Illustration Certificate

Learn how to capture ideas, communicate concepts and illuminate the written word in this unique program. Students will learn introductory illustration, composition, and creative techniques for a variety of illustrative forms, such as commercial, picture book or graphic novel. Develop a wide professional skill set and personal creative style that can be applied to many practices and projects.

Program Goal

The Illustration Certificate provides students with a foundation in illustration techniques, processes and concepts that can be applied to their professional illustration practice and further education.

Students will develop their illustrative style by exploring a range of traditional and digital mediums and tools, such as inks, watercolour, graphite and Adobe Creative Cloud. Various applications of illustrative skills and methods, including text-based or commercial illustration, and contemporary and historical contexts will be introduced. Through studio- and lecture-based courses, students will explore fine art critical theory and art history as well as ways to build a dynamic professional illustration practice. Through completion of structured and independent projects as well as in-class critique, students produce a diverse portfolio of illustrations.

Learning Outcomes

Students who complete the Illustration Certificate Program should have the skills and knowledge required to:

  • Demonstrate illustrative technical and conceptual skills for a variety of projects or practices, such as commercial, editorial or picture books
  • Use a range of tools, materials, and equipment for the production of illustrations
  • Develop, plan, and express concepts through illustrative composition
  • Evaluate illustrations in terms of conceptual, compositional, and technical strength
  • Communicate ideas and opinions about illustration(s)
  • Produce a comprehensive and curated portfolio of their illustrations
  • Develop a business/professional practice plan that is aligned with goals

Program Duration

Students complete the Illustration Certificate at their own pace, registering in their required courses according to their own schedule and availability. Courses are offered over evenings and weekends allowing for part-time study. Students must complete 360 hours of class-time. Courses range in length from 12 to 36 hours.

Assignments + Assessment

An assessment of the learning outcomes for each student is prepared by the instructor.

Student must achieve a Pass (P) grade in every required and elective course to be eligible for an Illustration Certificate.

To receive a passing grade in each of their courses, students must: complete assignments, exercises, and activities to the instructor’s stated requirements; satisfy course learning outcomes. Students can expect to spend a maximum of one hour completing homework for every hour spent in class. All assignments must be completed to the evaluative standard set by the instructor to satisfy the learning outcomes of the course and program.

Career + Education

Illustration Certificate recipients can apply their education to a variety of careers and enterprises. Depending on the level of work they achieve and previous education and experience, they can pursue a range of opportunities, including:

  • Graphic Novel Illustrator
  • Concept Artist
  • Project Coordinator
  • Mural Artist
  • Commercial Illustrator

Students can use artwork from their certificate program in an admissions portfolio to apply for a Degree in Fine Arts here at ECU.

Courses + Costs

Course List

We strongly encourage students to complete courses in the recommended order given below to best support their student experience and success in meeting their learning outcomes. However, students can register in any course for which they meet the prerequisites. In the event of a conflict between the recommended course order and the prerequisites of our courses, please follow the prerequisites.

Course Format

Courses are offered either on campus or online.

Tuition Rates

Tuition ranges from $221.00 - $441.25 per course. See course pages for details.

Course No.Required CoursesTerm
(Subject to change)
CEFA 1002D Composition + FormSpring
CEFA 101
3D Materials + MediaSpring
CEFA 102
Colour TheorySpring
CEDR 100Introductory DrawingSpring
CEIL 100Introductory IllustrationSpring
CEIL 201
Intermediate Digital IllustrationSpring
CEIL 202
Illustrating NatureSpring
CEIL 203
Commercial IllustrationSpring
CEIL 204
Editorial Illustration
CESE 101
Art HistorySpring
CESE 102
Contemporary Critical Theory
Complete at least one of:
CEIL 205Picture Book IllustrationSpring
CEIL 206Narrative IllustrationSpring
Required Selection: Digital Illustration
(complete one of the following)
CEIL 101Introductory Digital Illustration: PhotoshopFall
CEIL 102Introductory Digital Illustration: IllustratorSpring
Complete either:
CEPD 200Professional Practice for ArtistsSpring
Or two of the following:
CEPD 202Artist Statement, CV + Portfolio DevelopmentSummer
CEPD 203Artist Website + Social MediaSpring
CEPD 204Artist Grants, Residencies + Exhibition ApplicationsSpring
Elective Courses
(complete at least one):
CEGN 120
The Graphic Novel
CEIL 101*Introductory Digital Illustration: PhotoshopFall
CEIL 102*Introductory Digital Illustration: IllustratorSpring
CEIL 125
Writing for Picture BooksSpring
CEIL 221
Illustration Concepts + Contexts
CESE 108Introductory Creative WritingSummer
Approximate Total Program Tuition $6,618.75

Approximate Total Supply Fees

*Depending on which course (CEIL 101 or CEIL 102) was completed for the Illustration Certificate's Digital Illustration requirement.


To register in the required courses, students must be over the age of 18at the start of their course, have proficiency in spoken and written English and should have completed Grade 12 or equivalent education. Noprevious experience in illustration or the fine arts is required to begin the Illustration Certificate.

No application is required - register online for courses now!