RISD Students Take Annual Society of Illustrators Competition by Storm

illustration featuring cows

Each year the Society of Illustrators (SOI) New York receives thousands of submissions for its Annual Student Scholarship Competition from students across the country. A jury of professional illustrators and art directors selects the best entries based on the quality of technique, concept and skill of medium used for a spring exhibition in NYC. This year 29 of those selected entries came from RISD students studying in the Illustration department.

“It’s always a nice validation from the industry that our program is shaping artists who are bound for success in their fields,” says Illustration Department Head Eric Telfort 05 IL

rust and gold illustration featuring an old man smoking
illustration of a girl in a white dress with a huge head and a tiny black dog
Above, The Echoes of Rust (detail) by Ziruo (Cara) Wang; below, Crystal and Remi (detail) by Xuan Chen.

The “best of the best” pieces also garner cash prizes for as much as $5,000. The big winners among RISD students are The Echoes of Rust by Ziruo (Cara) Wang 24 IL, which took home the $1,000 Joyce Rogers Kitchell Prize; Til the Cows Come Home (see top photo) by Xinyi Liu 24 IL, which earned the $1,000 Walt Reed Scholarship Award; Crystal and Remi by Xuan Chen 25 IL, which took home the $1,000 Ted Lewin Scholarship Award; and Bon Appétit by Su Yun Song 24 IL, which earned the $500 HUG Visionary Award.

Most of the winning illustrations were created in classes taught by longtime Illustration Professor Fred Lynch 86 IL. “This juried exhibition is the premier competition for student illustrators in North America, awarding outstanding work created in the normal course of study,” says Lynch. “I’m pleased and proud that so many RISD students are chosen out of a vast pool of entrants for recognition and prizes. SOI merit helps boost resumes and self-promotion and annually places RISD, its Illustration program and its students among the very top in our field.” 

a chef regurgitates an entree for pigeons dining in the restaurant
Bon Appétit (detail) by Su Yun Song earned the $500 HUG Visionary Award.

Also recognized for the SOI’s recently added animation category were Cat by sophomore Marcus Bigbee 26 IL, Memory Dragonfly by junior Luna Yijia Yuan 25 FAV/IL and Red Thumb by recent alums Geneva Huffman 23 IL and Kolya Kishinsky 23 IL.

All the work was on display in a spring exhibition in NYC, and the winning illustrators were feted at an opening reception and awards ceremony on May 10.

Simone Solondz / top image: Til the Cows Come Home by Xinyi Liu
June 17, 2024

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