Illustration department at PAFA connects its strong fine arts traditions to 21st-century digital and storytelling skills, empowering students to succeed as both creators and entrepreneurs.

Illustration students develop skills in storytelling, visual communication, and entrepreneurship. Their training includes building strong foundational skills in drawing, painting, sculpture, and printmaking—a core PAFA philosophy that has launched generations of PAFA artists and illustrators from Maxfield Parrish and Violet Oakley, to Don Martin and Kate Samworth.

This dynamic program also connects students to established illustration professionals through lectures, hands-on critiques, demonstrations, and workshops.

Illustration students use the mediums of painting, life drawing, printmaking, figure sculpture, artistic anatomy, print media and the digital arts to develop and communicate their personal artistic vision through individual and collaborative art-making and storytelling.

Graduates of the program will be equipped with the tools to launch careers in fields including animation, book and magazine illustration, graphic novels, poster and storyboard art, medical illustration, and many other arts and design-related professions.

Courses in the program include the History of Illustration, Visual Narration, Narrative and Sequential Drawing, Illustration Methods, Digital Imaging, Letterpress and Book Arts, Business Practices of Art, and courses with master illustrators such as David Wiesner and E.B. Lewis.

  Illustration Department Curriculum

Illustration Facilities

Digital Lab
Digital lab
Illustration Classroom
Illustration classroom
Media Studio
Media Studio
Gang Illustration desk 1
Undergraduate illustration studio
Gang Illustration desk 2
Undergraduate illustration studio

Stories from Illustration

Jessica Abel with student

Fine Arts Dean Clint Jukkala sat down with Jessica Abel, the Chair of PAFA’s Illustration Program, and Frank Genuardi '19 to talk about Fine Arts training, illustrating in a digital age, and preparing for life after graduation. (

Frank Genuardi giving commencement address

“Jessica [Abel] doesn't do anything unless it serves more than one purpose. You can learn a skill but she also wants you to learn that skill in conjunction with business practice. Yes, you will learn how to properly color a comic page but you’re going to learn a business skill too. She always finds a way to relate it to something outside of art but it’s necessary.” – Frank Genuardi, BFA '19