Earn An Illustration Technologies Degree

Illustration Technologies Degree
Explore Your Vivid Imagination

With an illustration degree from Nossi, you'll learn how technology, marketing, and business impact your career in commercial illustration.

Mark Fleming, Illustration Program Director, Nossi College of Art

Mark Fleming
Illustration Degree Program Director

"Illustration degree 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 storytellers."

What to expect while acquiring your degree in illustration technologies.

  • Most of your Nossi illustration technology degree classes will be industry-specific and taught by illustration professionals.
  • You'll meet with career services and begin to prepare for your internship and future employment in the illustration industry.
  • Nossi's project-based PACE (Professional AcceleartedCareer Experience) program will provide the opportunity for you to work with real clients while completing your studies.
  • Take your senior internship class, and begin to network with commercial illustrators, book illustrators, editorial illustrators, creative directors, and business professionals on the job and in the community.
  • Create your best work and present it at the Senior Exhibition for local illustration industry professionals, your family, and friends.

Meet Troy Duff, a Nossi College of Art and Design graduate who specializes in illustration, mural art, and fine art in Nashville and Middle Tennessee. Check out what Troy has been up to since graduation. "I'm excited for whatever comes next because I don't know what that is going to be. I'm coming off of the highest point in my life, having five permanent pieces in the new National Museum of African American Music. That's Huge!"

🌾 En Plein Air painting for Nōssi’s newest illustration course, IL 250 Open Studio. @moillustration leads students to local outdoor parks to practice en plein air painting : “the French term means out of doors and refers to the practice of painting…” @tate ; “Painting en plein air allowed artists to capture the emotional and sensory dimensions of a particular landscape at a particular moment in time” @theartstory_org 

Stay tuned for students’ finished pieces 🎨 
#illustration #enpleinair #enpleinairpainting

🌾 En Plein Air painting for Nōssi’s newest illustration course, IL 250 Open Studio. @moillustration leads students to local outdoor parks to practice en plein air painting : “the French term means out of doors and refers to the practice of painting…” @tate ; “Painting en plein air allowed artists to capture the emotional and sensory dimensions of a particular landscape at a particular moment in time” @theartstory_org

Stay tuned for students’ finished pieces 🎨
#illustration #enpleinair #enpleinairpainting

16 2 instagram icon
Our Illustration Program Director Mark Fleming led a live model figure drawing workshop for our visiting high school students who are interested in pursuing a degree in the arts! Thank you to  @brady_l_c for modeling! 

#figuredrawing #drawing #charcoal

Our Illustration Program Director Mark Fleming led a live model figure drawing workshop for our visiting high school students who are interested in pursuing a degree in the arts! Thank you to @brady_l_c for modeling!

#figuredrawing #drawing #charcoal

33 1 instagram icon
#nossistudentwork 💜🖊️ Illustration students ❕

Gabby Lovelace @lovelacecreativeco Claire Seiber @cseib_art and Hayden Hall @hallistration37 got the opportunity to illustrate the children’s book ‘Embrace Your Roarrr’ by @bryanneely12 @riseitupretreat 

Here is some #bts of the process from June 2023 - today where they signed the copy of the book that will be in Nōssi’s Library Resource Center 💙

Thank you @bryanneely12 for hiring our creatives and trusting their vision for your work!! Students, check out the published work of your peers! 🫶

If you want to order your own copy, check out @riseitupretreat ‘s website linked in bio 

#creativework #hirecreatives

#nossistudentwork 💜🖊️ Illustration students ❕

Gabby Lovelace @lovelacecreativeco Claire Seiber @cseib_art and Hayden Hall @hallistration37 got the opportunity to illustrate the children’s book ‘Embrace Your Roarrr’ by @bryanneely12 @riseitupretreat

Here is some #bts of the process from June 2023 - today where they signed the copy of the book that will be in Nōssi’s Library Resource Center 💙

Thank you @bryanneely12 for hiring our creatives and trusting their vision for your work!! Students, check out the published work of your peers! 🫶

If you want to order your own copy, check out @riseitupretreat ‘s website linked in bio

#creativework #hirecreatives

38 2 instagram icon

Career Opportunities with a Illustration Degree

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

Take the Next Step Toward Your Career

Now Accepting Applications to the

Fall 2024 Illustration Degree Program


Illustration Degree Courses

Focus on Our Four-Year Program

Bachelor's Degree

Bachelor of Graphic Arts in Illustration Technologies

133 curriculum hours

BD 101


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.

