Educators Symposium Highlight: Melanie Reim

Melanie Reim travels with a sketchbook never far from her side. Melanie lives in NYC where she is an Associate Professor, the former Assistant Dean in the School of Art and Design, and presently, the chairperson of the MFA in Illustration in the School of Graduate Studies at FIT. As a globally recognized reportage artist, and long-time illustrator, she has traveled to the Dominican Republic, South Africa, Europe and China to document happenings from sugar cane workers to seamstresses in factories. She regularly teaches and lectures abroad, and her visual journals and teaching methodologies have been the subject of international articles and featured in drawing books. Her work is part of the US Air Force Art Collection, Washington, DC, as well as other group and solo shows. Melanie is a 2006 Fulbright Scholar, has served with ICON: The Illustration Conference as Board Member and Volunteer Coordinator for three consecutive conferences and now serves as Education Chair on the Board of Directors at The Society of Illustrators, where she advocates for the love of drawing and design, and the rich and well-rounded education of illustration students everywhere, as they are the future of the industry.

Melanie Reim serves as the Education Chair on the Board of Directors of the Society of Illustrators.  She will be kicking off the Educators Symposium  with Society Executive Director Anelle Miller and Educators Symposium Chair Chuck Pyle on Friday, October 10 at 5:00 PM.  She will also be speaking on Sunday, October 11 at 10:30 AM during an Education Committee Update.

Educators Symposium Highlight: Adam McCauley

Adam McCauley works out of his studio in his home in the sunny Mission district in San Francisco with his wife, designer and musician Cynthia Wigginton and their cat Gertrude. He’s a professor in the amazing Illustration department at California College of the Arts. Adam enjoys illustrating, playing drums, and making things. His illustrations have appeared in magazines, books, collateral and campaigns world wide. Clients have included Time, MTV, Apple Computer, the New York Times, Itaú Bank, Smithsonian, Levi’s, Viking, Harper Collins, The Folio Society, Chronicle Books, SF Museum of Modern Art, Victoria & Albert Museum, Microsoft, and many others.  Awards have included American Illustration, Society of Illustrators, Communication Arts, Print Regional Design Annual, 3 x 3, and How Magazine.  Adam received the Society of Illustrator’s 51 Gold Medal for his illustrated monster stamp endpapers for the book “The Monsterologist: A Memoir In Rhyme” by Bobbi Katz, as well as the Society of Illustrator’s 55 Silver Medal for “Simplicity City”, commissioned by ”Oh No, Not Ghosts!,” by Richard Michelson, was chosen to be included in AIGA’s Top 100 show for 2007, “The Monsterologist” in AIGA’s Top 100 Show for 2009.

Adam McCauley will be joined by Robert Hunt for the presentation  Professional Practices at the Educators Symposium on Saturday, October 11 beginning at 11:00 PM.  

In it, he will discuss the importance of instilling good professional practices on students before they leave the department, focusing on a curriculum that combines a sense of long term thinking in financial and creative endeavors and shows students the ways creative freedom and financial stability are intertwined. 

To learn more about the Educators Symposium visit our website. 

Educators Symposium Highlight: Robert Hunt


As described by Walt Reed in the most recent edition of The Illustrator in America, “His work reflects his classical training, but with a contemporary take.”Robert Hunt has created illustrations for a wide variety of projects including editorial illustrations for many major publications, hundreds of book covers, and numerous special projects including the Dreamworkslogo and motion logos, advertisements, annual reports, packaging, as well as documentary projects including the Bay Bridge Earthquake reconstruction and on- location illustrated coverage of the Tour de France. His work has received numerous awards and has appeared regularly in the New York Society of Illustrator’s Annual as well as American Illustration, Spectrum and the Communication Arts, Graphis and Print Design and Illustration Annuals. Hunt is also an Associate Professor at the California College of the Arts (Formerly CCAC.). 

Robert Hunt will be joined by Adam McCauley for the presentation  Professional Practices at the Educators Symposium on Saturday, October 11 beginning at 11:00 PM.  

In it, he will discuss the importance of instilling good professional practices on students before they leave the department, focusing on a curriculum that combines a sense of long term thinking in financial and creative endeavors and shows students the ways creative freedom and financial stability are intertwined. 

To learn more about the Educators Symposium visit our website.  

Educators Symposium Highlight: Robbi Behr and Matthew Swanson

Author/illustrator, husband/wife, indie publishing duo Matthew Swanson and Robbi Behr run two small presses and a letterpress design studio out of their home/studio/barn on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Together, they have published more than 50 illustrated books (including titles with Chronicle Books and LB Kids), teach and speak on creative entrepreneurship and collaboration, and struggle daily to find matching socks for their three small children.  

