Study Illustration in Boston

Illustrators are storytellers — inventors of enchanting, compelling, fantastical theater and sometimes, masters of convincing illusion. What they create, however, goes beyond narrative and entertainment. The ability to communicate effectively through imagery gives an artist the potential to inform, educate, provoke, and persuade, ultimately shaping visual culture and society at large.

Whether you're excited about producing art for graphic novels or children's books, billboards or packaging, video games or animated films, scientific journals or museum dioramas, you start with the basics. It's about learning how to see and think, how to find a unique and impactful solution, and how to communicate your vision.

A minor in Illustration provides an introduction to the theory and practice of the discipline. The curriculum is rooted in fundamental principles of visual communication related to picture making, with emphasis on the development of essential technical and conceptual skills. Students are introduced to traditional genres and applications (narrative, editorial, technical, advertising, visual development) in the context of contemporary professional practice. 

Illustration Minor Requirements

Minor Requirements: 6 courses, 18 credits 

BFA candidates may not double count major requirements towards the minor.

Required for All Students:

  • ADIL-S201 Illustration I: Visual Communication

    Prerequisites:

    ADF-S101 and ADF-S166 and ADIL-S223 is recommended(previously or concurrently)

    Credits:

    3.00

    Description:

    This course introduces fundamental concepts and principles of visual communication, with emphasis on the expression of ideas and storytelling through pictures. Topics include implied and sequential narrative, theatrical singing, and visual metaphor. Informed by lecture, discussion and examples, students explore these concepts through a series of assignments with defined objectives related to audience and function (description, symbolism, narrative, poetic allusion, etc.) Through preliminary studies and sketches, students are encouraged to explore multiple solutions, carefully considering concept, drawing, composition, and technical approach. Students are encouraged to use media and methods of choice.

    Term:

    Offered Fall Term

Required for Art & Design BFA students:

  • ADIL-S202 Illustration II: Process & Practice

    Prerequisites:

    ADIL-S201;

    Credits:

    3.00

    Description:

    This course expands on concepts introduced in Illustration I, with emphasis on visual problem solving, generation of original ideas, and the process of picture making. Sequenced assignment each address a different set of parameters related to a different target audience, a different illustration genre (editorial, entertainment, institutional, educational, advertising, etc.) Emphasis is placed on the need to preserve spontaneity and authentic vitality in task-based creative work with multiple requirements, time restraints and periodic art direction. Students use traditional or digital media of their choice and are introduced to pre-production, formatting and presentation requirements for effective print and digital reproduction.

    Term:

    Offered Spring Term

Art & Design BFA students should choose four of the following:

  • ADF-S123 Painting

    Prerequisites:

    ADF S101, ADF S166

    Credits:

    3.00

    Description:

    In this introductory course, students will learn to accurately perceive relationships of shape, form, color and value, and to translate that information through the medium of paint. In a series of in-class and outside projects on canvas, prepared paper and panel, students will explore various approaches to the use of acrylic and oil paint. Emphasis will be placed on the development of disciplined technical skills as well as the exploration of painting's potential as a medium of communication and creative visual expression.

    Term:

    Offered Spring Term

  • ADIL-S223 Traditional Techniques

    Prerequisites:

    ADF-S166 and ADF-S101

    Credits:

    3.00

    Description:

    Students explore a variety of wet and dry medias, surfaces, tools and approaches traditionally used for illustration. Assignments involve observational subject matter, including still life, wildlife, urban and natural landscape, portrait and clothed figure. Media are handled expressively or with precision, and preliminary exercises provide opportunities for experimentation and practice. Final results are evaluated in terms of technical process and proficiency, readability and reproducibility, and successful application of fundamental principles of design and color theory.

    Term:

    Offered Fall Term

  • ADIL-S255 Digital Techniques

    Prerequisites:

    Take ADF-S101 and ADF-S166;

    Credits:

    3.00

    Description:

    Students explore several applications used for digital drawing, painting, and 3D modeling, including Photoshop, Illustrator, and SketchUp Pro. This course also includes a very basic introduction to Blender 3D graphics software. Similarities, compatibilities and essential differences between applications are demonstrated. Efficient file management, scanning, formatting, printing, and presentation procedures are also covered, as well as the use of Help menus and online tutorials. Assignments involve observational subject matter, including still life, landscape, portrait, and figure. Preliminary exercises provide opportunities for experimentation and practice. Final results are evaluated in terms of technical process and proficiency, readability and reproducibility, and successful application of fundamental principles of design and color theory.

    Term:

    Offered Spring Term

  • ADIL-S301 Illustration III: Style & Substance

    Prerequisites:

    Take ADIL-S202;

    Credits:

    3.00

    Description:

    This course examines the elements of visual style, the relationship between style and meaning, and the role and impact of stylistic trends in contemporary illustration. Students explore aesthetics and factors that contribute to unique and authentic style. Art buyer choices and public tastes are analyzed. Assignments are approached professionally, as art direction, and within a set of parameters, students are encouraged to take advantage of opportunities for creative freedom. Assignments include an interdisciplinary collaborative project and the integration of text with image. Students practice with their preferred media as they develop awareness of elements that contribute to the characteristic look that identifies their work.

