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Entries filed under 'Alumni'

    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




    Jean Kim Honored at SCBWI


    Above: An illustration from Rabbit Moon, a story written and illustrated by Jean Kim, about a lonely rabbit on the moon who makes stars. Left: Jean Kim and her Certificate of Honor from the SCBWI in New York City

    "I believe that this honor gave me strength to believe in myself as an illustrator and kept me dreaming."  


    Jean Kim, May 2014 alumna from the School of Illustration Graduate School, with a specialty in children’s books, recently attended the Winter SCBWI Conference, (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) in New York City. Her portfolio was selected as one of the two honors portfolios granted by the SCBWI.

    The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, is one of the largest existing organizations for writers and illustrators. It is the only professional organization specifically for those individuals writing and illustrating for children and young adults in the fields of children’s literature, magazines, film, television, and multimedia.  The annual winter conference draws about 1000 people and the portfolio awards are chosen by a group of industry professionals. As a result, Kim’s work was seen by over 200 art directors and agents and now she has the privilege to meet one on one with an art director from a major publishing house.

    "Receiving an honor from the SCBWI NewYork Conference was such an honor and means so much to me. I felt like all my hard work paid off. I graduated with honors with a degree in Illustration last summer. After graduation, I really didn't know what to do because my 'being a student' was over. I always knew I wanted to be a children's book illustrator, and I had a few pieces I liked in my portfolio. But my agent was skeptical about my work and not so supportive, so I was discouraged. Also, being a freelance illustrator can be unstable.

    "Therefore, when I decided to go to one of the biggest conferences in New York, it was a huge challenge for me. There were so many people from the children's book market; publishers, editors, agents, writers and illustrators. It was really overwhelming. And I saw so many amazing talented artists and their portfolios. So when they called my name on the last day when they were awarding honors, I couldn't believe my ears! Also, after the conference, I was contacted by several good agencies who understood my voice in my work.

    "I believe that this honor gave me strength to believe in myself as an illustrator and kept me dreaming."

    - See more at:



    Illustration Students Honored for Animal Race Mural

    Last December 18th,  Illustration alumna, Carol Nunnelly , successfully completed teaching her Fine Art Mural Design course with a dedication and celebration of the launch of the mural, Animal Race.

    Nunnelly and her students Juan Ruiz (School of Illustration), Kenneth Malone (Fine Art) and Tim Andrews (Illustration) were honored for their outstanding work on the Animal Race mural by the Teacher Parent Guild, representatives from the SF Archdiocese, and the City of San Francisco. A grey concrete wall in the St. Brigid School playground in San Francisco is now transformed from dull and barren to an enlightened inspiration that is enlivened with spirit, color and heart.


    Photo and post by Lourdes Livingston, Online Director