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A degree in illustration provides individuals with the skills and education necessary to work commercially as an artist. Illustrators must have an understanding of art both in the practical and theoretical sense. A student studying illustration will be give instruction on how to capture form on paper, understanding color, working with various mediums including painting, and how to bring together a composition. Most programs will also provide courses on the commercial applications of illustration for various fields.
Courses in illustration may include:
- Art History
- Contemporary Art
- Three Dimensional Design
- Digital Illustration
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No degree is necessary to begin a career as an illustrator. A strong portfolio of work and demonstrable talent can just as easily find one work. TA degree in illustration does provide more options to an individual as the course of study involved multiple mediums and a more in depth understanding of art. Often, if all else is equal, employers will choose a degree holder for employment due to their experience and discipline throughout their career in art school. Additionally, degree holders tend to show more refinement in their work and have a broader base from which to draw experience from when working, thus require less training to accomplish tasks.
Additionally, illustrators who take the time to learn computer programs for illustration and animation tend to have more employment opportunities than others. The adoption of digital media by most studios, private firms, and others means that the more technically savvy the artist, the more likely he or she is to find work.
Work opportunities for an illustration major include:
- Graphic Designer
- Storyboard Artist
- Pre-Visualization Specialist
Due to the nature of illustration there is no average wage available. The varying nature of the work and the abilities of the artist often dictate one's wage. For example, salaried illustrators average approximately $42,000 per year, where as art directors tend to average $90,000 per year.