IL 250


Explore lots of artistic concepts like painting, print making and more.

CT 105


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.

TY 110


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.

AF 130


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.

AI 140


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.

GD 115


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.

PS 142


This course teaches students the core principles of Adobe Photoshop, the industry-standard raster-based photo manipulation program. Similar to Adobe Illustrator in significance and industry dominance, the ability to manipulate raster images will be a persistent theme throughout any career path involving print or digital media. Among the fundamental concepts explored will be file type constraints, image optimization, compositing, image restoration, color correction, masking, typography, effects, layout, print management, elementary animation and video, and even elementary 3D principles among other topics. By the end of the course, students will have a broad enough understanding of Photoshop to competently utilize it in whatever their chosen course of study.

TY 216


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.

ID 160


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

AM 218


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.

GD 120


This course is a continuation of Graphic Design Fundamentals and delves deeper into visual rhetoric. There is a heavier emphasis on the creative process, concept development, and design execution. Students will be introduced to campaign design and the importance of visual continuity, message consistency, and visual appeal. This course requires proficiency in working with and combining raster-based and vector-based digital imagery.

PS 324


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.

IL 200


This course introduces students to the world of 3D and basic animation. Many programs will be explored including Blender, Photoshop, and others within the Adobe Creative Suite. This course is to learn basic modeling to aid in the illustration process for envisioning depth, lighting, and structures within the scene. The intro to animation will pursue onion skin behaviors within the program.

PA 205


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.

MG 250


In this course, students continue to learn traditional content and functions of illustration as it relates to books. In addition, students will learn the fundamentals of choosing themes to visualize in a narrative. Students will learn advanced aspects of book illustration, including styles, market, reproduction, character development, and audience. Students will work on independent projects and explore the subject of book illustration in depth. A basic history of the Illustrated Book is covered through an examination of both historical and contemporary examples. Students will learn how to develop the concept of an original idea and how to prepare it for presentation to a commercial publisher.

CW 210


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.

GD 230


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.

BM 375


In this course, students will learn the skills and procedures necessary to start a successful freelance operation. Students will learn the advantages and disadvantages of freelancing and also what steps are necessary to protect their creative property and ensure 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.

IL 310


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

AF 340


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.

AI 350


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.

IL 360


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.

MG 360


This course is designed to extend the understanding of the software and techniques used in the creation of professional motion graphics projects including motion logos, motion text, and infographic presentations. With the demand for specialized information presentations in nearly all aspects of marketing, communication, and content production on the rise, having an understanding of key concepts and methods in motion graphic production as well as experience with relevant software will provide an extension of the capability and flexibility of graphic designers. With such a wide range of concepts and techniques available, continued study and practice of motion graphics introduces new capabilities including 3D layers, lights, cameras, and advanced effects use and animation techniques. Building on previous semesters, students will create pro-level graphics presentations within Adobe After Effects and other software tools available.

IL 380


In this course, 3D will be explored for commercial use such as building and animating logos and illustrating products in 3D to replace the use of photography. This course will also explore the practical use of 3D in the realm of concept art. A variety of programs will be explored to create a variation of projects and concepts.

IL 410


This course will embody both the advertising and editorial segments of commercial illustration. The advertising portion of this course will have students research advertising agencies, design studios, and corporations and inquire about their illustration needs. Projects will include corporate collateral like annual reports, products, and posters. The editorial portion of this course will address corporate editorial scenarios like newspapers, magazines on both the local and national levels. Political satire and bringing visual life to the written word are examples of the areas that will be explored.

IL 420


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.

IL 400


In this course students will be challenged to explore, research, and create for the stock illustration industry. Students will gain the understanding of how stock is searched, utilized, and purchased. The projects will require students to setup appropriate accounts to sell their art after the creation process. They can manage their accounts online while learning to use keywords and descriptions appropriately to sell their art to the live market place.

IL 470


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.

IL 440


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.

INT 450


Nossi College of Art & Design students have the opportunity to take an internship for class credit during the last semester of their program. The internship is a program completion requirement and must be approved by the current Program Chair/Director.

The goal of the internship is to expose the student to valuable job experience that will enhance their skill sets. This monitored program for senior level students provides an opportunity to work part-time with cooperating employers (i.e., Sponsor). Though students will be provided professional leads, they must secure their own internship.

