Choose Your Path
Your experience in the CCS Illustration department integrates the fundamentals of visual storytelling, figure drawing, color, composition, and perspective with industry-relevant coursework.
Our illustration elective course options form pathways in Visual Development, Publishing, Fashion Lifestyle and Licensing, Comics and Sequential, or Gallery Artist. Through these pathways, you will develop a portfolio specific to your career goals and creative interests.
Our students and graduates work for industry leaders such as Adidas, Blizzard Games, Cartoon Network, Disney, Converse, ESPN, Ford, The New York Times, Nike, and the Washington Post. Our students and graduates win awards and are regularly featured in award shows such as American Illustration, Communication Arts, Spectrum, and the Society of Illustrators of New York and Los Angeles.
Our pathways will help you create a focused portfolio for freelance or studio-based careers in illustration, and that combined with our business-centric courses and optional Entrepreneurial Studies concentration will prepare you for work in a studio or opening your own.
Visual Development is for artists interested in the creative advancement of characters and environments for the animation industry. Gain an in-depth understanding of the industry pipeline and gain hands-on animation production experience- both feature and series length- all while building a portfolio project specifically geared toward industry placement.
Publishing is for students who are interested in the various paths within print and digital publishing, like editorial, book cover and interior illustration, children’s picture books, and posters. Students will develop a focused portfolio and gain in-depth knowledge of industry practices, and trends within this well-known area of the illustration industry.
The fashion, lifestyle and licensing pathway combines illustration with design on a variety of surfaces and products. Emphasis is placed on cutting-edge market and trend research utilizing industry-standard databases and resources. The Fashion, Lifestyle, and Licensing illustration markets are major growth areas in the Illustration industry, and our course content evolves with it.
Students use visual storytelling skills for both self-published ‘zines and mainstream comics and graphic novel markets as well as storyboarding for television and film, in the Comics and Sequential pathway. Students will develop technical drawing skills alongside storytelling skillsets like acting, film theory, and script interpretation.
The gallery artist pathway balances classical skillsets with personal voice development and conceptual theory. Coursework includes more extensive figure painting and students' resulting portfolio will be ready to submit to galleries and for solo and group exhibitions.
What Sets Us Apart?
Traditional, Digital and Blended Curriculum
Illustration students graduate with a solid knowledge of the traditional methods of illustration, the newer digital trends and also the understanding of how traditional media translates into the digital illustration workflow process – from pigment to pixels.
Students have access to a vast network of key industry players via alumni, sponsored projects and a stellar faculty of freelance illustrators, creative directors, art directors and concept and storyboard artists.
Fundamentals are Key
Curriculum emphasizes the fundamentals of image making, visual language and visual storytelling and teaches how to translate various traditional media into digital illustration
Children’s Book Illustrator
Comic Book Artist
Conceptual Illustrator for Video Games
Digital Matte Illustrator
Digital Photo Illustrator
Graphic Novel Illustrator
Motion Illustrator / Designer
Textile Pattern Illustrator
Visual Development Illustrator
Fields that value clear communication need illustrators.
Ann Arbor Art Association
Butler, Shine, Stern & Patners
Crispin Porter + Bogusky
Detroit Artists Market
The Detroit Mercantile Co
Diane von Furstenberg
Disney Consumer Products
Gemela Design LLC
Grand Rapids Symphony
Jean Bartlett (ARTIST)
Maxsar Digital Studios
Midway Amusement Games LLC
Murals n More
Museum of American Illustration
Museum of Fine Art
WJBK Fox 2 News