Within one year of graduating, 91% of MCAD alumni are working, pursuing further education, or engaged in military or volunteer service.*

This is no accident—MCAD’s illustration curriculum gets students focused on their careers early and enables them to successfully transition from student to professional.

Illustrators have the ability to communicate emotions and ideas as a creative visual. Careers in this field can range from illustrating for entertainment and educational purposes to teaching to being a fine artist.


Potential Careers

Advertising Illustrator

Illustrate storyboards for commercials, new product ideas, campaign ideas, and proposals to win new business. Create layout sketches of designs, logo ideas, and illustrations that are included in corporate reports, print materials, direct mail, point of purchase displays, posters, signage, and billboards.

Book Illustrator

Most often paired with a professional writer, book illustrators create drawings and designs that accompany stories or information told in books or educational materials.

Comic Illustrator

Draw, storyboard, and sometimes write narrative stories for comic books. Jobs are split up in larger companies to meet demanding production deadlines.

Courtroom Illustrator

Create drawings of court trials for newspapers and television networks and stations.

Children's Book Illustrator

Create drawings and designs that accompany stories told in children's books or educational materials. Some illustrators write their own books, but most often a publisher pairs them with a professional writer.

Editorial Illustrator

Creates illustrations that tell a story to accompany magazine articles, newspaper stories, or to be used as book covers or in reports.

Fashion Illustrator

Illustrate for fashion magazines, pattern companies, newspapers, department stores, shops, and fashion designers.

Fine Artist

Sell work to individuals, galleries, interior designers, architects, libraries, community centers, banks, hotels, government, and elsewhere on a freelance basis or by commission. Must be self-motivated and able to accept criticism. At times work is commissioned, but most often it is created and sold afterwards.

Freelance Illustrator

Design and create images for websites, magazines, publishers, film studios, newspapers, advertising agencies, design firms, museums, and more. Usually specialize in one or two areas.

Illustration Agent or Representative

A sales and marketing position representing and promoting illustrators by showing their portfolios to potential clients, marketing and selling their work, and negotiating contracts and prices. Usually paid on a commission basis.

Medical or Technical Illustrator

Produce illustrations, technical drawings, and maps for medical, technical and scientific journals, manuals, and books. Often digitally illustration.

Surface Designer

Create patterns for fabric, and clothing, and paper products.

Concept Artist

Develop characters and environments for a variety of genres, including animation, film, television, video games, and toys.


*Based on the 2016/17 MCAD Alumni Outcomes Survey, within one year of graduation, 87% of alumni report working, 3% are engaging in military or volunteer service, and 1% are pursuing further education.

Tell Me More about Illustration at MCAD