Getting Your Bachelor’s Degree in Commercial Illustration


Getting your bachelor’s degree from Nossi in Illustration is a way for students to engage in hands-on learning with some of Nashville’s most talented creatives. This exposure will lead you to meet great artists, to connect with Nashville’s entertainment industry and to reach your full potential through program-specific internships.

As one of the best illustration programs available in Southeast, our BGA offers both new and returning students the opportunity to learn the conceptual, creative and technical skills necessary to thrive in the industry.

With options to explore various genres of illustration, students in the bachelor program can learn about the specialized skills in advertising, book publishing, editorial art, alternative mediums and sequential art. We also have Illustration students explore design-related classes like graphic design I, graphic design II, 3D modeling and advanced photoshop. As one of the only programs in the area that is founded and led by artists, students in our BGA program are exposed to aspects of the industry, skills and other artists that prepare them to hit the ground running well before graduation.

“The advantage of the bachelor program is that you’re exposed to real life artwork, training and projects that are relevant to the industry,” Illustration Coordinator Arden von Haeger said. “When you get to the bachelor’s level, you take the foundation classes and apply them to real industry work.”

Nossi College of Art’s BGA in Commercial Illustration can be completed traditionally in three and a half years for new students or even less for students transferring with an associate degree in graphic design or another closely related program. Illustration students learn design skills, illustration fundamentals, computer graphics, electronic imaging, production, work with a variety of media and a detailed overview of the best illustration software.

“A bachelor’s degree can take you wherever you want to go,” Illustration Coordinator, Arden von Haeger, said. “You really get immersed in the program during those extra two years. Down the road, the two years associated with this bachelor program is something you’ll be glad you have.”

After receiving his associate degree in illustration, von Haeger knew the importance of returning to school to earn his bachelor’s degree.  When he graduated with his bachelor’s, Arden was able to land his job as the Illustration Coordinator at Nossi College of Art.

He is now in the final year of his MFA studies, and has had the opportunity to learn from creatives all over the country, including Dreamworks and Disney. Now he brings this experience to Nossi’s classrooms everyday.

“In my case, the bachelor’s degree enabled me to advance my teaching, and it led me to pursue my MFA,” von Haeger said. “I think the biggest perk a bachelor’s degree provides is the knowledge you’re exposed to (at school).”

As with any college education, price can be a barrier when it comes to deciding where and how far you want to take your education. Because of this, Nossi College of Art offers several opportunities to make it financially easier to return to class. Scholarships, including the Alumni Scholarship, can be awarded so alumni and their families can return to school. With our Together Program, alumni can retake a class that they’ve already passed, for no charge – some rules apply.

Luckily, with Nossi College of Art, you don’t even have to go through a lengthy waiting process to start. We’re still accepting applications for our fall semester, so why wait? With tuition rates increasing in January and a competitive market for creatives, this is the perfect time to apply.

For more information on our Bachelor of Graphic Art in Commercial Illustration, check out our course catalog for the program or contact our Illustration Coordinator, Arden von Haeger, at