Faculty of Design Illustration Course

Illustration Course

In pursuit of drawing and communication—working in diverse media

Illustration differs from the kind of pictures we see produced in oil painting, Japanese painting and manga. It is a form of creative expression used to communicate a message via a graphic medium. Illustration can be duplicated by printing or digitalization, and it is utilized in a wide range of different media and expressive styles, from magazines and posters to advertising, book covers, TV, websites, mobile internet, picture books, video games, manga, and modern art.

SEIKA's Illustration Course searches for the essence of illustration, drawing and communicating. In the first and second years, students undertake training that broadens imagery, refining their sensibilities to acquire ability in drawing by hand. Further, students will also explore diverse methodologies and a wide range of creative possibilities in Japanese painting, tempera, copperplate printing, photography, and digital skills. From the third year, students select either of two progams: Illustration and Books, or Art and Design. Focusing on how and what is conveyed via illustration, picture books, visual art and visual design, students engage with practical tasks. The course establishes and deepens their chosen form of creative expression.

SEIKA's style of study means students take advantage of their individual creative talents while acquiring rich sensibilities and highly expressive skills, responding to today's diverse media. The four years spent on this course open up infinite possibilities.

Four Years in the Illustration Course

  • 1st Year

    Starting with images

    You cannot draw something you cannot imagine: Imagination is the source of creativity for producing images.

    The first year's “Representational Image-Making” trains students to loosen their minds and bodies, cultivating the enriched receptivity necessary for artists and designers. Examples of tasks include dripping ink in the primary colors onto paper. Observing the new colors that form, students understanding how imagery develops in coloring without form. This kind of work teaches students about color in a sensory way that is different from the science of chromatics.

    Students undertake experimental and playful tasks, listening to music, watching dance videos, or drawing the world of Lady Gaga. As their awareness of color, form and framing space changes radically, their sensitivity is refined, and unique imagery begins to appear.

    Other broad areas include foundational units on sketching and three-dimensional expression, and classes on Japanese painting and ink painting that touch on traditional methods and materials.

    1st year
    1st Year Goals
    Refining imagination and receptivity, and foundational drawing ability. Broadening the range of expression through diverse classes.
  • 2nd Year

    Discovering the appeal of line

    “Representational Image-Making” is an important module. The first semester focuses on line, the most foundational and important element for drawing pictures. Line makes us able to see what cannot be seen, and at times can express the unconscious world or abstract imagery. Line turns the imagery in our heads instantly into things that can be seen. Coursework uses a variety of media to draw many kinds of motifs, from dancing figures to galloping horses, video, and portraits. As everyone's brushstrokes are different, lines too have individuality. Drawing exhaustively by hand students discover the appeal and uniqueness of their own lines.

    The second semester looks ahead to the third year, engaging in specialized coursework for considering class selection, including tasks related to actual media, such as magazines and posters, and work with design elements.

    It is also possible to select from technique-based classes including tempera, copperplate printing, silkscreen printing and photography—a chance to discover which techniques best suit you. Further, the Computer Graphics class teaches foundational computer software skills.

    2nd year
    2nd Year Goals
    Seeking out ways of drawing by hand, discovering the creative expression best suited to you.
  • 3rd Year

    Communicating who, what, how?

    Students are divided into two specialist programs—“Illustration and Books”, and “Art and Design”—to focus on communicating messages to society through media.

    In “Illustration and Books”, classes on illustration look at the role of illustration within the media and establish an individual form of expression, while classes on books teach about picture-books, from theory to practice. The picture-book module also includes an actual publication project. “Art and Design" enhances students’ specialties by utilizing photography, collage and digital manipulation, in addition to drawing, and further includes classes on visual art seeking out dynamic creativity, as well as a visual design module that teaches practical visual communication and graphic design in posters and advertising.

    Shared elective classes in both programs include “Business,” which teaches how to connect artistic creativity with actual society, “Design,” which looks at high-level design, and “Digital,” which explores how to develop digital media through websites and online videos.

    3rd year
    3rd Year Goals
    Establishing an individual style and enhancing creativity. Becoming conscious of releasing work into society and turning it into media.
  • 4th Year

    Becoming who you want to be. Becoming a member of society

    Both programs focus on individual production work, looking ahead to students’ careers after graduation. To gain employment and/or work as a freelancer and artist, it is necessary to expand artworks and a portfolio, as well as to present oneself to society as a whole. Students consult with teaching staff who understand well about their qualities and aptitude, receiving individual instruction on how best to proceed in accordance with their ambitions.

    The year features projects working on and then presenting visual material ordered by a client or in collaboration with a business, which connects students' creativity with wider society. In the second semester students engage in their graduation projects. As a culmination of four years of work, students greatly enhance the quality of their works.

    4th year
    4th Year Goals
    Creating more sophisticated works and inquiring proactively into the wider world. Looking ahead to the future and becoming active in society.

Career paths after graduating from the Illustration Course

The Illustration Course studies drawing and communicating. It fosters drawing abilities, as well as imagination, ideation, construction ability, and sensibility, and also how to understand the mechanisms of visual communication. Dividing into two further programsclasses, students then acquire more highly specialized skills, connecting directly to their post-graduationg career paths, harnessing which then creates support a range of professional options, including freelancing, working as an artist, and in entering the design industry.

Career choices

  • Working in the media as an illustrator
  • Publishing work as a picture book or comics author
  • Creating work as a visual artist
  • Designing graphics, advertising or print media

Other career options

  • Video game designer
  • Art director
  • Photographer
  • Video artist
  • Character designer
  • Advertising designer
  • Contemporary Artist etc.