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The certificate program in Illustration provides you with a solid foundation for creating illustrations, learning illustrative techniques, and understanding an illustrator's creative process.

SMFA offers a unique and flexible approach to illustration, maintaining its fine-art basis while teaching its practical applications. You will acquire general technical and conceptual skills to use in a wide variety of opportunities within the field. You can choose to focus on particular types of illustration, such as editorial illustration for newspapers and magazines, children's book illustration, cartooning, graphic novels, concept illustration for ads and video games, and more. You can also delve into digital and analog techniques, including Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, watercolor, gouache, or printmaking.

We suggest beginning the program with either Drawing for Illustrators and Figurative Artists or Illustration I. After completing both classes, we recommend taking Fundamentals of 2D Design and Illustration II before progressing to elective courses and concluding with Portfolio Preparation near the end of your coursework.

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Program Requirements

This program consists of 10 courses comprised of 5 required fundamental courses and 5 electives. 

Please note: semesters listed below are subject to change.

Required Courses

Drawing for Illustration and Figurative Art (fall, spring)

Fundamentals of 2D Design (fall, spring, summer)

Illustration I (fall, spring)

Illustration II (fall)

Portfolio Preparation for Illustrators and Designers (spring)

Elective Courses

Adobe Illustrator: Introduction (spring, summer)

Adobe Photoshop: Introduction (fall, summer)

Anatomy for Life Drawing (fall, spring, summer)

Children's Book Illustration *

Color Mastery (fall, spring)

Design for Social Change (summer)

Digital and Experimental Animation (fall, spring)

Graphic Novel *

Illustration: A Digital Approach (fall, spring)

Lithography: Art of the Multiple (spring)

Monoprint (summer)

Screen printing: A to Z (spring)

Still Life: Color and Light (fall, spring)

Typography: Introduction (spring, summer)

Web Design I *

Web Design II *

* these elective courses are offered on a periodic basis.

Elective Note: Students may petition to substitute electives that are not listed above with other classes that would be in keeping with their individual goals.

Program Costs

Non-Credit tuition is $995 per course. The certificate consists of ten courses (10 x $995). You can expect to pay approximately $9,950 in tuition, plus the application fee ($45), for a total cost of $9,995 for the certificate.

There is a $65 registration fee each academic year, fall term through summer term, which covers registration for any number of courses taken that year. For more information please see our course list. Tuition does not include the cost of class materials/supplies.

How to Apply

To apply to the Illustration certificate program, complete our online application via Slideroom. There is a $45 application fee. Payment is completed online when you submit your application.

Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis and must be submitted 10 days prior to the start of a term to be considered for that upcoming term. Admissions decisions are returned with 2 weeks of application submission.

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