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To earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Illustration at SVA, students must complete 120 credits as follows:

  • 72 credits in studio art courses
  • 30 credits in humanities & sciences courses
  • 15 credits in art history courses
  • 3 elective credits from among the undergraduate course offerings
First Year

AHD-1010 Survey of World Art I
AHD-1015 Survey of World Art II
FID-1130 Drawing I
FID-1135 Drawing II
FID-1220 Painting I
FID-1225 Painting II
FID-1430 Sculpture
SMD-1020 Foundations of Visual Computing
HCD-1020 Writing and Literature I
HCD-1025 Writing and Literature II

Second Year


One semester of:

ILD-2000 Principles of Illustration I
ILD-2005 Principles of Illustration II

ILD-2010 Painting/Illustration I or or CID-2050 Storytelling I
ILD-2015 Painting/Illustration II or or CID-2055 Storytelling II

ILD-2020 Drawing I
ILD-2025 Drawing II
ILD-2040 History of Illustration
HHD-2990 Western Civilization I
HHD-2995 Western Civilization II
Choose one of the following technique courses each semester:
FGD-2138/FGD-2139, Etching and Monoprint as Illustration
ILD-2104 Hand Lettering
ILD-2108 Drawing with Ink for Illustrators
ILD-2116 Perspective
 Watercolor Techniques
ILD-2126 The Gouache Experience
ILD-2131 Pastel Techniques
ILD-2136 Figurative Sculpture
FID-2138/2139 Etching and Monoprint as Illustration 
ILD-2143 Collage Illustration
CID-2148 Digital Coloring for Cartoonists
ILD-2151 Acrylic Painting 
ILD-2161 Still and Moving: Low-Tech Animation
ILD-2163 Photocopy Zines

Third Year Requirements

ILD-3010 Pictorial Problems I
ILD-3015 Pictorial Problems II
HPD-3050 Culture Survey I
HPD-3055 Culture Survey II

Fourth Year Requirments

ILD-4040 Professional Practice: Illustration
ILD-4080 Basic Digital Portfolio or ILD-4090 Intermediate Digital Portfolio
ILD-4911/4932 Illustration Portfolio I
ILD-4941/4962 Illustration Portfolio II


General Course Listing


Survey of World Art I
One semester: 3 art history credits
As an introduction to the art of Western and non-Western cultures, this course will examine art from the Paleolithic period to 1450. Key monuments and styles will be explored in architecture, sculpture and painting through methods of visual analysis. Discussions will link the ways in which concepts in art develop and change within different cultural contexts. Field trips and museum visits will augment the course as appropriate. 

Survey of World Art II
One semester: 3 art history credits
Beginning with the art of the Renaissance and continuing into the modern world, this course will explore painting, sculpture and architecture in both Western and non-Western cultures. Discussions will link the ways in which concepts of art develop and change within different cultural contexts. Methods of visual analysis will be explored. Field trips and museum visits will augment this course as appropriate.

FID-1130 / FID-1135
Drawing I and II
Two semesters: 3 studio credits per semester
Focusing on the perceptual skills involved in image-making, these courses will examine drawing as an act of producing independent works of art and as a preparatory process in organizing a finished work. Assigned projects will explore the formal elements of art, such as line, space, scale and texture. Materials will include pencil, charcoal, pen-and-ink and wash, among others. Projects range from the figure and still life, for example, to mapping and storyboarding.

FID-1220 / FID-1225
Painting I
Two semesters: 3 studio credits per semester
Foundation-year painting will explore various means of representation through the application of pigments to canvas, panels and paper. Color and its organizational principles will be investigated—both as a practical and theoretical endeavor. An exploration of form and content will be undertaken with an emphasis on technical skills. Class critiques and museum visits will be employed as vehicles to develop critical terms concerning painting.

One semester: 3 studio credits
As an introduction to the material world, this course explores diverse media and their potentialities to create volume, line and mass. Ranging from the ethereal to the fabricated, materials such as clay, plaster, cardboard, wood, resin and wire will be investigated by exercises in casting, mold-making, installation and site-specific work. Discussion will include concepts of space, gravity and light, among others, as they pertain to three-dimensional form.  

Foundations of Visual Computing
One semester: 3 studio credits
Serving as an introduction to the tools, terms and techniques of visual computing for artists, this course will cover basic skills for operating and maintaining a computer, as well as the techniques to create collages and layered images and the tools required to display work on the World Wide Web. The impact of technology on the visual arts will be examined and discussed from contemporary and historical perspectives.

Writing and Literature I
One semester: 3 humanities and sciences credits
This is the first part of a two-semester course that helps students become capable, critical and independent writers. With its focus on developing an argument, the course offers an introduction to some of the skills necessary for critical analysis of written art. It will include a review of writing basics (grammar, coherence, idea development, sentence and essay structure). Since reading widely is a foundation of good writing, course readings are drawn from a selection of premodern Western works, including drama, poetry, the narrative and the critical essay, which will be used as discussion and writing prompts.

Writing and Literature II
One semester: 3 humanities and sciences credits
This is the second part of a two-semester course that emphasizes essay development, reading and critical thinking. Students will write essays and a research paper, and continue to work on their grammar and essay development. Readings are drawn from a selection of modern works, including drama, poetry, the narrative and the critical essay.



