Illuminate image


Complex Visual Narratives.

Find Your Own Voice image

Find Your Own Voice

Think Critically, Invent Concepts, & Develop Your Style.


At the core of every illustration, whether there is a story to be told, a problem to be solved, or a point of view to be expressed, the illustrator provides the vision.

Majors in the Illustration Program at MECA&D benefit from a low student to faculty ratio and guidance of award-winning professionals in the field. This makes for an intimate and intensive course of study that combines artistic rigor with real world experience. Our dedicated faculty of illustrators and artists bring their daily practice of business, craft, concept, and aesthetics to their teaching.

As an Illustration major, you will build upon technical abilities deeply rooted in fundamental artistic skills. From this base, you will learn to think critically, invent concepts, and develop a personal and unique style. In addition, you will study illustration history, theory, and professional practices: the business of illustration.


  • Faculty
  • Alumni
  • Student
  • Illustration senior Natalie Brown completes the Holiday Window installation at Porteous

    Congratulations to Natalie Brown, a senior in our Illustration major, on being chosen . . .

    Congratulations to Natalie Brown, a senior in our Illustration major, on being chosen to install this year’s Maine College of Art & Design Holiday Window! The artist, who describes herself […]Read More

  • Kate Gardiner '20

    October 3, 2023, will see the release of the new children's book Small Places, Close to Home, written . . .

    October 3, 2023, will see the release of the new children's book Small Places, Close to Home, written by Deborah Hopkinson and illustrated by Kate Gardiner '20. The story is inspired by The Universal […]Read More

  • Sarah Pedry Obuchowski MFA ’11

    “Have you ever seen a bird sleep? Or wondered just when it is that migrating cranes find the time to . . .

    “Have you ever seen a bird sleep? Or wondered just when it is that migrating cranes find the time to catch Z’s as they cross the ocean? From the parrots […]Read More

  • Lois Lambert Gallery presents Sacred / Mundane, the newest exhibit of work by artist Peter Wallis '06

    Peter explains his new solo exhibition as “[A] big moment in . . .

    Peter explains his new solo exhibition as “[A] big moment in my art career featuring a lot of inspiration from Maine and Portland in the work.” The show, Sacred / Mundane, […]Read More

  • Liz Burdick ’22 named first Summer Illustration Fellow at The Nature Conservancy in Maine

    Thanks to the knowledge and support of my amazing professors and the team at Artists at Work, I feel . . .

    We are thrilled to share that Liz Burdick '22, a recent graduate from our BFA Illustration major, was named the first Summer Illustration Fellow at The Nature Conservancy (TNC) in […]Read More

  • Prof. Andrew DeGraff

    Process-wise, the line artwork was created with brush and ink, scanned and painted in large files, and . . .

    Ten Realms of Asgard by Andrew DeGraff © Andrew DeGraff, 2021 Professor of Illustration, Andrew DeGraff illustrated five maps for the "Marvel Universe: Map by Map" by James Hill and Nick Jones, published by DK […]Read More

  • Daniel Minter in the PMA Biennal

    Maine artist Daniel Minter's deeply spiritual piece tells his personal story as well as an overarching . . .

    The following is sourced from an article in the Portland Press Herald, written by Bob Keyes. The artwork of Daniel Minter, Assistant Instructor of Illustration at MECA&D, is a study of memory and […]Read More

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  • Formal

    Students acquire an understanding of the expressive nature of illustration in a variety of media. Students will learn how to communicate ideas visually, solve problems and think critically. Students will be able to develop techniques and skills to service content.

  • Conceptual

    Students generate a variety of assignments leading up to a self-directed body of work and articulate their work within a historical and contemporary context. Students gain competency and confidence in directing and executing their ideas while acquiring a working knowledge of the concepts and techniques of the illustrators who have made a significant contribution to this discipline and define its current practice.

  • Technical

    Students build upon many types of drawing skills including figure, observational, representational, conceptual, and sketching.
    Students are able to explore with a variety of tools, mediums, basic and advanced techniques, and digital techniques. Experimentation is encouraged. Students develop an understanding of the nature of taking risks with their work and their relationship to it.

