SVA Film & Animation
FACULTY: Tristan Elwell


Drawing is both a physical and a mental activity, both the marks that you put down on a page and the thoughts that go through your head as you do so.

Learning to draw is learning to see and relate to the world in a profoundly different way. In my classes I aim to give students the tools they need to tell stories through pictures, and more importantly, to tell their stories in their voice. The foundation of this is observational drawing, but simple accuracy is never the end goal. Rather, it is to truly understand the world around you in visual terms, so that you have the freedom to present that world however you wish, or create whole new worlds of your own.

BFA, School of Visual Arts

Book cover clients (partial): Avon, Berkley Books, Bloomsbury, Egmont, Harcourt, HarperCollins, Henry Holt, Greenwillow, Macmillan, NAL, Penguin, Pocket Books, Random House, Running Press, Scholastic, Simon & Schuster, St. Martin’s Press, Tanglewood Books, Tor Books

ASFA Chesley Award nominee, best gaming related illustration, 2001

ASFA Chesley Award winner, best paperback cover, 2003, Briar Rose

Cover and illustrations for Crispin: the Cross of Lead, Newberry Award Winner, 2003

Society of Illustrators Annual, 1992, ’93, ’94, ’95, ’97, ’98, ’99, 2000, ’01, ’03, ’04, ’06, ’07

Print’s Regional Design Annual, 1993

Communication Arts Illustration Annual, 1994, 2001

Spectrum: the Best of Contemporary Fantastic Art, 1997, ’98, ’99, 2000, ’01, ’02, ’03, ’04, ’05, ‘06, ‘07, ’08, ’11, ‘12

Animation department: Foundation Drawing I & II

Illustration department: Principles of Illustration, Painting

Continuing Ed department: Crash Course for Artists, Illustrator, and Cartoonists