ILD-2000 / ILD-2005

Principles of Illustration I and II

Two semesters: 3 studio credits per semester

Designed to introduce the illustration basics: editorial interpretation, compositional fundamentals, different media, color and stylization, these courses will focus on thinking and establishing creative solutions to problems. The sketch and its function in the illustrative process will be explored. Appropriate professional work habits will be stressed.

ILD-2010 / ILD-2015

Painting/Illustration I and II

Two semesters: 2 studio credits per semester

These courses take a conceptual approach to art and composition, yet emphasizes a comprehensive understanding of traditional oil painting techniques and materials. Appropriation; still life; use of color; working from photography, literature and art history are combined to explore innovative approaches to a classic medium.

ILD-2020 / ILD-2025

Drawing I and II

Two semesters: 2 studio credits per semester

These courses will explore the basic aspects of drawing in relationship to the figure.

History of Illustration
One semester: 3 studio credits
The fascinating history of illustrative images and the major movements in illustration are the focus of this course. The continuous interrelations between commercial and fine art, as well as the changing role of the artist’s influence on culture will be explored. The course will also help students better understand the differences of metaphor in pictorial content and the universal symbolic vocabulary—where a rose is not just a rose, a ladder is not just a ladder, and a dark horse is far from being just a dark horse.

CID-2050 / CID-2055

Storytelling I and II

Two semesters: 2 studio credits per semester

Comic-book artists must learn to defy the constraints of the page and of the imagination to get the greatest possible effect with the greatest economy: to use a series of images to tell a story clearly and effectively. These principles of storytelling are the solid foundation of the comics medium, and can be employed no matter what style or approach is chosen. These courses will explore contemporary and past examples of bravura storytelling, as well as many personalized methods, to unlock the story in your head and get it onto paper.

Hand Lettering
One semester: 2 studio credits
Words combine with images in various ways: from narrative text balloons and comic strips to title designs, page headings and logos, and on book covers or posters. Pictures with words are everywhere—yet lettering is an art form in its own right. One cannot create good hand-lettered type without understanding time-tested techniques. This course will teach students these principles and practices. There will be plenty of time for guided experiments in expressive work. You will also be able to adapt or refine your lettering on preexisting illustration or cartooning projects.

Drawing with Ink for Cartoonists
One semester: 2 studio credits
This course will introduce students to the powerful, expressive possibilities of ink drawing. While it is geared toward working for comics, it is not strictly a “how to ink for the big leagues” course. Rather, students will study and experiment with a variety of materials, techniques and approaches to drawing with ink. Demonstrations in the use of dip/quill pens, and the uses of pen and brush together will be given. Techniques such as the modulation of line weight to create depth and the uses of crosshatching to achieve lighting effects will be shown and discussed. An analysis and critique of pen-and-ink drawings of past masters of fine art, comics and illustration, as well as weekly critiques of student work is included.

Drawing with Ink for Illustrators
One semester: 2 studio credits
This course will focus on the unique capacity of ink to achieve beautiful effects in rendering, modeling and texture. Students will be given demonstrations in the use of steel tip, crow quill, reed and technical pens and a variety of brushes. Work with Japanese brushes using ink stick and ink stone will also be included. Techniques for lighting effects, inking drawings and penciling will be discussed and demonstrated. Drawing and compositional skills are emphasized. In-class work will include drawing from the model, object settings, group drawings and demonstrations; there will be analysis and critique of pen-and-ink drawings of past masters, as well as weekly critique of student work.

One semester: 2 studio credits
This course will cover all the necessary mechanical aspects of one-, two- and three-point perspective. We will explore compound forms (i.e., extensions to houses, chimneys, attics), inclined planes (hills and valleys, steps), placing windows, non-parallel forms, interiors and exteriors, station point/field of vision and environmental scale, reflections, shadows and shading, and atmospheric perspective. Exercises will incorporate the use of the human figure.

Watercolor Techniques
One semester: 2 studio credits
Watercolor is a beautiful, versatile and demanding medium. This course will focus on learning its technique and applying it to a semester-long assignment. The majority of class time will be spent painting from the model in order to master traditional, realistic, tonal painting. Attention will be paid not just to the differing techniques of watercolors, but also to basics such as composition, drawing and color. The works of past and present master artists will be examined through weekly discussion. Students may work in any style they choose to develop and execute the semester-long project. Particular focus will be placed on the conceptual and interpretive nature of the work. 

Watercolor Techniques
One semester: 2 studio credits
Using water-based media, this course will help each student think outside of his or her comfort level, and explore ambitions and exciting projects beyond the safe “watercolor picture.” Invention, manipulation and placing our artworks in the world will be stressed in this course, and stretching your imagination will be the key.

The Gouache Experience
One semester: 2 studio credits
An intensive course devoted to the use of gouache for illustration. Gouache is, in many respects, the ideal illustration medium—fast drying and giving brilliant, rich matte color. The course will be a workshop and seminar in which students undertake a variety of projects. A number of different techniques will be explored, but the course will concentrate on using gouache to enhance the work of the individual student. Some seminar time will be devoted to taking a close look at the uses of gouache in the professional work of many artists and illustrators.

Pastel Techniques
One semester: 2 studio credits
Students will explore the versatile range of pastel and charcoal. Integrated with the drawing and painting techniques of pastel, students will be exposed to the particular papers and grounds conducive to this direct and malleable medium. Through the use of the model and special projects, drawing and painting vocabularies will be expanded.

