MassArt Illustration

March 23, 2018
by alice.stanne

Parenting Media Association Awards

Congratulations to students Ailish Shea and Anna Steinman, whose work for Bay State Parent Magazine was awarded medals by the Parenting Media Association! This national contest includes entries from parenting publications across the country, Canada and Australia. The work was created for Irena Roman’s Junior Illustration course, where students had a chance to work with  creative director Paula Monette Ethier to create illustrations to be used in print and digital publications.

Anna Steinman’s cover illustration was awarded a bronze medal.

Ailish Shea’s interior illustration was awarded a gold medal.

June 13, 2017
by alice.stanne

MassArt Award Recipients

With the close of the spring semester comes portfolio reviews, graduation, and the excitement of seniors moving on into the professional world. Another exciting end of the year milestone is the awarding of MassArt institutional awards. Students from all across the school apply for a variety of awards; there are two travel awards, a senior project award, and a new prize for creativity and innovation. A committee of faculty and staff review the proposals to select the recipients that have the most well thought out project that shows outstanding artist merit. Out of those four awards, two Illustration seniors were selected to receive recognition.

Caitlin Mavilia, a double major in Illustration and Sculpture, was awarded the Donis A. Dondis Travel Award for her project Rediscovering the Trojan Horse. The $5,000 Dondis Travel Award is granted to a Junior or Senior to help defray the cost of travel for the purpose of completing a well-defined project having artistic merit.Caitlin Mavilia will be shedding new light on the history of a 3,000 year old narrative as a part of a current project designed by Handshouse Studio to bring the Trojan Horse back to life. The Handshouse Studio run by MassArt professors Rick and Laura Brown is an educational organization that replicates historic objects as student-driven projects. Their current project to reconstruct the first ever, period-accurate Trojan Horse at full scale will be installed in The International Spy Museum’s new building in Washington D.C. In pursuit to further investigate the thinking behind the Mycenaeans, the makers of the Trojan Horse, Caitlin will be traveling to Greece to develop a series of large scale drawings informed by Mycenaean depictions of horses. Caitlin will also be developing an illustrated book on the story of the Trojan horse that includes informational illustrations of how the horse was built.

Joshua Chace was awarded the brand new Lam Prize for Creativity and Innovation for his interactive comic Full Plate. The $1,500 Lam Prize is granted to sophomore, junior, or senior from any major who shows dedication, creativity, and innovation.
Full Plate is an interactive comic designed for mobile phones and digital media. The use of a touch screen allows the viewer to progress through images in the application much like one would flip a page of a book to proceed. The benefit of this is the infinite scrolling space that exists within the application and the use of the Z-axis. Images can be placed in such ways that a modern comic book would never be able to accomplish. Thus, pages and the page format are not necessary in a comic designed for digital viewing. A hail of bullets fly into wounds and sandstorms bleed into dragons; the imagery of this interactive comic can flow into one another in beautiful transitions. At a touch, the viewer can witness over 100 illustrations that exist in a 3D space and move with the perspective of your eye. A video of Joshua’s interactive comic can be viewed here.
Congratulations to our incredible illustration seniors!

May 11, 2017
by alice.stanne

Arlington International Film Festival Poster Competition

Last month Robert Maloney’s Experimental Illustration class worked with the Arlington International Film Festival (AIFF) organizers to design a poster for the 2017 festival. To expand the interdisciplinary celebration beyond just film AIFF sought to work with students from MassArt – not only to create a beautiful poster for the festival, but also to provide a paid opportunity for students to develop a professional portfolio piece. Students and organizers celebrated the partnership with a reception held on April 28th.

Congratulations to Joshua Chace, whose poster was chosen to represent the 2017 festival! About his work Joshua said “The imagery of the film reel and flags over a colorful painted surface lets the viewer know about the art and creativity that happens at this international film show.”

Of the work, the judge Jennifer Cheng DesAutels said, “There were several very outstanding concepts, which speaks very highly of the thoughtfulness with which the artists approached the project. In addition, all of the pieces showed sophistication of technical ability in each artist’s chosen media.”

