to become innovators in the rapidly evolving art of visual storytelling.
  • Creates an Articulation Agreement with ESA St. Luc Bruxelles to develop an exchange of students and professors (ESA St. Luc Bruxelles is a one of the oldest and most prestigious programs in Europe with a unique perspective into this developing academic concentration).

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BFA Art Concentration in Illustration Kennesaw State University


  • We are constantly improving our computer classrooms to offer our students the most comprehensive experience possible in Illustration.

    Computer Classrooms & Lab

    • Two computer classrooms, each with 22 student workstations and a lectern with a projection screen capable of demonstrating use of software.
    • One open computer lab with 20 workstations, 21.5" iMac (i7 processors with 16 GB RAM) 
    • 24" Wacom Cintiqs and Pen Adobe Creative Cloud including all of the most recent versions of software (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Premiere Pro, Animate, After Effects, Dreamweaver, Bridge, Lightroom) Maya and other software sometimes used for animation and illustration.
    • One workroom with a photography studio and a mat-cutting and project assembly workspace.

    Printers and Peripherals

    • Epson Stylus Pro 9900 Ultrachrome 44" wide format inkjet printer.
    • Three Ricoh Color Laser Printers.
    • Two Epson Stylus Pro 4880s and one Epson Stylus Pro 4800 inkjet printer.
    • Several Epson V500 scanners (8.5"x11").
    • Three Epson V700 scanners with transparency adapters (8.5"x11").
    • Three Epson Expression XL12,000 scanners (12.2"x17.2").

Key Courses

  • > Download Curriculum Checksheet BFA Applied Arts

    ARH 3840 : History of Illustration
    This is a lecture/discussion course in which students study major developments and trends in the art of illustration as a vehicle for telling of stories from the Paleolithic period to the present.

    ART 3600 : Illustration I
    This course will focus on sketches, revisions, research and final image development. Subjects covered will be methods and sources for research and the sketch as a research and presentation tool.

    ART 3610 : Illustration II
    The course focuses on the Principles of Visual Communication: choice of subjects, procedures, and the practice of illustration. Visualizing the text will be the primary emphasis for this course, in addition to exploration of ideas, events, and personalities. This will involve creating illustrations for various publishing forms.

    ART 4600 : Advanced Illustration
    Cultivating and refining a student's ability to bring a creative project to a full and successful level of finish is often neglected in the academic environment, but is an essential professional skill. This course requires that students meet goals they set for themselves through individualized projects, but that they meet them fully with the highest degree of resolution and polish.

Admission to the Concentration

  • It is important that students interested in applying to the Illustration Concentration talk to the faculty advisors in this area. The office hours are posted on the faculty web page.

    Geo Sipp
    Director of the School of Art and Design
    Phone: 470-578-6139
    Office: VA202

    Craig Brasco
    Assistant Professor of Art
    Office: VA101D

    Once a BFA, “art-interest” student has completed the Lower-Division Major Requirements and while enrolled in the second course in illustration, he or she will submit a portfolio of work in that area for review by the supervising faculty. Admission into any concentration area is dependent upon the strength of the student’s portfolio, their performance in visual arts courses, and their overall academic performance in all classes taken. Each application to the concentration in Illustration must include the following:

    1. Images MUST be saved at a resolution of 72 dpi, in one PDF file no larger than 15MB (see description of images below):

    • Include a title page with your name, year and semester, and the portfolio title.
    • Image dimensions must be no larger than 1024 x 768 ppi and no smaller than 800 x 600 ppi.
    • Description of images in your portfolio PDF (letter size page).

    2. Artistic Statement in a letter-sized PDF or in MS Word format. Include an explanation of why you are applying for the BFA in the Illustration concentration.


    • Transfered students should meet with their adviser to determine readiness for portfolio submission.

    Description of Images:

    • Three of your best figure drawings or paintings.
    • Five of your best digital projects as follows:
    • 2 raster graphics
    • 2 vector graphics
    • 1 combination of raster and vector graphics.
    • One piece demonstrating your use of linear perspective.
    • One piece demonstrating your use of evocative color.
    • One piece demonstrating your illustration in storytelling.


    • All work must have been completed within the last 4 semesters.
    • Passing Illustration I does not guarantee acceptance into the concentration.

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