Figurative Sculpture
One semester: 2 studio credits
This course will introduce various materials and techniques commonly used for toy design, action figures and sculpting the human form in commercial sculpture studios. The semester begins with the design and drawing of a simple object. With detailed demonstrations, we will convert the drawing to a plasticine clay model and then to a wood sculpture. The course will fabricate a latex mold of the image and make a duplicate cast. A final project inspired by direct observation of the model will be created. Photography of your sculptures will be discussed.

Collage Illustration
One semester: 2 studio credits
Be on the cutting edge when you explore the exciting world of collage illustration. Through concepts and technical processes, the emphasis will be on the development of personal expression and the communication of ideas. Students will experiment with various materials, including pictures, found objects and images, painted surfaces, papers and textures. This course is a must for collectors, garbage pickers and potential gluers of all kinds.

Digital Coloring for Cartoonists
One semester: 2 studio credits
ith the changeover to digital prepress, most cartoon publications are now colored on the computer. This course is an introduction to the Macintosh for cartoonists. After learning the basic operation of the machine, students will scan their artwork into the computer where it will be digitally colored and printed. In addition to these techniques, students will also learn image processing and digital manipulation. Demonstrations of the capabilities of digital design will give cartoonists an insight into the potential of the computer as a creative tool.

Acrylic Painting
One semester: 2 studio credits
Acrylic painting is both a challenging and a frequently misunderstood medium. This course will cover what this unique medium does best and what it does not want to do. The characteristics of different pigments, different finishes, mediums and application techniques will be demonstrated and explored.

Still and Moving: Low-Tech Animation
One semester: 2 studio credits
In this course, students will create smart, short, limited animation films and GIFs, multi-panel narrative sequences, storyboarding and time-based editorial art. Experimental projects using diverse analog mediums will be encouraged, including drawing, collage, paper dolls, puppets and miniature sets in conjunction with digital cameras, QuickTime Pro, Adobe Photoshop, and other software.

Photocopy Zines
One semester: 2 studio credits
In this course, students will create zines and mini-comics. We will primarily use a Risograph, which is similar to a photocopier, but prints in multiple colors. Students will learn how to use a limited palette to create their images and will explore various ways of making color separations by hand and with the computer and photocopier. Simple bookbinding techniques will be demonstrated. The final project will be a zine or mini-comic in an edition of 50, using two or more colors.

Etching and Monoprint as Illustration
One semester: 2 studio credits
This course will introduce students to numerous basic etching and monoprint techniques, including hard ground, soft ground, aquatint and color printing. Once students become familiar with functioning in a print shop, they will learn to use prints as a viable technique for fine illustration. The emphasis will be on experimentation and personal expression. We will discuss the early relationship of printmaking to illustration, and will study and discuss specific illustrators who use printmaking as a final technique for answering illustration problems.

HHD-2990 / HHD-2995
Western Civilization I and II
Two semesters: 3 humanities and sciences credits per semester
These courses provide a historical overview of Western thought from the Renaissance to the early 20th century. Students will explore the ways in which history and culture have interacted to shape the development of societies and individuals in the modern age. We will focus on major historical transformations such as the Renaissance and the Reformation (first semester), the Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution (second semester), in order to understand how such pivotal events both condition and reflect movements in science, philosophy and the arts. The courses will also provide an introduction to the assumptions, strategies and methods that inform the disciplines of history, philosophy and the social sciences. Readings include selections from: A History of Modern Europe, vols. I and II; Plato; Hobbes; Descartes; Locke; Voltaire; Kant; Mill; Marx; Nietzsche; Freud; Heisenberg; Einstein.

ILD-3010 / ILD-3015
Pictorial Problems I and II: Illustration
Two semesters: 3 studio credits per semester

Students will design a cohesive series of works based on a theme, starting with specific assignments and progressing to more elaborate, self-determined explorations. Each student will be asked to devise his/her own complex research systems and to develop an important, cohesive body of work. A series of related illustrations will be produced by the end of the spring semester, from which an exhibition of selected works will be displayed.

HPD-3050 / HPD-3055
Culture Survey I and II

Two semesters: 3 humanities and sciences credits per semester

Taught in conjunction with ILD-3010/3015, Pictorial Problems I and II: Illustration, this survey will showcase reading lists, film screenings and slide lectures exploring a given exhibition theme.

Professional Practice: Illustration
One semester: no credit
For illustration students, the challenges that await them after graduation are numerous. From promotion to networking and the delivery of artwork, many facets of the professional workplace have changed dramatically in the last few years, leaving even established artists to wonder how they got pushed out of their industry or to complain that, “Things aren’t what they used to be.” Despite their moans (which you’ve probably heard), many artists are still out there making a living, and using the latest methods to target clients and dream jobs. It’s not necessary to have great difficulty getting work after graduating, but commitment to quality work and the continuous improvement of your business will make a huge difference. This course will explore what you need to know to get started, and will also focus on effective strategies that will remain even when the industry (inevitably) changes again. 

Basic Digital Portfolio
One semester: no credit
This course will help students to create a Web presence and digital portfolio. How to properly scan and adjust images and files for publication will be examined. The rudimentary aspects of blogging, design and digital programs necessary for all illustrators and cartoonists to compete in the 21st century will be covered. 

Intermediate Digital Portfolio
One semester: no credit
Design of a website is as important as the content and we will explore how to create a website and digital portfolio for creative and self-promotional purposes. Preparing files for site design using programs such as Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator will be covered. Blogging and the digital programs necessary for all illustrators and cartoonists to compete in the 21st century will be addressed. 

