Curriculum & Classes

Class descriptions

Sophomore year: fall semester

Studio: Organic Perceptions (3 credit hours)

This course will introduce to the student a representational drawing system of recording organic structures. Figure drawing, thru an understanding of human anatomy and animal drawing, also through similar anatomy, will both act as a drawing foundation for additional study. This course requires a sketchbook, in addition to course work, and an exit exam.

Analytical Drawing Systems (3 credit hours)

Students will explore various drawing systems that together will help establish their understanding of the basics of defining a visual result. 1-2-3 point perspective, plan drawing, top-front-side view drawing, isometric and other systems will make up the content of this course.

Color/Space (3 credit hours)

Color theory, both cmyk and rgb, will be realized through the hands-on painting experience in this course. An understanding of 3-deminsional space through collage, still-life construction and models will add to the student’s formative experience.

Story-tellers and Myth Makers (3 credit hours)

Discussion and related narrative projects will help the student discover the value of the artist’s role in society as a story-teller and myth maker. This course will cover ethics, codes, various other professional opportunity issues and be supported by area (external community) visiting artist professionals. A liberal arts connection can support the value of the personal story.

Sophomore year: spring semester

Studio: Image and Form Exploration (3 credit hours)

Solution focused-problem solving is a part of the artist’s process. This course will be concerned with exploration, innovation, discovery and play as a means toward that end. We will work to create images and/or objects in a way to learn new methods. A final assignment will involve a cardboard “yougottobeinit” project.

Mechanical Perceptions (3 credit hours)

This course will introduce to the student a representational drawing experience of recording mechanical objects and their anatomical architecture. Natural systems will also be explored through drawing in the same way. This course requires a sketchbook, in addition to course work, and an exit exam.

Graphic Form for Illustrators (3 credit hours)

The student will create work related to the graphics. Type as image, mock-ups for the poster and for comics, layout and design technical and compositional issues will all be covered. Integrated into the course, throughout, will be a historical context related to the above.

Studio elective (3 credit hours)

  •  Children's Book Illustration 2, ILLE221, 6-8:50pm, t/th
    Students will have the opportunity to deeply explore the process of creating a child’s picture book. The core of this course will be a focus on picture/word relationship, page layout, sequencing, writing, designing and illustrating. Project work will culminate in the creation of an original book. The course will include lectures presenting the creative process behind published works and discussions on professional practices within the children’s book industry.
  • The Idea Collective, ILLE440, f, 8 am-2:20 pm
    The course will facilitate the illustration department's internal functioning "small agency" known to the external community as MICRO. Students will function in a collaborative and team environment creating work (focusing on exceptional illustration and design) for clients in the surrounding professional Kansas City community. The students perform the position(s) of illustrator, designer, art director and account manager. Students will concept, prepare and present the work directly to the client, as well as execute and deliver final art to the client. The students will work alongside faculty/mentors (advising students) in the execution of the client work. This course requires individuals that are collaborative, concept driven, professional, detail oriented, organized and exceptional in their craft. Participating students will submit a portfolio to course faculty for review before acceptance into the course.

  • Illustration Process and Digital Techniques, ILLE270-01 and 02, t/th, 6-8:50 pm
    Students in this course will explore a variety of illustration processes while developing digital techniques. Students will learn how the professional illustrator problem solves to creating production-ready visual solutions. This illustration elective is intended for students to focus on generating strong imagery for real-world illustration assignments created with industry standard tools. Students will be challenged with a variety of projects designed to highlight specific concepts of visual communication, increase their digital skills and understanding of the computer’s potential as a tool. Research, idea generation, problem solving techniques and forming the image as a creative and contemporary solution will be integral to this course. Assignments emphasize traditional illustration skills such as visual problem solving, conceptual thinking, drawing, and designing while exploring the possibilities of digital execution. Students spend half of the studio time in a lab environment working on sketches, concepts, skill development, and instructor-led demonstrations.

