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Thread: Illustration or Graphic Design major?

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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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    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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    "Work is more fun than fun."
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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

    "Work is more fun than fun."
    -John Cale

    "Art is supposed to punch you in the brain, and it's supposed to stay punched."
    -Marc Maron
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  12. #11
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    Academy of Art University in San Francisco.
    Last edited by Sleep_Eden_sleep; May 29th, 2006 at 11:39 PM.
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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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    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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