Learn the skills to pursue a career as a graphic novelist or comic book artist, storyboard artist, concept artist, children’s book illustrator, editorial or advertising illustrator.

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Entries filed under 'ILL'

    Paving an Illustrator's Path


    Julia Blattman has lived in the Bay Area her entire life. An Academy of Art University’s Pre-College course in her Junior year led her to enroll in the School of Illustration, and it’s been a ride ever since.

    Her focus was on illustration that was geared towards visual development for animation and games. She put in the time to network, attended events and conferences related to the illustration field, and her efforts have paid off. And it’s no wonder that she’s interning as a concept artist at Disney Interactive in Glendale, California. She’s creating game artwork for some of Disney Pixar’s game apps, and she’s thriving on the positive and creative work environment at the studio.

    In school, Julia was especially inspired by illustrators Glen Keane, Dice Tsutsumi, Cory Loftis, Victoria Ying, Brittney Lee, to name a few. But she feels fortunate to have studied under the directorship of Chuck Pyle.

    She remarks,“He [Chuck Pyle] truly cares about how his students are doing and encourages them to reach their fullest potential. His dedication is admirable and it clearly shows through his work and his teaching. If the Illustration Department was Hogwarts, he would be Dumbledore.

    I learned a tremendous amount about drawing for film with Anthony Christov, Joko Budiono taught me how to tackle perspective, and there are many more instructors that had a huge impact on me. The experience and knowledge I learned from teachers in the School of Illustration is something I wouldn't trade for the world!”

    Julia had the honor of being a finalist at the 2015 New York Society of Illustrators Student Competition, and she exclaims, “The piece that got in was actually a homework assignment from Advanced Perspective! I also got to see Chuck Pyle accept his award at the Society of Illustrators as the Distinguished Educator of the Year. “

    Sometimes it’s difficult to gain the right footing on a new path, but Julia’s road appears solid; leading onwards and outwards.



    Girl and Alpaca, by Julia Blattman

    Chuck Pyle Awarded Distinguished Educator in NYC


    Left to right: Dr. Elisa Stephens President Academy of art University. Chuck Pyle, Undergraduate Director School of Illustration. Anelle Miller, Executive Director, Society of Illustrators. Tim O’Brien, President, Society of Illustrators.


    President Dr. Elisa Stephens, Chuck Pyle and student, Julia Blattman


    Chuck Pyle giving his acceptance speech at NY Society of Illustrators


    School of Illustration Director Chuck Pyle was awarded Distinguished Educator in the Arts by the New York Society of Illustrators on the evening of Friday, May 8th, 2015. Chuck is awarded this honor for the highest standards of academic achievement and for impacting the illustration field as both a teacher and an artist. 
    President Dr. Elisa Stephens, her brother Scott Stephens, Assistant Director of School of Illustration, Lisa Berrett, Arts Technology Director, Gordon Silveria and Online Illustration Director, Lourdes Livingston accompanied Chuck and his family to the awards ceremony held in the Museum of American Illustration Gallery at the NY Society of Illustrators located at 128 East 63rd St.

    Chuck expressed of his distinguished honor,"I am so humbled to be honored for nearly forty years of teaching what I care about so deeply, namely, Illustration:  The art of telling stories in pictures. The University has provided a great environment within which  to teach the next generations of illustrators. I thank  President, Dr. Stephens, and her family for providing leadership to maintain and expand the opportunity to teach, and for my fellow faculty for creating the team needed to accomplish the bigger goal of providing a great education in the art of being an illustrator."

    The evening also showcased the 2015 Student Scholarship Competition featuring the works of over two hundred of today's top college level illustration students. Three Academy Illustration students, Julia Blattman, David Lantz and Krystal Lauk were selected to showcase their work, and they were also present to receive their honors during the evening's festivities.  




    Online Director, Lourdes Livingston, Illustration Director, Chuck Pyle, President Dr. Elisa Stephens and students, Krystal Lauk and David Lantz


    Chuck Pyle and Assistant Director for School of Illustration, Lisa Berrett




    Plan Now for Summer Expo

    It's never too early to plan for Summer Expo. This year's Summer Expo will be held from June 20 to June 28. You should seriously think about visiting the school to enrich your experience as an Academy of Art University student.

    You can meet your instructors in person, network and meet your classmates from not only from School of Illustration but from other departments as well. You'll experience studio drawing at our Illustration Campus on Powell Street as cable cars "climb halfway to the stars."

    Oncampus Undergraduate Director, Chuck Pyle (he is truly a character, an alum, and you've got to meet him!) and your Online Director, Lourdes Livingston will provide demos, work with you personally to address and get around those difficult areas that were giving you problems in your online classes.

    Jeannie Brunnick, Online Graduate Director and William Maughan, Online Graduate Director will discuss your graduate program and thesis direction, midpoint/ final review, not to mention classes and Directed Study.

    There is nothing like visiting the studios; each one has a different culture so it's exciting to experience which studio environment could be a good fit for you. Online students gain a deeper insight into the world of illustration to ensure their goals are brighter and more focused.

    You will have an opportunity to also visit museums, galleries and draw on location. San Francisco is a visual city and there is so much to draw and paint. Every day is like a unique light show with the colors of the golden gate bloom from a pastel dawn into a deep peach sherbet sunset. You could get some misty color effects with fog too!

    While the rest of the country is baking in Summer, a city like San Francisco is fresh, warm in the days and cool at night. Layering is key to enjoying a few days in San Francisco. We're excited to see you in June!

    Here's a link with more information.


    Online students were treated to a visit to Madefire Studios for a demonstration of the new Motion Tool.


    Online students in front of the California Palace of the Legion of Honor, one of the two Fine Arts Museums in San Francisco.