Date of Award

Spring 5-10-2023

Author's School

Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts

Author's Department

Graduate School of Art

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Illustration & Visual Culture

Degree Type



This essay promotes the writing and illustrating of middle grade literature that mirrors the wonder-inducing experiences of leafing through an illuminated manuscript and stepping into a Gothic cathedral. An examination of Catholic medieval visual culture moves into a discussion on its underlying philosophy and theology, which are profoundly centered on relational healing and the dignity of the human person. Christian writers including St. Pope John Paul II, C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Josef Pieper, Madeline L’Engle, Dr. Bob Schuchts, Makoto Fujimura, and Andrew Peterson inform an exploration of mercy, forgiveness, and love as self-gift in the context of illustration and storytelling at large.

By highlighting a selection of middle grade/young adult fantasy novels and introducing my MFA thesis project as a part of that tradition, I discuss the need for books which invite families to come together and contemplate the joys and sorrows of the human experience.



Program Chair

John Hendrix