The Society is proud to further its mission of supporting and preserving the art and history of illustration through educational and social programming, with its continuation of these prestigious scholarship programs. These scholarship programs offer financial support to college-level students, as well as promotional opportunities to help them establish careers in illustration and comic art.
This year’s Annual Student Scholarship Competition featured over 270 works chosen from 6,400 entries submitted by professors of illustration and animation students nationwide and Canada. In a competition which can kick start a career, students bring their most sophisticated, well-crafted and original work to be judged. A jury of professional peers, including illustrators and art directors, selects the most outstanding works created throughout the year. Work is juried into the competition based on the quality of technique, concept and skill of medium used. Thirty four students were awarded financial support from the show, which is now viewable on the Society’s online exhibits platform.
On behalf of the Will and Ann Eisner Family Foundation, the Society is pleased to announce the annual Will Eisner Scholar, dedicated to one of the most influential comic artists of all time. This scholarship is awarded to the best comics and sequential art student currently enrolled in an undergraduate program in the US. Junior-level students are selected by their faculty and submit a portfolio to the Society. This year the jury included artists Lauren Simkin Berke, Lisk Feng, Eva Redamonti, and Publisher Leon Avelino (Secret Acres). The jury chose as finalists Mira Hirabayashi (Rhode Island School of Design), Erica Hoelting (Kansas City Art Institute), and Jacob Voorheis (College for Creative Studies). After online interviews and a review of their body of work, Jacob Voorheis was selected as this year’s Will Eisner Scholar.
Through this scholarship Jacob will continue his goal of making accessible comics that “tell stories about deep personal issues that are covered by fun, fantastical, and/or action packed elements.” Jacob comments that “it is important to tell these stories and give something back to all the writers and artists and comic fans that inspired me to get to this point.”
The Zankel Scholar, established in 2007, is named in memory of Arthur Zankel, whose generous bequest made this scholarship possible. Mr. Zankel was a firm advocate for higher education, and the Society is honored to seek, in his name, the best illustration student of the junior class. Top students are nominated by faculty, and submit a portfolio of work to the Society. The jury this year included illustrator/ artists Gil Ashby, Fernanda Cohen, Frances Vallejo, Vice President and Executive Art Director Lily Malcom at Dial Books for Young Readers (an imprint of Penguin Random House), and Aviva Michaelov, Design Director of The New Yorker magazine. The jury chose as finalists Kailee Finn (Fashion Institute of Technology), Meghan Hoffmann (Ringling College of Art & Design), and Cara Ziruo Wang (Rhode Island School of Design). After online interviews and a portfolio review, Cara Ziruo Wang was selected as this year’s Zankel Scholar.
When reflecting on her burgeoning illustration career, Cara notes that she is inspired by the landscapes and culture from her hometown of Guangzhou and hopes to “fuse her passion for storytelling, line art, and cultural heritage to create illustrations that are playful and full of feelings.”
In 2010, the Society established the Society of Illustrators Fund in Memory of Joyce Rogers Kitchell to honor her legacy as an illustrator and longtime member. The Society is pleased to continue the fund and provide annual support towards The School of Art and Design at San Diego State University.
About the Society of Illustrators
Founded in 1901, the Society of Illustrators and its Museum of Illustration together comprise America’s longest-standing nonprofit organization dedicated to the art of illustration. The mission of SI/MI is to promote the art and appreciation of illustration and its history and evolving nature through exhibitions and educational programs.
About the Will and Ann Eisner Family Foundation
The Will and Ann Eisner Family Foundation fosters innovation and creativity in graphic literature, sequential art and comics. It encourages others to continue and build upon the legacy of Will Eisner, who broke new ground in the development of visual narrative and the language of comics and was the creator of The Spirit, John Law, Lady Luck, Mr. Mystic, Uncle Sam, Blackhawk, Sheena and countless others.
About the School of Art and Design at San Diego State University
The School of Art and Design at San Diego State University values the theoretical and historical study of the visual arts, art making, and the practice of design; and recognizes that they are integral to society and beneficial to the individual. They promote the values of integrity, innovation, and interaction through their teaching, creative endeavors, and community involvement. The School’s progressive, dynamic, and relevant curricula attract ambitious, dedicated undergraduate and graduate students, many of whom become leading professionals in their fields. Their faculty and staff are distinguished by breadth of experience, expertise, and professional achievement.