The Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art, which was originally founded in 1976 by Joe Kubert and his wife Muriel Kubert, has ever since been the only post-secondary institution to focus entirely and exclusively on the cartoon trade and industry. This makes it a true magnet for talented artists looking to enter this colorful and peculiar world. This school is considered a three-year technical college and happens to be located in the urban community of Dover, New Jersey (which lies some 45 minutes from New York City by car). With Joe Kubert having been a prominent and influential figure of the American and international cartoon industry, this school has a very solid reputation in the specific field of interest and the wider artistic community.
The academic program is known to be quite demanding, and for those out there that believe high drop-out rates reflect a difficult school, this school’s 30% drop-out rate is quite telling. Academics and Graphic Art are entirely centralized, in the sense that all students must follow the same curriculum (which lasts three years in total, without exception) and must take all classes; failing any given class during a year implies failing the entire year and therefore having to redo the entire year over again.
Classes sizes are quite small, from 15 to no more than 25 students in size, which raises the level of education and individual attention that each student gets. Professors are all experts and professionals in their subject matters. Students take two classes a day, each lasting little less than three hours in total with a lunch break between them, and the academic calendar lasts from September to May.
Academic accreditation is given by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology, and the school is fully recognized by the New Jersey Department of Education.
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Admission is determined principally on the grounds of artistic level and positive attitude, both of which are reviewed during an interview with an admissions representative working with the school. Basic requirements also include having a high school diploma or equivalent (GED certificate) and submitting all official transcripts from high school along with the application form. Applications are accepted at any time of the year to be admitted to the program the following year, though early applications are encouraged.
The admissions interview can be in person or, in the case of applicants from beyond the local area, over the phone. A fairly comprehensive portfolio of the applicant’s artwork is to be presented to the admissions staff prior to the interview in the case of a phone interview or at the interview itself if in person. There are fairly specific requirements to be met when presenting one’s portfolio. The portfolio should contain between 15 and 25 pieces of highly representative artwork that capture the applicant’s abilities comprehensively, with only 3 pieces allowed to be more than 3 years old. Pieces must be smaller than 14 inches by 17 inches, and in the case of larger pieces or sculptures, etc., these can be represented by photographs or quality photocopies. Finally, the portfolio must be accompanied by a money order and a pre-paid envelope addressed to the applicant so that it can be returned (in the case of phone interviews; otherwise, the applicant takes their portfolio with them after the in-person interview).
This school participates in the federal Title IV financial assistance programs, and therefore students and applicants will be eligible, on the basis of demonstrated need, to receive financial aid at the federal, state, institution and local level.
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Many of the alumni of the Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art have been or currently are successful artists whether specifically in the field of cartooning or otherwise. A few of the more recognizable graduates from this institution include: Stephen R. Bissette, who has collaborated as artist for Alan Moore and the TV series Swamp Thing; Sherm Cohen, artist for the TV series SpongeBob SquarePants; and Dave Dorman, artist during the successful film trilogy Star Wars.
Carrie Petersen earned her Bachelors of Science in Education and a Masters of School leadership at Northern Illinois University. Carrie likes to travel with her husband and two sons.