ILD-4911 through ILD-4962
Illustration Portfolio I and II

Two semesters: 3 studio credits per semester

In the senior year, students will create a personal body of work, building on their progress from the sophomore and junior experiences. Your informed choice of an instructor will be crucial. At least 12 finished works are expected by the end of the spring semester. Selected senior works will be chosen for the Portfolio book and Cartooning magazine. 

One semester: 3 studio credits
Students can gain valuable experience and broaden their professional network through an internship with a sponsor/employer. Internships for credit are available to juniors and seniors who have earned a cumulative grade point average of 3.25 or better. To receive credit, students must get approval in advance from their department chair, academic advisor and the internship manager. Students must work a minimum of 150 hours (10 hours per week), participate in a weekly online discussion board with other SVA interns, complete self-evaluations and a final project. Elective studio credit is awarded for the successful completion of an internship. 


Advanced Cartooning and Illustration Electives

Drawing on Location
One semester: 3 studio credits
Class sessions will be spent at various New York City locations, learning to challenge the practical difficulties that arise while drawing on the spot. The main goal of the course is to encourage students to observe their environment, the particular details of each situation, and to draw spontaneously. We will put together three stories from drawings done on location. On-the-spot drawing experience is not necessary, but you should have some drawing skills. 

Advanced Drawing
One semester: 3 studio credits
Drawing is the root of all visual language. An artist cannot practice the profession without an understanding of all the processes and various options. In this course, great emphasis will be placed on observational understanding of the nature of form (nature being our greatest teacher). Different approaches and experimentation will be encouraged with the goal of achieving both emotional and intellectual advances in your own style and direction. Assignment will consist of a sketchbook based on a stream of consciousness thought process. 

Advanced Life Drawing: Figure, Form and Function
One semester: 3 studio credits
This course is an advanced exploration of the surface of the human figure based on anatomical knowledge. We will explore how the principles and ideas of rhythm, hierarchy and form can be studied to intensify the observations of the body and make powerful simplifications and expressions.

Life Painting
One semester: 3 studio credits
This course will pursue direct painting from the model over a sustained period of time (three to four weeks per pose). Students will paint in a workshop environment alongside the instructor with the emphasis on the development of a highly representational image. The selective process that gives meaning to the expression of a representational painting is the primary concern. Simplifications of form and the gradual development of the parts in context to the whole are produced through the observation of light and shadow and warm and cool colors. Students will gain an understanding of materials and basic craftsmanship from ground supports to a variety of techniques in oil paint. Gaining an understanding of form painted from observation will give students the tools to formulate a selective eye when using photographic reference material. 

Advanced Painting
One semester: no credit
This course is an in-depth study of painting materials and techniques. We will be painting the figure as a way of understanding composition and anatomy, with particular attention to light, form and color. Additional critique of outside personal projects will be addressed and development of your personal visual vocabularies will be encouraged.

Narrative Painting
One semester: 3 studio credits
Today, many contemporary artists straddle the line between the commercial and fine art worlds, and galleries and collectors have become more accepting of figurative work that blurs these distinctions. This course will strive to help students push their imagination to find a unique vision, with bi-weekly and semester-long assignments that focus on an exploration of ideas and emotions using a personal vocabulary. Class time will consist of critique, open and/or structured drawing and painting, and technical instruction and demonstration. We will keep current with the New York art scene by visiting galleries, inviting guest speakers and discussing pertinent local events.

Classical Realist Life Painting Techniques
One semester: 3 studio credits
This curriculum is derived from the mindset and methodologies utilized by the great classical-realist painters. Working from the live model, you will learn how to portray the illusion of three-dimensional reality on a flat surface. You will discover how objective analysis of your subject will inform your decision-making and allow you to depict solid, structurally sound figures with startlingly lifelike color, bathed in light and surrounded by air.

Classical Portrait Painting in Oil
One semester: 3 studio credits
This course is a logical approach to painting the portrait in oil and will emphasize the mindset and methodologies that have guided master portrait artists for more than five hundred years. You will learn the time-honored techniques that have served as the backbone for some of the greatest portrait paintings ever created. Successful portraiture is more than merely copying what is in front of you; it requires the ability to understand and interpret your subject. By working from the live model, students will rigorously engage with the principles of portrait painting in the classical tradition. Techniques for capturing a likeness, handling paint, emphasizing the effects of light and atmosphere, modeling form and mixing lifelike complexions will be covered. Every step from preparing a canvas to applying the final highlight will be thoroughly demonstrated and explained. One session will be spent at The Metropolitan Museum of Art to study and analyze the outstanding portraits in its collection.

Painting From Inside/Out
One semester: 3 studio credits
This course will introduce students to applying autobiographical backgrounds or cultural themes to their work with the goal of becoming more expressive. The aim is to bring out who you are as an artist while establishing a stronger personal visual vocabulary. Students will work with figurative illustration and painting, applying two-dimensional approaches in a three-dimensional manner. Students will also explore various methods of commercial promotion in the art world.

The Painting of Light
One semester: 3 studio credits
This course deals with the interpretation of light for the two-dimensional artist. The ability to capture the world around us, in a representational manner, requires a keen sense of observation. We will explore how light visually describes your subject (i.e., time of day, temperature, weather conditions, humidity, color, texture, etc.). To create a sense of reality is the artist’s job—this course will teach you how. It will enable you to calculate the effect your pictures will have. Light is the great designer of our world. Learn how to capture it.

