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New York Film Academy Illustration

One Year Hands-on Conservatory Illustration Program

An example of a 1-Year Illustration student's work

Overview of our 1-Year Illustration Program

The NYFA curriculum for the One-Year Illustration Program provides training for a career in Illustration in an economical course of study. The program cultivates the core competencies, technical skills, practical knowledge, and entrepreneurial aspirations of its students, preparing them for emergence in one or more genres/market areas of the field.

The Los Angeles Illustration Program includes two phases of learning. Students begin with a semester of the most fundamental training in Drawing, Painting, Applied Illustration Concepts, Materials and Techniques, and Digital Imaging. The second semester includes a range of courses designed to deepen the study of illustration concepts, while building upon a solid foundation of figure drawing and additional technical facility. During the second semester, students are encouraged to focus in two of the discipline’s areas of professional practice. A capstone course in Entrepreneurial Business Practices assists in gaining still more focus, and in shaping a career path through the expression of a carefully crafted artistic identity as well as identification and pursuit of professional opportunities.

SEMESTER ONE

In the first semester, students are introduced to perspective systems in observational drawing, with an emphasis on convincing articulation of form and volume in space. They will be introduced to a range of materials commonly employed by illustrators and will explore the intersection of idea and applied context, with particular attention to audience and the unique character of a variety of communication vehicles. They will challenge themselves critically and creatively through daily critical discourse in the studio. An introduction to oil painting will stress articulation of light, fundamentals of color as applied to painting, the material properties of paint, and its uses in technical terms. A survey of digital illustration applications, including the Adobe Creative Suite and Corel Painter, provide a substantial grounding in the use of digital media for illustration, thereby preparing students for more advanced coursework in semester two. Written and spoken evidence of critical perspective emerges through frequent critique and writing. Students are encouraged to think beyond convention and apply what they have learned to their creative work.

SEMESTER TWO

In their second semester, Illustration Program students investigate deeply the relationships between verbal and visual language in the pictorial interpretation of texts—from simple verbal prompts such as idioms and quotations, to contemporary essays and memoirs. They will renew their exposure to the heritage of the field in the review of illustrated texts throughout history, and will examine the relationships between verbal and visual language, including the use of tropes, grammatical structure and dramatic tone. Students strengthen their critical and interpretive skills by writing and deconstructing texts of their own. Visual thinking is further mined in the development of ideas and formal and technical sensitivity is deepened through practical illustration problems and critical evaluation. A choice of technical workshops affords exposure to less conventional uses of materials and techniques, adding to their formal and technical competencies while stimulating improvisation and experimentation. They will continue to challenge themselves critically and creatively through daily critical discourse in the studio and will be provided with a thorough grounding in representational drawing from observation, with an emphasis on human anatomy, the figure in perspectival space and the construction of dynamic pictorial narrative. More advanced study in specific genres and market areas will enable focus to facilitate artistic voice and to define professional aspirations. A course in Entrepreneurial Business Practices promotes multiple possibilities for illustrators and assists students in the preparation of a business plan, self-promotional materials, participation in competitions, and the establishment of a support network of peers and industry mentors. Students not only graduate New York Film Academy’s Illustration Program with the skills they need to succeed but also gain access to new professional opportunities and resources.



