Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts


Art and Visual Culture


Integrated Visual Arts

First Advisor

Charles Richards


The concept of self-efficacy is critical to success. Self-efficacy has two facets: a person’s ability to technically execute a task, and the person’s belief that they can do it. This thesis details the study and execution of self-efficacy my classroom and my studio—primarily in my graphic novel Knocking on the Sky.

Knocking on the Sky is a graphic novel I’ve been working on for four years with my collaborator, Stefanie Dao. It’s is a story about the things we care about: the importance of found family, the daily brush of the divine against the ridiculous, and the joys of companionship. Siobhan, the main character of Knocking on the Sky, is a magnification of my own faults and virtues. The thing I treasure about Siobhan is her unshakeable contrariness: tell her that something’s forbidden, and she’ll do it twice. Siobhan is the embodiment of self-efficacy. I hope that she inspires others to seize their own self-efficacy to make their goals attainable.

Self-efficacy is the core of my teaching philosophy as well. Self-efficacy can only be fostered in a safe environment that expects excellence, rewards experimentation, and provides transparent and clear critique. Eventually, students will no longer be students, and their work will be judged on the skills and critical opinions that they develop and internalize. It’s important not just to give students technical criteria in which to judge their work, but the self-confidence to apply their own judgment and act on it. Self-efficacy is the key to success in the studio and the classroom.


Copyright Owner

Taylor M Carlson



File Format


File Size

94 pages

Included in

Fine Arts Commons