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MFA Illustration as Visual Essay at SVA is designed to maximize students’ opportunities as figurative artists, from the conventional gallery wall to the full range of digital, print and online media. The program fuses the development of creative thinking with technical and communication skills. Additional focus is placed on best practices in navigating the visual art marketplace while empowering students to choose making art as a way of life.

The two-year, 60-credit curriculum capitalizes on students’ technique and promotes the development of a strong personal viewpoint. The first year provides technical skills in creative writing, computer illustration and experimental drawing. In the second year, students focus on a thesis project to produce graphic novels, comics, illustrated books, children’s books or a series of paintings.

2016 – 2017 student population

39 matriculated students

Department chair

Marshall Arisman (illustrator and painter)

Faculty members

N.C. Christopher Couch, Gregory Crane, Christine Donnelly, Carol Fabricatore, Mirko Ilic, Viktor Koen, Matthew B. Richmond, David Sandlin, Carl Nicholas Titolo, Michele Zackheim

Some notable alumni

Kelynn Alder, Gil Ashby, Joana Avillez, Jonathan Bartlett, Jonathan Bean, Lauren Castillo, Sungyoon Choi, Viktor Deak, Eric Dinyer, John Ferry, Brian Floca, Nathan Fox, Douglas Fraser, Edward Hemingway, Garnet Henderson (a.k.a. Edmund Guy), John Hendrix, Federico Infante, Olivier Kugler, Mark Lang, Dom Lee, Tao Nyeu, Michael Paraskevas, J. Brian Pinkney, Andy Rash, Lauren Redniss, Stephen Savage, Yuko Shimizu, Jeffrey Smith, Dasha Tolstikova, Sam Weber, Sara Varon, Riccardo Vecchio, Annabelle Jasmin Verhoye, Daniel Zender

Student exhibitions

There is an annual exhibition of books written and illustrated by first-year students and an annual exhibition of work completed in the Book Seminar class. Second-year students present their thesis projects each spring in a gallery exhibition.

More information 

SVA Admissions: 212.592.2107 | [email protected]

Media requests

SVA Communication: 212.592.2010 | [email protected]


209 East 23 Street, New York, NY 10010-3994 | Tel 212.592.2000 | sva.edu

School of Visual Arts | 209 East 23 Street, NY, NY 10010-3994 | Tel: 212.592.2000 | Fax: 212.725.3587