Art is a calling, and it’s one heard from all over the world. If you’re looking into a career in the diverse fields of animation or illustration, studying abroad shouldn’t be an optional experience, it should be mandatory. Illustration is a uniquely cultural phenomenon, sparking from various peoples wanting to share their stories and teach their lessons. Today, animation serves many of the same roles, and has taken on widely fluctuating styles, techniques, and production processes. Studying illustration abroad can reveal new ways to master your art and introduce you to a new culture of art appreciation.
Why Study Abroad
Studying animation or illustration in a post-secondary institution requires devotion to your craft and a willingness to develop your talents into a style of your own. Expanding your art education to the international level during your undergraduate studies can be extremely valuable experience, as it will expose you to different methods of illustration, drawing styles, and animation techniques. Participating in animation study abroad programs will have a lasting impression on the way you create art, which can set you apart from your peers and add finesse to your artistic skill.
Animation is a global industry; since the beginning of global trade and commerce, animation styles from all over the world have influenced and shaped the way artists create their work. By choosing to study animation abroad, you will be enriching your education by pushing yourself outside your artistic comfort zone and into new styles of art.
The benefits of study abroad are life-long, especially for an artist. Experiencing new cultures, languages, foods, and making lasting connections with talented people in your trade, are all bonuses of choosing to study animation abroad, especially in places where art has shaped the modern world.
Luckily, since these fields are worldwide passions, you can find various illustration and animation study abroad programs in almost any country, with focuses from cartoon animation to book illustration.
Many programs at universities in England welcome foreign students to study animation or illustration for a semester or year alongside British students in a fully integrated program. Students who study animation in England will learn anything from the basics of graphic design to more complicated courses in illustration and visual media. Studying art in London will expose you to British techniques, with the advantage of being just a short ride away from countless museums, art houses, and local artist haunts, both in the UK and across the channel.
Animation study abroad programs in Barcelona, Spain and Florence, Italy will provide you with the European student experience as well, and give you an opportunity to expose yourself to a different language while studying art history and modern day animation methods.
There are many illustration study abroad options in Asia, especially if you’re interested in studying anime or other Asian illustration styles that have become worldly popularized over the last few decades. Studying illustration abroad in Japan can open doors to learning the history of Asian illustrations, while experiencing the pride surrounding artwork in this area.
Some artists study illustration in Turkey, Saudi Arabia, or other Eurasian countries, with a long history of miniaturist illustration style and home to many of the creative geniuses working in the field today. Many modern illustration techniques were born in the Middle East and the surrounding areas.
Courses & Programs
If you are attending a university specialized in animation, illustration, or art in general, then your course options are plenty. Depending on your interests and what illustration courses you have already taken domestically, you can take beginner animation classes, teaching you the basics of taking your illustration skills from paper to the computer screen.
Graphic design classes, ranging in skill, can help you learn the elements of typography and how to create a visual narrative. Aside from hands-on animation courses abroad, you may also take contextual and theoretical courses, focusing on how your artwork comes across the page, the visual elements that come together in a final work, and the history of animation and illustration.
If you are studying animation abroad later in your school career, universities often have options for fulfilling personal projects, semester-long animation projects of your own choosing that are completed with the guidance of professional university staff. Check with your university to see if completing a project like this, or in collaboration with other students, is an option and how credits are awarded for its completion.
The illustration courses you can take while abroad vary on your specific major, how far along in school you are and your other interests. If you’re interested in a university that doesn’t specialize in animation or illustration, but rather offers minor courses you’re interested in, it’s still possible to take these courses abroad, and fill in your schedule with other compulsory graduation requirements.
- Studying Animation & Illustration Anywhere is Valuable. With so many different styles and processes, animation and illustration is a difficult subject to master, especially as a student who may be trying to master their own technique. Studying abroad is a vitally important experience for many art students; unlike science or math courses, which are taught in the same manner no matter what country you’re located in, art is a flexible concept that fluctuates from continent to continent.
- Learn Cross Cultural Teamwork. As most professional illustrators will tell you, teamwork is key on every major animation project. Illustrators have their personal style, but when hired to complete a project they must compromise personal favoritism for what is best for the final project. Studying illustration abroad can teach you how to cooperate with other artists who have vastly different views of what a shared project should look like, and how to effectively communicate and collaborate for the best interest of the artwork.
- Learn from International Experts. When you study animation abroad you can experience the tutelage of a foreign teacher who has learned differently than you since birth, seeing masterpieces from artists around the world, and allowing art culture of another country to influence and improve your own artwork.