Art (BFA) with an Emphasis in Illustration | Webster University

Art (BFA) with an Emphasis in Illustration


Effective 1 June 2020 through 31 May 2021

Please see the Temporary Adjustments to Policy on Grading for Undergraduate Courses for Spring 2020

Please see the Undergraduate Catalog Archives for PDF versions of past catalogs.

This program is offered by the Leigh Gerdine College of Fine Arts/Department of Art, Design and Art History and is only available at the St. Louis home campus.

Program Description

The BFA in art with an emphasis in illustration, like other intensive studio degrees, includes a comprehensive examination of the history and theories of visual studies. This approach allows for a wide range of interests and styles, suited for technical, editorial or narrative illustration. 

A study of the creative strategies of global artists throughout history and a core exploration in a range of media encourage students to seek imaginative and innovative approaches to both individual and client-based challenges. More directed study leads to a practical knowledge of the common materials and techniques for illustration, both past and current. ·

The illustration emphasis culminates in coursework and a thesis project that connect the students' work to content in areas outside of studio practice, such as science, literature, politics or any range of contemporary global concerns. Through humor, drama or instructional work students learn how illustrators can be a distinctive voice in shaping our culture.

Students in the BFA program with an emphasis in illustration fulfill most of the same core requirements as for the BA in studio art. In addition, they must complete 9 further credit hours in art history and criticism; 30 credit hours in illustration-specific courses; and 3 credit hours in a content area outside of studio practice.

Learning Outcomes

Successful graduates of the illustration program will be able to:

  • Express an individual, creative voice through illustration.
  • Utilize the formal vocabularies of art, art history and illustration.
  • Practice drawing as a foundation for the complete process of illustration, from concept exploration to finished execution. 
  • Access a broad range of studio experience.
  • Implement the technical skills, theory and methods applicable to the field of illustration.
  • Draw upon the history of art as a wellspring for ideas, solutions and meanings within a contemporary, global society.
  • Apply their skills and imagination to create illustrations for content areas outside of studio practice.
  • Assemble a professional portfolio of illustrations for graduate schools or employers.

Special Requirements

All studio majors must register for ART 2900 DADAH Critique in the first semester after completing 18 studio credits. For traditional freshmen this will occur in the fall or spring of their sophomore year. For transfer students this will occur in their first semester at Webster, or when they have a combined total of 18 studio credits. The DADAH Critique is a review of student progress by DADAH full and part-time faculty held on one day during the fall and spring semesters. Following the review, students will meet with their advisor to discuss faculty concerns and recommendations as written on the evaluation form by the advisor during the review. In some cases a student may be advised to undergo a second review in the following semester. The department notifies students of portfolio review dates.

Students must apply for BFA candidacy by completing the BFA candidacy form and presenting an acceptable selection of specialized work. This must take place one year prior to graduation. Successful completion of a written application and submission of a selection of work that demonstrates emphasis specialization, technical facility and conceptual sophistication are required for acceptance. Students receive either written notification of acceptance or a recommendation to continue pursuing a BA after review of the portfolio and application by the faculty of the Department of Art, Design and Art History.

Degree Requirements

For information on the general requirements for a degree, see Baccalaureate Degree Requirements under the Academic Policies and Information section of this catalog.

  • 78 required credit hours
  • Applicable University Global Citizenship Program hours, with accommodations for art and design BFAs
  • Electives

Global Citizenship Program for Art and Design BFAs

  • GLBC 1200 Global Cornerstone Seminar
  • 6 credit hours from courses designated ‘Roots of Cultures’ (ARHS 2200 or ARHS 2210 will fulfill GCP and major requirements simultaneously)
  • 3 credit hours from courses designated ‘Social Systems & Human Behavior’
  • 3 credit hours from courses designated ‘Global Understanding’
  • 3 credit hours from courses designated ‘Physical & Natural World’ or ‘Quantitative Literacy’
  • KEYS 4XXX Global Keystone Seminar

NOTE: Except where specified otherwise, the above courses must not also satisfy major requirements. Once course from above must be coded for the 'Ethical Reasoning' skill; other GCP skills requirements are fulfilled by DADAH core distribution courses. 'Arts Appreciation' is satisfied in meeting the requirements for the major.

Required Courses

Required Core Courses (27 hours)

  • Art 1010 Creative Strategies (3 hours)
  • Art 1110 Introduction to Drawing (3 hours)
  • Art 1120 Principles of Drawing (3 hours)
  • DESN 1210 Design Concepts (3 hours)
  • DESN 1220 Design: 3-D (3 hours)
    or ART 2315 Sculpture I (3 hours)
    or ART 2530 Ceramics: Space (3 hours)
  • ART 2110 Beginning Figure Drawing (3 hours)
  • ART 2120 Intermediate Drawing (3 hours)
  • ARHS 2200 Current Art (3 hours)
  • ARHS 2210 Intercultural History of Art (3 hours)
  • ART 2900 DADAH Critique (0 hours)

Studio Course Distribution (15 hours)

15 credit hours from at least four of following areas: painting, printmaking, papermaking, electronic and time-based art, graphic design, animation, photography, sculpture

BFA-Specific Courses (30 hours)

  • ART 3900 BFA Review (0 hours)
  • DESN 1500 Digital Visualization (3 hours)
  • ART 2130 Illustration (3 hours)
  • ART 3050 Topics in Studio Art (in Illustration) (3 hours)
  • ART 3120 Narrative Figure Drawing (3 hours)
  • ART 3150 Anatomy Studies (3 hours)
  • ANIM 4010 Character Design (3 hours)
    or ANIM 4040 Concept Art (3 hours)
  • ARHS courses at 3000-level or above (9 hours)
  • ART 4130 Professional Practice for Illustrators (3 hours)
  • ART 4950 BFA Senior Thesis (3 hours)

Content Outside of ART, DESN, or ANIM (3 hours)

In order to gain knowledge of a content area for illustration, students must take one course within a single area outside of their major, for example: ENGL, BIOL, RELG, etc. This course must be at the 2000-level or above and cannot be used as Global Citizenship Program credits. It should be within a subject that is directed toward the final thesis.