Professor demonstrating 3D animation on computer screen

Animation / Illustration (BFA)

The Bachelor of Fine Arts, or BFA, in Animation/Illustration is a pre-professional degree program that educates the next generation of motion designers, illustrators, project directors and other industry professionals.

Whether through movies, cartoons, video games, websites, titling, advertising, book and editorial illustration, special effects, motion graphics, LED billboards or advertising displays, animators and illustrators tell stories with drawn pictures, movement and sound. Successful animator/illustrators possess sophisticated illustration and observational skills and a solid understanding of the dynamics of form, gesture, and movement.

This highly creative field offers widespread professional opportunities for College of the Arts graduates.

What You Will Study

As an Animation/Illustration major, you will take courses in both traditional and digital drawing techniques that provide a foundation for advanced animation coursework. The multidisciplinary curriculum includes:

  • Fine Arts Studio courses
  • Progressive levels of illustration and animation courses, including:
    • Digital Illustration
    • 2-D and 3-D Animation
    • Cartooning
    • Portfolio & Professional Business Practices
    • Character Design
    • 3-D Modeling
    • Screenwriting for Animation
    • Texture Mapping
    • Business Practice for the Artist
    • Portfolio Development
    • Animation Production

Initial project assignments include:

  • Book cover art
  • Editorial illustration
  • Comic book and graphic novel art
  • Advertising illustration

Advanced projects include:

  • Animation storyboards
  • Animated shorts
  • Character development for 2D and 3D animation
  • Senior year portfolio projects

For complete Animation/Illustration BFA course requirements and descriptions, go to:

Animation and Illustration Major (BFA) – Undergraduate CurriculumDownload the 4-Year Plan for Animation and Illustration

Our Faculty

You will study with an outstanding full- and part-time faculty and renowned guest artists, art critics, and other visiting professionals, who will mentor you and foster your artistic growth and development while sharing insights into career opportunities.

Click the links below to learn more:

About Studio Facilities

The Department of Art and Design occupies several on-campus buildings, which house fully equipped studios for all art areas, including Animation/Illustration.

For more information, go to:

About Student Work

Throughout your course of study, you will develop illustrations using a variety of traditional and digital media and techniques, including inks, pencils, gouache, chalks and the digital tablet. Animation works demonstrate proficiency in the wide range of techniques and software applications used in today’s motion-design field.

Visit our Student Work Gallery:

Careers and Professional Resources

Illustrators and animators find work in a number of settings, ranging from major film companies like Disney and Pixar to animation houses, advertising agencies and design studios to TV studios and gaming companies.  Illustrators also work for book/magazine/newspaper publishing companies, as well as for publishers of comic books and graphic novels. Sample career titles include:

Animation – Artistic and Technical
  • Art Director
  • Background/Matte Painter
  • Graphic Tools Software Engineer
  • Rigging Supervisor
  • Storyboard Artist
  • Character Designer, Animator, Technical Director Compositor
  • Concept Artist
  • Digital Painter, Matte Painter
  • Effects Animator
  • Environments Designer
  • Flash Animator
  • Layout Artist/Supervisor
  • Lighting Artist
  • Modelers, Modeling Supervisor
  • Multimedia Designer
  • Render I/O (RIO) Administrator
  • Technical Director, Support Engineer
  • Visual Development Artist
  • 2-D and 3-D Artists
Illustration – Artistic & Technical
  • Architectural or Interiors Illustrator
  • Billboard Designer
  • Book or Children’s Book Illustrator
  • Editorial Illustrator
  • Instructional Illustrator
  • Magazine Illustrator
  • Mechanical Illustrator
  • Merchandise or Product Illustrator
  • Music Industry Illustrator
  • Newspaper Illustrator
  • Scientific or Medical Illustrator
  • Storyboard Illustrator
  • Technical Illustrator
  • Textbook Illustrator

While many illustrators and animators work as freelancers, full-time opportunities are available to them as well. Please visit the links below for additional information:


Montclair State University’s Art and Design programs are among the region’s most competitive and meet the rigorous standards of the National Association of Schools of Art & Design (NASAD).

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Contact Program Director: Lauren Carr