Experimental Illustration - AIFF Posters

April 25, 2017
by alice.stanne

GROW! Boston Assignment

Sophomore Illustration and Digital Painting classes taught by Lisa Kennedy collaborated with GROW! Boston to create the cover and interior spot illustrations for the Spring 2017 issue. Students focused on issues such as phytonutrients, pest management, the plight of pollinators, and more. Each student submitted professional and creative solutions beyond expectation.
Cover by Michelle Nutter
Ask A Grower spot by Danielle Hill
Growing with Kids spot by Eda French
Grow! Boston
GROW! is a quarterly publication with a distribution of 30,000 to help promote the alternative to the globalized, industrialized, and over processed food -resulting in locally, sustainably grown and responsibly distributed food.

April 20, 2017
by alice.stanne

Working on Site at the Harvard Museum of Natural History

By Visiting Lecturer Katia Wish

Students in Sophomore Illustration class, taught by Katia Wish, recently visited the Harvard Museum of Natural History to do research for the assignment “Unusual Pets.”

The museum has an expansive collection of taxidermy animals, including mammals, birds, reptiles, insects, and marine life from around the world. The students had a chance to study the forms of different animals and sketch from observation.While at the museum the students were encouraged to start exploring different directions for the assignment. The assignment “Unusual Pets” consisted of three narrative illustrations portraying an animal (one we usually don’t associate with being a pet) with a human. The students started by thinking of situations and behaviors involving regular pets and the relationships between a pet and a human. They sketched numerous scenarios involving unusual pets. The students chose a humorous, serious, thought-provoking or heart-warming approach for their assignment.

Even though most of the students had never previously worked with sequential illustrations, they responded to the challenge with enthusiasm and commitment.  They were ready to receive feedback, improve the concept, work and rework the thumbnails, try different options for value and color studies and experiment with the media.

The results were impressive narratives that delighted, surprised, and engaged the viewer.  

March 27, 2017
by alice.stanne

Society of Illustrators Student Scholarship Winners!

The Illustration Department would like to congratulate all of the students who were selected to be included in this year’s Society of Illustrators Student Scholarship Competition!

From the Society’s website:
Every year since 1981 the Society has held the Student Scholarship Competition. Over three hundred works are chosen from more than 8,700 entries submitted by professors of college-level students nationwide. In a competition which can kick start a career, students bring their most sophisticated, well-crafted and original work to be tested. A jury of professional peers, including illustrators and art directors, selects the most outstanding works created throughout the year. Pieces are accepted based on the quality of technique, concept and skill of medium used.

From the Society’s endowment, generous contributions from private and corporate donors, and proceeds from an annual auction of member-donated artworks, scholarship awards are granted to about 25 students whose work is deemed the best of the best.

In the last 30 years, the Society has awarded over $1,500,000 to deserving students in this unique competition, which has opened the door for many of today’s top professionals including Kadir Nelson, James Bennett, Gwenda Kaczor, Dan Dos Santos, James Jean and many more.  
Title: A Sharing Economy
Artist: Victoria Maxfield
Medium: Gif
Instructor: Scott Bakal
Title: Calvin Dickerman Hears Failures Careless Whisper
Artist: Margaret Gillespie
Medium: Gouache
Instructor: Wesley Bedrosian


Title: Nothingness
Artist: Brady Kettle
Medium: Digital
Instructor: Polly Becker


Title: Nature’s Warning
Artist: Skarlett Prittle
Medium: Linoleum Print
Instructor: Linda Bond


Title: Assyrian Gods
Artist: James Spaeth
Medium: Graphite
Instructor: Polly Becker

Here are the MassArt winners from the previous few years competitions!

January 19, 2017
by alice.stanne

Illustration Student’s Drawing Acquired into MassArt Library’s Permanent Collection

An original drawing by MassArt Illustration junior, Minru ‘Dora’ Wang was recently acquired by the Massachusetts College of Art Library for framing and display in the library, and to be included in the library’s permanent collection of art. Dora’s illustration was traditionally hand-drawn and digitally colored for an assignment in John Roman’s Technical Illustration course and depicts a 180-degree scene of the MassArt Library’s interior. Her drawing successfully captures the library environment in an engaging, panoramic, wide-angle view. Students and faculty can see Dora’s marvelous, framed artwork exhibited on the library’s 13th floor.

