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Illustration vs Graphic Design

I am currently doing a foundation year in Art and Design and I am stuck between Fine art, Illustration and Graphic Design. Can anyone who does these courses explain the content of the courses and the kind of work they produce?
Original post by sophialilley
I am currently doing a foundation year in Art and Design and I am stuck between Fine art, Illustration and Graphic Design. Can anyone who does these courses explain the content of the courses and the kind of work they produce?

I know multiple people that have done art, and unfortunately it is very difficult to get a job based in that field afterwards, my brothers girlfriend did animation and graphics and loved it, she now works in a marketing team! Illustration is a very niche area too but also seems quite interesting! i’m sorry i’m not much help but thought i’d give a little pointer based on what i know :smile:
Hi there I'm currently studying illustration (3rd year) and I also did an art foundation before uni. I chose illustration because it is very broad and is a good middle ground between fine art and graphics. On my course we spent the first year doing narrative based projects that resulted in 1 or 2 page outcomes, and during this time you do relearn a lot about your art process. Second year I made a children's book (the project brief was to either make a book, a comic or an animation) and I also designed and printed 2 patterns for fabric that I made into tote bags (this brief was very broad and we were allowed to do whatever we wanted). Now that I'm in 3rd year I am planning another children's book (the focus of this project is research and experimentation, so I don't have to make the whole book but I have to show that I have pushed the design as far as it can go) alongside writing my dissertation, and towards the end of the year I will have to do an FMP for a graduation show. My experience of studying illustration is that you're encouraged to experiment with mediums, and I think it is a good combination of fine art and graphics, because you are allowed creative freedom but in the context of industry style briefs and projects. Throughout 2nd and 3rd year we've also been taught how to do the business side of illustration (taxes, copyright, contracts etc) so I think it is a really useful course! I hope this helps! (sorry for the really long reply!!)
Original post by sophialilley
I am currently doing a foundation year in Art and Design and I am stuck between Fine art, Illustration and Graphic Design. Can anyone who does these courses explain the content of the courses and the kind of work they produce?


Hi @sophialilley

I am in my final year studying fine art at Lancaster Uni. At university level, fine art heavily revolves around developing your own fine art practice. At Lancaster, this involves learning about critical theory (art theory and history), contemporary art and specific technical skills. It involves studying fine art (on a broad scale!) academically and working independently to practice and make work.

This is what Lancaster University says on their website about the fine art course:
'Our aim from the beginning of your course is for you to become an informed Fine Art practitioner with clear creative aspirations and ambition. You will achieve this through the integration of studio-based art making and the study of both art theory and history. We have a wide ranging view of what fine Art can be in the 21st century and have no ‘house style’. Our emphasis is on Fine Art practice and Fine Art thinking. You will work across painting, drawing, sculpture, digital, live art and their hybrids. Our aim is for you to develop the practice and ideas that best reflect your aims and values as a young Fine Artist.'

Fine art is ideal for people who want to work as freelance artists, curators and art teachers, but it can also lead into lots of different areas. There is a perception that it is very difficult to get a job having studies fine art, but, while it is true that there aren't many jobs specifically looking for fine art graduates, that doesn't mean there aren't any jobs you can get with a fine art degree. In my cohort, I know people applying for masters in fine art, and set design, going into the events industry, going into art therapy, applying for corporate jobs and even joining a circus company.

While school often makes us feel that way, studying at university is not just a bridge to job opportunities, it's an opportunity to gain expertise on an area you are passionate about, and engage in current research. Have a think about what your personal goals are and which course specifically can help you reach those!

I hope this has helped give a bit of context about fine art, let me know if you have any questions!

Yasmin (Lancaster University student ambassador)

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