I don't just draw pictures. I tell stories.
You rarely go anywhere without your sketchpad. But if you’ve been wondering where your talent for expressing yourself visually can take you, think about a career as a professional illustrator. There’s an opportunity for creative thinkers with the technical skills to communicate ideas through painting, drawing, and design in markets including publishing, advertising, and the web. You'll work hard, but you'll reap the rewards of that effort as you see your ideas take shape and come to life. If you’re ready to commit yourself to your craft, the place to start is here. Illustration will find you surrounded and inspired by other talented, creatively driven students. And you’ll be taught, challenged, and pushed by experienced faculty* who’ll also support you every step of the way. It won’t be easy. But it could be the best decision you ever made.
*Credentials and experience levels vary by faculty and instructors.
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Illustration
It's not my style to take the easy way out.
For you, illustration isn’t a hobby. It’s a serious expression of your artistic vision—and a possible pathway to a career where you can do what you love. And our Illustration degree program is just as serious. You’ll start with a solid foundation in drawing, painting and illustration techniques for traditional and emerging media, along with the basics of graphic design production. You’ll need to develop other critical skills like photography, project management, print production, typography, and layout. The focus extends focus to the commercial aspects of illustration, including marketing, self-promotion, career planning, and communication. You’ll have the opportunity to learn to build your own website, where you can showcase their work to a wide audience, including potential employers.
Meet Our Alumni
Adam HalbergCulinary Arts , 2000
"Nobody is going to make it easier or harder for you. Success comes from within. You must push yourself."Read More
Senior Vice President - Culinary for Barteca
Adam Halberg is a senior vice president - culinary for Barteca, a company that designs stylish, fun, and accessible restaurants. He works at the company’s Connecticut headquarters and oversees all culinary operations for the company’s “Bartaco” and “Barcelona Wine Bar & Restaurant” locations. Adam’s tip for a successful restaurant is to build a team of talented, creative people. “Give them rules and then challenge them to break those rules.”
Adam says that every job he’s held brought benefits to him as a culinary artist. He urges budding chefs to understand the commitment needed to succeed in this industry, adding that restaurants do not allow for complacency, because complacency leads to slips in quality. “Nobody is going to make it easier or harder for you. Success comes from within. You must push yourself.”
Adam, who in 2000 earned an Associate in Arts in Culinary Arts from The Art Institute of Atlanta, says that his culinary education provided solid exposure to a wide range of culinary traditions and techniques. Today, he is fortunate to work with colleagues who, like him, constantly strive for excellence. “There are a limited number of people who can completely and consistently self-motivate. Working with a dynamic team helps everyone, including me, [to strive] to do better.”Read More...
Jamika PessoaCulinary Arts , 2004
"My education prepared me with the knowledge and confidence to go out into the culinary world and find my niche."Read More
Field Correspondent for ABC TV's "The Chew"
Working as a field correspondent for ABC TV’s daytime food talk show “The Chew,” Jamika Pessoa travels across the country to highlight culinary events, restaurants, foods, and food trends. She also cooks and reports on-air. “I enjoy being able to make people smile with my food and charm,” she says.
Because she is in the process of building her own brand, Chef Jamika is inspired by celebrities including Rachael Ray, Martha Stewart, and Oprah Winfrey. In addition to her work on “The Chew,” Jamika was a contestant on “The Next Food Network Star, Season 5.” She’s also served as a host on TLC’s lifestyle show “Home Made Simple” and has been a guest on “The Today Show” and “The Rachael Ray Show.”
Jamika also owns her own business, working as a personal chef. In 2004, she earned an Associate of Arts degree in Culinary Arts from The Art Institute of Atlanta—and she believes that her education helped her to succeed in the industry. “My education prepared me with the knowledge and confidence to go out into the culinary world and find my niche.” She recommends that budding chefs seeking the limelight work hard to achieve their goals. “I did not start here. It takes a lot of humility, hard work, patience, and determination to get here. I always have to look for ways to stand out among others.”Read More...
Keith ShroederCulinary Arts , 1995
"My education opened the door to opportunities [in the culinary industry]."Read More
CEO of High Road Craft Ice Cream & Sorbet
Keith Schroder is the CEO of High Road Craft Ice Cream & Sorbet, located in Marietta, Georgia. He’s responsible for developing the executive team at the company and says that there is no “typical” day at his job. Keith is working toward his goal of turning the brand into a $100 million company. “That’s a stretch from where we are now but we have the talent and team to make it happen.”