IS 440


Independent study courses are individually designed to meet the 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 Program Chair/Director, and by the Vice President for Academic Affairs.

BU 450


This intensive capstone course provides students with the technical, conceptual, and aesthetic skills to organize and develop an outstanding professional portfolio. Students will build on their comprehensive body of work while at Nossi College. Self-promotional identity themes are developed along with a thorough review of student resumes, cover letters, and business cards. Interviewing techniques and job search preparation are also stressed. Portfolios, resumes, business cards, and self-promotional materials are showcased at the mandatory Portfolio Review each semester. Industry professionals and potential employers attend the event.

SS 104


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.

AH 302


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

PS 108


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.

EN 270


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.

EN 280


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.

MA 300


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, probability, project scheduling and descriptive, and inferential statistics.

AH 212


This course provides a broad coverage of the history of art from prehistoric cave painting through modern times. Students learn from lectures, slide presentations, outside reading, as well as reading the assigned class textbook. The students in this course are taught art appreciation, art history, terminology, artists, and art styles and the characteristics that distinguish individual artists and styles. At the conclusion of this course students are expected to be able to identify different artworks and then name the period, the style, its characteristics, influences, and the artist.

WC 301


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.

ES 300


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.

LT 211


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.

Who You’ll Be Learning From

Mark Fleming, Illustration Degree Program Director, Nossi College of Art and Design in Nashvlle, TN

Mark Fleming

IllustrationDegree Program Director

Mark Fleming was honored as the “Best Portfolio” by the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale in 1989. In 1991, he joined Nashville’s J.C. Bradford & Co. investment firm as Creative Director....
Mark Fleming was honored as the “Best Portfolio” by the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale in 1989. In 1991, he joined Nashville’s J.C. Bradford & Co. investment firm as Creative Director. Mark was responsible for the design and development of the company’s advertising and marketing efforts. After building and directing the art department 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 over 300,000 clients. After a successful nine-year career at J.C. Bradford & Co., Mark left to start his own business in 1999, growing the customer base from a handful of clients to more than 300. His company offered a wide variety of services from graphic design for print, illustrations, and web design. Today, Mark meets the challenges of a changing industry by staying current in graphic design and illustration through his position as Program Director of Illustration and an instructor at Nossi College of Art & Design. He continues to paint in his studio for Fleming Art and Design. His role as the Program Director of Illustration and instructor at Nossi College is helping influence the next generation of commercial artists, designers, and illustrators. He teaches a variety of classes from painting mediums, anatomy & figure drawing to more advanced classes involving the Adobe® Creative Suite and Blender. 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 art technologies, to stay current in the industry. Mark continues his dream of living a life as an artist.


(X) Close

Maureen Obrien, Illustration Degree Instructor, Nossi College of Art and Design in Nashville, TN

Maureen O'Brien

Illustration Degree Instructor

Maureen O'Brien studied Illustration and Design at Kendall College of Art and Design/Ferris State University in Michigan (BFA) and the Hartford Art School/University of Hartford in Connecticut (MFA)....
Maureen O'Brien studied Illustration and Design at Kendall College of Art and Design/Ferris State University in Michigan (BFA) and the Hartford Art School/University of Hartford in Connecticut (MFA). Working out of her home studio in Franklin, Tenn., she provides Illustration and design for corporate, editorial and advertising clients, specializing in stylized realism/humorous & conceptual as well as children's books & magazine illustrations in a variety of traditional, digital & mixed media. She is also an adjunct professor of graphic design, illustration & foundations. Maureen has and continues to work for clients including: Kellogg Co, Nestle Foods., Thomas Nelson Publishing, Guideposts 4 Kids Magazine, Herman Miller, WORD Music, Baptist Hospital, Chemtron RiverBend, Christian Woman Magazine, Nashville Chamber of Commerce, Baker Book House, Eerdmans Publishing, Kregel Kid Zone Children's books, Dalmatian Press, SCHUBI Lernmedien AG, Culture Magazine, Lifeway Publishing, Home Life Magazine, Mature Living Magazine, Broadman & Holman publishing.


(X) Close

Accepting Students for All Programs for Fall 2024

Save your spot and start the process now!


Connect with Nossi below to learn more.

Scroll to Top