Tag Archives: illustration

Fall Figure Drawing Co-op Begins September 22

Figure Drawing Co-op–which is open to students, faculty, and community artists–is an opportunity to work from the life model.  This Fall, Co-op will be held on Tuesday nights, 6:30-9:30 pm, beginning September 22 in CA 170.  Co-op will run 8-10 weeks, depending on number of co-op payments/members.  The September 22 session is FREE!  To attend further sessions, you must pay before attending (see “How to sign up” below).


School of Visual Arts Figure Drawing Co-op is a student-run program.  The majority of the sessions involve the unclothed model, but portrait models are also employed.  Co-op is non-instructional.  There are no lectures or demonstrations.


  • Cost for tri-college students for fall 2015 is $30 for the semester.
  • Cost for faculty members and community artists is $35 for the semester.
  • Please note that Co-op is unable to provide refunds or credit towards another semester if you choose not to attend after paying or only attend a few sessions.
  • Pro-rated fees are also not offered, should you choose to enroll later in the semester.

How to sign up

Pay at beginning of first session or pay after first session.  To pay after first session:

  • Pick up a Payment Slip. There are three ways to do this:
    • in the SVA office, CA 161
    • at the Co-op Coordinator’s office, King Hall 224 (slips in pocket on door)
    • at the first Co-op session on September 22
  • Bring payment to Co-op Coordinator’s office between 2 and 4 on Mondays and Wednesdays, or bring payment to MSUM Business Services, which is on the first floor of Owens Hall. Owens Hall is located on the corner of 11th Street and 9th Avenue. The Business Services is open 8 am to 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday.


  • Traditional oil paints may not be used in CA 170. Only dry drawing media and water-based media may be used.
  • You may attend as few or as many sessions of the semester as you wish. You may also attend all or parts of each model session. However, please observe studio etiquette and only enter or exit through the side door during model breaks.
  • There is no storage for supplies and artwork for community artists. Plan to take all supplies and work with you each evening.

Further questions or inquiries may be addressed to Co-op Coordinator, Sherry Lee Short, 218-477-2310, shortsh@mnstate.edu.


SVA Launches New Drawing and Illustration Curriculum in Fall 2015

Oil pastel on paper, work by Professor of Drawing and Illustration, Jim Park.

Oil pastel on paper, work by Professor of Drawing and Illustration, Jim Park.


Chalk pastel on paper, work by Professor of Drawing and Illustration, Sherry Lee Short.

The School of Visual Arts is proud to announce its new Emphasis in Drawing and Illustration.  The new emphasis launches in the fall of 2015 and involves a coordinated set of courses designed to meet the needs of graduates entering the multi-faceted fields of contemporary drawing and illustration. The new emphasis will replace two current emphases, the Emphasis in Drawing and Emphasis in Illustration.

Two courses currently on the books will continued to be offered.  These are Introduction to Illustration and Digital Illustration.  All other courses are new, including several courses each designed to immerse students in the methods, concepts, and materials of a key drawing and/or illustration area.  The new courses are:

  • Introduction to Drawing Concepts and Methodologies
  • Sequential Art
  • Perceptual Art
  • Contemporary Drawing Concepts and Methodologies
  • Figure Drawing and Painting
  • Portfolio Development
Detail of work by Assistant Professor of Printmaking, Patrick Vincent, who will be teaching Sequential Art in the new curriculum.

Detail of work by Assistant Professor of Printmaking, Patrick Vincent, who will be teaching Sequential Art in the new curriculum.

In addition, students are required to take all the core requirements that are required of all students seeking a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in the School of Visual Arts.  These include 2D and 3D introductory courses, Basic Drawing, Foundation Design, art history courses, and Professional Practices.

Sketch by Trygve Olson, Instructor of Digital Illustration.

Sketch by Trygve Olson, Instructor of Digital Illustration.

The new drawing and illustration curriculum will be taught by a diverse faculty representing a range of drawing and illustration styles in their own professional work, including both traditional and digital media.