Modern Illumination
One semester: 3 studio credits
During the Middle Ages, books were produced that drew widely from the use of symbolism and illustration to convey and support the meaning of the text, much like modern illustration. This course will focus on learning to use the materials and techniques of medieval illuminated manuscripts in a modern context. Students will learn to mix and use egg tempera, apply gold leaf and work on goatskin parchment. Some time will be devoted to looking at examples of manuscripts from Europe, Russia and Persia that were created in the Middle Ages, as well as contemporary examples of egg tempera. Individual research is a must. Initial course sessions are devoted to gilding and understanding the difficulties, limitations and beauty of egg tempera. The second part of the course is geared toward completion of a final project, which can range from re-creating elements of an illuminated manuscript to illustrations, cartoons or personal work. The course is recommended for students who have an attention to detail, excellent time management and patience with an extremely difficult medium. Knowledge of medieval illuminated manuscripts is not necessary. 

From Fantasy to Reality: Production/Concept Design
One semester: 3 studio credits
When one imagines a sumptuous story in a fabulous place, often the details are a bit fuzzy. This course will explore how to create concrete designs and plans of interior and exterior spaces that convey narrative content. Basic drafting and perspective techniques utilizing multiple angles, elevations and prop details will be covered. Research skills will be developed by looking into the design of different historical periods. Projects will also include character and costume designs, and cover how to professionally present your ideas and plans to prospective clients and collaborators. The techniques learned can be applied to areas of stage, screen, animation and gaming.

The Fine Art of Illustration
One semester: 3 studio credits
A course of study for illustration students who have an interest in the fine arts and believe that a fine arts sensibility should be a part of the illustration form. Great emphasis will be placed on the usage of personal visual language and the development of skill, craft and conceptual ability. These components will be incorporated to produce a body of work by year’s end. There will be museum, gallery and studio visits.

Advanced Watercolor
One semester: 3 studio credits
Using water-based media, this course will help each student think outside of his or her comfort level, and explore ambitions and exciting projects beyond the safe “watercolor picture.” Invention, manipulation and placing our artworks in the world will be stressed in this course, and stretching your imagination will be the key.

Pictorial Fantasy Illustration
One semester: 3 studio credits
Ideas and concepts will be reinforced through an in-depth exploration of fantasy illustrations in film and print. Traditional reference sources will be used to fashion unusual characters in fairy-tale landscapes. Students will create a glowing picture of strange and compelling creatures and distant worlds. Assignments will be tailored to individual pictorial preferences from child-inspired storytelling to sophisticated image realism. All media can be explored—from colored pencil and gouache to acrylic and oil—to best develop intriguing and suggestive images. Fantasy imagery can be a bold addition to your portfolio. 

Designing Tattoos and Other Emblems
One semester: 3 studio credits
Designing images worn on the body is a complex process with rules different from ordinary two-dimensional design. This course will explore the historical traditions of tattoo imagery and deal with design principles necessary to create impressive “flash” work. These concepts could also be applied to other forms of fashion and industry. Visiting artists and field trips will be included. 

Fashion Illustration and Beyond
One semester: 3 studio credits
For students with an interest in fashion illustration and for illustrators with a fashionable flair, this course will explore and practice the skills needed to produce illustrations for fashion advertising as well as for print media, theater posters, package design, beauty illustration, book covers, licensing and product merchandising. Group critiques will help students identify areas on which to focus in order to achieve a personal style. Working toward portfolio-quality pieces, we will explore the changing role of the fashion illustrator in the current marketplace. 

Puppetry Workshop
One semester: 3 studio credits
Puppetry has always been a metaphoric genre. Puppets are stand-ins and fantasy versions of our reality. Because of this, they clearly relate to the predilections of the illustrator and cartoonist. In this course, students will be asked to design and fabricate their own puppet creations. Puppet construction (hand, string, rod) is expected to reflect the creature’s character and intention. Mold-making and figure construction will be covered; production possibilities will be discussed. 

Not for the Squeamish
One semester: 3 studio credits
The fabric of the body: artists and anatomists. Your body: temple of the soul or soft machine? Serving as a nontechnical survey of the place where art and medicine intersect, from the earliest depictions of anatomy to the virtual human project, this course will gaze at a mountainous variety of approaches to anatomy and medical illustration. We will explore the historical context and influence on contemporary art-making through the lenses of history and aesthetics. Students are required to complete a project by the end of the course. 

One semester: 3 studio credits
This course will examine fundamental anatomical structures as they apply to drawing and painting the human figure and animals, both real and imagined. Skeletal and muscular systems, and their effects on construction, contour and proportion, will be discussed and explored. We will also study the fabulously varied, exciting and exotic history of medical illustration, from Tibetan schematics to Leonardo da Vinci’s elegant studies, and into the 18th century where art and science converged to produce an amazing, yet disturbing, array of potent images. We will also examine the impact of these images on contemporary illustration as well as cinematic special effects.

Animals and Creatures in Illustration
One semester: 3 studio credits
Are you bored with rendering the human figure? If you find yourself relating more to frogs, insects, jaguars, snakes and other beasties, this course is for you. Real or imagined creatures in visual expression can be an exciting and vital part of your portfolio. Choose from a diversified view of assignments ranging from creating a movie monster poster, designing an alphabet consisting of animals, to portraying a poisonous toad in a rain forest. Projects will be worked on in class with supervision on concepts, use of different mediums and choosing reference sources supplemented with occasional field trips. This course welcomes students in all phases of development who feel this area is an important component of their visual vocabulary. Use of all media is acceptable.

