“In my experience, the Low Residency MFA in Illustration was a one-stop career-enhancing venture. The challenging coursework and gifted instructors nudged me out of my comfort zone and encouraged exploration of new creative approaches. The contact periods featured successful illustrators working in the field today, allowing me to catch up on the industry’s latest trends. Murray Tinkelman delivers an unparalleled lecture series celebrating the rich history of illustration while connecting it to its limitless future. Full of humor and personal insight, Tinkelman’s course is not to be missed. For working professionals interested in improving their creative skill-set, collaborating with industry leaders, and finding new sources of inspiration, the Hartford MFA is a must.”
Margaret Freed, Class of 2010
Whether you are looking to broaden your horizons, find your personal direction, arouse your dreams or become inspired, the classes in this program are designed to empower you in all aspects of your professional life.
A total of 60 credit hours are required for the Low Residency MFA in Illustration. Students enrolled in the program are considered full-time during all phases of the course of study.
Most studio work is done during the two weeks in July with the faculty who come from all over the country, each one for a week. All studio classes are team taught with a maximum of 20 students in each class. An Illustration assignment is given by Murray Tinkelman at each contact period and brought to and critiqued at the next contact period. Written response papers on some of the lecturers are assigned by Murray Tinkelman, mailed to him and critiqued by email.
Students attend classes in Advanced Illustration, Children’s Book Illustration, and Computer Illustration as well as The Business of Illustration, Promotion, Marketing, Websites, Social Networking for your Career, etc. We travel to many museums with major illustration collections such as The Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, MA, The Eric Carle Museum of Children’s Books, The New Britain Museum of American Art, CT, The Society of Illustrators, NYC and Illustration House, NYC.
ADVANCED ILLUSTRATION 1 – YOUR DREAM ASSIGNMENT
You will create a series of six pieces that together tell a compelling story and show your abilities and interests to their best advantage. These pieces may comprise the foundation of your MFA thesis if you choose. You will be asked to bring materials for ideation in the form of thumbnails, rough layouts, and extensive reference to the first class. During the week you will develop a series of finished layouts and related color comps that form a cohesive narrative unit. Choose the appropriate size for your genre. Visual developers, game developers, and children's book artists (for instance) should work horizontally. Because of the freedom it affords each individual artist, this class has been unofficially dubbed "Your Dream Assignment."
ADVANCED ILLUSTRATION 2 – ILLUSTRATION CLASS
The instructors will work with individual students and with the group as a whole to help them develop and execute ideas within the context of a class assignment. We will stress inspiration, influence, drawing and composition. Each student will be encouraged to explore his/her personal voice as an illustrator. The instructors will share their experiences as artists and each will demonstrate his creative process. The group will convene at the end of the session for a critique of each student's response to the class assignment.
ADVANCED ILLUSTRATION 3 - PROMOTIONAL STRATEGIES WORKSHOP
In today's volatile marketplace, illustrators face many challenges. To survive and call attention to their brand, they need to produce memorable promotions that are not only keenly strategic but also highly innovative from a production standpoint, spanning print, broadcast and new media. This insightful, highly visual workshop will assist illustrators in breaking through the competitive landscape with engaging and thought-provoking promotional initiatives that will inspire, motivate and most importantly, get response. Branding, new business development, target marketing, integrated cross-media strategies, public relations, collaborative endeavors, social media and viral initiatives and entrepreneurial approaches are some of the topics covered. The role of the illustrator is evolving and this workshop will inspire all to think outside the box when it comes to marketing and promotion.
ADVANCED ILLUSTRATION 4 - INTERNET MARKETING & WEB DESIGN
This course will present an overview of internet marketing, covering the basics of what goes in to creating an effective web presence for the promotion and marketing of one’s artistic talents. The class explores website design (good and bad), social media marketing (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter etc.), blog and email marketing. Basics of search engine optimization, local search marketing and integration of digital and traditional marketing strategies are also covered. We review strategies for using the internet as a tool both for communication and collaborative creation. Each student is asked to create or enhance a blog and populate it with artistic work that utilizes or demonstrates a personal vision.
ADVANCED ILLUSTRATION 5 - THE ART OF SELF PROMOTION
This course provides students with the ability to think strategically and experiment more from a production standpoint. Students will also learn to break through the clutter with memorable, engaging and thought provoking promotions that will successfully capture the attention of their audience. We are going to determine what your needs are for everything from basic survival, to approval, to creative satisfaction.
