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Illustration Graduate Wins Jack Gaughan Award for Best Emerging Artist

A recent Academy of Art University graduate is quickly making a name for himself in the Illustration world. Tyler Jacobson, whose artwork can be seen in Dungeons & Dragons magazine  among other places, won the Jack Gaughan Award for Best Emerging Artist.

Lestat de Lioncourt by Tyler Jacobson

Given by the New England Science Fiction Association, the Jack Gaughan Award is presented each year to a new and outstanding illustrator. The jury for the award consisted of Irene Gallo, Art Director of Tor Books; Todd Lockwood, Illustrator; and Bob Eggleton, Illustrator. “I am extremely honored to be placed among such amazing previous winners and well established illustrators,” said Tyler.

NESFA conferred the award on Tyler for his incredible body of work, including his Master’s thesis for the Illustration graduate school. Ranging from stunning illustrations of Moby Dick to detailed portraits of famous literary characters like Lestat, the pieces exhibit Tyler’s interest in science fiction and fantasy stories as well as his talent and imagination.

Tyler’s thesis work was displayed at Academy of Art University’s Spring Show, an annual event that draws creative professionals from across the country to see new talent from the Academy. “I was  fortunate to have so many industry people see my work at that Spring Show.  Such exposure allowed me the opportunity to be considered for the award,” Tyler said of the event.

Ahab Hunts the Whale by Tyler Jacobson

In addition to gaining exposure at Spring Show, Tyler also found his agent there. Artist representative, Richard Solomon saw Tyler’s work at a portfolio review organized by the illustration school prior to the show. Solomon was so impressed that within a few months of their meeting, he had officially signed Tyler on with his company.

A passion for storytelling inspired Tyler to pursue a masters degree in illustration. He credits Academy of Art University with enabling him to develop his technique and style. “The Academy really allowed me to explore my options and discover the best way for me to express my vision of art," Tyler said.

Quanah by Tyler Jacobson

In particular, Bill Maughan, Director of Graduate Illustration, had a significant influence on Tyler’s work. Maughan’s classes combined principles of both illustration and fine art, which is rare among art schools. “Bill also provided tremendous real world applications for his illustration concepts, and I think all my fellow classmates, including me,  benefited greatly from his knowledge and skill,” said Tyler.

Tyler’s work has appeared in Texas Monthly magazine, an upcoming pilot for NBC and more. He will also be featured this November in Spectrum, an illustration magazine that publishes winning entries into its annual competition.

Reflecting on his experiences as a professional freelance illustrator, Tyler offers this advice to current students, “Develop your vision. The strongest illustrators are the ones who have developed and established their style and are confident in it.”


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