For more information on this exciting new curriculum, contact Sherry Lee Short, shorts@mnstate.edu.

Oil on metal, work by Professor of Painting, Zhimin Guan, who will be teaching Figure Drawing and Painting in the new Emphasis in Drawing and Illustration.

Oil on metal, work by Professor of Painting, Zhimin Guan, who will be teaching Figure Drawing and Painting in the new Emphasis in Drawing and Illustration.

School of Visual Arts Offers Distinctive Post-Baccalaureate Certificate Program


Catie Miller, works on exhibit, MSUM Roland Dille Center for the Arts, 2012.

The School of Visual Arts offers a unique portfolio development opportunity for students who have completed a BA or BFA from a studio art program. The Certificate in Studio Research is an intensive, one-year program of study designed to prepare students for professional work in the art world.  Students exiting the program have a cohesive body of work, which prepares them for myriad professional opportunities, including applying for graduate school, residencies, or grants; developing a strong web presence for freelance work; approaching galleries for exhibition opportunities; and more.

Some of the exciting success stories of previous students who completed extended study in the School of Visual Arts include Elise Parsley, Catie Miller, and Kaylyn Gerenz.  Elise Parsley graduated in 2011 with a portfolio in illustration; she has already secured a book contract with a major publisher (see story here).  Catie Miller, ceramics, graduated in 2013, and is currently working as an artist-in-residence at Red Star Studios (story); Kaylyn Gerenz completed study in sculpture in 2011, received a Career Development Grant in 2012, and is currently working as the Programming Associate and Registrar at the Rourke Museum in Moorhead, Minnesota (story).

To apply for the Certificate in Studio Research, applicants must have an overall undergraduate GPA of 2.75. and 3.0 in art.  Applicants must also present a portfolio of works and complete a written proposal.

For more information or to request application forms, contact Sherry Lee Short at shortsh@mnstate.edu.

Deadline for the 2014-2015 year is April 1, 2014.

2011 Illustration Grad Gets Book Deal from Major Publisher


Elise Parsley
(photo credit: Than Baardson)

Last November, Elise Parsley, a 2011 graduate from the School of Visual Arts, made a query to a literary agent.  He was impressed with her work and, within a day, he signed her up and sent out her work to a number of publishers.  By the end of the week, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers made her a contract offer, which she accepted.  Her book If You Ever Want to Bring an Alligator to School, Don’t! will be published in 2015.

It was not only Parsley’s exceptional illustration and writing skills that impressed her agent.  “I was very impressed by how professionally Elise presented herself,”  he commented. “When I talked to her on the phone, she was so sweet and gracious, and it was clear that she already knows that she wants to make picture books for the rest of her life.  I knew on the spot that I wanted to represent her.”  The editor at Brown Books was impressed with the sophistication of her work:  “I assumed the book was created by someone who has studied and illustrated picture books for years,” she said. “It was the perfect formula of hilarity, heart, and expressive art. ”

ParsleyMagnoliaWhen Parsley enrolled in the art program at Minnesota State University she knew that she was interested in illustrating children’s books, but she was not certain she had the ability.  “I knew I wanted to give it a good try, but first I had to see if I was any good at drawing,” says Parsley.  “I really mean it when I say I didn’t know how to draw when I came to MSUM. I started from scratch.”  Reflecting on her professors’ contribution to her artistic development, she respectfully comments, “They really went out of their way to push me in terms of sequential and narrative work, and creating art that would speak to children. I owe a great deal to them.”

“Elise was an exceptional student,” says drawing professor Sherry Lee Short. “She was eager to learn, inquisitive, and always responsive to her professors’ critique.  I first had Elise as a student as a sophomore in life drawing classes.  Her ability to grow from project to project was exciting to see.  She had that perfect combination of innate talent and dedication to her work.”


