In Memoriam: Murray and Carol Tinkelman

While we continue to mourn the loss of our program's founding power-duo, Barabara Steinberger, Director of Internal Communication, published a fitting tribute to Murray an Carol via the University's UNotes Daily:

"Internationally renowned illustrator Murray Tinkelman, creator and director of the prestigious Low Residency MFA in Illustration program at the University of Hartford’s Hartford Art School (HAS), died on Jan. 29. His wife, Carol, who was the former program manager for the MFA in Illustration, passed away just a few weeks earlier.

Together, Murray and Carol Tinkelman made the University’s MFA in Illustration a prominent and highly regarded program attracting top illustrators from around the country. “Alumni from the program have received national illustration awards and have gone on to teach illustration at colleges and universities around the world,” HAS Dean Nancy Stuart wrote in a letter to HAS faculty, staff, and board members announcing Murray Tinkelman's death.

The program that the Tinkelmans started in 2006 has served as the model for other low residency MFA programs at the Hartford Art School. Carol Tinkelman retired last year, and Murray Tinkelman had planned to retire in June 2016.

“All of us are deeply saddened by the deaths of Murray and Carol Tinkelman,” said University of Hartford President Walter Harrison. “They brought the Low Residency MFA in Illustration program to the University and the Hartford Art School, managed its transition with skill, and established it as one of the most exciting and dynamic graduate programs of the University. They were beloved by their students.

“In my mind, they were inseparable,” Harrison added. “Murray was the program’s inspirational leader—he was one of the most highly respected illustrators in the world—and Carol kept everything humming. They were both very important figures within the Hartford Art School and the University, and deeply valued friends and colleagues among their students throughout the world.”

Murray Tinkelman had a long and distinguished career in illustration. In 2013 he was inducted into the Society of Illustrators Hall of Fame, joining legendary artists such as Norman Rockwell, Winslow Homer, Maurice Sendak, and Charles Schulz. The Society of Illustrators also recognized Tinkelman with the Distinguished Educator in the Arts Award in 1999; at the time, he was only the third person to be recognized for his teaching excellence and contributions to education. More recently, the Norman Rockwell Museum honored Tinkelman with its 2014 Artist Laureate Award and celebrated his work and career with an exhibition.

Prior to his appointment at the University of Hartford, Tinkelman was on the faculty at Parsons School of Design and Syracuse University. He was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Arts degree from Ferris State University’s Kendall College of Art and Design in 2013.

HAS Professor of Illustration Bill Thomson has known Murray Tinkelman both as a colleague and as an inspirational teacher and mentor. As a student at Syracuse University in the fall of 1982, Thomson took Tinkelman's "Introduction to Illustration" course. "Taking that one class determined the course of my entire life," Thomson said.

"Murray was a living legend in the field of illustration. While his recognition for his extraordinary artistic talent and accomplishments were richly deserved, Murray was so much more than that," Thomson added. "On a personal level, Murray was the father of my illustration career and I loved him so very much. Words seem so inadequate to describe what he meant to me and so many others.

"He blended his vast knowledge of illustration with a genuine love for his students to change all of our lives for the better. While his loss is a tremendous blow to all of us, Murray's influence will live on through each of his students in the work we do."

Professor of Painting Power Boothe, who served as dean of the Hartford Art School from 2001 to 2010, helped the Tinkelmans start the Low Residency MFA in Illustration program at UHart, along with Thomson and several other faculty and administrators.

“They (the Tinkelmans) were an extraordinary team,” Boothe said. “Together they created an astonishing MFA program in Illustration at the Hartford Art School. Carol was the Mom, she oversaw the details and welcomed every student with open arms, and Murray was the visionary, as well as 'spiritual leader.' Together they led a program that became the envy of other universities across the country.

“What could not be duplicated, however, was how they lived their lives; art for them was more than a profession—it was a way of life,” Boothe added.  “Every one of us who worked with Carol and Murray, and especially those who had the good fortune to be students, were changed forever by knowing them. With their absence, the world is a much poorer place.”


The Walt Disney Family Museum Appoints Alice A. Carter and Courtney Granner as New Education Co-Directors

Congratulations to Alice "Bunny" Carter and Courtney Granner, longtime friends of our program, who have been appointed as co-directors for the Walt Disney Family Museum's education department!

Ms. Carter is one of our summer contact period faculty members and Mr. Granner has been a guest presenter in our San Francisco contact periods. Also during our trips to the Bay area, the two have invited our students to their home to view their extensive illustration collection. Their appreciation for illustration history and illustration education is admirable and contageous. 

Click here to view the press-release posted by the museum. All the best on their new positions!


Fuzzy Baseball



John Steven Gurney (class of 2017) will have his first graphic novel for young readers published via Papercutz this May! Check out the website for his book.

"Fuzzy Baseball is John Steven Gurney's first graphic novel for young readers. It tells the story of The Fernwood Valley Fuzzies and their quest to finally defeat the dreaded Rocky Ridge Red Claws. The action packed story is full of humor, and in the end the reader might actually learn a few things about baseball strategy.

John is the author and illustrator of the picture book Dinosaur Train, and he is the illustrator of over 140 chapter books, including The A to Z Mysteries and The Bailey School Kids."




University Feature on Christine Kornacki

Class of 2016 student, Christine Kornacki is featured on the University of Hartford's homepage, with a great article profiling her journey as an illustrator.


The Typewriter

Congratulations to one of our Thesis Advisors, Bill Thomson, whose self-authored, wordless picture book The Typewriter will be published this March, 2016!

"When three children discover a typewriter on a carousel, they are transported on an adventure of their own creation—complete with a giant beach ball and a threatening crab. Stunning, richly colored artwork is paired with limited text so children can tell their own version of the story."

The Typewriter is third in the series, that includes Chalk and Fossil, published by Two Lions.


James O'Brien (Class of 2008) Piece in Quanta Magazine

MFA alumnus James O'Brien (Class of 2008) has created an animated illustration for an article in Quanta Magazine on 'Big Data's Mathematical Mysteries.' The moving illustration is featured below.


You can read the full article here:


Thanksgiving Weekend Fun at the Normal Rockwell Museum with Ted and Betsy Lewin

Thanksgiving Weekend Fun

Norman Rockwell Museum

9 Glendale Road

Stockbridge, MA  01262


Saturday, November 28

1pm to 4pm

How to Babysit a Leopard:

Adventures in Art with Illustrators Ted and Betsy Lewin  

Meet artists Ted and Betsy Lewin, two beloved authors and illustrators of award-winning books for children. Each has received the Caldecott Honor—Ted in 1994 for Elisa Bartone’s Peppe the Lamplighter, and Betsy in 2001 for Doreen Cronin’s Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type—and, collectively, they have written and/or illustrated nearly 200 books.


World travelers, they have also led lives of adventure that have taken them to every corner of the world. These are the subjects of their recent collaboration, How to Babysit a Leopard: And Other True Stories from our Travels Across Six Continents. Learn about the places they’ve visited, which have inspired their art, and create an artwork of your own inspired by far-away places. A book signing will follow. A special installation of their original picture book art will be on view!



Meet Illustrators Ted and Betsy Lewin

Travel through time and around the world with Ted and Betsy Lewin during this special behind-the-scenes look at the new memoir that tells the story of their exceptional experiences as artists and travelers. A book signing will follow the talk.

(Stockbridge Room Gallery)



Drawing and Reading with Ted and Betsy Lewin

Read and draw along with Ted and Betsy Lewin, who will share passages from their favorite books and demonstrate how they bring stories to life.

(Museum Classroom)