Robbi and Matthew will be presenting at the Educators Symposium on Fri., Oct. 10.

It Takes Two: The Exponential Benefits of Joining Forces
Fri., Oct.10, 5:30 PM, Main Gallery

In this presentation/workshop hybrid, husband/wife, writer/illustrator, indie publishing duo Matthew Swanson and Robbi Behr shatter the myth of the lone genius while discussing and demonstrating the powers of collaborative thinking and doing. Participants will explore the three primary modes of collaboration and learn the pros and cons of each; consider the importance of saying yes (and sometimes no); and work together to author and illustrate micro-flash picture books. Supported by nearly 300 hand-drawn slides, the keynote will be humorous, engaging, and fun—combining storytelling, idea sharing, and good old-fashioned, hands-on discovery.

To learn more about the Educators Symposium visit our website. 

Coming soon!

The highly anticipated bi-annual Educators Symposium takes place every other year in the Society’s headquarters in NYC- the mecca of illustration.  Illustration professors gather from all over the country and world for this high impact, high value development opportunity filled with idea sharing and networking. 

This year we will be encouraging all participants to “Learn Out Loud!” through interactive team building activities, panel discussions led by peers, lectures led be the top innovators in the field and groundbreaking demonstrations.

Get ready to discuss the issues you need to better educate your students for today’s illustration market, while still keeping their skills broad enough to pursue opportunity wherever it leads them as storytelling artists. 

If you are an Educator interested in attending the Symposium please visit our website to learn more.  

Stay tuned for highlights and special guests in the next few weeks! 

The very talented Keren Katz did this amazing drawing of our Director Anelle Miller's office! It's part of a series she is doing on work spaces and we cannot wait to see the rest of this project! Keren did such a great job capturing all the little details including the “bullshit” button, Anelle's garden gnome collection (that the loving staff has bestowed on her), WWE figures, and numerous trophies! Thanks Keren, we love it!!!

The very talented Keren Katz did this amazing drawing of our Director Anelle Miller's office! It's part of a series she is doing on work spaces and we cannot wait to see the rest of this project! Keren did such a great job capturing all the little details including the “bullshit” button, Anelle's garden gnome collection (that the loving staff has bestowed on her), WWE figures, and numerous trophies! Thanks Keren, we love it!!!

Three students have been selected as this year’s Zankel Scholar Finalists!  

Xanthe Bouma (Maryland Institute College of Art), Taylor Lambert (San Jose State University), and Brenna Thummler (Ringling College of Art and Design) were chosen to represent their university/college and will now move on to the final interviews and portfolio reviews to take place at the Society’s headquarters.  

The Zankel Scholar is an annual scholarship, named in memory of Arthur Zankel, whose generous bequest has made this possible.  Mr.Zankel was a firm advocate for higher education.  This is the 8th year the Society has been honored to seek, in his name, the best of the junior class and to financially support his or her senior year of college.

This year’s judges include Gail Anderson (Art Director), Teresa Fasolino (Illustrator), Brendan Leach (Illustrator), Stephen Savage (Illustrator), and Len Small (Art Director, Nautilus Magazine).  

Last Friday, June 20th, the Society of Illustrators held the 2014 Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony.  Every year, the Society’s galleries, housed in an 1875 carriage house on the Upper East Side of New York City, are transformed into a spectacular display which includes theater-like seating surrounded by dim red lights and elegant table settings in the third floor Hall of Fame gallery.  All this is to honor the life, work and legacies of the year’s recipients.

This year the Society inducted Al Jaffee, Syd Mead, and Ed Sorel into the Hall of Fame, as well as Mary Blair, Walter Everett, William Cameron Menzies, and Alex Raymond posthumously.

It was truly a spectacular evening with many shared stories of fond memories and insight into the recipients long and talented careers.  

For more images from the celebration please visit our flickr page

The First Ever Comic and Cartoon Art Annual!

Last Friday, June 13th, the Society of Illustrators hosted the first ever Comic and Cartoon Art Annual Opening Reception and Awards Ceremony.  The night was full of friends- both new and old- who braved the torrential downpour and enjoyed some great food and drinks prepared by our very talented Chef Q!  


We celebrated the winners with an Awards Ceremony and Presentation and heard some very moving and emotional acceptance speeches.  There was a lot of warmth and support in the room, and it felt very special to be there and show our appreciation for comic and cartoon artists.   


