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Explore the illustration bachelor's degree program at UW-Eau Claire

Take your artistic talent to the next level with the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire's illustration bachelor's degree. The renowned program is designed for students pursuing graduate studies or careers in illustration.

Classes throughout the major will not only enhance your skills in illustration, painting and drawing, but also deeply broaden your knowledge and understanding of the field. Explore topics like visual narratives by using images and text within the context of contemporary illustration. Study 20th-century art and architecture. Investigate current events, news and promotional markets in relation to illustration. And identify and apply unique visual metaphors, narratives and representational vocabularies within a contemporary visual context.

Professional development and career preparation are critical focuses of the program. To ensure graduates leave with a greater level of artistic development and focus, all illustration students participate in an immersive, studio-focused curriculum. This includes an advanced illustration studio, where you'll focus on the development of a professional portfolio, including promotional materials, as well as learn about the business of illustration. A variety of lectures from renowned artists — as well as professional workshops and departmental field trips to museums and studios — will round out your education and allow you to gain new techniques and perspectives.

Prior to graduation, you'll choose groups of work to be featured in the Senior Exhibition, an impressive final-semester showcase for all art students. This leads to a complete collection of your highest quality work and will prepare you well for a career or graduate work in the visual arts.

Gluesenkamp "Hopcromancer"

Brewing creativity

Since graduation, illustration alum Lucas Gluesenkamp has experienced a whirlwind of success. From designing T-shirts to creating poster art for local bands to writing and illustrating a science fiction book — Lucas is putting his degree to good use. And one of his latest projects is no exception. As part of a partnership with Bad Weather Brewing Co. in St. Paul, Minnesota, Lucas is applying his skills in illustration to create labels for their draft beers.

"I had said early on in the brewery's inception that I did not want to do images that portrayed weather as simply a destructive force," Lucas explained. "I felt that we could portray the concept of 'bad weather' through atmosphere and by keeping an enigmatic, eerie quality to each illustration that I hoped would draw people in closer. Each piece was intended to feel like it was a part of a larger story that your imagination would have to create."

The work was so successful, Lucas was later commissioned to paint a large mural for the brewery's newly opened taproom. It's stories like these that illustrate just how valuable — and versatile — a degree in art can be.

Illustration degree scholarships

The UW-Eau Claire Foundation provides many scholarships for incoming and current Blugolds, including those seeking a degree in illustration. For example, the Lydia Passow Fine Arts Scholarship awards $3,000 to a talented art student. Another scholarship, the Frank McGinnis Scholarship, awards a variable number of scholarships — up to $2,000 — for students majoring in the fine arts and taking classes at UW-Eau Claire – Barron County.

We are proud to give you the funds you need to pursue your dreams. Learn more about which resources are available to you by checking out our scholarships page.

Financial aid at UW-Eau Claire

Working to make your college education affordable is very important to us. We are here to walk you through the financial aid process and make applying for aid and paying your bill as easy as possible.

To get this process started, please contact our staff at Blugold Central — our one-stop shop for tuition and financial aid. They will help you learn how to pay for your education and minimize debt, freeing you up to focus on academics and your art degree.  

Learn more about the financial aid process at UWEC.

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Quick facts

Illustration program details
  • Program length: four years
  • Offered: in person
  • Campus: Eau Claire
  • This major does not require a minor.
  • Students majoring in this program will earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree. 
Student organizations
  • Art Student Association (ASA)
  • None of the Above (NOTA)

Illustration bachelor’s degree program highlights

Personalized curriculum. A variety of electives within the degree allow you to pursue multiple passions and study other areas of art that interest you. Explore courses in graphic design, typography, digital imaging and design, website development, 3D computer animation, artist books and water media. This flexibility gives you the chance to become an expert in multiple areas and opens doors to even more career paths.

Opportunities to travel. All comprehensive art majors are required to participate in a travel experience while studying at UW-Eau Claire. This could include a study abroad program, one of the department’s national field trips or at least two of the department’s regional field trips. Explore contemporary art and design in Minneapolis, Chicago and New York City. Or find inspiration in some of the world's art and architecture meccas, like Florence, Rome or Paris.

Art close to home. UW-Eau Claire is home to the Foster Gallery, the largest art gallery in the Eau Claire area. Art and design students can take advantage of this learning space through exhibition receptions, open viewings, installation opportunities, guest speaker presentations and the chance to participate in the annual juried student art show.

Valuable student organizations. Enhance your learning, meet other art majors and add to your resume by joining an on-campus art and design club. A popular student org for illustration majors is NOTA, or None of the Above, which is a campus literary magazine — entirely student-run — that publishes a biannual collection of the top student submissions in the categories of art, poetry and prose.

Incredible support. Here at UW-Eau Claire, you'll learn from expert faculty members with a multitude of experiences in the arts. Small class sizes allow for individual attention, with plenty of opportunities for you to learn and grow. Upon graduation, you'll have built an incredible support network of invested professors and passionate students who you can look to for mentorship throughout your career.  

Connection to local employers. Annual on-campus Career Conferences and a Client Communication and Management Career Fair bring potential employers right to you. These events are excellent opportunities to network and submit your resume for current and future job openings. 

What jobs can you get with an illustration degree from UWEC?

Graduates of UW-Eau Claire's illustration bachelor's degree are off doing some pretty incredible things. From illustrating for Orange Hat Publishing to designing for Mpls.St.Paul Magazine to freelancing for Marvel Entertainment and designing visuals for Rock Candy Games — Blugold artists are pursuing their dreams and experiencing success all over the country.

Illustration careers

Having work commissioned and published are some important achievements during my time at UWEC. However, my most important achievements were the relationships I formed with fellow students and faculty members. These are the valuable resources I turn to now when I need advice, role models or someone to kick around ideas and creative progress with.

Jo Alexander Illustration

Illustration bachelor’s degree program curriculum

Curriculum within the illustration bachelor's degree includes core foundation courses in art, as well as courses in art history, painting, drawing and illustration. A variety of electives throughout the major allow you to study additional areas of art that align well with careers in illustration.

Classes for illustration majors may include:

Learn more about the comprehensive illustration major in the UWEC course catalog.

Related programs at UW-Eau Claire

Thinking about a bachelor’s degree in illustration? Here are other programs you may be interested in exploring.

Department information

Learn more about the art and design department

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