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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. Explore types of illustration, such as editorial illustration for newspapers and magazines, children's book illustration, concept illustration for ads and video games, and more. You can also delve into digital and analog techniques, including Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, gouache, or printmaking.

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Program Requirements

This is an in-person program with opportunities to take individual courses in an online modality for a hybrid learning experience. Program completion does require some in-person coursework.

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) or any additional elective course below

Illustration I (fall, spring)

Illustration II (fall)

Portfolio Preparation for Illustrators and Designers (spring) or Freelancing 101 for Creatives workshop

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 Completion Timeline

Most students complete their certificate program in two to three years. 

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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