Course Description

  • Drawing: Form, Space & Perspective As a fundamental means of articulating visual ideas, the practice of drawing is crucial to Illustration. Through direct observation students in this class will develop the ability to coherently represent objects in space, with a particular emphasis on perspective as a means of organizing space, establishing point of view and expressing ideas. Creating convincing illusions of light, depth, surface, volume and other perceptual attributes will be explored. Weekly exercises in class will be complemented by homework assignments, which encourage continual practice and a deeper comprehension of material covered in class.
  • Painting: Light, Color & Matter This representational painting course introduces students to the versatile medium of oil painting and to various traditional oil painting techniques. Color, light, form, volume, space, perspective, the figure and other basic concepts are addressed and explored. Painting from direct observation, students will apply their fundamental knowledge of color, the elements and principles of design, and basic understanding of perspective in pictorial space toward compelling pictorial representation. Reinforcing skills in the construction of engaging visual narratives.
  • Illustration in Context: Audience & Application Building on the fundamental exercises introducing this class contextualizes the ideation process in applied projects by exploring considerations of audience (the intended recipient of visual communication, with demographics in mind) and application (the purpose of illustration within professional categories such as editorial, scientific, or children's book illustration). Enhancing student sensitivity to audience and application is central to all assignments.
  • Materials & Techniques for Illustrators Illustrators make use of a vast array of tools and mediums for their work. Developing a fundamental understanding of the physical properties of mark-making tools, substrates, and the physical construction of images expands creative possibilities. While the program's more advanced technical workshops afford additional depth of study, this class exposes students to an array of materials, tools and processes common to image-making, which may include acrylics, gouache, casein, watercolor, markers, crayons, colored pencil, pastel, tabletop printing techniques, scratchboard and ink.
  • Digital Illustration Survey The processes employed by contemporary illustrators inevitably involve the use of technology, to some extent whether bound up in the image-making workflow or in managing the commercial aspects of illustration. This class provides an introduction to the most relevant software applications use by practitioners in the field—The Adobe Creative Suite, including Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign, and Corel Painter. At the same time examines, in the form of class discussions and assignments, the profound presence of digital media and communication in contemporary life, as well as its impact on perception, ethics and professional practice.
  • Text to Image The visual interpretation of non-fiction texts—from simple verbal prompts such as idioms and quotations, to contemporary essays and memoirs—is the focus of this class. Students will renew their exposure to the history of the field in the review of illustrated texts throughout history, and will examine the relationships between verbal and visual language, including the use of tropes, grammatical structure and dramatic tone. One or more projects will involve the use of student writing as a prompt for illustration.

    Prerequisite: ILUS120, Illustration in Context: Audience & Application.
  • Anatomical Figure Drawing Because the human figure is such an integral component of most narrative art, consideration of the human form in perspectival space is central to the course of study in Illustration. This class continues exploration of the principles learned in ILUS 100 Drawing: Form, Space & Perspective, by introducing the basic study of human anatomy, including skeletal and muscular systems. Relational description of the figure in space will be emphasized and students will develop an understanding of the principles of foreshortening, implied physical energy and movement, uses of figuration in pictorial narrative and increased fluency in figurative drawing from imagination.
  • Entrepreneurial Business Practices for Illustrators Illustrators have always been entrepreneurs, as evidenced in the vast array of emerging markets the professional community has generated. The most successful illustrators don't wait around for work. They initiate projects and ideas, engaging in energetic self-promotion, exploring untapped markets, developing products and services that transcend the traditional definition of "Illustration" and dedicating themselves to creating opportunity where none is thought to exist. This class examines legal, business and entrepreneurial dimensions of an Illustration career, featuring expertise from visiting illustrators, art directors, publishers, and other industry creatives, and provides case studies that inspire and propel ideas. Students will engage in the development of a business plan for their own practice, seek genuine outlets for their work, and begin to cultivate a professional network of peers and clients.
  • Technical Workshop: Mixed Media, Collage & Assemblage* Experimentation with the intersection of many mediums, materials, tools and techniques is the emphasis for this workshop. Exemplary work by influential collage, mixed media and assemblage artists will be introduced, with particular attention to gestalt principles in picture-making and the creative opportunities which arise from combining disparate sources of visual materials.

