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FIT Launches MFA Degree Program In Illustration

The Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) will welcome its first cohort of graduate students this fall to the college’s newly established Master of Fine Arts (MFA) program in Illustration. This program has been developed in response to the growing demand for the highest levels of professional illustration excellence and expertise, particularly in the film and entertainment industries. The convergence of art and technology has created and continues to create opportunities and challenges that require new skills and new perspectives on the field.  FIT’s MFA in Illustration prepares illustrators to be innovative visual communicators and fosters the entrepreneurial approach they need in order to find professional success. The terminal MFA in Illustration is not only the desired credential sought by industry, but also, for those who are interested in teaching, by academia.

FIT’s MFA in Illustration, which is replacing the Master of Arts degree program in Illustration previously offered at FIT, will be the only program of its kind offered by a State University of New York (SUNY) college. The program is in FIT’s School of Graduate Studies.

The MFA in Illustration is designed for individuals with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and three to five years of industry-related professional experience, who either are self-motivated illustrators with the ambition to further develop their personal vision or experienced illustrators seeking to reinvigorate their careers.

In order to accommodate working professionals, the 60-credit, three-year program will hold classes on evenings and weekends. Courses will range from “Digital Boot Camp” and “Drawing for Illustration” to “Creating Character” and “Narrative Art” to “History of American Illustration” and “Creative Writing for Illustrators.” Guest lectures, studio visits, and trips to cultural institutions will be integral, as will be courses in business and promotional practices. Overall, the program will develop and enrich students’ aesthetic, analytical, and technological abilities through progressive, student-centered studies and activities that integrate theory and practice in illustration and related areas.

Students will complete a written academic thesis that focuses on a specific element of illustration history, criticism, or cultural impact. The program culminates in a visual thesis project, initiated by the student, which synthesizes all elements of the program. These visual capstone projects will be displayed in an exhibition at The Museum at FIT.

FIT is one of a small handful of institutions of higher education in the United States that offer the MFA in Illustration. With its New York City location, FIT provides access to the illustration industry’s premiere talent, as well as to the multifaceted cultural and business resources the city offers. Employment opportunities, which are expanding along with visual technology, range from children’s book illustrators and book cover illustrators to a wide variety of positions in animation, gaming, and entertainment.

Members of the faculty, who themselves are noted illustrators, include the current and past presidents of the Society of Illustrators, members of the New York Art Director’s Club and the Society for Publication Designers, and winners of the Society of Illustrators Educator of the Year Award.

FIT, a leader in career-oriented education, is a selective college of art and design, business and technology of the State University of New York (SUNY), with 46 majors leading to the AAS, BFA, BS, MA, MFA, and MPS degrees. The college serves more than 10,000 students and offers courses in a wide range of fields. Visit www.fitnyc.edu.


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