Illustration by Rebekka Dunlap
The Class of 2024 is hard at work on the production of their thesis projects! Please join us in welcoming the industry professionals supporting them on their unique storytelling journeys.
A staple of the MFAVN program, the thesis mentorship is a highly individualized relationship between the student and a working professional. Each student chooses a mentor to provide specific guidance and feedback on the creation of their thesis project. The mentor is typically an artist working in the same field as the student. Due to the multidisciplinary nature of MFAVN and the diversity of media and skillsets that each student brings to the table, every graduating year brings in a new range of impressive mentors.
Kate Sherron is an artist, writer, and Professor of Sequential Art at Savannah College of Art + Design. Kate has worked on a number of licensed all-ages properties and creator-owned projects for older readers.
Katie Skelly is a cartoonist who has been nominated for an Eisner for Best Anthology: Twisted Romance, edited by Alex de Campi, 2019. Other projects include Maids, Nurse Nurse, and My Pretty Vampire.
Story Artist & Character Designer
Wynton Redmond is story artist and character designer with 7 years of experience. He draws diverse, action/comedy projects, preferably with superheroes, car chases, or giant robots. He’s worked on Across the Spider-verse, Invincible, The Boys: Diabolical, Avatar, and Stranger Things.
Author & Illustrator
Liz Wong is the author and illustrator of the picture books The Goose Egg and Quackers, and the illustrator of Pirate Queen: A Story of Zheng Yi Sao, written by Helaine Becker.
Sloane Leong is a cartoonist, illustrator, writer, and editor of mixed indigenous ancestries. Through her work, she engages with visceral futurities and fantasies through a radical, kaleidoscopic lens.
Elizabeth Baddeley is a New York Times Bestselling and award-winning illustrator of I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark. She has illustrated many other biographies and non-fiction books for children including: The Fastest Girl on Earth (Knopf), Grace Banker and Her Hello Girls Answer the Call (Calkins Creek), Leave is to Abigail (Little Brown), and An Inconvenient Alphabet (Simon & Schuster).
Julia Pott is an award-winning British animator and illustrator living in Los Angeles. She was a staff writer on the final two seasons of Adventure Time. Creator and Executive Producer for the GLAAD and Emmy nominated series Summer Camp Island on HBO MAX, she has been named one of the 10 Animators to Watch by Variety Magazine, 25 new faces of film by Filmmaker Magazine + an ADC Young Gun.
Céline Loup is an illustrator whose clients include The New York Times, The New Yorker, Penguin, First Second, The A.V. Club, Variety, Lucky Peach, Medium, Matter, Boom!Studios, Scrubs, FLARE, Hemispheres, The Chicago Reader, BUST, and Mental Floss Magazine. Celine’s awards include The Ignatz Awards, Best American Comics, American Illustration, The Society of Illustrators, and CMYK.
Comic Book Storyteller
Kyle Strahm is a best-selling artist/writer who has worked in the comic book industry for over twenty years. He is the co-creator of Twig, the biggest Image Comics launch of 2022. His other creator-owned titles include Spread, Horrorium, Into Radness, and Unearth. Having drawn, written, or edited multiple projects, Kyle has enjoyed working with nearly every major publisher in the industry. Since 2013, Kyle has been a lecturer at the Kansas City Art Institute.
After self-publishing zines and comix for a long while, Adam Smith released Long Walk to Valhalla with Matt Fox on Archaia/Boom! in 2015. Upon its release, the book was nominated for an Eisner and Harvey award for best Graphic Novel in 2016. Since then, he was featured in D.C.’s New Talent Showcase, worked with Lion Forge, Oni, and The Jim Henson company gathering a Gem Award nomination, and served as a Jury Member for The Bram Stoker Award with his last Graphic Novel being featured on New York Public Library’s Best New Comics for Adults.
Katelyn Clark is the main writer, lead developer, and company owner of a small indie game studio called GB Patch Games. She’s most known for the “Our Life” series of visual novels- Our Life: Beginnings & Always as well as Our Life: Now & Forever.
Writer & Illustrator
Antoine Revoy is a French multilingual author-illustrator raised in Tokyo in the 80s, then Mexico City and Barcelona in the 90s. Since 2000, Antoine has created award-winning illustrations for international clients such as Harvard University, Der SPIEGEL and The New York Times, receiving Gold awards from Graphis and the Society of Illustrators of Los Angeles, as well as distinction from American Illustration, PRINT Magazine, the Society of Illustrators of New York, and Spectrum: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art.
Edel Rodriguez is a Cuban American artist who has exhibited internationally with shows in Los Angeles, Toronto, New York, Dallas, Philadelphia, and Spain. Inspired by personal history, religious rituals, politics, memory, and nostalgia, his bold, figurative works are an examination of identity, cultural displacement, and mortality.
Patrick Kyle is a Visual Artist based in Toronto, Canada. He has created illustrations and comics for Adidas, The New York Times, The Nation, Converse, MIT Technology Review, Bloomberg, Cartoon Network, Brasserie Dunham and many others. Patrick worked with Toronto based Koyama Press on eight titles from 2010 to 2019. He is currently published by Frémok in Europe and by Breakdown Press in the UK.
2023-24 Thesis Faculty Advisors
This year, we’re introducing the role of Thesis Faculty Advisor. While mentors advise students on the conceptual and creative aspects of their projects, thesis faculty advisors advise on the production of their thesis work, including project and workflow management. The role of thesis faculty advisors is similar to that of an editor in publishing; an art director in illustration; or a creative producer, head of story, or director in animation, film, or game production. We have custom-tailored a group of industry experts based on each student’s specific professional goals. Welcome to our new faculty members!
