Most authors of children’s books don’t get to choose who illustrates their books–the publisher does. (It’s a different story for celebrities, of course: celebrities-turned-authors like Henry “The Fonz” Winkler get what they want: Aaayyy!) However, if you can write and illustrate (Maurice Sendak, Chris Van Allsburg, Oliver Jeffers) your chances of getting published are greater. Responding to an increase in applications for Children’s Book illustration classes, the popular and profitable School of Visual Arts in Manhattan – the place for commercial illustrators to launch their colorful careers – is now offering a 3-year MFA degree in “Visual Narrative.” Students will not be taught how to write but rather how to produce, curate and publish a narrative in any medium they wish.
Comic book artist Nathan Fox, known for his knife-wielding buxom babes and grenade throwing he-men, will instruct the 2013 freshmen class. Bloomberg’s graphics director Jennifer Daniel will also join the faculty – you’ve seen her “connect the dot” family-tree-like maps and mazes in The New York Times and BusinessWeek, outlining scenarios like “Who gets rich assuming Facebook hits $104 billion on IPO day.” And the ringer for the program is children’s book historian, author, and critic Leonard S. Marcus, who will presumably teach the visually perceptive the history of storytelling and the art of listening. Tuition for the three intensive summer residencies is $42K – the price recently paid for a first-edition copy of J.M. Barrie’s “Peter and Wendy,” also known as “Peter Pan,” a boy who started out just words but you know what he looks like.