Associate Professor of Art
M.F.A. in Illustration, 1996. Savannah College of Art and Design.
B.F.A. in Design, 1990. Missouri State University.
Phone: (603) 897-8489
- Foundations and Drawing
- Learning Animation
Sheli Petersen’s art career began at age three with crayon drawings of the solar system. In high school, she earned money doing portraits of various friends and celebrities. After receiving a B.F.A. from Southwest Missouri State University (Springfield, MO 1990), she worked as a graphic designer and illustrator for Kansas City’s art and entertainment magazine, Pitch. For two years, she managed all the art direction for Smith Advertising (Kansas City, MO). She earned her M.F.A. in Illustration from Savannah College of Art and Design (Savannah, GA 1996).
In graduate school, she concentrated on children’s book illustration. Her thesis project, Magali—An Aztec Legend about Good Fortune, is published by Laredo Publishing (Beverly Hills, CA). Her other published work includes Itza—The Boy Who Rode a Jaguar, written by Leonard Bernard, and Voladores written by Patricia Petersen.
Petersen is the recipient of the Children’s Choice Award, the Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators Most Professional Portfolio Presentation Award, the Savannah College of Art and Design International Art Award, and the Currier Prize.
I believe the student’s career as an artist, illustrator, or designer begins
when he or she enters college. Along with honing his or her talents and skills,
today’s student must actively cultivate the professionalism needed to succeed in
an increasingly demanding and competitive job market. From day one, I stress the importance of creating a quality portfolio of work that will put each student on a potential career path long before graduation. I assign classroom projects that require a commitment to the process approach and allow for feedback at every stage of development.
Requiring that preliminary work combine life studies, research, and photographic references engenders a deeper understanding of the subject in students and enables them to create richer, more authentic art. By interweaving literature, mythology, naturalism, music, and film into assignments, I also encourage students to synthesize thematic content, layer meaning, and enhance the emotional resonance of their work—all essential facets of strong visual communication.
Recent Publications and Exhibitions Include
Drawing Raven Roosting accepted in Picture This! 2012. Juried by Carol Goldenberg, Caldecott Medal winning book designer. Danforth Museum of Art, Framingham, MA • Fall 2012
Drawings Owls and Robins accepted in Works in Colored Pencil: A Juried Exhibition. Juried by Kimberly Kersey Asbury, a Fullbright grant recipient and Assistant Professor of Art at Saint Anselm College. Sharon Arts Center, Peterborough, NH • Summer 2012
Designed and illustrated package labels and signage for Yew Drop, a company specializing in hand-made solid perfumes, cosmetics, and insect repellent.
Drawing Mockingbird and Fox Grapes accepted in the Joan L. Dunfey Memorial Juried Exhibition. Robert Lincoln Levy Gallery, Portsmouth, NH • Fall 2011
Drawing Turkey Clan won the Currier Prize (best-in-show) New Hampshire Art Association 62nd Currier Exhibition. Juried by Dina Deitsch, Associate Curator of
Contemporary Art at deCordova Sculpture Park Museum and Jen Mergel, Beal Family Senior Curator of Contemporary Art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
Currier Museum of Art, Manchester, NH • Winter 2011
Drawing Feather and Pencil published in The Bulletin, the Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators international magazine. January – February 2011
Drawings The Printmakers and The Judge published in The Bulletin, the Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators international magazine. July – August 2010
Drawing Cormorant accepted in the Creative Quarterly 18 On-line Juried International Exhibition. Spring 2010
Illustrated concept art for the children’s book Clara y la Curandera by Monica Brown for Arte Público Press. University of Houston • Summer 2009
Cut-paper artwork, The Gods, took 2nd place in the Lassonde Juried Exhibition. Robert Lincoln Levy Gallery, Portsmouth, NH • Summer 2009
Drawing entitled Sailing Fiasco accepted into the Savannah College of Art and Design 30/30 Illustration Alumni Juried Exhibition. Savannah, GA • Winter 2009
Illustrated companion book for the National Heritage Museum Sowing the Seeds of Liberty exhibition. The book features Billy the Patriot Mouse, a character designed to help grade school children learn about the American Revolution. National Heritage Museum, Lexington, MA • Fall 2008