Junior year: fall semester

Studio: ConceptualProblem Solving (3 credit hours)

In this course, the student will undergo exercises and/or projects that will support the building of the smart visual image. Sound idea generation, the metaphor, the mind map, 21 ways of wit, the visual pun and other types of incorporating intelligence in the visual image are explored as a foundation in the visual building process.

Paper and Ink (3 credit hours)

Editorial image production will be introduced in this course. Sequential story boarding, the narrative forming (beginning, middle and end of the story), roughs to finished art and construction of a book project will fill the 8 week session. Emphasis will be on the personal story as content for the work.

US: Collaboration, Teamwork and Flexibility (3 credit hours)

An opportunity to experience collaboration and flexibility will be the focus in this course. The group dynamic can produce very interesting creative solutions. Learning to work in a group, understanding the client partnership, the shedding of one’s ego, the collective brainstorming process, or working with the (non-for-profit) external community can be a part of this class. A liberal arts connection can help support the collaboration aspect between the visual artist and the writer artist.

Junior year: spring semester

Studio: Exploring the Narrative (3 credit hours)

This course will sample various narrative story-telling aspects for the artist. Editorial media opportunities, comics, children’s books, personally generated and developed projects and other venues are introduced to the student as avenues and directions for showcasing their talent in print or on the screen. A liberal arts connection can help support the personal story through collaboration.

Covers and Pages (3 credit hours)

The student will experience a tangible necessary synthesis between the building of the narrative and the sequential image forming of the corresponding story visuals. The book and it’s many forms (children’s books, the comic, etc.) are explored as examples of possible end results. The student’s integration also of the hand and the pixel are emphasized.

ME: Individual Expression (3 credit hours)

Focus will primarily be centered around the research of and the development of a preliminary personal image portfolio direction. Projects will nurture and bring discussion toward a confidence with self-initiated projects, entrepreneurial efforts, a personal work authorship, an individual preference for a particular market venue and the corresponding artwork connection that will act as a foundation for the student’s life work.

Senior year: fall semester

Studio: Image Thesis I (3 credit hours)

This course offers a further opportunity to research and develop a personal body of work that will represent the student’s personal voice. Emphasis will be focused on the building of a visual resource library of files that acts as a foundation for the forming of the personal portfolio thesis.

Professional Practice: Illustration (3 credit hours)

A seminar devoted to bringing artists in for discussions about the aspects of the practice: business maintenance, entrepreneurship, self-promotion, ethics and guidelines, contracts, records, billing, and other issues that are supported by the graphic artist guild standards and practices and also supported by the IPA (illustrators partnership association).

Launch Pad (3 credit hours)

Students will experience in this class an emphasis and attention to the process and implementation of artwork for promotion as it relates to student competitions in the print industry. These student competitions will, with other necessary venues, foster a pro-active future involvement in self- promotion as an aspect vital to a successful professional practice. In this class, the tools of promotion (website, leave-behind, image identity, biz card/post card, etc.) will give the student an early start to promoting their work.

Senior year: spring semester 

Studio: Image Thesis II (3 credit hours)

In this, the final course of studio, the student will focus on a continued development of the personal voice portfolio. We will update the visual material making up the refined body of work and coordinate all aspects of self promotion: the website, the postcard, the area of emphasis and all other necessary venues toward self-promotion.

Sketchbook: The Cultural Safari (3 credit hours)

This course is an attempt at creating, for the overall program, a bookend approach to drawing as an important aspect of the program experience. The student will be sent out into the external community to record and to report (visually) aspects of the local Kansas City culture through on-site drawing. Markets, museums, social facilities, area businesses, “gathering” destinations, local color, cultural icons, social service agencies, sports events and many others, all will act as examples of visual source material that can begin to tell the story of Kansas City and it’s people.

Internship/mentorship (3 credit hours)

Many area artists offer a wealth of experience and knowledge that can help support the endeavor of the student. Through a portfolio review, the faculty will help arrange, if possible, an internship or a mentorship opportunity with numerous and diverse Kansas City area individual artists, organizations or agencies.

Class schedules and course requirements

For a list of class schedules, click here.

For a list of major academic requirements, click here.


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