Illustration at ArtCenter College of Design

Illustration at ArtCenter College of Design


I have always been drawing. I kind of knew
I wanted to something in my career with drawing, so that was always the clear choice for me. Illustration is the largest department at
ArtCenter. I think we attract a lot of students because we have an open program when you first
step in. It’s about improving your skill set immediately. One of the things you have to be able to do
is draw very, very well. You have to be able to draw figures moving in space, you have
to be able to draw landscapes and environments and buildings that have horizons, and you
have to be able to do it with a point of view and a camera angle. And you have to be to
do it with all of the things artists in the 19th century had to deal with. Plus, you have
to do it with modern technology and moving cameras and that kind of thing. So really,
drawing ability is, in the beginning, the big part. Illustration is maybe too small a word for
the department You think of traditional illustration: book covers, magazines illustration. All that
stuff exists, but it’s changing. So somebody produces a children’s book, they also may
design toys that will go with it, there may be animation that comes out of it. So I think
if an illustrator has a really strong voice, then they can take that voice into multiple
markets, often simultaneously. The path to success is your originality. At
third term, you select your track. You start to take a lot of very different classes with
different faculty. And what happens, is the students have pushed at that point to find
their own way to start to question why they like to make certain images. I chose entertainment because I was really
interested in storytelling. Really affecting your audience. So we’re talking about mood,
we’re talking about emotions, getting a reaction. Illustration Design is the loosest of the
Illustration tracks. You can really develop a personal style and take that style and really
use it in many different ways. Because the class sizes were smaller, there
was a lot opportunities to get to know your faculty very well. I mean A, they are fantastic
artists and industry professionals–they are amazing at what they do. Even when you think you are pushing yourself
super hard, they push you even further. And one of my favorite instructors is always like
“Make it bigger” or “Do more of them,” and that has always benefited me. They’re
really smart, really creative, and they come up with really great assignments that pull
out the best of students. My teaching philosophy, I think, is really
to help each person find their voice and find who they are, and feel strong and confident
and knowledgeable enough to make a career out of expressing that. Because it is really their voice that is going
to drive their career. It’s the compass by which they steer. And illustration, people
end up going in all sorts of career directions. In fine art, in film, in music–in so many
different areas. Everybody here really knows what they’re
doing. So if I need an opinion from someone that I can trust, I know that they’re just
down the hall and I can just seek out any one of my friends here. Anybody in the 21st century I think what they
need is, they need flexibility, they need a little fearlessness, they need to be willing
to cross disciplines when the need arises, and they need to be really open-minded. L.A. holds hope, possibility, and the time
to be yourself. I think those things are very important if you’re studying to be an illustrator.
At the same time, you must be connected to contemporary culture. And L.A. now is on the
forefront of definitely the art and design culture, so you have everything here for your
reference. On some level, an Illustration student I think
really has the opportunity and really should commit to looking around and exploring and
getting a big sense of the world. And I think a strong sense of self and one’s place in
the world is a big lesson to learn.

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