November 18, 2016
by alice.stanne

Student Awards

As we get near the end of 2016, we’ve been looking at some of the achievements of our illustration students.

We are proud to see our students get the nod this year from so many respected national competitions which have included the Society of Illustrators, 3×3, Creative Quarterly, Communication Arts, World Illustration Awards and the Society of Illustrators of Los Angeles.

The Illustration Department is also incredibly proud that one of our students, Krista Perry, graced the cover of the Society of Illustrators Student Scholarship Competition this year. This is the second year in a row that one of our students were selected for such a competitive placement!

Other highlights include student Elise Guillen won a $1,500 scholarship from the Society of Illustrators and Dominic Civiello was profiled in Communication Arts and won a Bronze Medal from 3×3.

Below you will find some of the great art that was represented in these competitions. Congratulations to all of the students!


Alexis DeLeon, Society of Illustrators


Caitlin Mavilia, Creative Quarterly


Tosh Spencer, Society of Illustrators


Dominic Civiello, Creative Quarterly


Caitlin Mavilia, 3 x 3


Victoria Maxfield, Society of Illustrators


Dominic Civiello, Creative Quarterly


Caitlin Mavilia, Creative Quarterly


Dominic Civiello, Creative Quarterly


Dominic Civiello, Creative Quarterly

November 7, 2016
by alice.stanne

Alumni News!

Illustration alum Dimel Rivas (BFA’16) and current Illustration senior Alexa Gustafson were chosen to participate in a Día de los Muertos exhibition at 13 Forest Gallery to celebrate Capitol Square’s annual Day of the Dead festivities in Arlington.img_4221

Dimel Rivas with her three-dimensional installation about the joyous reunion between family members, both living and dead, that is celebrated on Día de los Muertos.static1-squarespaceAlexa Gustafson‘s lithograph references much of the iconography of Día de los Muertos, especially the marigolds that are laid out to attract the souls of the dead.


Alum Amanda Gibson (BFA’16) took a strong interest in building three-dimensional work in her time in the Illustration program. She has recently channeled that passion into creating and building puppets with Puppet Showplace Theater for the Franklin Park Zoo’s Midnight Zoo show.

The Midnight Zoo surrounds visitors with never-before-seen creatures from the farthest realms of the imagination. This haunted habitat features over 20 fantastical creatures ranging in size from tiny to over 8 feet tall.amandagibsonAmanda has also been performing in the show as one of the stilt walking Rutach creatures! In addition she continues to design, develop and build her own unique 3-D creatures.amandagibson2

May 2, 2016
by alice.stanne

Morton Godine Travel Fellowship Award

small_Atomic CityIllustration senior Eileen McIntire was awarded the Morton Godine Traveling Fellowship for 2016. This fellowship is awarded to a graduating Junior or Senior to help defray the cost of travel for the purpose of completing a well-defined project having artistic merit. The award is for $5,000.00. Eileen plans to travel to Los Angeles this summer to conduct research for illustrations for a graphic novel she plans to publish.

A description of her project in her own words:

“Since I won the Morton Godine travel grant I’ve been getting a lot of questions. What are you going to do? Where are you going to go? When I tell them I’m traveling to Los Angeles to gather research for a quiet introspective graphic novel about the twilight of ones greatest passion, they say “Huh. Why didn’t you ask to go somewhere more exotic or exciting?” But the truth is, I couldn’t imagine a more exciting venture. The story I will be adapting is called The Precipice of Angels, a short story by deceased member of the Firesign Theater, Phil Austin. My father was a great fan of Austin’s work, and my bedtimes were filled with his bizarre tales and solemn humor. The Precipice of Angels follows the solo climb of an aging “boulevardiste” pursuing his most challenging expedition over the rooftops of Wilshire Boulevard. During his aerial journey down the legendary boulevard now fallen from greatness, he reflects on the twilight of his once grand secret society of horizontal climbers. The story has always been a favorite of mine, and I am honored that the Austin estate has shown such support. The real truth of the matter is that diving into Austin’s vivid imagination and haunting tale is the most exotic place I could possibly go.”

Eileen’s depictions of shadowy architectural spaces were recently featured in an article for Drawing Magazine, written by Illustration Professor John Roman.

Congratulations to Eileen!

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