  • Professional

    Students gain confidence and are provided with the opportunity to seek out professionals in the field for opportunities of work and internships. Students gain an understanding of how to pursue clients, price work, and run a freelance business as an illustrator. They have a sense of the contemporary illustration market and the breadth of skills needed to be successful in this field.


  • What are some of the career paths for someone who majors in Illustration?

    Illustrators work for a variety of printed matter and publications, screen based, and product lines. Examples include, childrens’ books, graphic novels, comics, book covers, magazines, newspapers, posters, maps, charts, websites, apps, concept art, toys, and games.

  • How do you prepare your students for the real world?

    Our professors are all working in various illustration fields, often multi-disciplinary in their methods and careers, so our students are exposed to a variety of venues. Students engage with illustrators through studio visits, field trips, portfolio reviews, and are encouraged to network. Our professors are current in their experiences and offer up--to-date information through class discussion, critiques, reviews, and one on one conversations. Fourth year Illustration majors are required to take Professional Studio in which they obtain additional information about business practices, networking, and visual promotion.

  • What are some examples of what your alums are doing?

    Our illustration alum are working as freelance illustrators creating illustrations for books, magazines, logos, posters, wine labels, CD covers, and storefronts. They are full time art directors in agencies and employed in game companies and animation studios. Students work and show in galleries, as well as create products to sell online and in shops.

  • What are the prerequisites to major in Illustration?

    Students must have all of the Foundation requirements, including Liberal Arts, Art History, and have taken at least one elective illustration course.

  • What unique skills do your students get?

    Students work independently with faculty to develop their individual abilities. Deep research skills are fostered so that students are dextrous in working on any assignment about any subject. Our students acquire the traditional and digital skills necessary to build a portfolio that reflects their talents, versatility, and interests.

  • Will I be able to incorporate other media or interests with my work as an Illustration major?

    Students are encouraged to explore any media or incorporate any interests into their work so they can better define what kind of illustrator they wish to be. Students are welcome to take electives outside the major to build upon and support their diverse curiosities.

  • What are some of the classes that are offered in your department?

    Our electives include: Picturebook, Editorial Illustration, Experimental Illustration, Narrative, Graphic Novel/Sequential, Character Design, Motion Graphics, Hand Lettering, Advanced Techniques, and Advanced Techniques in Pen and Ink.

  • What are some of the unique aspects of this program?

    The one-on-one attention faculty offer the students is exemplary and shows the dedication and care of faculty to address and support student's needs on an ongoing basis. Faculty work to keep what they teach relevant, and present their own current experiences so students can hear what is happening in the field. Faculty emphasizes the need for a practice that includes editing and refinement, research and informed solutions, and ways to incorporate a student's interests as well as individuality. Students are supported in developing their ability to articulate their work and process, so that they can discuss projects with future clients, and develop a strong sense of self while remaining flexible with a given assignment, as well as find solutions that go above and beyond the obvious choices.

  • What are the faculty like?

    Our faculty are a diverse group with multiple talents and interests which bring a wide variety of teaching potential for a vast range of students. Our faculty is engaged, dedicated, and kind. Oh, and sometimes, silly.

  • What are your facilities like?

    Our illustration studio has brand new individual working stations designed and constructed by MECA’s Woodworking facility. Our studio shares a large combined space with Graphic Design. In the studio, students also have access to digital equipment - computers, Cintiques, scanners, copiers, and printers.

  • What are some examples of internships your students have done in the past?

    Internships have included: Hasbro Toys, Curious City, The Via Agency, Illustration Institute, Hugh McCormack Design, Andres Vera Martinez illustration studio, Ben Bishop studio.

  • How many students (juniors and seniors) do you typically have in your major?

    The illustration program typically has 25 - 35 majors.


Preparation (1st & 2nd Year)
Technique based electives:
Intro to Ink IL (104), Methods and Media in Illustration (IL 110), Portrait Drawing in Illustration (IL 107) followed by Illustration in Context (IL 212)

Junior Year (3rd Year)
Illustration Majors Studio (IL 321),
Illustration Majors Studio (IL 322),
Introduction To The Discipline: Illustration (IL 351) and SEM 352-3-4
(2) Approved Studio Electives

Senior Year (4th Year)
Illustration Majors Studio (IL 421),
Illustration Majors Studio (IL 423),
(3) Approved Studio Electives