Illustration Degree Program

Spring Classes Start
January 9

"Illustration students learn to see the concept of a project and learn to tell that story visually. The creative edge combined with the artistic skill set is what our students develop before becoming professional visual story tellers."


Mark Fleming
Illustration Coordinator

Career Outlook

3D Modeling Artist

Fashion Illustrator

Book Publishing Illustrator

Package Designer

Comic Illustrator

Editorial / Advertising Illustrator

Illustration Agent or Representative

Political Cartoonist

Creative Services Director

Sequential / Concept Artist

Multimedia Artist / Animator

Sketch Artist

Illustration Courses

Focus on Our Four-Year Program

Bachelor's Degree

Bachelor of Graphic Arts Commercial Illustration

136 curriculum hours



This fundamental course introduces the beginning art student to the principles of drawing. Accurate observations of shapes, forms, contours and tones will be stressed while learning to use a variety of mediums, i.e. pen and ink, graphite pencils, charcoal, marker and colored pencil techniques. Fundamental understanding of perspective drawing concepts, including one-, two- and three-point perspective will also be taught in this course. Students will produce works of art using a variety of drawing techniques i.e: cross-hatching, hatching, scumbling, back-fourth strokes, overlaying colors, stippling and washes.



Students are introduced to the principles of design using a variety of media as they complete projects that emphasize various aspects of composition. They will learn about balance, repetition of shape, positive and negative space, focal point, the illusion of depth and motion.



This comprehensive foundational course teaches students to use perspective to depict spatial and volumetric depth in paintings and drawings, in both traditional and digital mediums. Beginning with simple line sketches and building skills in more complex tonal drawings, students will learn to create a sense of the third dimension with the figure, still life, landscape and structures as subjects. Students examine one-, two- and multi-point perspective methods and learn to add reality with tonal range and light source.



Students are introduced to the principles of color theory utilizing various affects, techniques and mediums to create a comprehensive understanding of color principles. Light, hue, value and saturation are all explored in the course and students will learn many aspects of color relationship, application and how to affectively utilize the many facets of color and color theory in the commercial art field.



Students will study the history of lettering from ancient symbols to today’s digital technology. Students will also study various type families, become familiar with the terminology and practice the art of hand lettering. Students will learn the art of designing with type and become familiar with different ‘moods’ or the feel type can have for different occasions. Students will also learn different styles of type used throughout history. Emphasis on rules for proper letter spacing, word spacing and the arrangement of type for maximum readability will be stressed.



The structure of the human body is taught by observing the skeleton of the human figure. Understanding the bone structure is an essential prerequisite to drawing the human figure accurately with an emphasis on the muscular structure of the human body. Upon completion, students will be able to produce professional drawings of anatomically correct figures, depict chiaroscuro (the treatment of light and shade in drawing and painting) in the figure, contrast and emphasize value and placement of the figures by using pencil, charcoal, pastel, conté and other mediums.



This course will teach students the Adobe Illustrator program, which is the industry standard for vector-based design in the graphic arts field. Students will learn to create their own designs, illustrations and reach an understanding of the types of real-world problems students face on the job. Printing, color and design techniques (the latter learned in the various graphic design courses) will be integrated for completion of the various projects.



Students will explore the theory of aesthetics and design concepts as it applies to graphics. It will also encompass a detailed investigation into the principles and concepts of effective visual communications through the use of two- and three-dimensional design with a goal of creative problem solving. There is also an emphasis in Information Gathering, Step 1 of the Nossi 9 Step Creative Process and commercial application of designing corporate graphics such as logos and symbol designs.



This course teaches students how to work with Adobe Photoshop, the industry-standard photo-manipulation program, from a photographer’s standpoint. Building upon what was learned in the initial Adobe Lightroom, Adobe Photoshop for Photographers will delve deeper into the technical aspects of the program, showing photography students techniques for color management, image and color adjustments, montage techniques and preparing images for print.



Students will delve deeper into the usage of fonts as a major design element. Real life projects will allow students to “practice” choosing appropriate fonts for the subject/client as well as choosing the correct size and color. Students will learn to properly use space, the typographic grid and hierarchy in their designs. Students will begin to use type as a graphic art.



InDesign is the program for page layout artists. It is used to create highend advertisements, lay out magazines and books, as well as other print projects that need exacting typographic and layout specifications. InDesign also has the ability to produce interactive PDFs and Apps for the iPad. In this course, you will learn how to implement InDesign into the daily workflow of your design career. You will also break down actual ad and layout designs from magazines and newspapers to discuss how these can be built within InDesign.



