Bailey Corbin fungus virus comic Bailey Corbin ('22 Illustration)

Classes + Course Requirements

Once you declare your major, Illustration program students take the following core courses as they progress from sophomore to senior year. For additional electives and liberal arts courses, download the complete Course Catalog.

1st year

Your journey starts in the Foundation program where you will explore new techniques and find passions that you never knew you had.

2nd year

  • Organic Perceptions
  • Analytical Drawing Systems
  • Color & Space
  • Story-tellers & Myth Makers
  • Image and Form Exploration
  • Graphic Form for Illustrators

3rd year

  • Conceptual Problem Solving
  • Paper & Ink
  • US: Collaboration, Teamwork, and Flexibility
  • Exploring the Narrative
  • Covers & Pages
  • ME: Individual Expression

4th year

  • Image Thesis I
  • Professional Practice: The Business of Illustration
  • Illustration in Action: Networking and Exhibition
  • Image Thesis II
  • Cultural Safari

The faculty I worked with and internships I completed prepared me for the "anythings" and "everythings" of life as a professional illustrator. I entered the department with a passion for drawing, and graduated with the capability to do so much more!

MacKenzie Fulmer ('19 Illustration)


Tony Jones Studios for Animation and Illustration

Get ready for an immersive experience in the new Tony Jones Studios. Here, you’ll be able to explore, experiment, and create with natural light and large gallery walls for displaying your work. Plus, Google Fiber-integrated classrooms and studios.

  • Communal studio space + flex space
  • Cintiq and Wacom tablets
  • Cameras and lighting equipment
  • Etching/monotype press
  • Printmaking equipment
  • iMac labs
  • Large flatbed scanners
  • Adobe Creative Suite including:
    • InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, Premier, and After Effects

Build your illustration skills in drawing/painting, collage, 3D dioramas, digital techniques, printmaking, sewing, manipulated photography, and 3D sculpture. Work individually and collaboratively. And thrive in the department’s annual Harvest — a networking event and portfolio show.

Career Paths + Career Outcomes

Illustration School Graduates are employed by the likes of MTV, Nickelodeon, Hallmark, American Greetings, MK-12, The Kansas City Star, C3, Discord, Nike and many other businesses. Their work’s been featured in many publications such as Step-Inside-Design, The New York Times, Women’s Day, The New Yorker, Wired, and numerous children’s books. Some have won awards in prestigious publications such as Print, Communication Arts, 3x3, American Illustration, and the Society of Illustrators.

KCAI's Professional Practice Center will help you prepare for your career.

MICRO Agency

Within the Sponsored Studio program, MICRO Agency is an elective open to all majors that brings real clients in to do paid work with our students. Students gain real creative agency experience while earning their degree!


Students have interned at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, the American Jazz Museum, The Kansas City Star, Porter Teleo design firm, Boulevard Brewing Company, and other notable businesses in the area.

Erica Hoelting ('24 Illustration)

Illustration Alumni

KCAI Illustration Program alumni are leaders in their fields.

KCAI_STEPHANIE KIM_HEADSHOT Stef Shank ('06 Illustration)
kelsey-wroten Kenny Wroten ('15 Illustration)
101009nyrkr_sleighbells2a Nathan Fox ('97 Illustration)