This summer do something historic.

London and Paris are the majestic backdrops for this class on the history of illustrative art. These fabled destinations not only provide breathtaking showcases for the narrative painting tradition; Victorian book illustration; Franco-Belgian comics; and contemporary, as well as golden-age, illustration; they are two cities that have captured the hearts and imaginations of each and every artist who has ever visited.

What a sublime experience to discuss the golden-age artist, Arthur Rackham, in the morning, then hold in your own hands his illustrations at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London in the afternoon -- or any of the 55,000 vintage illustrations housed there.

London & Paris: History of Illustrative Art

Instructor: Randy Chavez
OAK campus: April 16 & 23
London/Paris: June 19–July 5, 2016

London Check-in: Sunday, June 19
Paris Checkout: Tuesday, July 5

Interested students should contact Randy Chavez ( to start the approval process for registration.

Journey into the Past

With its emphasis on the approaches and techniques of individual artists, this course offers a valuable experience to students from all disciplines: the fine arts, animation, illustration, fashion, graphic design or anyone who might gain from learning about the primary imagists over the last 160 years.

The program begins with eight days in London -- each day offering diverse experiences: walking tours and studio, gallery, and museum visits -- and eight summer nights enjoying London town.

The adventure then moves to Paris via Eurostar train through the Chunnel. In Paris, we witness the splendor of Mucha’s Art Nouveau at the Carnavalet Museum and Daumier’s playful clay caricatures at the Musée d’Orsay. With afternoons in the Louvre and lunch along the Seine, Paris is stunning both day and night.

Your sketchbooks are likely to fill long before your camera cards!

In Paris, the Franco-Belgium style of comics (bande dessinée) offers new frames of reference for the aspiring graphic novelist. Comics and graphic novel emporiums and bookstores are filled with titles unavailable in the United States -- and afterwards we visit the studios of some of the comics’ creators.

In London and Paris, you gain insight into how art has evolved over time. These inspirational environments provide the means to cultivate, enliven, broaden, and clarify your personal artistic vision.

Class time consists of lectures that examine the lives and techniques of significant artists from the mid-1800s to the present.

Participants reside at the University of London and, while in Paris, will reside half the time in Cité Internationale Universitaire de Paris and the other half in a centrally located hostel.


This whole experience really changed me as an artist and answered a lot of questions about life and about being an artist I was struggling with prior. The inspiration Randy graced us with is something invaluable and something that cannot be given inside an auditorium, I truly want every student to experience the two weeks we all experienced in London and Paris. The trip greatly exceeded all of my expectations and serves as a peak in my artistic life. I have never been drawing or making so much art as I am now that the class has finished.

Randy Chavez tied in the cities’ landscapes, personal knowledge of the cities, and his own life stories to craft the perfect European experience. I have no words to properly describe how unbelievable the entire trip has been, and how much I've learned about illustration, art, Europe, and myself.

About the Instructor

Before Randy Chavez’s career as illustration instructor and illustrator ever began over twenty years ago, he worked with the Italian government and in foreign trade and studied as an undergraduate in Rome.

He credits his first visit abroad as “the adventure that changed my life forever. It was on those cobblestone streets that I discovered I was an artist. My fondest ambition would be to provide the opportunity for others to share in that epiphany.”

Learn more about Randy Chavez »


Undergraduates: Completion of at least sophomore level by summer 2016 and instructor approval
Graduate students: Instructor approval

In addition, all students must be in good academic, conduct, and financial standing for the 2015–16 academic year.

Course Satisfies

For undergraduates, this course satisfies the History of Illustration requirement for Illustration majors, a Visual Studies Elective (200 or 300 level), or an H&S Elective. Note: Students who have already taken History of Illustration may still enroll in this course for credit.
For graduate students, this course satisfies a Grad-wide Elective.

Program Fee

$4,850 + $50 registration fee

Included in program fee:
3 credits, housing, local transportation, Eurostar passage to Paris, guest artists, field trips, entrance fees, and travel/health insurance

Not included in program fee:
Airfare to and from Europe or meals

Related topics
(please read in entirety)

All CCA summer study-abroad courses (including the New York Studio) are coordinated by the Office of Special Programs.


Office of Special Programs
Oakland campus, Ralls 201

Nina Sadek
Dean of Special Programs

Carol Pitts
Operations Manager, Special Programs