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Colorful illustration.
CREDIT: STUDENT WORK BY ELIZABETH ITZKOWITZ
We have the largest illustration faculty of any school in America—with many different perspectives and points of view.
Thomas Woodruff
Chair

At SVA, we believe that an illustrator’s career can be as limitless as his or her imagination. We always encourage ambitious thinking—the innovator, not the imitator.

Frequent winners of the highest awards at the Society of Illustrators, American Illustration and many other industry-based student competitions, our students tend to cash in on these opportunities once they complete the program.

Our graduates continue to change the way we see the world, and it is everywhere: at your local newsstand, on your TV, in your local library, at the comic convention, on the back of your t-shirt, on your smartphone, and yes, even that design inked on your bicep. It is all illustration, and it all tells a story. SVA is proud to produce some of the greatest image-makers on the planet!

Student Work
A Day at SVA

More About the Department

Portrait of a chair.

Thomas Woodruff

Chair

thomaswoodruff.com

A clever style was once thought to be the calling card for the professional illustrator. But in an age where images and artworks abound, visual artists must do more than deliver slick gimmicks—they must develop a real sensibility and create work that transcends trends. At SVA, we believe that an illustrator’s career can be as limitless as his or her imagination. We always encourage ambitious thinking—the innovator, not the imitator.


We not only inspire and encourage a student’s imagination, but also teach the art of interpretation: the ability to carefully read and cross-reference texts, research visual styles, and conceptualize and produce significant bodies of work.

With our junior thesis and senior portfolio curriculum, our students develop sophisticated and complete oeuvres, unlike the “patch-work portfolios” produced by many other art schools, which consist of students’ scattered responses to a variety of assignments, and don’t especially reveal their true personalities.

Maybe it’s our commitment to unleashing those personalities that accounts for our student’s success in the illustration world—and why our students have landed, while they’ve been students, significant assignments for The New Yorker, The New York Press, Mad Magazine and The Village Voice.


Not a big surprise when you consider that our instructors tend to make their own waves. Whether it’s Stephen Savage, illustrator of The New York Times bestseller Polar Bear Night; or Jonathon Rosen, whose talents were evident to millions in Tim Burton’s and Johnny Depp’s blockbuster film Sleepy Hollow; whether it’s the faculty who’ve created award-winning magazines, book covers, posters, CD packages, opera sets, product designs, toys, US postage stamps, wallpaper for Prada décor, Van’s footwear, ad campaigns, book bags, lighters, compasses and t-shirts—we’re positioned to connect our students to the most lucrative illustration opportunities in the industry.