Your wildest fantasies aside, there is always a trade-off between creative control and remuneration. Nearly all of us compensate for that by having what we call "personal" work. This does not mean gallery, art fair, or fine art, which are all still forms of commercial art, though usually even more tangled with others' expectations.
“Think it, flap it, wrap it, sell it!”
THE BUSINESS OF ILLUSTRATION
The successful illustrator needs to navigate the intersection of art and commerce; he or she needs to be both an artist and a business person. In the present rapidly changing climate, it's important to not be stuck in old models, but rather think and act as a visual entrepreneur. This course deals with basic skills that don't change, along with new realities. Part lecture, part class discussion, this course is a survey of topics including: running a business, finances, marketing, branding, business plans, time management, copyright, negotiation, pricing, contracts and collections. Students will be expected to create a marketing and business plan, which will then be incorporated into the graduate program visual arts thesis.
CHILDREN'S BOOK ILLUSTRATION
All aspects of creating a picture book will be covered in this class. Students will see examples of each stage of book development and will be guided through the creation process. At the end of the week each student is expected to have a finished, 32 page book dummy. This book is also a potential thesis project.
DIGITAL ILLUSTRATION - CREATIVE DIGITAL TECHNIQUES
This course will provide the student with a personalized, in-depth study of techniques and features of graphic software the student has yet to explore. You will be asked to present your goals either by bringing your traditional work that you would like to perform digitally or subjects that have confounded you in the programs Illustrator, Photoshop and Painter. Because of the range of abilities in the class, advanced digital students especially will be asked to challenge themselves and take this opportunity to delve even further into the vast possibilities when working digitally.
ILLUSTRATION IN CONTEXT - 1850's -1950's
This series of presentations will describe the evolution of American Illustration from the Industrial Revolution, prior to the turn of the century, through the 1950's when both photography and television dramatically altered the markets for the illustrator.
Special attention will be given to Howard Pyle and his Brandywine School and also to Charles Dana Gibson -- the first "superstar household-name American Illustrators." Another theme that runs throughout the presentation is the visual "look" of the decades and how the various design styles such as Victorian, Art Nouveau, and Art Deco nourished both the graphic arts in general, and illustration, in particular.
Illustrators highlighted will include N.C. Wyeth, Maxfield Parrish, Frederic Remington, J.C. Leyendecker, John Held Jr., Harvey Dunn, Norman Rockwell, Rockwell Kent, James Montgomery Flagg, John LaGatta, Al Parker, Austin Briggs, and Robert Fawcett.
ILLUSTRATION IN CONTEXT - 1950's - 2000
This presentation will begin with the "new wave" illustrators of the 1950's. It will describe the transition of American Illustration from its traditional realistic approach to more interpretive, symbolic and expressionistic styles.
It will feature the styles of each decade; for example the psychedelic, op, and pop styles of the 60's, the montage, neo surreal images and the slick West Coast airbrush look of the 70's, the potpourri of styles in the 80's to the digital art of the 90's.
Ben Shahn and Robert Weaver will be highlighted for their innovative work that helped set the pace for this new look in American Illustration. Other artists highlighted will include Milton Glaser, Bernie Fuchs, Brad Holland and Nancy Stahl as well as many other leading contemporary illustrators.
A vital element of this program is the development and presentation of a thesis project, initiated during the first summer residency. This thesis is a self-initiated capstone body of work to be completed and presented by your graduation (the third and final residency). This project is developed by each student under the guidance of their Thesis Advisor, either Doug Andersen or Bill Thomson and Program Director Murray Tinkelman. The students will be assigned their advisor at the first Contact Period in July, will meet with them during all future contact periods, and stay in contact throughout the year by email, hard copy, and phone.
The visual art emphasis of the thesis is a body of work created by the student with a common theme. An integral part of this project is a business and marketing plan specifically tailored to the body of work as well as a short written summary describing the project and the process.
Graduating students will present their thesis during their final summer residency. The program concludes with an exhibition of 6 – 8 pieces of each thesis exhibited for two weeks at the Hartford Art School, Joseloff Gallery, West Hartford CT. The Hartford Art School hosts an Artists Reception at the Thesis Exhibition where graduating students may invite family, friends and clients.