Kristy Caldwell holds an MFA in Illustration as Visual Essay from the School of Visual Arts and is the illustrator of many children’s books. Her work has been recognized by American Illustration, Communication Arts, International Library Association, NYPL, New York Foundation for the Arts, Bank Street College of Education, and the Junior Library Guild. She previously held positions as Director of Archives and Publications for Castelli Gallery and co-founder of Carrier Pigeon: Illustrated Fiction and Fine Art. She has served as faculty at Pratt Institute, School of Visual Arts, and Minneapolis College of Art and Design, where she developed the continuing education course “Active Imagination: Ideation Process for Creatives.” She is interested in using immersive storytelling to explore the role imagination plays in the intersection of memory and the present moment. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Design at Queens College.
Andrea Colvin is the Editorial Director of Graphic Publishing for Little, Brown Ink, working on graphic novels and graphic nonfiction for early readers up through teen and YA. With over two decades of experience in the publishing world, she has worked previously as Editor in Chief at Lion Forge Comics and VP of Content/Executive Producer at Andrews McMeel Universal. Andrea oversees publication of approximately twenty titles a year in her work to continue and revitalize the comics publishing tradition at Little, Brown.
Rebekka Dunlap’s figures often bend and distort, filling the frame or floating into oblivion so as to allow traditional space to fall away completely. Her pre-occupation with the interiors of the mind have lead her to visually discuss such topics as Mental Health, Women’s Issues and more generally, the emotional strain of navigating tumultuous systems of power whether social or algorithmic. Leaning heavily on a lexicon of Children’s Media and Anime, Rebekka combines the whimsical with real world gravity.
Gina Gagliano has had a career in books and publishing in roles spanning from marketing, publicity, and sales to editorial for over a decade and a half. In that time, she’s worked with kids and comics publishers, as well as with book festivals. Organizations she’s worked with include graphic novel publishers Avery Hill, Street Noise, Levine Querido, First Second Books, and Random House Graphic, as well as the Boston Book Festival and the Boston Comics Art Foundation. With Ben Wilgus, she co-hosted the informational graphic novel publishing podcast Graphic Novel TK.
Editor & Writer
Sebastian is a German-born, American-raised editor and writer with over 15 years of experience in book, magazine, online publishing, specializing in the comics and entertainment industry. As Editor-in-Chief he currently oversees and manages all editorial, creative, and content development aspects of TKO Studios. In September of 2023 Sebastian also announced Goats Flying Press, an independent comic book publisher he founded in Brooklyn NY.
Artist, Narrative Designer & Infographics Designer
Jenny Goldstick is a Brooklyn-based artist, narrative and infographics designer, and educator interested in the hows, whens and whys of non-linear storytelling. She has exhibited at Babycastles, at the Wordplay interactive fiction festival in Toronto, and was an official nominee at IndieCade independent games festival in 2016. She is co-creator and executive producer of Story Of/ workshop, an interdisciplinary hackathon-style event that prioritizes visual story concept over technique and media for a weekend-long prototyping session. She consults with and creates graphics for a wide range of clients.
Filmmaker & Designer
Dem works as a filmmaker, designer, painter, writer, and furniture designer. His current interests are in telling Black stories within a diverse range of artistic disciplines, while also giving a platform for other artists to express their own experiences through their work. He explores Afro-Surrealism in his writings and film work; Creative Pop in poetry and Minimal Brutalism in his design work. He hopes his work can be a Trojan horse of Black excellence. He holds a B.A. in architecture from Morgan State University, an M.A. in Social Design from the Maryland Institute College of Art, and an M.F.A. in filmmaking, also from MICA. Dem was a 2013 Artscape Student Awardee; a 2013 AIA Emerging Design Professional Awardee; a 2015 Gensler Architecture Impact Awardee; a 2015 Johns Hopkins Social Innovation Lab Fellow; a 2016 Rose Fellowship Finalist; a 2016 Winter Warnock Baltimore Social Innovation Winner; and a 2021 AICAD Fellow. He resides in NYC and is a visiting professor with the Columbus College of Art & Design and the School of Visual Arts for 2022-2023.
Dylan Meconis (she/they) is a cartoonist, author, designer and educator. Dylan is the Eisner award-nominated creator of many graphic novels for children and adults, including Bite Me! a vampire farce, Family Man, The Long Con (with Ben Coleman and E.A. Denich), and Queen of the Sea, and the illustrator for the first three volumes of Kate Messner’s History Smashers educational series. She’s a longstanding member of Helioscope, the largest working collective of comics creators in North America.
Author & Screenwriter
Mark Sable is a writer for print, stage and screen best known for his comics work. He’s written such characters as SPIDER-MAN for Marvel Comics and BATMAN for DC. His passion however is his creator-owned work, including GRAVEYARD OF EMPIRES, GROUNDED, FEARLESS, and HAZED for Image Comics and UNTHINKABLE for Boom! Studios. Mark is a professional writer and writing professor. He earned a B.A. in English from Duke University, and MFA in Dramatic Writing from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and a J.D. from USC Law School. He has been teaching for SVA’s MFA in Visual Narrative program since the Fall of 2013.
Cartoonist, Editor & Professor
Steenz is a St. Louis based cartoonist, editor, and professor. They’re the cartoonist on the syndicated comic strip Heart Of The City, the co-creator of the Standard Comic Script, and president of the board for the St. Louis Independent Comics Expo. Steenz currently teaches cartooning at Webster University while editing titles from independent publishers and creators. They’re also currently working on their latest graphic novel Side Quest: A Graphic Novel History of TTRPGs.