Illustration: The Genre of Science Fiction
One semester: 3 studio credits
This course will provide an in-depth exploration of the contemporary science fiction and fantasy marketplaces, from book cover illustration to film/animation concept design. Emphasis will be placed on figurative narration, draftsmanship and aesthetics of abstraction as generated through the traditional media of drawing and painting. Assignments will be based upon actual commercial commissions and constraints, leading the student through the sketch, reference, preliminary and finishing stages of a project. Imaginative development within these parameters will be stressed. Professionals from the top of the science fiction and fantasy genres will visit as guest lecturers.

Children’s Book Illustration
One semester: 3 studio credits
Telling a story in pictures is both challenging and immensely satisfying. This course covers every stage in the creation of a picture book: developing an idea and writing it; creating sequential, storytelling images; book layout; solving problems of pacing; presenting a book to a publisher; contracts; and working with an editor. The emphasis will be on the process of making the words and images work together seamlessly, from the first rough storyboard all the way through to a presentation dummy. We will also discuss, in depth, all the work available in children’s illustration and how to look for it. A good portfolio for this market is quite different from an editorial or advertising portfolio. So, we will address the questions of what art directors in this field are looking for, and what sort of portfolio pieces you might need to be competitive.

ILD-3566 / ILD-3567
Children’s Book Illustration: For the Real World I and II
Two semesters: 3 studio credits per semester
Beyond beautiful pictures, the real art in illustrating a children’s book is in telling a story, and the real work is in telling it well. More than just pictorial narration, the field of children’s books gives artists the great freedom and opportunity to explore a variety of ideas and themes found in both classic and contemporary children’s literature. These courses will focus primarily on one story (their own or someone else’s), taking it from typewritten text to fully realized illustrations. We will concentrate on such elements as breaking down and understanding a text, character development, composition and storyboards, and the finished dummy in order to grapple with the more complex problems of pacing and point of view. The spring semester will be spent creating the finished illustrated story (approximately 15 portfolio-quality pieces). Time will also be devoted to issues involved in printing and production as well as working in the field.

Two Eyes, a Nose and a Mouth
One semester: 3 studio credits
Learning to capture a person’s likeness is a skill to which many artists aspire. The caricaturist distorts and manipulates the face to make us laugh. Cartoonists and illustrators use the same method to create familiar or original characters in their narratives. In this course, students will learn the fundamentals of simplification and exaggeration, and how these principles influence the content of an image. We will draw hundreds of faces using slides, magazines, movies and models as our subject matter. We’ll look for the main idea within each face—the particular arrangement of shapes that sets that person’s face apart from all other faces.

SPOTS Before Your Eyes
One semester: 3 studio credits
This course will outline the basics in how to do small “spot” illustrations, as seen in most daily newspapers and weekly magazines. They are a staple for many emerging illustrators, and their artistry is conceptual and surprisingly abstract. We will explore the history of the “spot” and examine how various artists have contributed to the form. In addition, we will attempt to re-create the environment and procedures necessary to excel in this challenging type of illustration.

Pop-Up: 3D Paper Engineering
One semester: 3 studio credits
Bring your illustrated ideas to life. Learn how to design and engineer a three-dimensional form of your work using paper as your surface and your tool. In this course, students will learn techniques and mechanisms to realize ideas from 2D to 3D. We will explore 3D paper engineering across all media—from the classic format of children’s pop-up books to unique greeting cards and enlarged 3D sculptural art installations.

Experiments in Narrative
One semester: 3 studio credits
The purpose of this course is to liberate students from the conventions—and clichés—of traditional storytelling. It is an intensive workshop that encourages experiments in character, content and narrative form through instructive examples of such innovative artists, filmmakers and authors as Akira Kurosawa, Andy Warhol, Jean-Luc Godard, Jack Smith, Kurt Vonnegut, Jorge Luis Borges, the Wooster Group, Matthew Barney and other contemporaries whose imaginations and perceptual strategies continue to influence and refresh our culture.

Laboratory for Moving Pictures­—Adventures in Limited Animation
One semester: 3 studio credits
Storyboard graphics, character development, experimental animation and animatics will be covered in this course. We will perpetrate quick and dirty animation using digital still cameras, Adobe Photoshop, paint, paper dolls, puppets, toy theater, collage and chalkboards—you name it. Work will be created in group and individual projects. Be ready to work for your fun. Familiarity with digital cameras, Photoshop and iMovie is suggested. 

Fairytale Theories
One semester: 3 studio credits
When an artist’s work is influenced by the times and social situations in which one lives, powerful and memorable masterpieces may result—think Picasso’s Guernica. This course will explore the work of artists who have created meaningful work by addressing the world around them with an emphasis on how this trend has gained momentum in recent years. Contemporary artists like Keith Haring, Kara Walker, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Vic Muniz, Barbara Kruger and the Guerrilla Girls will be part of the conversation. We will look at how this trend has been mirrored in music and film. This is an opportunity to create work rooted in personally engaging ideas. 

Advanced Workshop: Digital
One semester: 3 studio credits
Exploring the creative process of digital fine and commercial art is the focus of this course. Assignments aim to define the visual formulas that reoccur in popular images. Students will also have the opportunity to work with Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, and merge the two. This will be a workshop environment and source material from students is encouraged. The instructor will also inspire each assignment with a short film of a modern master relevant to the subject. The overall purpose of this course is to help students make the leap from sketchbook to computer without losing the unique identity of their artwork.