“I always try to draw an image that makes me laugh, and then build a story around it. This time, I drew Magnolia in her classroom, with her teacher standing over her with a scowl on her face and a paper airplane in her hair. The alligator Magnolia brought to school is tattling on her, saying that Magnolia did it. From there, I figured that I’d better have a reason for this alligator being in the classroom in the first place, and I wrote the whole story.
Elise Parsley

Parsley concurs that learning to critique and think about one’s work was a key element in her growth as an artist. “The ability to thoughtfully critique was one of the best things I gained from my years at MSUM.  I learned to collaborate with others, ask questions and offer prompts to spur my fellow writers/artists along,” says Parsley.  Indeed, she continues to actively seek out critical feedback on her work.  “The give-and-take that a critique group offers, not to mention the community aspect, is crucial to my work now.  I thrive on feedback and revision, and meet with other kidlit creators multiple times each month to critique our work.  Now I also have the opportunity to receive feedback from my editor and art director at Little, Brown, so I’m in constant dialogue about both my writing and illustrations.”  She adds humorously, “If I hadn’t learned how to critique, I know I’d take everything too personally and probably cry a lot.  And no one wants to see that.”

Parsley also prepared for her career in illustration by achieving a minor in creative writing.  Before she graduated, she also created her website, business cards, letterhead, and other promotional materials in the Professional Practices course.

In addition to her upcoming book, Parsley also has illustrative work coming out in the March/April issue of theSociety of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators Bulletin.  She also teaches piano.  Parsley’s commitment to children, community, and creativity is evident in all that she does.  Says Parsley, “Currently I’m an author/illustrator by day, and a circuit-riding piano teacher by night. I don’t plan to continue teaching forever, but right now it’s a fun, flexible job that allows me to spend time with children.”

But children’s book illustration is where her heart is:  “Picture books are a whole genre of art made especially for children and the adults that spend time with them.  It’s art that a child can own, understand, and learn from.  Children are a great audience, and I knew I wanted to create images for them.”


End-of-the-Semester Kudos to SVA Students

A number of majors in the School of Visual Arts had significant achievements this semester.  Hats off!


Ashley Strazzinski.

  • Ashley Strazzinski, who is graduating with an emphasis in Photography this fall, received a Work Scholar Internship at Aperture magazine in New York City.  She starts her internship in January.
  • Several students had their work selected by faculty to show at a Minnesota State Colleges and Universities alumni event in Saint Paul in December.  The students were:  Marissa Van Vleet, Katelyn Hanson, Shalene Cole, Kai Paulus, Brooke Stewart, Becca Larsen, Chai Vang, Yvonne Wegscheid, Katie Mikkelsen, Cara Allbee, and Jesse Suppa.
  • Bertha Vasquez (Sculpture), Takara Geck (Photography), Chantel Fugere (Illustration), Shannon Hokstad (Art History), and Linnea Fittererand (Art History) presented papers at the Red River Women’s Studies Conference in Grand Forks, North Dakota, on October 4. (For the full story, click here).
  • Jesse Suppa (Sculpture) is serving on the College of Arts, Media, and Communication Student Advisory Board to the Dean.
  • Courtney Johnson, who is graduating with an emphasis in Photography and a minor in Business Management this fall, had two pieces accepted into the national juried exhibition, Reflections of Autumn, in Romeo, Michigan. Her work, Red Sweep, received second place in the exhibition.
  • Meghann Hlibichuck (Painting) and Megan Brabec (Painting) participated in the Autumn Art Auction at the North Dakota Museum of Art in Grand Forks.  Their works were featured in the color catalog.
  • Sam Williams

    Samuel Williams.

    Samuel Williams (Illustration) is working as a freelance illustrator for Institute of Domestic Violence in the African American Community in Minneapolis.

  • Painting students Alex Nelson, Carly Lengstorf,  Meghann Hlibichuk, Megan Brobec, Katelyn Hanson, Megan Quiring, and Cara Allbee participated in 2013 Annual Area Invitational Show at the Minnesota State Community and Technical College in Fergus Falls.  Katelyn Hanson received Merit Award.