(pictured above: Ruben Bolling accepting a Gold Medal.)

This year’s Chair, Steven Guarnaccia, began the evening with some beautiful words that we wanted to share with you.  I think Steven did a really wonderful job explaining this competition and exhibit, and why it is so important to us:

Greetings and welcome to the first annual awards ceremony for the SOI Comic and Cartoon Art Annual. It’s great to see so many new faces here tonight.

It’s a heady time for comics. They have, of course, long since left the basements and backrooms, and come in from the comics shops. University courses teach them as new forms of literature. Graphic novels, graphic memoirs and other long-form comics are regularly reviewed up front in the book pages of major periodicals, along with the traditional word-based novels and non-fiction, often without being called out as comics in the first place.

This has become so commonplace that it might do well to remember that not so long ago things were not thus. When I recently interviewed Arnold Roth, Al Jaffee and Mort Walker for the National Cartoonists Society, Mort reminisced about the controversy that attended his nomination for membership in the Society of Illustrators. At the time, illustrators looked down their noses at comic strip artists, just as fine artists were looking down their noses at illustrators. In fact, there was an even more finely grained system of prejudices at the time: gag cartoonists looked down on comic strip artists, comic strip artists looked down on comic book artists, and New Yorker cartoonists looked down on everyone.

The truth is, comics and illustration share a long history. Winsor McCay, one of the most illustrative of comics practitioners, was a poster artist and newspaper illustrator of journalistic and humorous subjects before he embarked on “Little Nemo in Slumberland”, the strip that secured his place in the comics pantheon. Crockett Johnson, Garrett Price, VIP, Arnold Roth, among others, kept one foot in each camp over the years.

The increased visual sophistication of contemporary comics is partly due to the incursion of illustrators into the comics field. One positive result of the recent stagnation of commissioned editorial illustration is that illustrators have been forced to look for creative and economic satisfaction beyond magazine and newspaper illustration. Many illustrators initiate their own projects, becoming visual storytellers in the process. The current fields of children’s books, animation and comics are the richer for this.

This, the first Society of Illustrators Comic and Cartoon Art Annual, is not meant to be an exhaustive survey of the field. Rather, it’s a snapshot of a moment. The work came from seasoned professionals and from fresh newcomers. In keeping with the spirit of the Society of Illustrators annual illustration competition, the work was submitted by the artists themselves, as well as by the publishers. This has made for a fresh pool of work to consider, and it introduced the jurors, and the field and public as well, to many terrific little-known artists. Many will surely go on to become future mainstays of comic-dom, just as we hope the Comic and Cartoon Art annual will become an important event on the comics calendar for years to come.

By the way, 40 pieces from the show will travel to colleges, galleries, museums and libraries around the country.

I want to thank the jurors who reviewed the work. They are a veritable who’s who of artists, editors and commentators from the world of comics, and their presence on the jury guaranteed the stature of this competition. You can find all of their illustrious names in the catalog. A note about the jurying: all of the long-form works were sent a month in advance to the jurors of that category, to read. All of the jurors in all of the categories then met in separate sessions here at the Society, over the course of a week, to review the works and discuss them with their fellow jurors. Lively dialogue ensued.

I want to thank Rutu Modan for creating the terrifically bizarre art for the poster, and Tara Jacoby for designing it, and the beautiful catalog of the show.

Special thanks must go to exhibitions director Kate Feirtag, the ever-undaunted, tireless organizer of all things competitions here at the Society. People often say, figuratively, about a colleague, “I couldn’t have done it without them.” But in this case it’s no figure of speech. There were innumerable moving parts in organizing this competition, and I literally could not have chaired this competition without Kate helping and guiding me every step of the way.

As always, a big thanks and hug to Anelle Miller, the director of the Society, who has opened up this place to more new ideas than Pope Francis has the Vatican.

I want to encourage you all to enter next years’ competition, and to spread the word. I’ll be chairing the annual again next year, this time with Bob Sikoryak as co-chair. Bob will then go on to chair the annual with a co-chair of his choosing the following year.

Thank you!



NEW YORK, NY (February, 2014)—The Society of Illustrators is proud to announce that Gregory Benton, Tracy Hurren, Chip Kidd, Chris Pitzer and James Sturm will form the jury for the MoCCA Arts Festival Awards of Excellence. These awards will recognize the most outstanding work on view at the…

Very excited to share this stellar list of jury members for this year’s MoCCA Fest Awards of Excellence! 

A New Acquisition!

