Illustration students at KCAI work with traditional as well as advanced digital media to develop the conceptual, technical and aesthetic skills necessary for success in the diverse range of practices in an evolving field. Courses include drawing and design systems, narrative images, visual storytelling and myth-making, organic perceptions and content for digital media, all of which enable students to express themselves as artists while learning how to communicate substantive messages.

In addition to taking studio and liberal arts courses, students also participate in professional practice seminars that expose them to established professionals. These experts offer lectures and demonstrations and interact with students in hands-on critiques and workshops. Students also have the opportunity to participate in internships that provide real-world exposure to creative issues in professional work settings.

Students work with faculty and visiting artists who have extensive backgrounds and experience in wide-ranging areas such as magazine and book illustration, editorial illustration, Web design, digital animation for film and television, advertising, graphic novels, comic books, computer gaming, fashion illustration, greeting card design, CD covers and music posters, children’s books, product design and other areas that involve illustration. As students move through the program they enhance their artistic and technical skills, develop habits of professionalism and collaboration, sharpen communication abilities and build their portfolio in preparation for starting their careers.

For more information about the program, visit

Parents Day presentation

Parents Day presentation (19 MB)

Illustration Faculty

  • Steve Mayse, professor and chair of illustration

    An alumnus of Central Missouri State University, where he graduated with a bachelor's degree in art education (functional with...Read More
  • Maura Cluthe, assistant professor of illustration and acting chair of graphic design

    An impressive collection of stripey socks, funky watches, bottlecaps and vintage robots are just a few things that make up the world of...Read More
  • John Ferry, assistant professor

    John Ferry received his B.F.A. degree in illustration from KCAI and his M.F.A. in illustration form School of Visual Arts, New York. He...Read More
  • David Terrill, assistant professor

    David Terrill has been creating compelling illustration and design for over 20 years. Terrill studied illustration at Miami University...Read More
  • Héctor Casanova, visiting instructor

    A native of Mexico City, Héctor Casanova graduated from the Kansas City Art Institute in 1998 with a double major in illustration and...Read More
  • Stan Fernald, lecturer

    Stan Fernald graduated from KCAI in 1994 with a B.F.A. degree in industrial design. He also holds a master's degree from Domus Academy...Read More
  • Laura Huliska Beith, lecturer

      Laura Huliska Beith is a free-lance illustrator living in Kansas City, Mo.She is a graduate of the Kansas City Art...Read More
  • Bob Kolar, lecturer

    Bob Kolar grew up in Cleveland, Ohio. He received a B.F.A. degree in illustration from the...Read More
  • Wes Benson, lecturer

    Wes Benson is an illustrator and painter currently teaching in the Kansas City Art Institute’s illustration department. Benson also...Read More
  • Wayne Wilkes, lecturer

    Wayne Wilkes graduated from the Kansas City Art Institute illustration department and has been working as a designer for the past 18...Read More

Samples of Work


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