Dec 03, 2022  
2020-2021 Undergraduate Catalog 
2020-2021 Undergraduate Catalog

Illustration Emphasis, Fine Arts BFA

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Please click here  to see general Visual Arts information.

The Illustration emphasis integrates fine art, mixed media and digital practices with conceptual thinking, research and storytelling in the production of creative work. As a practice, Illustration focuses on skills and concepts in the professional development of a student’s individual vision and approach to illustrative arts. Marketing, business and design practices prepare students to discuss and view their work in a design context and for particular commercial markets and galleries. Courses are taught in state-of-the-art drawing and computer labs using the Adobe software suite alongside hands-on studio facilities. Illustration students gather skills to easily work across multiple artistic media–including design, drawing, painting, printmaking, and 3D media for the development of motion and spatial projects.

Students gain the ability to establish freelance illustration studio practice, as well as multi-faceted professional skills and flexibility in working with designers, creative directors, and art directors. Graduates are prepared to write and illustrate concepts and stories in preparation for studios, and the editorial, publishing and advertising markets.

Students in the illustration emphasis receive instruction in conceptual illustration, digital illustration, rendering, perspective, painting, exhibition preparation, professional practices and the use of various artistic and illustration techniques. In preparation for a professional illustration career, the course work allows students to master numerous essential digital and traditional tools and work to successfully bring the two together in ambitious and innovative illustrative work.

Program Delivery

  • This is an on-campus program.

Declaring This Major

  • Click here  to go to information about declaring a major.

  • Students who are applying for entrance into the illustration emphasis must participate in portfolio review day, as described below. The illustration emphasis accepts applications once a year during the Spring semester. Students who meet the requirements and are accepted go on to take upper-division illustration courses.


 The student has completed, or is in the process of completing, the following courses:

A minimum cumulative fine arts/art history GPA of 2.0

Portfolio Review Requirements

Students applying to the illustration emphasis present a portfolio and unofficial transcript(s) from CU Denver and all previous post-secondary educational institutions. Portfolio reviews will take place on the first Friday in April approximately between 12:00pm and 5:00pm (Mountain Time). Faculty review works in person, which must be formatted and presented to the specifications listed on the Portfolio Review page here. There is no fee to apply.


For general inquiries see the Illustration Program page here. For Portfolio review questions see the Portfolio Review page here.

General Requirements

To earn a degree, students must satisfy all requirements in each of the areas below, in addition to their individual major requirements.

Program Requirements

  1. A minimum grade of C (2.0) is required for each course applied toward a College of Arts & Media major, minor or certificate requirement. A grade of C- (1.7) or lower will not fulfill a major, minor or certificate requirement. A grade of P is acceptable for courses in which the only grade available is Pass or Fail.
  2. All upper-division visual arts courses must be taken at CU Denver unless approved otherwise by Department of Visual Arts faculty.
  3. At least 27 semester hours of visual arts credits (at any level) must be taken at CU Denver.
  4. At least 24 semester hours of total visual arts courses must be upper-division.

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