Students in the department of illustration at the Willem de Kooning Academy (WdKA) learn to work and study together as a community. Within that community the department actively encourages the rich learning opportunities emerging from individuals of varied backgrounds and interests in illustration. We avoid constraining students into specific branches of illustration. We believe that by embracing diversity we can create a flexible environment in which students discover their own direction. The focus within the department is on three specific areas: narrative-, informative-, and authorial- Illustration. We want students to be able to: share stories, give information and express their opinion in visual works. We focus on products like: publications, animations, installations, events, identities, and games. During the 4 year studies students evolve from being an illustration major student into an agile,interdisciplinary practitioner. This can be expressed through the fields of commercial-, social-, or autonomous practices.
We prepare students for career opportunities in the creative industries. Our alumni work as freelancers, within collectives or within a company. Clients that WdKA alumni work for include: Artbox, The Ambassadors, De Correspondent, Elle, Funky-E, Guerilla Games,Jora Vision, Trouw. We have Strong network of partners such as: Society of Dutch Designers (BNO), Flow-magazine, HEMA, H&M, In60Sec, Metropolis festival, Mirabeau, Loulou&Tummie, Paladin, Playground festival, Volkskrant, Worm, Shop Around, Villa Zebra. Tutors on the course are well known professionals in the illustration/animation industry including: Simon Buijs, Cesare Davolio, Lars Deltrap, Han Hoogerbrugge, Idris van Heffen, Rachel Sender.
During the program we offer the opportunity for an exchange with partner institutes in: Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Sweden, United Kingdom and the United States of America. The city offers a wide variety of cultural institutions and events related with the practice of illustration such as: Boijmans museum, Comic Museum, Kunsthal, Dutch Photo museum, Het Nieuwe Instituut, Showroom Mama, TENT, Worm, IFFR, Crosscomix festival. Rotterdam allows for easy travel to other Dutch cities such as: Haarlem (Illustration Biennale), Amsterdam (Rijksmuseum, Eye, Playground festival) or Breda (Museum of the Image).
Our successful illustration alumni include: Ingrid Baars, Eelco van den Berg, Daan Botlek, Eva Galesloot, Aad Goudappel, Dick Grinwis, Mingsin Ho, Bodil Jane, Johan Kleinjan, Raoul de Leo, Martijn van der Linden, Willem Lagerwaard, Studio Mals, Loes Riphagen, Deborah van der Schaaf, Studio Spass, Telmomiel, Wouter Tulp.