Alumni Update with Ky Betts

Have you ever been walking through a store and get stopped in your tracks because of children’s book? Well, I have, and when it comes to a children’s book, judging a book by the cover is OKAY! Marywood art alumni Ky Betts’ job is to bring the story to life through his illustrations. In this alumni update Ky Betts will be discussing his life at Marywood and the impacts it made to the life of an illustrator.

Ky Betts Ky Betts Portrait

Graduation Year/Major: 2013- co-valedictorian B.F.A Illustration with minor in Graphic Design,  awarded the Kappa Gamma Phi Medal for General Excellence and the St. Luke Medal for Excellence in Art

Marywood Clubs/Organizations: Rock climbing club, Drawcorps Poland: a study abroad trip to Wroclaw, Poland

Current Occupation: Self-employed as a freelance illustrator and children’s book illustrator, works part-time as a painting instructor at Spirited Art in Dickson City

1) What was your favorite part about Marywood?  My favorite part of Marywood was the old library- whenever I wasn’t in the Art buildings, I was studying art and illustration books and magazines on the third floor of the library. I also loved my study abroad trip to Poland where we did reportage drawing, public drawing performances, and used our drawings as an ice-breaker to get to know the people of Poland, and used our drawings as a form of international currency. The idea was to get by on 5 drawings a day, trading live drawings for goods and services. It was an amazing way to meet people and see more than just a normal tourist. I made friends in Poland that I still keep in touch with to this day.

2) Any advice for current art students at Marywood? Take advantage of the incredible faculty and classroom opportunities that Marywood has to offer. Take as many classes as you can; take a painting class, a sculpture class, a typography class—as much as you can. Keep (and use!) a sketchbook and draw something EVERYDAY! Study YOUTUBE; so much can be learned on YouTube, things that expand and reinforce your learning at Marywood. Never stop learning and improving yourself; the more you can do the more marketable you will be once you graduate.

Illustration3) How did your art education at Marywood help your career? The connections that I made with faculty members in the art department led me to illustration opportunities and graduate school.

4) What is your favorite part about your job?  I love that my job is different each and every day. I love the challenge of solving visual problems in my own unique way and I love making people smile when they see my illustrations.

5) What is the best/worst piece of advice that you have received in the illustration industry?  “Illustration is dead!”-  completely ridiculous!  Illustration is alive and well and is growing in relevance, magnitude, and direction. Has the face of illustration changed? Of course! But I believe that it has changed for the better. Opportunities for illustration are everywhere! If you can draw well, you will NOT starve, regardless of what your parents might tell you.

To view more of Ky Betts’ artworks and to learn more about him, please visit his website

All images courtesy of Ky Betts


UNDERGRADUATE: Our professors are working professionals with first-hand knowledge of the opportunities available in the field of illustration. Courses are tailored to your particular interests and strengths, while fostering a broad understanding of the wide range of uses for illustration. Class projects focus on concept development, design, craft, and color. They require students to work in a variety of 2D and 3D media. LEARN MORE

GRADUATE: The Master of Fine Arts is a 60-credit program designed to provide professional emphasis for persons with an intense commitment to their art who intend to become serious professional artists and/or would like to teach at the college level. There are four areas of concentration: 2-D, 3-D, Graphic Design, and Illustration. In the 2-D area, students may work in the following media: painting, photography, or printmaking. In the 3-D area, students may concentrate in ceramics or sculpture, working with a variety of media. LEARN MORE

Our “Get Your Master’s with the Masters” MFA Program in Design and Illustration offers a rare opportunity to receive personal, hands-on training from leaders in the design and illustration fields. Working with designers, illustrators, and other art professionals is the easiest and most effective way to learn how to produce career-advancing work and obtain your MFA degree. LEARN MORE



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