Here are two links to podcasts featuring faculty, TyRuben Ellingson, where he discusses concept design and special effects.

Taken from Fanboy Confidential:
“[TyRuben Ellingson] has worked on like Jurassic Park, Twister, Men in Black, Avatar, and most recently Pacific Rim.  He’s had a long standing relationship as the go-to concept guy for director Guillermo del Toro so, naturally as we’re celebrating del Toro’s work this month, we pulled TyRuben in for a bit of a talk (over 4 hours!) to learn all about working with Guillermo, as well as for the entertainment industry in general.”


Taken on Blade 2 — Left to right — Wayne Barlowe — TyRuben Ellignson — in front of Profssor Ellingson, Mike Mignola — Tim Bradstreet — Guillermo Del Toro — lastly, 
Leo Duranona story board artist. 

As you should all know by now, you don’t just have to take an exam based on the tutorials, but you must also complete a series of projects. Here is the file describing the projects and containing supplemental resources:

Submitting The Projects

Due to the large size of these project files, please send your completed projects to through VCU’s file drop system ( To log in to file drop, just use your VCU email user name and password.

You may start sending these projects in August. They are due a week before the start of classes for the Fall Semester. The exam is tentatively scheduled for the 19th of August.

filedrop screenshot

In addition to taking an exam to test out of Basic Communication Arts Software, students must also complete the three projects included in this zip file. The packaged file also includes sample PDFs and supplemental materials. These will also be due the week before class begin in the fall. More specifics to be posted in the future.

Hello upcoming Sophomores. Bellow are the three tutorials available through digital tutors that we will be using for the opt out Basic Communication Arts’ Software exam. You will have to set up an account. This is free through VCU Libraries. We plan on administering the exam will a week before classes begin. More specifics to follow soon.




Welcome Communication Arts Students!
Below is a suggested list of classes available to incoming Comm Arts Sophomore Students

COAR 200 Visual Studies: Drawing
COAR 201 Drawing Studies: The Figure
COAR 211 Fundamentals Of Typography OR COAR 231 Basic Communication Arts Software
COAR 352 History Of Visual Communications I
UNIV 200 Or ENGL Literature

Comm Arts Alumni, Theodore Taylor III, recently won the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Award for his illustration in the book, When The Beat Was Born: DJ Kool Herc and the Creation of Hip-Hop written by Laban Carrick Hill.

Below is what he had to say about the experience.

I was contacted in 2010 by the publisher to see if I would be interested in illustrating the book. Considering how I’ve always tried to combine my love of music with my artwork it seemed like a great fit. As this is my first book, the creative process was long but very much worth it. I’m happy with the result and I think it’s a good starting point for kids to learn about the history of hip-hop, a music and culture that has become a large part of peoples’ lives around the world. I’m hoping this will open the door to creating more books.





Heads up on a cool new class taught this spring by our chair, Robert Meganck and Professor Ron Keller in the Theatre Dept.


Designing for the Theatre
AN interdisciplinary studio for Communication Arts,
Theatre, Interior & Fashion Design students.
COAR #463 Communication Arts Honors Studio

Admission into this class will be based
on a portfolio review. In addition to a
transcript, interested students should submit 5 to 10 images—RGB and do not exceed 700 pixels on their largest side. If the file is of a large complex image an accompanying file of a detail is permissible.

Students will study set design, costume design, and the design of promotional material under the instruction of Theatre Professor, Ron Keller and Communication Arts Chair, Robert Meganck.

The class will be held on Mondays and Wednesdays from 12:00—2:20 PM in the carriage house at 916 1/2 W. Franklin. Students will have exclusive 24/7 access to the building with a swipe card.

Please email all submissions to by Friday, Nov. 15th
with the subject “Designing for the Theatre.”


We are very proud to announce that our Program Coordinator, Deborah Van Buren has won the Dorris Douglas Budd Award “in recognition for the exceptional standards she has practiced in her profession.” Nominations included staff from the entire University – including MCV Campus.


The Day I Had My Surgeryedited
The Day I Had My Surgery is printed and being distributed!

In a collaboration with MCV, the Dept of Communication Arts’ Alum, Corienne Rienert, illustrated this children’s book written by Dr. Richard Hubbard. The book is intended as a tool to help children about to undergo surgery. It is now being distributed to children at MCV Hospital.


“Broad Street exists to present true stories.”

“Broad Street is anon-profit magazine featuring the best that the field of creative non-fiction has to offer. At Broad Street, we hope to create an engaging platform where writing, poetry, and artwork can come together in one space to be enjoyed equally by members of the world of creative non-fiction and those who are new to this exciting form. ”

Many of our faculty and alumni are participating in publication. The Summer 2013 edition has just come out. More info can be found at

Faculty Participants Include
Dept Chair, Robert Meganck
Sterling Hundley
Josh George
Tyler Darden

Alumni Include
Ally Hodges
Shawn Yu