In this course, students will be introduced to various painting mediums to increase their versatility in the visual communications industry. Projects in watercolor, gouache, acrylic, oil and mixed media will be explored.



This course is a continuation of Graphic Design Fundamentals concerning the creative process. Emphasis is on conceptual execution with diverse projects including simple packaging, ads, posters, print design and brand identity. The course focuses on how people see and arrange visual information into a meaningful whole. Students will also get a deep-dive into specialized printing materials and techniques, design terminology, digital design and the ‘business of design.



Adobe Photoshop is the premier program for creating digital paintings and illustrations. It is used for everything from print to web to video. In this course, students will learn to work with brushes and master the settings. Extensive painting projects weekly and large projects will be achieved.



In this course the student will learn a series of steps for creating a printed product. From the conception and execution of a design through editing and production of the finished product, students will learn about various printing processes focusing mainly on offset lithography. Upon completion of this course, the student will have a clear understanding of the four-color printing process and their role as graphic designer in the process.



In this course, students will learn the different genres of illustration markets including editorial, advertising, corporate, technical, book publishing and packaging. Students will be introduced to the business of illustration. Techniques of oil, gouache, marker and color pencil will be presented to the student. Pricing, contracts, kill fees and second rights will be presented. Upon completion of this course, students will have produced four illustrations ready for publication.



This course will explore the history of advertising and examine its role and importance in society. The student will learn the basics of marketing and product positioning with a focus on Conceptualization, Reflection and Refinement, Steps 3, 4 and 5 of the Nossi 9 Step Creative Process. How an advertising campaign develops, from the concept to final executions including newspapers, magazines, direct mail, television, radio and billboards will be explored, including the use of new medias, i.e. online advertising and social media.



In this course, students learn the skills and procedures necessary to start a successful freelance operation by learning advantages and disadvantages of freelancing. They will learn what steps are necessary to protect their creative property and ensure that they are paid according to their skills and demand. Ethical standards as well as moral standards will be explored in order that students may understand fair competition in the freelance world. Governmental regulations, licenses and taxes will be explained.



The course is designed to help illustrators understand the importance of environments and environmental conditions in illustration. The impact and effectiveness in creating the right environment is essential for illustrators to utilize in commercial illustration. Merging the right environment with character, creature and non-organic development can be the difference between a good illustration and a great illustration. Artwork will be created using both traditional and digital mediums and techniques with an emphasis on capitalizing the benefits of both.



This course will explore the human form in a more in depth study as well as application of movement, clothing, lighting and foreshortening. Students will utilize various mediums and experiment with stylization, interpretation and application of human anatomy in visual communications. Concepts of perspective, structure and composition will also be introduced in this course, while exploring the affects that clothing and coverings have on the human form. Some introduction to animal and quadruped structure will also be introduced. Both traditional and digital mediums will be used in this course.



Traditional mediums and the powerful colorization tools of Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and Acrobat are merged for an unbeatable combination in the field of illustration. Savvy professionals today recognize the value of both worlds and in combination they can bring visual skills highly sought after in today’s marketplace.



Students will have the opportunity to explore illustration in the narrative form. Storyboarding video productions, television commercials and feature films are a necessity in the world of visual entertainment. Comic books, since inception, have used sequential illustration to visualize concepts and tell their stories. Students will also explore the concept and development of Concept Art, where the main goal is to convey a visual representation of design, idea and/or mood for use in films, video games, animation or comic books prior to final art.



Students will have the opportunity to further explore commercial illustration in the narrative form. This course will cover advanced typography and illustration in logo development to 3D applications and producing photographic quality illustrations, professional development and exploration in motion graphics. Professional application of concepts will be addressed in the campaign form of advertising. All aspects of graphic design and illustration will be applied to these concepts.



This course will allow students to be introduced to the world of 3D visualization using Modo. Modo is recognized as a user-friendly standard in various fields like print, game design and animation. This will be the first major step for students in 3D principles. Students will start by learning the interface and how to maneuver around the application. As students progress, modeling, texturing and different layout concepts (including UV) will be explored. By the conclusion of this class, students will be able to create simple objects or environments and will texture, light and then render them for print purposes.



Students will research advertising agencies, design studios and corporations and inquire about their illustration needs. Projects will range from annual reports to products and posters.



Students are introduced to the world of book illustration for the publishing world. For Children’s PB or Graphic Novel (children to adult target ages), historical and religious books, all genres will be researched by students and evaluated. From this exercise, students will choose their direction of expertise and interest.



