What are some of the career paths for someone who majors in Illustration?
Illustrators do work for a variety of printed matter and publications, digital outlets such as websites, blogs, newspapers, catalogues, brochures, professional journals, maps, charts, information design, graphic design, children's, tween's and teen's books, book covers, CD and album covers, skateboard and snow board decks, animation, graphic novels, posters, banners, and displays.
How do you prepare your students for the real world?
Our professors are all working in various fields, often multi-disciplinary in their methods and careers, so our students are exposed to venues from games and video markets to the gallery scene, from comic books and graphic novels to toy design to concept art and more. Students engage with illustrators, graphic designers, and other artists in the profession though studio visits, reviews, and other ways in which they are encouraged to network, discuss process, practice, and the fields they are interested in, and our professors are current in their experiences and knowledge of what is needed, expected, and required, and offer up--to-date information in the Majors Studio classes, during crits, reviews, portfolio reviews, private conversations, and mentoring sessions. Students are required to take Professional Studio in which as seniors they obtain additional information about business practices, networking, and visual promotion.
What are some examples of what your alums are doing?
Some of our students and alums are publishing magazines, studying art education to work with student 1-12th grade, selling work through online stores, freelancing for design, animation, and other kinds of studios, working as staff in a design or animation studio, exhibiting in galleries, producing art for books, children's book projects, CD covers for musicians, and creating tee shirt designs.
What are the prerequisites to major in Illustration?
Students must have all of the Foundation requirements, including Liberal Arts, Art History, Drawing and elective requirements, as well as Illustration 204 and 206 taken in Second Year at Maine College of Art.
What unique skills do your students get?
Students develop a set of skills to suit their interest in specific aspects of the field which might include traditional and or digital media and methods. Many students work independently with faculty to develop and hone skills such as painting or sculpting in clay. Our students often work on site at various locations exterior and interior, or with a model in clothing to develop strategies for gathering research and observational skills needed to illustrate the figure in a specific location. Our students develop research skills so they are dextrous in working on any assignment about any subject. Our students have enough digital and traditional skills to build a portfolio that reflects their talents, interests, and versatility.
Will I be able to incorporate other media or interests with my work as a Illustration major?
Students are encouraged to incorporate any interests and media into their work as an illustrator, so they can better define what kind of illustrator they wish to be. They become more engaged with the practices of the discipline if their particular curiosities and passions are invited to flourish and contribute to the group's diversity and expansion as well. Students teach and influence one another.
What are some of the classes that are offered in your department?
Picture Book, Graphic Novel, and Digital Illustration.
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. Our faculty are willing to look at what student's needs and wants are, how they change with technology and trends of the market, and adjust teaching and course development when possible. Faculty work to keep what they teach relevant, and present their own current experiences so students can hear what is happening in the field, and exposure to outside professionals adds to this. Students work with one another and individually, and gain the capacity to work in both ways. Faculty emphasize and have students experience the need for a process that builds in ongoing editing and refinement, research and informed solutions, and ways to incorporate a student's interests, passions, and questions. Students are supported in developing their ability to articulate their work and process, so that can discuss projects with clients in the future, and develop a strong sense of self while remaining flexible with a given assignment, and the ability to make needed changes to work, and 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 abilities and supports for a range of students.
What are your facilities like?
We have digital labs along with individual studio areas in a large combined space where the Majors intermingle with Majors from four departments; there is overlap, mixed dialogue, and the real-world fee of a studio. Some of the illustrators who paint are able to use painting studios as well. We have computers, scanner/printer, lightbox, Wacom tablets, Xerox machine, and access to photo equipment.
What are some examples of internships your students have done in the past?
Students have interned with Illustration/Animation studios such as Scott Nash's studio here in Portland.
How many students (juniors and seniors) do you typically have in your major?
Generally about 12 Juniors and 12-15 Seniors.