Digital Boot Camp
This course is a weeklong workshop designed to introduce the new MFA in Illustration student to the language and pace of graduate study in a studio environment. It will encourage and support experimentation in concept development and execution through “traditional media” and software programs such as Photoshop and Illustrator.
SEMESTER 1: FALL
Drawing for Illustration
This course is designed to enhance and to invigorate a solid foundation of drawing. Conventional subject matter such as the nude and costumed figure, still life and reportage, combined with a broad range of media and technique, explores premises of design, composition, dimension and drama.
Thesis I: Initiating the Process
Thesis I: Initiating the Process will begin with a basic overview of the thesis and its educational objectives. The Thesis Guidelines, a booklet addressing the specific content and formatting needs of the paper, will be distributed and discussed at length and will be used as a supplemental text throughout the development of the project.
The History of American Illustration
This course will explore the role of the illustrator and the evolution and importance of illustration as a social barometer of our culture. The course will offer its history of illustration in the broader contexts of world art and of American history and popular culture, using slide shows, field trips and anecdotal lectures.
SEMESTER 2: SPRING
This class is designed to not only explore the unique qualities of three traditional mediums appropriate for the execution of illustration assignments, but also disseminates information designed to familiarize the graduate student with the traditional practices, techniques and theories of artists and illustrators of the past.
This course is concerned with building awareness of, and competence in successfully
telling stories with pictures. What is discussed are the ways in which arrangements of elements within imagery can connect with the cognitive process of the viewer, resulting in the telling of a story.
Integrating Digital with Traditional Media
This course will explore new artistic possibilities in creating art by combining traditional with digital media. Using Adobe Photoshop, Corel Painter and a Wacom tablet, students will be given the opportunity to unlock an image’s full potential by giving them the digital tools needed to create multiple versions of an idea.
Directed Projects in Illustration
This course is designed to give students the opportunity to study intensively with three, high profile, industry-active illustrators, all who represent a different, but committed way of working and are enjoying success within a variety of markets in the industry.
SEMESTER 3: FALL
This course is designed to explore the complete spectrum of premises needed to successfully create an illustrated character(s). The class will cover the ideas behind the research, concept and refinement necessary to build a character.
Everything That Rises Must Converge: A Survey of Digital Illustration
This course will focus on the techniques and uses of digital illustration in its varied forms and styles with an emphasis on using appropriate software in a way that maximizes creative expression while taking into consideration the practical aspects of reproduction processes.
Creative Writing For Illustrators
In this course, students engage in intensive writing exercises in a variety of genres, read published works, and discuss the elements of creative nonfiction, poetry, and fiction. They investigate the craft of writing in these genres, with additional attention to children’s literature, graphic novels, and other forms that typically incorporate illustration.
Thesis II: Evaluating and Composing for Content
After intensive scrutiny and evaluation, students will revise, edit and assemble in complete, final, and fully copyedited form the entire historical overview section and will begin the process of researching, interviewing primary sources, sending out and tabulating questionnaires, and authoring and assembling the current state section of the paper.
SEMESTER 4: SPRING
Studio Management Intensive
This course is a seminar designed to cover the full complement of premises and responsibilities that an illustrator need think about when running a successful studio. A myriad of options to do so will be presented along with time-management techniques, suggestions for resources, and case studies of successful and also not- so successful scenarios as teaching tools as well as at an off-site studio venue.
Visual Thesis Creation Seminar
The seminar begins the process of creating the culminating Visual Thesis exhibit. Each student will produce a body of work as a visual thesis that is exhibited in The Museum at FIT. The seminar serves to prepare the student for the process of identifying the Visual Thesis topic and is intended to familiarize the student with the development and fulfillment structure for creating the final body of work.
Thesis III: Editing, Designing, Defending and Publishing
The completed thesis is due on April 15th of this semester for submission to the Defense Committee. In preparation for thesis defense, students will embark on a process of finishing their work and following up with the careful editing and designing of their final papers.
Exploring and Expanding Your Artistic Voice
This course is designed to guide the student in the discovery and development of one's self as a personal brand. Students will be challenged to experiment and to explore different media, subject matter, stylistic approaches and markets in solving a variety of assignments while maintaining the integrity of one’s personal artistic vision and also searching for one’s broader artistic voice.
On Location - Studio Visits
On Location I’s main educational goal is to expose illustration students to markets to these relatively exotic applications by traveling to locations in and around Los Angeles, California where students will visit the various studios and their subcontractors at which the most advanced work of this kind is being done.
On Location: Reportage
This course is designed to further enhance the ability to draw from life and from direct observation, while acknowledging the historical importance as well as current day relevance of the art and excellence of reportorial drawing.
SEMESTER 5: FALL
Illustration In Motion
Illustration in Motion uses software associated with digital illustrative to make moving images. Through lectures, visual presentations and studio assignments, students will be exposed to the various roles of illustration in moving image media, from initial visual concepts, storyboards, animatics, layout, animation techniques, and digital compositing. The class will cover the twelve principles of animation, as well as paper and digital 2D animation techniques.
Visual Thesis Studio
This course focuses on the execution of the proposal and research completed during the Visual Thesis Creation Seminar. Students will be expected to arrive with work samples representative of the finished Visual Thesis project.
Business Practices and Self Promotion Strategies
This course outlines a myriad of best practices to successfully carry on the business of illustration. The above will be delivered in three separate units of study: • Contracts, Copyright, Negotiation, Business Management and Taxes • Self- Promotion Strategies • The Written Tools That Support Your Business: Bios, Statements, Press Releases and Grants.
Guest speakers will supplement the specialists who teach the course.
SEMESTER 6: SPRING
Art is Where You Look for It: Diversifying Illustration's Application
This course explores the ever-emerging and divergent paths an illustrator can take to use his or her skills in traditional and digital media, combined with a personal illustration style to expand into disciplines and areas of the arts not ordinarily considered.
Visual Thesis - Exhibition and Promotion
Visual Thesis Creation - Exhibition and Promotion is the last segment and time period devoted to preparing the body of work of each MFA graduate that will appear in the culminating exhibit of the MFA program and experience.