Are sketching, drawing, and painting your favorite ways to express yourself? If so, enrolling in courses at one of the hundreds of accredited illustration schools can help you turn your passion into profit.
Illustration is considered one of the fine arts, along with painting and sculpting. Your work may be published in books, magazines, or other print publications, or on Web sites (illustrators increasingly create their final products on computers). Maybe you lean toward scientific and medical illustrating, where you create detailed images to help convey scientific ideas in textbooks, reference books, and courtrooms. Or maybe your talent lies in creating political or humorous cartoons. Whatever type of illustrating you prefer, you're sure to benefit from illustration classes and training that ultimately earn you a degree, certificate, or diploma--and get you on your way to a rewarding career.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts normal growth in the field of fine art (which includes illustration) between 2006 and 2016. In 2006, there were 30,000 fine artists; by 2016, that number is projected to grow by 3,000. The median annual earnings of salaried fine artists was $51,600 in 2008. Many illustrators are self-employed freelancers who may also work an additional job inside or outside the field of illustration.
Illustration is very competitive because many people have drawing and painting talent. To rise above the crowd, showcase your special abilities, and land a lucratively salaried job, you need specialized training that includes computer illustration, work in various art media, and art history. Classes at illustration schools can help you hone your talent and earn a diploma or certificate, or even a degree in the fine arts. If your goal is to become a medical illustrator, you'll want to take some pre-med courses and pursue a master's degree in medical illustration.
Regardless of the type of illustration you want to do, the experience you gain at illustration school will help you draft your dream career.