Students will be providing illustration solutions to the editorial needs of newspapers, magazines and corporations, both on a local and national level. Political satire and bringing visual life to the written word are examples of the areas to be explored.



This course will introduce students to digital sculpting and how it can be used in various forms of illustration. Digital sculpting is being used more and more by various companies and artists because of its speed and functionality. Students will be taught primarily in ZBrush but will also be using Photoshop to concept their artwork and produce finished pieces. The main purpose of this course is to give students a strong introduction to ZBrush and have them learn how to move around the interface confidently.



In this course, students will create a cohesive body of illustrations best represent each student’s interests and strengths. Students will use the media with which they are most confident. Emphasis is on the individual style that most fits the student’s artistic personality. Upon completion of this course, students will have created imagery suitable for use in a promotional campaign.



The focus of this course is to provide students with the essential skills for professional copywriting and editing. Students will learn how to recognize the purpose behind any piece of copy, use creative skills to make their copy reach target audiences, apply technical specifications to any piece of copy through the use of style sheets and format spoken English into acceptable professional copy.



Independent study courses are individually designed to meet specific needs of students. They may vary from one to four semester hours of credit. They may be in any subject area a student needs in order to complete degree requirements. Independent study courses must be approved by a member of the faculty, the student’s department coordinator and by the Vice President of Academic Affairs.



This course provides students who are about to graduate an opportunity to explore the presentation and interviewing techniques used to find employment. Positive self-image and goal setting concepts are reintroduced. Students are expected to create communication materials for self-promotion and develop strategies for networking and community involvement, including internship opportunities. Students must participate in a formal portfolio presentation of their work to the community and to their fellow students. They are given instructions in portfolio presentation and preparation for career opportunities.



This course is designed to provide the student with instruction in two major areas of the English language – writing and oral communication skills. Writing techniques using correct English grammar will be emphasized and will be applicable for different environments including corporate, business and professional settings. A variety of public speaking techniques will also be taught. The student will learn what is appropriate for each situation in which, as a professional artist, he might find himself.


American History

This course examines history in America. The course will be a combination of lecture and discussion. 



Success Strategies is a course in goal setting, techniques of note and test taking, problem solving skills, time management and critical thinking skill development. The course is designed to help each student improve his learning skills. In addition, students will acquire skills necessary to succeed as commercial artists. Life enhancing principles are also a major aspect of this course.



This is a survey course of the science of psychology. It covers the key terms of most of the psychological concepts from brain biology to abnormal, motivational and developmental psychology. This course surveys a broad field of study. A study of the thinking and research behind various fields of psychology will lead to a discussion of how each field applies to human events in the everyday lives of people. An examination of how psychology applies to advertising, graphic arts, illustration and photography will be made.



Students will examine common uses of mathematics in everyday life. This course will also focus upon mathematical applications involving choice, voting systems, routing and networks, project scheduling, descriptive and inferential statistics and probability.



This course presents students with a survey of Western Civilization from the ancient world to contemporary culture. Through discussion and appreciation of historical works, students will draw connections between the origins and influences of Western Civilization, as well as an understanding of its role in shaping cultures.



This GE requirement was established, in part, because of the potent influence of science on society. Therefore, a major objective of this course is to help develop an understanding of the nature of science, including its philosophical basis, power and limitations. The content of the course is centered on life and its relationship to the environment.



This class is designed to enhance the student’s understanding and exposure to literature. Readings will come from PDF files on Moodle as well as from handouts from the instructor. A novel reading is required and each student will read and analyze a different novel from a list provided by the instructor. Readings from different genres and cultures will include short stories, poetry and drama. Essays to analyze the readings are the method of assessment as well as tests over the readings and background materials.



This English class will include intensive grammar review as well as writing assignments to complete a portfolio. Illustrations are encouraged to enhance the writing and the portfolio (these can add points to the grade). A resume and a cover letter are a separate part of the writing. A research paper is required and must have the correct documentation and analysis format. Professional presentation of final portfolio is required for completion of this course.

