|1||Kansas City Art Institute||Kansas City|
|2||Missouri State University||Springfield|
Our 2019 rankings of the top illustration school programs in Missouri. For an explanation of the ranking criteria, click here.
1. Kansas City Art Institute, Kansas City, Missouri
Kansas City Art Institute (KCAI) was established in 1885. The school has trained students such as Walt Disney (who took Saturday Classes as a child), and multimedia artist Robert Rauschenberg. Today, KCAI serves more than 700 students, enrolled in 13 art and design programs across several departments. The Department of Illustration houses the school’s BFA in Illustration program.
Per the school, “illustration students work with traditional and digital media to develop the conceptual, technical and aesthetic skills necessary for success in the diverse range of practices in this evolving field. Courses such as Drawing and Design Systems, Exploring the Narrative and Visual/Sequential Storytelling are geared toward enabling students to simultaneously express themselves as artists while learning how to communicate substantive visual messages.” Courses are taught by department faculty who are practicing professionals in the areas of publishing, editorial, advertising and institutional.
Other program highlights include collaborative assignments, a required internship in a professional work setting, access to studio and classroom technology that prepares students for diverse areas of professional practice, and the opportunity to work in digital and analog environments “designed to facilitate creativity and interdisciplinary approaches to image making.”
Recent graduates are employed at MTV, Nickelodeon, Hallmark, American Greetings, Nike and many others. Their work has been featured in many publications such as The New York Times, Women’s Day, Wired, and numerous children’s books. Some have won awards in publications such as Print, Communication Arts, American Illustration and the Society of Illustrators.
2. Missouri State University, Springfield, Missouri
Missouri State University was founded in 1905 as the Fourth District Normal School. Serving more than 20,000 students from Missouri, nearly every other state, and 85 countries, Missouri State is the state’s second largest university. The school offers more than 150 undergraduate majors and 48 graduate programs through seven academic colleges and one Graduate College.
The College of Arts and Letters houses the Art and Design Department (MSU A+D), which is the largest and one of the most varied publicly funded departments of art and design in Missouri. Here, aspiring illustrators can earn a BFA in Design with a Graphic Design and Illustration Track or an Illustration Track. A Minor in Design is also available as well as an MFA program.
The Graphic Design and Illustration Track requires 33 hours in the focus area. This includes 15 hours in Graphic Design, nine hours in Illustration, six hours of Special Topics in Illustration, and three hours of Design electives. The Illustration Track requires at least 18 hours of coursework in the focus area. Students in the Illustration Track will take courses such as Computer Animation, Digital Imaging, Drawing and Painting, Photography, and Printmaking.
Students in both Tracks will take 78-93 credit hours in other areas such as Art History, Design, Foundations, and Studio Art. A Professional Design Practicum is part of both programs as well as a Public Affairs Capstone Experience. All students have the opportunity to complete a design internship as well.