Type and Image
One semester: 3 studio credits
If the illustrator understands basic type design, he or she can create impressive visuals: posters, covers, promotional materials, websites. Often the pictorial and the typographic design are at aesthetic odds. This course will cover some design basics to help illustrators and cartoonists understand the relationship between type and image. 

Advanced Hand Lettering
One semester: 3 studio credits
The course will provide opportunities for developing and applying new skills, culminating in work that is more creative. Comic book majors will adapt their own text styles, sound effects and custom headlines. Illustration majors will branch out into a greater variety of typographic styles and custom scripts. All will design a personal logo, and we will look at word and image lockups. Various finishing and production techniques will be covered, including digital vector rendering with Bézier curves in Adobe Illustrator, using a scanned sketch as template. Preparing work for printing, including brush, pen or pencil finishing, scanning and retouching in Adobe Photoshop will be addressed. The goal of the course is for students, selecting a theme of their choice, to complete a term project that combines seamlessly with their best work. Options include a typeface design. 

One semester: 3 studio credits
This advanced perspective course will employ all of the principles for creating the illusion of form in space on flat surfaces. Along with the more rigidly mechanical principles of linear perspective, we will incorporate concepts of asymmetry, overlap, size relationships, convergence, clustering, degree of detail, fragmentation of shapes and forms, line weight, relationship to eye level, value, and color relationships. 

Culture and Cartooning
One semester: 3 studio credits
The impact of cartooning on contemporary culture has been immense. It can be witnessed in the museums when viewing the early work of the pop artists, or seen at the beaches in the designs of current surf culture. This course will examine some of cartooning’s illegitimate sires, and explore why certain notions of “high” and “low” status have been hierarchically assigned to particular imagery. 

Animé Wonderland
One semester: 3 studio credits
In this course, we will briefly explore traditions of Eastern art and how it came to inform Japanese manga and animation. We will read texts of the genre, and discuss and critique the canon of contemporary forms. Focus will be on major figures of this word/image, dreamlike, artistic phenomenon. 

Alternatives to the Cinematic in Comics Narrative
One semester: 3 studio credits
Comics and cinema are arts that grew up together. In the process of doing so they have grown very much alike. While most comics drawn today are overwhelmingly cinematic, there is a separate lineage of comics that draw inspiration from theater, graphic design, diagrams, symbols, modern painting and video games. In this course, we will read these comics, discuss them, and make some of our own. 

Writing for the Comics
One semester: 3 studio credits
First, this course will explore what a story is, the relationship of plot, characterization and theme. We’ll discuss the most common mistakes writers make and how to avoid them. Then we’ll learn specific techniques of storytelling and how to apply them to various comic-strip formats, using examples from the great artists of the past and from contemporary comics. Students will experiment with creating their own characters and stories and learn how to approach material originated by someone else. Finally, we’ll look at the market and the competitive world of professional comics. Throughout, the emphasis will be on what’s practical. There will be guest lecturers and critiques from professional editors.

How to Storyboard a Movie
One semester: 3 studio credits
A storyboard artist needs rough sketches, in continuity form, to assist the film director in planning his or her shots. A strong sense of storytelling is essential to this endeavor, as is an understanding of film terms like zooming, trucking and dollying. This course will teach students what they need to become storyboard artists, showing how to accomplish this in simple sketches, all through the “imagined” eye of the camera. 

Life Underground/Self-Publishing
One semester: 3 studio credits
This course will delve into the constantly evolving, exciting developments in alternative comics publishing. More “underground” work is seeing the light of day than ever before, and students will be exposed to some of the most innovative materials being produced. They will also better understand the processes involved to mount similar projects of their own. Practical issues for the cartoonist such as basic contracts will be addressed. 

Comic-Book Storytelling Workshop
One semester: 3 studio credits
Stories have a basic, clear format. Within that structure is an exponentially expanding set of narrative choices that the author can make. Add to that the myriad devices used in constructing works using words and pictures and it’s often difficult to know where to begin telling a story. This workshop will examine the theories behind storytelling using practical exercises to help students recognize and use the components of a good story. 

Short-Form Comics
One semester: 3 studio credits
Any story, however sprawling it may seem, can be told in six or fewer comic panels. In this course, students will employ a full bag of tricks—expressive figure drawing, dynamic composition, stagecraft, verbal concision and narrative condensation—to create comic short stories of maximum impact. Challenges will include: adaptations and deformations of poetry and literature, developing visual metaphors, writing from logic and structure, and other techniques for coaxing personal truth from the back of your head onto the paper. Projects will be useful for comic strips, minicomics and anthologies. 

Web Comics
One semester: 3 studio credits
This course will focus on the mechanics, as well as the most common obstacles, in producing a consistent web comic. The goal is to have your works online in a professional format. For many, this is the future of promotion and presence in the cartooning world. 

Star Wars to Shrek: The Art of Writing Comics Based on Licensed Properties From Other Media
One semester: 3 studio credits
While comics and graphic novels are frequently used as the basis for blockbuster and independent films, there is also a thriving branch of comics that deals with translating movie, TV and video-game characters and universes into a comics format. Adapting characters from other media to comics, while preserving those characters’ voices, is not an easily mastered art. In this course, we will explore the nuts and bolts of character and story development, using examples of various properties that have made the leap from film, TV, prose fiction and gaming to comics (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Star Wars, Bart Simpson and Gears of War, among others). We will discuss what makes these characters tick, no matter what medium they appear in. The tricky process of adapting these characters to the printed page will be covered, with the goal of writing a six-page story, a 22-page story, and the outline for longer work (such as a mini-series or graphic novel), all based on an existing non-comics property. It’s a challenge to have a mere six pages to tell a story featuring a character developed for a feature film. Students will discover how freeing and creatively rewarding it is to tell poignant, jewel-like short stories starring these characters. Finally, we will address every aspect of the writing process, from pitching the initial loglines, outlining and thumbnail sketches to scripting and revisions. 

