Your experience in the CCS Illustration department integrates the fundamentals of visual storytelling, figure drawing, color, composition, and perspective with industry-relevant coursework.

An ancient egyptian statue with the eyes awakened in a vision like state

Nathan Watson

A girl in an abstract and surreal background walking through a doorway

Dana Lee

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

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.

Fashion, Lifestyle and Licensing

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.

Comics and Sequential

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.

Gallery Artist

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.


Advertising Illustrator
Art Educator
Character Artist
Children’s Book Illustrator
Comic Book Artist
Concept Artist
Conceptual Illustrator for Video Games/Film
Creative Director
Digital Illustrator

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Creative Director
Digital Illustrator
Digital Matte Illustrator
Digital Painter
Digital Photo Illustrator
Digital Compositor
Editorial Illustrator
Environment Artist
Fashion Illustrator
Freelance Illustrator
Gallery Artist
Graphic Novel Illustrator
Lighting Designer
Merchandising Illustrator
Motion Illustrator / Designer
Multimedia Designer
Storyboard Artist
Textile Pattern Illustrator
Visual Artist
Visual Development Illustrator
Web Designer

Previous Internships

Ann Arbor Art Association
Armstrong White
Avanti Press
Ball Aerospace
Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners
Campbell Ewald
Cartoon Network
Crispin Porter + Bogusky
Detroit Artists Market
The Detroit Mercantile Co
Diane von Furstenberg
Dianne O
Disney Consumer Products

Doner Advertising
Esperanza Spaulding
Fisher Price
Gemela Design LLC
Grand Rapids Symphony
Group eX
Hour Media
Insomniac Games
Jean Bartlett (ARTIST)
Kitchen Direct
Maxsar Digital Studios
MetroParent Publishing
Midway Amusement Games LLC
Mister Wonderful

Murals n More
Museum of American Illustration
Museum of Fine Art
Mattel Inc.
Patricia Field
Ray Villafane
Reader’s Digest
Root Learning
Skidmore Studios
Spark Communications
Team Detroit
Terrance Sullivan
The Rockhouse
WJBK Fox 2 News

Illustration students have access to all of the tools needed to form 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.

Featured Alumni


Chris Houghton

Co-Creator & Executive Producer
Disney’s Big City Greens


Katie Cook

Illustrator, Comic Artist


Serge Gay Jr.

Visual Artist, Art Director


Sydney James

Muralist, Owner


Michael Maher, Jr.

Concept Artist
Stranger Things


Mario Moore

Artist & Hodder Fellow
Princeton University


Kellye Purdue

Storyboard Artist
Cartoon Network


Ryan Savas

Head of Story
Netflix Animation