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Cartooning is a very powerful and intimate medium—it’s all about passion.
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Thomas Woodruff

At the School of Visual Arts, we can’t be more serious when we talk about comics. In the 1940s we began as a training ground for some of the pioneers of the Golden Age of Cartooning. Now we’re in the midst of the New Platinum Age, one where multicultural influences, ambitious new formats and an ever-expanding audience have made this challenging medium one of the most exciting and cutting-edge art forms on the planet.

Student Work
A Day at SVA

More About the Department

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Thomas Woodruff



Our department covers all the bases in style, including classic adventure comics, experimental graphic novels and Amerimanga, the East-West hybrid. Whether you are preserving the old form or detonating tradition with a new one, you get the same grounding in technique at SVA. Composition and design; perspective; drawing from "real life” and color theory. Plot development and the building of dramatic narrative tension are of equal importance, since cartooning is one-half written story. You will learn how to break down the sequential action that shows the story you are telling.

Our approach is quite different from the other college programs teaching comic art. Here, the intellectual and the technical are wed, just as the words and pictures in artworks produced by our award-winning students.

Our faculty reflects this aesthetic range, from Klaus Janson (Dark Knight Returns, Daredevil) to Gary Panter (Pee Wee’s Playhouse, Jimbo) to Becky Cloonan (Demo). The curriculum is rigorous. There is a focus on eye/hand training (perspective, page, layout, inking, etc), but there is also a focus on the theoretical, and discussion of how to take this medium into the new millennium.

An important industry executive recently called the School of Visual Arts “the Harvard of Cartooning,” and we cannot disagree.

Watch BFA Cartooning