He describes the culinary industry as challenging. “You’re engaged in constant challenges—itemizing them [is difficult]. Just focus on where you want to go, and go there.” He adds that the best advice he can give to young culinary artists is to “put your nose down and refuse to quit. You [have to be] committed.”
Keith, who in 1995 earned an Associate in Arts in Culinary Arts from The Art Institute of Atlanta, says that his education opened the door to opportunities within the culinary industry. He adds that the school’s career services department helped him to secure his first job at the local Hilton hotel restaurant. Keith believes that his work is a constant and ongoing reward. “Enjoy the challenge so you have a constant source of excitement.”Read More...
Martin NashInterior Design , 1989
"[My education] find-tuned my design skills [and exposed me] to all aspects of the design process."Read More
Owner of Martin Nash Design
Martin Nash is the owner of his own interior design firm, located in the Atlanta Decorative Arts Center. The 550,000 square foot Center is home to 60 showrooms displaying product lines including furniture, fabric, rugs, lighting, accessories, floor and wall coverings, antiques, fine art and framing, kitchens, bath, tile and stone, and home theater products. Martin works with designers and architects in the showroom selecting furniture, lighting, and art for design projects. He says that the best part of his job is working closely with talented and creative people.Read More...
Martin is proud that his creative passion helped to change the dynamics of the Atlanta Decorative Arts Center—and the surrounding design community. When it comes to inspiration, Martin looks to nature and urban grittiness. “My hero is William Switzer.” And he recommends that current interior design students keep their options open when it comes to a specialization. “Consider the design showroom business as a viable career path.”
Martin, who in 1989 earned an Associate of Arts in Interior Design from The Art Institute of Atlanta, says that his education fine-tuned his design skills. He believes that big trend in the industry is exposure to all aspects of the design process via digital or online catalogs. “Younger designers want their furniture and lighting resources on a computer or tablet. The showroom industry must keep up with the next generation of designers.”
See aiprograms.info for program duration, tuition, fees and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.
Terry CookCulinary Arts , 2012
"The culinary world is always changing. It is our job as chefs to always be evolving our dishes."Read More
Executive Chef at The Palm Restaurant
Terry Cook is the executive chef at The Palm Restaurant in Dallas, Texas. He oversees the menu, maintains standards in the restaurant, and provides leadership to his staff. Terry also enjoys preparing special items that expand the culinary tastes of his clients. “I like to take ingredients that most people are afraid to eat and prepare them in a more accessible dish,” he says.
A typical work day includes setting up the kitchen, preparing menu specials, and ordering supplies. Terry is proud to look back at the work he’s put into his career—and see that it’s elevated him to the position of executive chef. He recommends that current students always be open to new techniques and suggestions for growing their culinary skills.
Terry, who in 2012 earned a Culinary Skills Diploma from The Art Institute of Atlanta, says that his education provided the skills and fundamentals that he needed in a culinary career. He encourages others to experiment with ingredients and try new restaurants. “The culinary world is always changing. It is our job as chefs to always be evolving our dishes. Try not to remain [stuck] on one trend or idea.”
What Will I Study?
I have the talent. I want to put it to use.
Many full-time faculty* who deliver the Illustration curriculum are professional illustrators who not only teach the skills you need to compete, but bring the real world in to the classroom so you can enter the profession with your eyes open. You’ll study:
- Design Fundamentals
- Digital Illustration
- Layout Design
- Life Drawing
- Conceptual Illustration
- Internship --OR-- Professional Practice
- Advanced Painting
- Illustration Studio
I'm looking for my proving ground.
The Art Institutes system of schools, creativity is our core, our calling, our culture. Our Illustration degree program is built on that creative foundation. It’s also built on our knowledge that a creative career is not for the faint of heart. Because it’s tough out there, it’s tough in here. But we temper that toughness with all the support you’ll need to prepare for a career in this competitive profession. That’s why we provide the mentoring and real-world experience to help you prevail, with faculty* who’ve worked in the field, along with opportunities to learn that go far beyond our kitchens. You’ll be encouraged and expected to be bold. To take risks. To push yourself and the people around you. It won’t be easy. In fact, it’ll be the hardest thing you’ll ever love.
*Credentials and experience levels vary by faculty and instructors.
[My education] helped me to learn how to be an effective teammate and work well with others. Calvert Griffin
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design, 2014, The Art Institute of Michigan