Director Chuck Pyle Shares How an Illustration Degree Helps Build A Successful Career

When people think of illustration, they immediately think of “just” drawing. As this overview video shows, however, you’ll see how an illustration degree can take you way further than that.

A lot of the magic that goes on in storytelling using a visual medium rests on the artist’s capability to be able to convey the message effectively. You can only do that if you have the basic foundations for the necessary technical skills.

So if you think you can get by and make a successful illustration career simply based off on your natural drawing skills, you’re thinking wrong. Take it from these illustration school graduates, who are now putting the things they learned in school to real-world, professional applications.

Storytelling in a Box

Sora Medina reiterates the importance of taking foundational classes. According to her, this is how she was able to level up her drawing style from basic to having a finished polish. It is also through here that she earned the confidence of solving a client’s problem by understanding what they want, and having a clear picture of their vision.

Dylan Vermeul, on the other hand, talks about how if there’s one thing that hasn’t changed in the industry amidst the many different advancements in tools and technology, it’s that the client always expects their product to be delivered NOW. In order for an illustrator to be able to work at the speed of the client’s need, they’ll need to have a solid foundation and knowledge of the technical skills required.

For Joko Budiono, the world is literally your playground. Keep your eyes peeled for inspiration and references so you can make your creation believable and relatable. Also, understand the power of light, but also appreciate the dark.

Krystal Lauk echoes Sora’s sentiments on the importance of arming yourself with skills founded on technical foundations. For her, this is what allows her to break the basic rules of illustration and create more fulfilling conceptual illustrations, while successfully balancing the delicate mix between illustration and business.

The Illustration Bottom Line

At the end of the day, illustration offers a lot more depth than “just” drawing.” As School of Illustration director and Master Illustrator Chuck Pyle noted, illustration not just requires the ability to draw, but also the tools to help you succeed as an artist.

Watch the video below and see for yourself.


Good thing Academy of Art University offers not just a comprehensive illustration degree program, but also much-needed foundational courses. These should prove to be helpful building blocks for you to have a successful career in the field of illustration. Take it from these pros.

Get started on earning your illustration degree by requesting information from our admissions representatives. Fill up and submit your application now if you’re ready to be a part of our art school community.


Hero image from video screenshot