New Student Programs

Illustration

About the BFA in Illustration

Our Bachelor of Fine Arts in Illustration program prepares students in the most current expressions of the illustrative arts profession. With a developed background in fine arts, graphic design, and advertising, illustrators may direct their careers in many different directions, including book and magazine publishing, advertising, company literature, packaging, television, as well as commercial and feature film industries. Illustrators must know design, communication principles, and problem-solving techniques, but most importantly, they must know how to draw.

Illustration students learn to understand the mechanics of tools and media. They choose the media best suited to express their ideas, organize their compositions to greater enhance communication, conceptualize ideas, and above all, refine their visual sensitivities to levels expected of professional artists. Their background is further developed by a well-integrated core curriculum of fine art and design.

Special illustration workshops and an ongoing lecture series expose students to current developments in their intended field, while the Professional Portfolio Development course assists graduating seniors with practical preparation for the transition from student to professional practitioner.


For Orientation

On Campus Freshmen Students

If you are attending New Student Orientation as a freshman you do not need to bring a portfolio.  We do not evaluate non-college level work for incoming freshmen. All AP credits will be evaluated by the Office of Degree Evaluation and do not require a portfolio review.

On Campus Transfer Students

No student is required to bring a portfolio, however, any students attempting to place into upper-level courses will need to complete a portfolio review.

Students who are attempting to transfer credits for upper-level classes in the following disciplines should plan to bring a portfolio, as well as syllabi and course descriptions for those transfer classes.  In addition, you may want to bring an additional copy of your transcripts:

  • • Advertising Art Direction
  • • Illustration
  • • Interior Architecture
  • • Fine Art
  • • Product Design
  • • Graphic Design

Students must bring a portfolio consisting of the following:

  • • 8-10 images from each course to be evaluated
  • • A course description/and or syllabus for each course being evaluated
  • • The format may be a hardcopy or digital

The following courses do not require a portfolio review and will be applied to a student’s degree after the transcripts have been evaluated by the Office of Degree Evaluation and the Art and Design department, unless the course is otherwise names, then clarification of course content may be needed.

  • • Art History I and II
  • • Beginning Drawing
  • • 2-D Design
  • • 3-D Design

On Campus 2nd BA Students

If you took art and design classes as part of your undergraduate degree you must bring a copy of your transcript and portfolio to be reviewed at Orientation.

We regret that we are unable to register any 2nd BA student for upper level courses without a portfolio review.

Students must bring a portfolio consisting of the following:

  • • 8-10 images from each course to be evaluated
  • • A course description/and or syllabus for each course being evaluated
  • • The format may be hardcopy or digital

2nd BA students cannot transfer credit to Columbia College Chicago, however they can be waived out of course work that they have previously completed.


Distance Freshmen Students

We do not evaluate non-college level work for incoming freshmen.  All AP credits will be evaluated by the Office of Degree Evaluation and do not require a portfolio review.


Distance Transfer Students

Students should expect to see the results of applying to transfer course credit in the following classes:

  • • Art History II
  • • Beginning Drawing
  • • 2-D Design & 3-D Design (unless course is otherwise named, then clarification of course content may be needed)

For more information regarding our transfer credit policies please review the Art & Design Transfer Credit Policies.


First Semester Classes

Freshmen
Studio courses are intensive in terms of time in the classroom as well as time outside of the classroom to complete assignments. The curriculum is intentionally designed to allow students to take their general education courses (LAS) and major requirements concurrently.

For studio majors, a good rule of thumb in creating your schedule each semester is to balance 2-3 studio courses with LAS courses. 

We recommend all Illustration students take the following classes in the major duirng their first semester:

  • • 22-1105 Introduction to Visual Culture–this course may be taken in either Fall or Spring
  • • 22-1910 Making I OR 22-1925 Making for Transfers
  • • 22-1960 through 22-1979 Foundation Skill Courses–schedule one for each of the five-week increments over the fifteen week semester, e.g. one for weeks 1-5, another for weeks 6-10, and the last for weeks 10-15.

We recommend the following Foundations Skills courses for Illustration majors in their first semester (choose 3):

  • • 22-1962 Foundation Skill: Silk Screening
  • • 22-1965 Foundation Skill: Color Theory
  • • 22-1966 Foundation Skill: Drawing in Perspective
  • • 22-1971 Foundation Skill: Figure Drawing

Illustration majors should not take Foundation Skill: Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. These skills are covered in other courses. 

All freshmen should also take the following LAS (general education) classes:

  • • 48-1100 through 48-1114 First-Semester Experience
  • • 52-1151 Writing and Rhetoric I

For more information about our exciting new Foundations program please visit our website.

Transfers
All transfer students have unique considerations when it comes to scheduling courses dependent on the type and number of courses being transferred.

We regret that we are unable to authorize students to register for courses above the foundations level without a portfolio review. If you require a portfolio review, and one has not yet been scheduled for you, please contact Academic Program Coordinator, Alexis Kowalsky, at akowalsky@colum.edu to arrange for a portfolio review.

We recommend that you create a partial schedule prior to Orientation even if you need a portfolio review using the guidelines listed above.

Transfers should round out their schedule with LAS requirements they have not yet completed.