Visual Arts majors who choose a BA degree track will develop a general competence in the understanding, appreciation, and practices of visual arts. Each track is designed to serve students who are interested in a degree in the visual arts, but are unable or choose not to pursue a BFA degree, and who plan to enter professions within this field or pursue other paths that require artistic skill and knowledge, clear thinking, intellectual maturity, and aesthetic awareness. It is also designed to develop skills and nurture habits of thought and appreciation that will provide a source of life-long personal satisfaction to the student.
Illustration as a major form of visual communication in contemporary society provides hundreds of career choices and creative avenues that utilize the skills students acquire in our program. The illustration program is structured to challenge, strengthen, and enhance their abilities to respond to changing markets, to interpret themes and ideas, and to create images both interesting and insightful.
The program is arranged to give students training incrementally—beginning with an understanding of basic image-making skills. Courses such as drawing, figure drawing, and two-dimensional design encourage understanding and clarity of fundamental concepts of line, form, color, space, value, and shape. Competency in these areas is rigorously tested through stimulating and challenging projects, peer-to-peer competition and student/teacher evaluations.
After completing the studio arts core classes, students then apply to the program by submitting a portfolio of work to the admissions committee for review. After admission into the program, students are granted access to a greater variety of classes, and through lecture, demonstration, and experimentation, they engage in more in-depth explorations of the medium, including digital technology, photography, typography, graphic design, and other upper-division drawing courses.
As a student progresses into the later semesters of training, faculty aid the student in recognizing his/her own individual viewpoint and artistic style, which is then refined and sophisticated to a point where the student feels confident to enter the industry upon graduation. Part of this development is secured through classes focusing on advanced techniques of various media, book illustration, editorial illustration, and professional practices. Students are also required to take the history of American illustration and one other elective art history class to provide a context within which they may locate their philosophies, personal voice, and visual character.
As students seek the knowledge required to be successful in the industry, illustration faculty members, who are all professional freelance illustrators, provide insights, expertise, experience, and skill—acting as mentors and examples to whom students may look for professional advice. Upon completion of coursework, as a capstone project, students are required to hold an individual exhibition of works accompanied by an artist statement and defense, which is reviewed by faculty for degree candidacy.