Spring Classes Start
January 9

Who You’ll Be Learning From

Mark Fleming

Illustration Coordinator

Mark Fleming was honored as the “Best Portfolio” graduate in 1989 in Fort Lauderdale. In 1991, he joined the second largest company in Tennessee, Nashville’s J.C. Bradford & Co. As the...
Mark Fleming was honored as the “Best Portfolio” graduate in 1989 in Fort Lauderdale. In 1991, he joined the second largest company in Tennessee, Nashville’s J.C. Bradford & Co. As the Creative Director, Mark was responsible for the design and development of the company’s advertising and marketing efforts. He was promoted to Manager of Marketing Services, overseeing relationships with advertising agencies, printing companies and vendors to support 86 offices, 1,300 brokers and 300,000 clients.After a successful nine-year run at J.C. Bradford & Co., Mark left to start Creative Avenue in 1999, growing the customer base from a handful of clients to more than 300 today. Creative Avenue offers a wide variety of services from graphic design for print, illustrations and graphic design of websites. Today, Mark meets the challenges of a changing industry by staying current in graphic design with Creative Avenue, being the Illustration Coordinator and an instructor at Nossi College of Art all while painting in his studio for Fleming Paintings.His role as the Illustration Coordinator and instructor at Nossi College is helping influence the next generation of commercial artists, designers and illustrators. He teaches a variety of classes from alternative mediums—which include watercolor, gouache, acrylic and oil painting—to figure and anatomy. A variety of other classes taught include Adobe Illustrator for layout and illustration. He also teaches basic and advanced photoshop from basic photo manipulation to advanced matte painting for film.Mark's role as an illustrator is vast, as he has created digital animations for companies to stand alone spot illustrations for books, publications and brochure materials. His fine art works have been in galleries and private showings.He is continually training with new creative concepts and trying new media, to stay current in the industry. Mark continues the dream of living and being a creative individual; an artist.


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Bill Latta

Illustration Instructor

A native of Nashville, TN, Bill Latta is a professional illustrator, graphic designer and photographer. He earned his BA degree from the University of Tennessee,...

A native of Nashville, TN, Bill Latta is a professional illustrator, graphic designer and photographer. He earned his BA degree from the University of Tennessee, following his service in the Navy. Bill began his career as a graphic designer with a large publishing house in Nashville. He was soon asked to become the art director at a prominent Nashville advertising agency. Bill did the design work for their clients, creating newspaper and magazine ads, billboard ads, TV storyboards, posters, brochures, and collateral materials. He worked as the agency's art director for two very creative and productive years.

He returned to publishing when he was asked to come to LifeWay in Nashville as the designer of Home Life magazine. Soon after, he was asked to do the prototype design and help launch the Biblical Illustrator magazine, a pictorial magazine of scholarly articles on biblical archaeological sites and subjects. As the designer of the magazine for the first five years that led to its tremendous popularity and success, Bill made a number of extended photographic expeditions to ancient archaeological sites and museums throughout eastern and western Europe and the Middle East, creating a large, comprehensive black and white and color photo archive of biblical sites for exclusive use in the magazine.

Bill was soon promoted to art manager of the Youth and Adult Art Section. In this role, he managed a staff of thirteen designers and one technical assistant, working directly with the editorial managers and editorial staff to produce over 37 youth and adult products. Bill led his designers in creating and producing new product models, magazine designs, photos, and illustrations for all youth and adult products and related materials. As art manager, he was responsible for staffing, personnel training, art budgets, production schedules, and developing and meeting all production goals.

After a twenty-two year career at LifeWay, Bill established Latta Art Services as a contract digital illustration, graphic design, and photographic service. His clients have included: PC Magazine, NYC; Blender magazine, NYC; Sadlier Publishing, NYC; Backpacker magazine, Emmaus, PA; The Industry Standard, San Francisco; The Domain Group, Seattle; SBC Advertising, Columbus, OH; The Scientist magazine, London; Oxford University Press, Oxford; LifeWay, Nashville; Holman Publishing, Nashville; McNeely, Pigott, & Fox Public Relations, Nashville; Incentive Publications, Nashville; Rose Publishing, Torrence, CA; and The Whitfield Art Agency, Nashville.

In 2006, Bill came to Nossi College of Art as an adjunct instructor of illustration and design for Nossi College of Art while still working at Latta Art services for his national and international clients. In 2014, Bill retired Latta Art Service after twenty-one creative years servicing his clients’ needs.

Bill continues his devotion to his students at Nossi College of Art, teaching them skills and techniques to help enable them to become the very best professional illustrators and designers they can be. He says, “If they have the talent, the passion, and are teachable, they can succeed at any creative project they undertake.”.

Bill's personal interests are: creating digital photography and art for art shows, traveling, boating, water skiing, hiking, and the great outdoors. Bill’s lovely and supportive wife is Faye is also a Nashville native. They have two sons and five delightful grandchildren.


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Spring Classes Start

January 9

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