Illustration or Graphic Design major?
 
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  1. #1
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    Illustration or Graphic Design major?

    I'm really torn. I'm almost equally passionate about both but personal passion doesn't always come through when you're specifically categorized and looking for a job. So here's my debate:

    I would love the things I would learn in Illustration, but I'm not sure how good I'll do post-college when looking for a job. Sure I may come out a much better artist, but I don't want to be at the cost of not having that much job options.

    In Graphic Design, I feel like I'm going to learn alot, and come out of it as a better artist, but I don't want to miss out on the things I would have learned by taking classes for Illustration, but in the end, post-college, I've found that there are more jobs out there for Graphic Designers over Illustrators, and I'm more likely to get a job as a Graphic Designer.


    Am I wrong for feeling this way? I think I need some clarity.

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  3. #2
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    do a double major...

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    If your primary concern is getting a job staight out of school, do graphic design.
    No ifs, ands or buts.


    Tristan Elwell
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    Hmm, if you're passionate about Illustration, but only doing Graphic Design to make money, I'm afraid you might make a medicore GDesigner. Make sure you're just as excited to do GD. Also, have you taken into account that Graphic Design is one of the most flooded-with-artists careers right now? It doesn't matter if Graphic Designers make money if you're not good enough to rise above the thousands.

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    That's where confusion settles because, eventhough I'm more passionate about the things I'm gonna learn in Illustration, I'm also almost as passionate with Graphic Design, especially if it will be something I'm gonna be working on for my future career. I don't necessarily see it as "doing GD for money" because I enjoy GD as well, but I don't want to miss out on the chance of being a better artist if I do choose Illustration.

    What I predict is, I'll enjoy Illustration over Graphic Design, but I'm not sure if that's reason enough to choose Illustration.

    And yes, I do know that there are alot of good artists out there looking for jobs, wether it be in GD or whatever field in arts it may be, so I just looked at it as an overall hurdle for any major I may take.

    But as an Illustrator, is it gonna be much harder to get a job? (compared to being a Graphic Designer I mean.) What are the chances of me getting a job as an Illustrator compared to being a Graphic Designer if I were to turn out as a good artist in either fields?

    I looked at the possible jobs for Illustrators and the list is smaller, compared to the Graphic Designer's possible jobs.

    All in all, I just want job opportunities after college, and not be in the dust sadly desperate scavenging for a job.


    Again, I may be viewing this all incorrectly, feel free to change my views.

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    Why does this echoes my blog entry on CA? Seriously. I'm not posting any accusations. Then again I'm having the same problems as you are.

    In the end, it really decides what you want to do because graphic designing is completely different from illustration. If you're crazy about making logos, flyers and ads for companies. Go for it. I can't see myself thinking about coming up with designs. That's just me.

    In the end, everything that you learn in graphic design and illustration is just an extra stretch from the fundamentals of art. What's wrong with having fun in a major? I thought it was a good thing. Beside if all you want is a job opportunity after college, GD is the way to go. OH. Getting a job as an illustrator.... it depends on your portfolio. (=/ you don't even need to go to art school to study illustration.... in the end the degree is just a piece of paper)

    Anyways if everything fails.... just take a general art studies and ask your professors for advice.

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    Funny, I thought Illustration studies provide for a bigger variety of jobs than Graphic Design. I never considered Graphic Design anyway so I suppose I wouldn't know.

    I would go for what I would enjoy more, but that may not be enough for you.

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    I'll give my input. When I started college I loved illustrating but wanted to appease my parents a bit since they were all about being comfortable about me going into a field that would get me work... so I focused on Graphic Design. Sure I was good at it, but after a few years it became bland because adding your own touch to Graphic Design is harder to manage since it's more about conforming to the client than Illustration imho. Hell, I found myself unable to do G.D. projects that didn't involve illustration. So my suggestion, major in Illustration but pick up some classes in Graphic Design so you can understand some of the common software. Graphic Design is an industry bloated right now, but if you have a combination of skills in both I wager it'd give you a leg up in Illustration or Graphic Design work when you show your portfolio around.