    Prerequisite: ILUS130, Materials & Techniques for Illustrators.
  • Technical Workshop: 3D Illustration* Illustration need not be limited to two dimensions. This technical workshop presents a series of illustration projects which will introduce materials and methods of illustrating in three-dimensions. The range of conceptual possibilities expand rapidly with the use of materials such as paper clay, plaster, Sculpey, wood, paper, latex, fabric, and plasticine. Character and model-making puppetry, lighting and photographic representation of student work will be significant parks of the course activity, and the course will survey the work of contemporary sculptors and 3D illustrators.
  • Introduction to Typography Typography—the design of communication using words in space—has long partnered with Illustration in the communication of complex ideas and information. This class introduces Illustration students to the fundamentals of Typographic Design. Anatomy of letterforms and typographic features, design vocabulary and processes associated with type design, an overview of type fonts and families, the history of the art, and a sequence of exercises involving incorporation of type and image will enhance the Illustrator's appreciation and understanding of typography as a primary contextualizing element for pictorial communication.
  • The Illustrator in Society Illustration need not be limited to two dimensions. This technical workshop presents a series of illustration projects which will introduce materials and methods of illustrating in three-dimensions. The range of conceptual possibilities expand rapidly with the use of materials such as paper clay, plaster, Sculpey, wood, paper, latex, fabric, and plasticine. Character and model-making puppetry, lighting and photographic representation of student work will be significant parks of the course activity, and the course will survey the work of contemporary sculptors and 3D illustrators.
  • Visualizing the Sciences Building upon the knowledge gained in Social and Natural Sciences coursework, this course is centered on the partnership of visual communication and the sciences, addressing visualization problems for Physical Science, Life Sciences, and Social Sciences. By interpreting and representing data, physiological phenomena associated with scientific inquiry and discovery, students will be expected to develop eloquent and objective representations of quantitative information, ultimately rendering complex information more readable.

    Prerequisite: ILUS265 Sketchbooks & Visual Journalism.
  • Series Illustration Series Illustration is concerned with the creation of groups of related images arranged in temporal or spatial orders of succession. This class involves students in the development of systems and series of illustrations—projects characterized by multiple different, yet related, pictorial iterations on formal and conceptual themes. Design principles such as unity within variety are key to the experience in this semester, and practical problems addressing series-oriented content will be undertaken.
  • Sketchbooks & Visual Journalism Visual journalists meaningfully combine text and image to convey information about people, places and events, often documenting reality as it occurs. This class will broaden student exposure to life beyond their own social and cultural sphere, while reinforcing skills of drawing from observation, visual thinking and writing. Exhaustive sketch-booking, followed by deliberate synthesis of materials into a coherent journalistic statement, will be at the forefront of course activity.
  • Pictorial Personae: Modes of Characterization The ability to create a likeness is a highly prized and carefully cultivated skill which is frequently used in publishing and other illustration outlets. This class explores different modes of characterization in the representation of personae—from caricatures of political personalities to flattering portraits of the famous and incisively critical depictions of the infamous. The tradition of illustrating personae is as old as storytelling itself, and developing a character whose visual characterization is a convincing companion to the author’s conception is often a rewarding challenge. This course will have students creating unique visual personifications of well-known characters from history, literature and popular culture.
  • Hybrid Imaging: Science Fiction & Fantasy Illustration Planet Earth is home to 8.7 million species, and yet we remain intrigued by the fantastic possibilities of life beyond the familiar. This class encourages the amalgamation of both the real and the unreal, of the living and the "might be living," of observation and imagination. Drawing and painting from direct observation is combined with fantastic visual musings in this class, serving as a foundation for Science Fiction and Fantasy illustration. Exposure to the leading Sci-Fi and Fantasy artists of today as well as a review of seminal artists of the genre will be featured throughout the semester, and students will create a variety of characters, environments and objects born at the intersection of imagination and reality.

Dates & Tuition

Fees Per Year

Tuition: $32,054 (USD) +
Lab Fee: $1,034(USD)

Number of Semesters: 2


Students will also incur additional expenses on their own productions. This varies depending on how much film they shoot and scale of the projects.


Location & Available Dates

For Los Angeles:
September 2017 - May 2018



Please note: Dates and Tuition are subject to change
QUICK FACTS
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NUMBER OF SEMESTERS: 2
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