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 syntax with emphasis on the development of visual literacy. Topics include staging, lighting and atmosphere, implied and sequential narrative, iconography and visual metaphor. Informed by lecture, discussion with defined objectives and considerations, and examples, students will explore these concepts through a series of assignments related to audience and function. Through preliminary studies and sketches, students explore multiple solutions with consideration of concept, drawing issues, composition and technique. Students are encouraged employ their medium of choice and utilize methods learned in Traditional Techniques.

    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 the process of the concepts and principles introduced in Illustration I with emphasis on idea generation and picture making. Assignments emphasize all aspects of preliminary stages and final art. Each assignment addresses a particular market and target audience with special emphasis on traditional narrative illustration that involves clothed figure models, other visual reference, and theatrical staging. Students will practice problem-solving within a defined set of parameters, using a medium of choice and utilizing approaches learned in Traditional Techniques and Digital Techniques. Emphasis is placed on the need to preserve spontaneity and vitality in task-based creative work. Various pre-production, formatting and presentation requirements for effective print and digital reproduction are also demonstrated.

    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:

    In this course students will explore a variety of wet and dry media traditionally used for art reproduction. A range of approaches, from precise to expressive, will be explored. Assignments will involve a wide range of subject matter (still life, wildlife, landscape, and human figure) drawn or painted from direct observation, photo reference, and invention. Students will explore fundamental principles of design and color through composition, with an emphasis on technical experimentation and practice.

    Term:

    Offered Fall Term

  • ADIL-S255 Digital Techniques

    Prerequisites:

    Take ADF-S101 and ADF-S166;

    Credits:

    3.00

    Description:

    This course builds on the introduction to digital media presented in the Foundation curriculum. Students will work primarily from direct observation utilizing drawing,painting and photo manipulation software,vector-based graphics software as well as Autodesk Sketchbook Pro and Corel Painter. The course includes an introduction to 3D modeling software. Similarities and compatibilities among-and essential differences between-applications are emphasized. Basic scanning, formatting, printing and presentation procedures will be covered with emphasis on file management, and the use of Help menus and online tutorials. Practice and experimentation will be emphasized, and issues of color and composition will be addressed.

    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 illustration. Taken concurrently with History of Illustration, students will explore aesthetic and historical references from both the fine and applied arts with emphasis on the expressive and conceptual use of stylistic elements. Assignments include an interdisciplinary collaborative project and the integration of text. The topics of art direction and audience will be discussed, and the choices of art buyers and the tastes of the general public will be analyzed. Students will practice their preferred media and technical approach 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 studio elective provides an intensive exploration of the relationship between human figure and environment in terms of both 2-dimensional composition and 3-dimensional illusionary volume and spatial depth. The course addresses drawing and painting and provides students with practice depicting the clothed and costumed figure from direct observation. Using collage or Adobe Photoshop, students will combine their drawings, paintings and photos of figure and environment, integrating these subjects to produce reference and studies for invented narrative scenes. Principles of linear and atmospheric perspective and light logic will also be reviewed. Students utilize the media of their choice for drawing, painting or 3-dimensional diorama and carefully considered staging will be employed in support of narrative and emotional context.

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 the process of the concepts and principles introduced in Illustration I with emphasis on idea generation and picture making. Assignments emphasize all aspects of preliminary stages and final art. Each assignment addresses a particular market and target audience with special emphasis on traditional narrative illustration that involves clothed figure models, other visual reference, and theatrical staging. Students will practice problem-solving within a defined set of parameters, using a medium of choice and utilizing approaches learned in Traditional Techniques and Digital Techniques. Emphasis is placed on the need to preserve spontaneity and vitality in task-based creative work. Various pre-production, formatting and presentation requirements for effective print and digital reproduction are also demonstrated.

    Term:

    Offered Spring Term

  • ADIL-S223 Traditional Techniques

    Prerequisites:

    ADF-S166 and ADF-S101

    Credits:

    3.00

    Description:

    In this course students will explore a variety of wet and dry media traditionally used for art reproduction. A range of approaches, from precise to expressive, will be explored. Assignments will involve a wide range of subject matter (still life, wildlife, landscape, and human figure) drawn or painted from direct observation, photo reference, and invention. Students will explore fundamental principles of design and color through composition, with an emphasis on technical experimentation and practice.

    Term:

    Offered Fall Term

  • ADIL-S255 Digital Techniques

    Prerequisites:

    Take ADF-S101 and ADF-S166;

    Credits:

    3.00

    Description:

    This course builds on the introduction to digital media presented in the Foundation curriculum. Students will work primarily from direct observation utilizing drawing,painting and photo manipulation software,vector-based graphics software as well as Autodesk Sketchbook Pro and Corel Painter. The course includes an introduction to 3D modeling software. Similarities and compatibilities among-and essential differences between-applications are emphasized. Basic scanning, formatting, printing and presentation procedures will be covered with emphasis on file management, and the use of Help menus and online tutorials. Practice and experimentation will be emphasized, and issues of color and composition will be addressed.

    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 studio elective provides an intensive exploration of the relationship between human figure and environment in terms of both 2-dimensional composition and 3-dimensional illusionary volume and spatial depth. The course addresses drawing and painting and provides students with practice depicting the clothed and costumed figure from direct observation. Using collage or Adobe Photoshop, students will combine their drawings, paintings and photos of figure and environment, integrating these subjects to produce reference and studies for invented narrative scenes. Principles of linear and atmospheric perspective and light logic will also be reviewed. Students utilize the media of their choice for drawing, painting or 3-dimensional diorama and carefully considered staging will be employed in support of narrative and emotional context.