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    Quote Originally Posted by scortia
    I'll give my input. When I started college I loved illustrating but wanted to appease my parents a bit since they were all about being comfortable about me going into a field that would get me work... so I focused on Graphic Design. Sure I was good at it, but after a few years it became bland because adding your own touch to Graphic Design is harder to manage since it's more about conforming to the client than Illustration imho. Hell, I found myself unable to do G.D. projects that didn't involve illustration. So my suggestion, major in Illustration but pick up some classes in Graphic Design so you can understand some of the common software. Graphic Design is an industry bloated right now, but if you have a combination of skills in both I wager it'd give you a leg up in Illustration or Graphic Design work when you show your portfolio around.
    It seems as if you have foreshadowed what my experience would have been like because it seems like you were as torn as I am, thanks for sharing. But that's really interesting. I've always thought of the situation as I either take one or the other, or spend double the money and major in two things (which isn't a very likely option for me with limited money.) I never thought of being able to take GD classes while I'm majoring in Illustration at the same time.. maybe I could if I asked my admissions rep.

    Thanks for that!

    Thanks to everyone's responses as well.

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    Where are you planning on going to school?


    Tristan Elwell
    **Finished Work Thread **Process Thread **Edges Tutorial

    Crash Course for Artists, Illustrators, and Cartoonists, NYC, the 2013 Edition!

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  12. #11
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    Academy of Art University in San Francisco.

    Last edited by Sleep_Eden_sleep; May 30th, 2006 at 12:39 AM.
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    Academy of Art University has a GRAPHIC ILLUSTRATION major under the Illustration program. Graphic Illustration is a combination of both Graphic Design and Illustration, so maybe you should try going into this major since you love both! Goodluck!

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  14. #13
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    My one dilemma with this query is... why does it seemed so clearly defined as to Illustration and Graphic Design camps? I was a graphic design major and doing work as an illustrator now. Why can't the line be blurred and you be a graphic designer that can illustrate or an illustrator that can design?? Anything that interests you whether it's graphic design, illustration, industrial design, animation or even crafts will go into making you a more rounded artist- regardless whether you get out of school and work as a full time illustrator or a graphic designer.

    All of this education goes into making up your uniqueness. Don't just neatly put your graphic design skills away when you're illustrating- use them! And when you do design, make it illustrative. While you're at it, pull in whatever resources that you may have accumulated over the years and make it uniquely YOU.

    As an illustrator, I use my graphic design skills all the time in doing packaging, comps, business cards, promotional items, etc.. Take advantage of learning more and use it all.

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    School is for losers, and graphic design is for half ass artists, psuedo artists, or rather, thee lower than the most vile scum of the earth and not worthy of coexisting side by side with the most infectious vectors and prokaryotes. If you want to be dope, Illustration, if you want to be like all the others, god forbid, (suicide is always an option, gd.

    Strange coincidence that every man whose skull has been opened had a brain.
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    Don't do what I did and major in a design discipline that seems more lucrative. You know what happens when you do that? You end up becoming regretful halfway into your degree, because your friends are learning things/improving their technique and you aren't. You're stuck in front of a Mac, sorting out Quark seperations for Pre Press class. You're getting bogged down in the minutae of leads for Typography III when your friends are painting in their Oils Workshop. You either change majors and spend more time in school, you get your degree and settle for the first mediocre production position you can land (because the GD grads that really like GD are going after the more lucrative and demanding jobs), or you drop out of school all together and wonder what the hell happened.

    I'm saying don't be pennywise and pound foolish. The whole reason I'm ratling off on these boards lately is because I did the "sensible" thing and now I'm going BACK to school to study what I want, 10 years later. It's costing me dearly now. Study what you want, create the type of art you want. Your parents won't be the ones sitting in front of a Mac 10 hours a day for 30K a year.

