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Student work by Patrick Kyle shown in the exhibition Little Known Artefacts, September 9, 2009 - October 3, 2009.
In the Illustration program, you will learn how to produce images that complement the written word while standing on their own as as visually communicative artworks

You’ll be encouraged to find and express your individual artistic voice, while examining the world we live in to create artwork that communicates to a broad audience.

The work of illustrators can be seen in many places such as:

  • Magazines
  • Books
  • Newspapers
  • Murals
  • Advertisements
  • Posters
  • Packaging
  • Merchandise
  • Comics and graphic novels
  • Websites
  • Concept art
  • Interactive design

You will work closely with faculty and practicing illustrators in traditional and digital techniques. This program will help you grasp communication art, while also learning the business skills required to work within a variety of professional settings and with clients as an independent freelancer.

Program Highlights

At the End of this Program...

At the end of this four-year program, you will earn a Bachelor of Design (BDes) degree. 

Admissions Requirements

Jobs You Can Get

Graduates of the program work at:

  • Publishing companies
  • Advertising and graphic design firms
  • Digital studios
  • Community organizations
  • Freelance illustration
  • Fine art practice

Internships & Experiential learning

OCAD U offers so much more than co-ops because creative careers take many forms. Our career services help you build a professional community, valuable experience and skills you need for a meaningful career. Get access to:

  • Short experiential learning placements from among hundreds of organizations
  • Creative in-class projects with real-world industry partners
  • Exclusive summer internships
  • Gallery exhibitions of your work
  • Freelance creative opportunities
  • Jobs after graduation

What You'll Do in the Program

In first year, you’ll take intro classes in topics such as:

  • Observational drawing
  • Design principles
  • Illustrative concepts
  • Observational painting
  • Art and design history

In second year, in addition to your required courses you can study topics such as:

  • Graphic design for illustration
  • Human form and function: anatomy
  • Graphic design history
  • Media studio: digital

Third year will feature more advanced courses, and open electives such as:

  • Graphic novel illustration
  • Book illustration
  • Storyboarding
  • Concept art
  • Animated illustration

In fourth year, you'll have the opportunity to complete a year-long thesis project, developing an original portfolio designed for self-promotion.

You can showcase your work at GradEx - OCAD U’s Graduate Exhibition, the biggest free art and design exhibition in Toronto with more than 40,000 visitors.


In all undergraduate programs you can choose to take a minor alongside your major to explore and expand your practice. Minors give you the opportunity to pursue a focused secondary field of study in addition to or sometimes instead of taking electives in your program and can help you look better for employers or in grants or grad school applications.  You don’t need to choose a minor on your application – rather once you start at OCAD U, you’ll be able to choose from over 90 electives that can build towards one of our 25 focused minors. Learn more about Minor Programs here.

Degree earned
Bachelor of Design (Honours) (BDes)
Faculty of Design
4 years
Portfolio required