Writers of the Arc: How to Craft Multi-Episode Stories
One semester: 3 studio credits
To write a short story or a “done-in-one” 22-page comics story is entirely different from writing a mini-series or multi-episode story arc. Planning, outlining and studying of story structure are all part of the process. There are many narrative choices that a writer of a multi-episode arc can make, and it’s easy to lose the story or the characters in the mix. Whatever the story’s length, every chapter has to conform to the rules of structure. In this course, students will create their own characters and stories, and build multi-part story arcs around those stories. In the current climate, when story arcs are collected in trade paperback form after they are published as single issues, writers must ask themselves if they should write for the trade paperback, with each issue being part of a greater whole? Do they have the obligation to include potentially redundant exposition for the new readers? What if, midway through your work, an editor tells you to abandon the print version and transition into an online model (i.e., digital comics)? Writers have to be ready to reach whatever platform is used to access their comics. In addition to helping students navigate through the twists and turns of long-form stories, this course will address electronic storytelling: a brave new world of the comics industry today. 

Creating Comics for Kids
One semester: 3 studio credits
Comics (disguised as picture books, chapter books and graphic novels) is one of the hottest and fastest growing formats in the children’s book industry today; crafting these kinds of comics is far from child’s play. This course will explore basic techniques, creative strategies, history, subject matter and the practical requirements of making comics that kids (as well as parents, agents and editors) cannot resist. Guest lecturers such as children’s book creators, cartoonists, editors, librarians and agents will complement studio work. 

Character Design
One semester: 3 studio credits
Beyond making nice drawings, a good character designer builds each work from the inside out, tailoring the designs to emote and perform. In this course, students will be guided through each stage of the design process, including ideation, research and development of shape languages, posing, expression sheets, turnaround drawings and creation of color style guides. Special attention will be given to how these design principles relate to film, animation, games and comics. 

Character Design
One semester: 3 studio credits
Beyond making nice drawings, a good character designer builds each work from the inside out, tailoring the designs to emote and perform. In this course, students will be guided through each stage of the design process, including ideation, developing characters with dynamic silhouettes, posing, expression sheets, character lineups, turnaround drawings and creation of color style guides. Special attention will be given to how these design principles relate to film, animation, games and comics. 

Design and Build Comics
One semester: 3 studio credits
This course takes an innovative approach to creating the ultimate piece of self-expression and promotion: the mini-comic. We’ll challenge the boundaries of comic, commercial and fine art. Taking a historical approach, we’ll look at design in a variety of media, including film, advertising and book arts for inspiration. From collage to digital arts, students will be encouraged to break out of traditional comics media. The finished project could be anything from a map, to a deck of cards, to a fake travel brochure. The end result will showcase your unique artistic vision. 

Advanced Digital Coloring and Rendering
One semester: 3 studio credits
This is the final step in having your comic truly come to life. This course will explore advanced computer techniques that will give your artwork a more refined look, enhanced atmosphere and visual power. 

Artists One-Stop Humor Clinic
One semester: 3 studio credits
Funny or not funny? This deadly serious workshop will focus on the development, application and refinement of humor (and anti-humor) techniques in personal work. Humor analysis, lectures, brainstorming sessions, class trips and guest artists from various disciplines will be included. Media covered will include all forms of picture- and object-making, comics, storyboards and product design. 

Outside the Box
One semester: 3 studio credits
Discovering new narrative possibilities within illustration and comics. With an emphasis on sketchbook drawing, this course will explore a spectrum of visual approaches toward developing and publishing self-generated comics and illustration projects. Regular guest lecturers and class presentations will expand your familiarity with the history and vast possibilities of sequential art and provide a framework for you to uncover your own potential. This course will help you develop the skills to transform personal projects into published works within and beyond traditional outlets. 

Printmaking: Silkscreen and the Graphic Image
One semester: 3 studio credits
Silkscreen is ideal for making bold, iconic images. This course will cover all aspects of the silkscreen process, including making separations by hand and by computer and printing on various media. Students will learn how to use silkscreen as a tool for strengthening their image-making abilities and color sense. 

Printmaking: Silkscreen and the Artists’ Book
One semester: 3 studio credits
Using silkscreen, students will explore various ways to present print as sequential images—artists’ books, themed portfolios and comics, even fanzines. The course will cover the process from concept to finished and bound multiples. Methods of making color separations for multicolor prints using traditional hand-drawn and modern photographic techniques will be included. Bookbinding techniques will be demonstrated, such as Japanese bookbinding, accordion folding and signature binding. Large-scale digital output is available. 

Advanced Etching and Monoprint as Illustration
One semester: 3 studio credits
This course is for students who already have a basic foundation in etching and monoprint techniques and want to take their skills to the next level. Advanced techniques such as three-plate color registration prints, transparent color roll-ups, viscosity printing, hand applied and blended surface color techniques, spit-biting, and a refinement of black-and-white techniques for line work, including hard ground, aquatint and soft ground will be covered. 

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