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    I am an illustration student at Ringling School of Art and Design, and I work in the Center for Career Services. Trust me, there are plenty of career opportunities for Illustrators in the art community. I think you should start looking around at different companies you are interested in working for and finding out what they think - and who they are hiring! If the only think stopping you from being an illustration major is job security, don't let it stop you!!!

    -Jennifer

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    Wow, this seems quite similar to the problem I have. I'm a highschool student and I'm planning to go into concept art as well as graphic design. My main question was what major I should get. After looking around some I've seen a lot of people say that it isn't as much your degree that matters as it is your portfolio. I'm leaning towards a graphic design major because as far as I've heard, GD has more jobs out there, and I can always switch to a concept design job if the opportunity arises. Does this sound reasonable?

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  19. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Venishi
    Wow, this seems quite similar to the problem I have. I'm a highschool student and I'm planning to go into concept art as well as graphic design. My main question was what major I should get. After looking around some I've seen a lot of people say that it isn't as much your degree that matters as it is your portfolio. I'm leaning towards a graphic design major because as far as I've heard, GD has more jobs out there, and I can always switch to a concept design job if the opportunity arises. Does this sound reasonable?
    Yeah it sounds reasonable BUT you've also got to realize that your time IN school is valuable. Where do you plan on spending the majority of your time? Doing the graphic design stuff or working on the stuff for concept art?? It's not impossible by any stretch but realize that you could be spreading yourself a bit thin. My suggestion is to follow your passion first- not the job market.

    And when do you plan on swapping your graphic design portfolio over to a concept art portfolio?? Realize that these are two distinct different career paths. That's not to say you can't be a graphic designer with great illustration skills or a great concept artist with solid design skills but I'd suggest choosing ONE of the two paths, focus heavily on it, become highly proficient and then take the other skills to supplement what you've already mastered.

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  20. #19
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    I agree with Dave. Graphic Design and Concept Design are two distinctly different disciplines. If you're really looking for a program of study that will prepare you for concept design while giving you an employable skillset, look into Industrial & Product Design. You will be drawing 3D objects, working more with traditional media (marker, ink, pencil, guache), and you might learn some modelling with a 3D app for digital visualizations. ID and PD programs don't teach enough figure drawing or painting to prepare you completely for Concept Art, but Graphic Design is even more removed. This is all dependent on where you study and what you chooe to specialize in.

    If you sincerely want to do concept design,reconsider Graphic Design and think about Illustration, Painting, or Product Design. Graphic Design curriculums may have only 2 or 3 classes that are relevant to concept drawing, but those classes are just foundation studies. That's not enough concentration to generate portfolio material. About half of the pro Graphic Designers I know can't draw well at all. Of course, you could always TRY to draw concept related work between studies.

    Conversly, just because you get a degree in illustration, doesn't mean you can't find a job as a Graphic Designer. Most Fine Art BFAs I've met do Graphic Design or Web Design as a day job. Some of the better GDs out there didn't study GD in college, instead they studied fine art. See Designer's Replublic quite a few of these people have fine art backgrounds, they just applied their skills to Graphic Design.

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  21. #20
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    Amazing

    I hadn't known that so many people struggle with just this very dilemma!

    I enrolled at UAT in AZ for game design, and discovered that 3D modeling kicks my ass. I'm gonna end up finishing the GD major this semester [my 6th], and complete a major in digital art and design as well, over the course of my 7th and 8th semesters.

    I ended up getting an internship at the school as a graphic designer. I have fun doing it (really, I do), but like you and others posting here, I can think of no more enjoyable job that one that involves simply drawing all day. I.E. illustration/concept art.

    So what am I doing? I should hopefully be able to transition from intern to an actual position and get some extra cash out of that, and I'm trying to improve my illustration skills as much as I possible can by the time I graduate. (Which is the reason I found CA.)

    So, if all goes according to plan, I'll hopefully be able to move back home to NY and get an illustration job there. If not, I have graphic design to fall back on until I can find an illustration job. It's kinda nerve-wracking. o_o; So here's hoping we all land the kinds of jobs we want! ^_^

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