As a creative discipline, Illustration at RISD is first defined by communicative purpose, not media or technique. While illustrators employ the same tools used in painting, photography, film, graphic design and other disciplines, they are intent on conveying specific meaning and messages through imagery, beyond learning how to handle paint, pixels and pencils.

In our department we're concerned with the poetic relationship between ideas and images, meaning we try to encourage the most eloquent and incisive pictorial solutions to visual communication problems. Since the tools and media illustrators use are constantly evolving, our objective is to offer a broad-based curriculum aimed at coaxing from our students very dynamic and evocative message-making.