The Society is excited to share with you our latest acquisition to the Permanent Collection.  This beautiful Howard Chandler Christy was purchased at the Bonham’s auction.

Like Charles Dana Gibson’s “Gibson Girl”, Howard Chandler Christy (1873-1952) is most recognized for his “Christy Girl”, as seen above.  These ladies were featured in advertisements, stories, and editorial works for magazines and newspapers, and became the ideal beauty of the late 19th and early 20th century.  They were aristocratic and dainty with slim waists, delicate features, and flowing hair.  During the Spanish-American War, the “Christy Girl” was used in patriotic posters and helped Christy become a major celebrity of the time.  

This piece is titled “Late Night Conversation” and was finished in 1923.  The caption reads “two Christy Girls, one in deshabille and one just returned home on the arm of a man.” It was possibly commissioned for a double-page magazine illustration.  The piece is charcoal on illustration board.

Howard Chandler Christy became a Member of the Society of Illustrators on January 8th, 1915.  He was elected to the Society’s Hall of Fame in 1980.  To learn more about this artist click here.  

SI partners with #GivingTuesday to raise $5k for our Drawing Academy

What is the Drawing Academy?  

With increasing cuts to art programs, the Society began the Drawing Academy several years ago to allow young students the chance to learn about and create illustrations, comic and cartoon art.  

Today we are asking you to help us raise $5000 for the program so we can fund twenty at-risk youth ages 9-13 from the most vulnerable neighborhoods in New York City. 

Each student will receive art supplies and will engage with a teaching artist at the Society.  Past teachers have included Leslie Cober-Gentry, John Cuneo, Bil Donovan, Jeff Fisher, Stephen Gardner, Victor Juhasz, Ed Murr, George O’Connor, MK Reed, Edel Rodriguez (pictured below), Dave Roman, Ellen Weinstein, and Mark Zeimann, to name a few. They integrate their illustration and comic expertise with the NYS Learning Standards in the Visual Arts to provide students with holistic outcomes-based curriculum.

We also provide nutritious lunches in our amazing third floor Dining Hall!

How You Can Help

Community involvement and support are vital to ensuring that the camp continues.  The Society is partnering with the global #GivingTuesday campaign to raise $5k on December 3rd (today!).  Our goal is to subsidize the costs of serving 20 at-risk youth in our 2014 Winter/Spring Drawing Academies.

Please help us make the Academy possible by making a tax deductible donation today!  Donate online now! 

Help us raise money for our Permanent Collection Acquisition Fund!

The Society has set up an online auction through Paddle8.  All proceeds benefit the acquisition fund of the Museum.  

Visit now to bid on your favorite pieces including this one by Milton Glaser titled Metamorphic Flowers, 1990.  

or this one by Paula Scher titled Silent Night, 1988.

or even this one by Maurice Sendak titled Mother Goose, 1990!

And for those who are interested, UPPERCASE Magazine has created a fantastic sneak peek of our Permanent Collection.  Thank you to Janine Vangool for her help with judging the Illustrators 56 competition and creating this great video

New Acquisition at the Society of Illustrators



R. Robert Pollak donates 16 original illustrations to the Museum’s Permanent Collection

Sunday pages of Mary Perkins, On Stage (1975) and Annie (1983) by Leonard Starr; Flash Gordon by Dan Barry (1976); Star Trek by Ron Harris (1981); Buck Rogers in the 25th Century by Jack Sparling (1983); Tarzan: the Beckoning by Thomas Yeates (1993); Dale Messick cut-outs (1947-50); Brick Bradford by Paul Norris (1966); Reg’lar Fellers (1924) by Gene Byrnes; Burne Hogarth artist proof for one of the King Arthur Series and 3 fashion illustrations by Denise Dupré (c. 1973-1978).

R. Robert Pollak, an avid collector of original comic artwork, is a graduate of Pratt Institute, drawing illustrations with a cartoon flare since the mid-1970s. Many of his pen-and-ink illustrations have appeared in an assortment of publications over the years including The Soho Weekly News and Saks Fifth Avenue, to more recently The Shawangunk Journal, The Ellenville Public Library/Museum, and Historic Green-Wood Cemetery. With assistance from John Sterling Lucas, Pollak started the Katy Keene Fan Club page on Facebook, which he administered and created art for from 2009-2011. Over the last three years Pollak has drawn pin-ups and short stories for Red Stylo Media’s Shakespeare Shaken and Frankenstein Anthology graphic novels. He also illustrates a seasonal comic strip titled Ellen’s Adventures at the Shadowland for an upstate NY newspaper.