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Art & Design

Illustration

Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA)

Discover infinite possibilities to leave your mark.

It starts with an idea: a story to tell, a character to bring to life, a sequence to storyboard, or a surface to design. Combining visual language with traditional and experimental techniques, build the skills you need to prepare for a career in illustration. From sequential narratives to character design, concept art, editorial, or surface design, discover infinite possibilities for making your mark as an illustrator.

With an illustration degree from Lesley, you'll blaze a trail in our contemporary visual landscape as you grow into your career as a graphic novelist, cartoonist, book illustrator, set designer, creative strategist, and many more possibilities. You'll leave Lesley ready to make your mark on the art world.

You'll choose to major in illustration at Lesley because you have something to say and are compelled to express it. Here, using visual language and a wide range of tools and methods, you'll develop the ability to conceptualize and execute projects that prepare you for a successful, lifelong career. 

As you progress through the program, you'll discover that illustration is all about productivity, professionalism, and serious play. Through rigorous and engaging coursework, critique, individual mentoring, and hands-on internships, you'll gain an in-depth understanding of how illustration shapes contemporary culture.

With guidance from faculty through each experience, you'll make connections that will launch you into you career as you intern at companies like WGBH Radio, National Geographic, Disney, Charles River Laboratories, the Cartoon Network, and many more. And you'll further your understanding of the art world by meeting working professionals, visiting world-class museums, and exploring the visual culture of Boston and Cambridge.

Plus, you'll get a jumpstart on future possibilities by building strong studio skills and developing the professional practices needed to market and promote yourself. That means you'll leave Lesley not only with a compelling body of work, but also the skills to network, connect, and thrive in the professional world.

illustration of three scientists in a lab looking at  green lit brown bottle with tubes coming out of it

Bold Lines and Saturated Color

Ellen Crenshaw '07 finds continued success as an illustrator with her book "Kiss Number 8" and shares her experience and some advice for those still breaking into this line of work.

Craft Creative Combinations
As an Illustration major, you can pursue a second major or one of our 45+ minors—in art & design or a liberal arts subject—to expand your career opportunities.

Forge your own path with a creative combination:
student working on art in studio

Small Art School, Big University

We're a premier art and design school of about 700 students, but we're also part of a dynamic university with a liberal arts college. This means you'll have the small studio, hands-on experience of a professional art school where you'll gain industry-specific knowledge. And, you'll benefit from a broader perspective of a liberal arts educational experience—something most art schools can't provide.

$49,932
Average salary for illustration professionals in New England (Source: Burning Glass Labor Insight)
#1
Creativity is the top skill that employers seek in illustration professionals, followed by communication skills and organizational skills. (Source: Burning Glass Labor Insight)
Top 10
Boston is ranked #9 among the top 25 most creative cities in the U.S. based on data analyzed from the United States Census and Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Careers
Where You Could Work
Illustration is a flexible field, with opportunities to work across a wide range of industries, from publishing and advertising to science and medicine, fashion, education, and beyond. Organizations you could work for include:
Careers
Jobs You Could Have
Greater Boston is a great place to start your career, where graduates in illustration are in demand - over 70% of employers in the field are seeking candidates with bachelor's degrees. Some of the top job titles for someone with an illustration degree include:
drone photography of cambridge
Cambridge is our campus. Boston is our neighbor.

Cambridge is one of the most creative cities in the country. In fact, there are about 96 art and culture events happening in the Greater Boston area every day. And while you'll benefit from our dynamic surroundings, you'll also be a big part of them. You'll take art and design classes in our $48 million Lunder Arts Center. And our $7 million Visual Effects (VFX) studio—a state-of-the-art facility where our VFX curriculum comes alive—is the only one of its kind in New England.

Faculty

Approximate cost, before financial aid, for 1 year of study in this undergraduate program.
Illustration
Housing Options
Compare the cost of the program for students who live on campus in a residence hall with the cost for commuter students.
  • Tuition
    Fall Tuition
    $14,600
    Spring Tuition
    $14,600
  • Fees
    Facilities Fees
    $500
    Activity Fees
    $250
    Materials Fees
    $150
    Registration Fees
    $80
    Lab Fees
    $40
  • Room & Board
    Double/Triple/Quad Room
    $10,060
    Housing Deposit
    $300
    Meal Plan
    $6,570
    Health Service Fees (required for resident students)
    $800
  • Total cost before financial aid
Estimated Cost

Merit Scholarships & Financial Aid

It’s our goal at Lesley to break down financial barriers so that students who want to learn here, can learn here. That’s why we offer generous, customized aid packages for students based on their individual needs. In fact, in the fall of 2019, 98% of incoming Lesley students received some level of financial aid. Learn more about Financial Aid & Scholarships.

Tuition & Fees

Other fees may apply. Review all undergraduate tuition and fees, and what they cover.

Tuition and fees are subject to change each year, effective June 1.

Housing Options
Compare the cost of the program for students who live on campus in a residence hall with the cost for commuter students.
  • Tuition
    Fall Tuition
    $14,600
    Spring Tuition
    $14,600
  • Fees
    Facilities Fees
    $500
    Activity Fees
    $250
    Materials Fees
    $150
    Registration Fees
    $80
    Lab Fees
    $40
  • Room & Board
    Double/Triple/Quad Room
    $10,060
    Housing Deposit
    $300
    Meal Plan
    $6,570
    Health Service Fees (required for resident students)
    $800
  • Total cost before financial aid
Estimated Cost

Merit Scholarships & Financial Aid

It’s our goal at Lesley to break down financial barriers so that students who want to learn here, can learn here. That’s why we offer generous, customized aid packages for students based on their individual needs. In fact, in the fall of 2019, 98% of incoming Lesley students received some level of financial aid. Learn more about Financial Aid & Scholarships.

Tuition & Fees

Other fees may apply. Review all undergraduate tuition and fees, and what they cover.

Tuition and fees are subject to change each year, effective June 1.

Apply Now

Ready to get started? We're here to make the application process as smooth as possible. Just answer a few quick questions, and get your customized application guide.

Approximate cost, before financial aid, for 1 year of study in this undergraduate program. Tuition and fees are for the 2020-2021 academic year.
Use our step-by-step guide to apply for federal, state, and university funding. Scholarships, grants, Work-Study, and loans. It’s all right here.

Next steps to apply

Ready to get started? We're here to make the application process as smooth as possible. Just answer a few quick questions, and get your customized application guide.