    Term:

    Offered Fall Term

  • ADIL-S305 Figure in Context

    Prerequisites:

    ADF-S101 and ADF-S166, and ADF-S102 is recommended.(may be taken concurrently)

    Credits:

    3.00

    Description:

    This course explores the relationship between the human figure and the environment, providing intensive observational drawing and painting practice as preliminary study and visual reference for spatially and compositionally cohesive narrative imagery. Principles of color theory, light logic, and linear and atmospheric perspective are applied to address both 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional concerns (composition, color and the illusion of volume and spatial depth). With attention to theatrical staging, students arrange pose, drapery, clothing, props, and lighting in support of specific narrative and emotional context. The course also introduces students to the use of camera and dioramas for visual reference, and students use various reference materials combined using traditional or digital media, to create invented but convincing narrative scenes. Students use media of their choice for drawing, painting and sculptural models.

Required for Non-Art & Design Majors:

  • ADF-S101 Foundation Drawing I

    Credits:

    3.00

    Description:

    This course concentrates on the traditional techniques of observational drawing. Fundamental principles and elements of drawing are introduced in structured lessons and exercises, which are supplemented by additional outside assignments. Foundation Drawing I stresses the development of visual skills as well as the broad use of drawing concepts, vocabulary, techniques and variety of materials.

    Term:

    Offered Both Fall and Spring

  • ADF-S102 Foundation Drawing II

    Prerequisites:

    ADF S101

    Credits:

    3.00

    Description:

    This course will refine the basic visual skills developed in Foundation Drawing I (ADF S101). The elements of color and mixed media are introduced to expand technical possibilities, while more intensive work with the human figure provides exposure to gesture, structure and complex form. As students begin to develop a more sophisticated and personal approach, issues of expression and interpretation will be investigated, focusing on personal style and expression.

    Term:

    Offered Both Fall and Spring

  • ADF-S166 2D/Color

    Credits:

    3.00

    Description:

    This is an introductory-level course in the basic concepts and practices of two-dimensional design and color theory. The study of color and design is supportive of all studio disciplines and is vital to the understanding of all visual media. This course features an intensive, hands-on approach to color and design as students create, modify and master the three dimensions of color (hue, value, and strength) plus the principles of design(line, shape, value, composition and image). This in-depth study is essential and underlies all of the visual arts as they are practiced today. An understanding of color and design influences all artists' decisions, affecting the look, meaning and use of visual phenomena.

Non-Art & Design Majors should choose two of the following:

  • ADF-S123 Painting

    Prerequisites:

    ADF S101, ADF S166

    Credits:

    3.00

    Description:

    In this introductory course, students will learn to accurately perceive relationships of shape, form, color and value, and to translate that information through the medium of paint. In a series of in-class and outside projects on canvas, prepared paper and panel, students will explore various approaches to the use of acrylic and oil paint. Emphasis will be placed on the development of disciplined technical skills as well as the exploration of painting's potential as a medium of communication and creative visual expression.

    Term:

    Offered Spring Term

  • ADIL-S202 Illustration II: Process & Practice

    Prerequisites:

    ADIL-S201;

    Credits:

    3.00

    Description:

    This course expands on concepts introduced in Illustration I, with emphasis on visual problem solving, generation of original ideas, and the process of picture making. Sequenced assignment each address a different set of parameters related to a different target audience, a different illustration genre (editorial, entertainment, institutional, educational, advertising, etc.) Emphasis is placed on the need to preserve spontaneity and authentic vitality in task-based creative work with multiple requirements, time restraints and periodic art direction. Students use traditional or digital media of their choice and are introduced to pre-production, formatting and presentation requirements for effective print and digital reproduction.

    Term:

    Offered Spring Term

  • ADIL-S223 Traditional Techniques

    Prerequisites:

    ADF-S166 and ADF-S101

    Credits:

    3.00

    Description:

    Students explore a variety of wet and dry medias, surfaces, tools and approaches traditionally used for illustration. Assignments involve observational subject matter, including still life, wildlife, urban and natural landscape, portrait and clothed figure. Media are handled expressively or with precision, and preliminary exercises provide opportunities for experimentation and practice. Final results are evaluated in terms of technical process and proficiency, readability and reproducibility, and successful application of fundamental principles of design and color theory.

    Term:

    Offered Fall Term

  • ADIL-S255 Digital Techniques

    Prerequisites:

    Take ADF-S101 and ADF-S166;

    Credits:

    3.00

    Description:

    Students explore several applications used for digital drawing, painting, and 3D modeling, including Photoshop, Illustrator, and SketchUp Pro. This course also includes a very basic introduction to Blender 3D graphics software. Similarities, compatibilities and essential differences between applications are demonstrated. Efficient file management, scanning, formatting, printing, and presentation procedures are also covered, as well as the use of Help menus and online tutorials. Assignments involve observational subject matter, including still life, landscape, portrait, and figure. Preliminary exercises provide opportunities for experimentation and practice. Final results are evaluated in terms of technical process and proficiency, readability and reproducibility, and successful application of fundamental principles of design and color theory.

    Term:

    Offered Spring Term

  • ADIL-S305 Figure in Context

    Prerequisites:

    ADF-S101 and ADF-S166, and ADF-S102 is recommended.(may be taken concurrently)

    Credits:

    3.00

    Description:

    This course explores the relationship between the human figure and the environment, providing intensive observational drawing and painting practice as preliminary study and visual reference for spatially and compositionally cohesive narrative imagery. Principles of color theory, light logic, and linear and atmospheric perspective are applied to address both 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional concerns (composition, color and the illusion of volume and spatial depth). With attention to theatrical staging, students arrange pose, drapery, clothing, props, and lighting in support of specific narrative and emotional context. The course also introduces students to the use of camera and dioramas for visual reference, and students use various reference materials combined using traditional or digital media, to create invented but convincing narrative scenes. Students use media of their choice for drawing, painting and sculptural models.