What are the top illustration schools in Missouri for 2020?

Top Missouri Illustration Schools - 2020 College Rankings
1Washington University in St. Louis St. Louis
2Kansas City Art InstituteKansas City

Our 2020 ranking of the top illustration schools in Missouri. For an explanation of the ranking criteria, click here.

1. Washington University in St. Louis (Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts), St. Louis, Missouri
Washington University in St. Louis

Founded in 1853, Washington University in St. Louis serves more than 14,500 students enrolled in more than 300 academic programs in a number of colleges and schools. The College of Art houses the Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts, which offers a BFA in Communication Design with an Emphasis in Illustration, and an MFA in Illustration + Visual Culture. A Minor in Design is also available.

The minor “allows students to mix and match courses in areas such as illustration, communication design, and the illustrated book studio to suit interests and schedules, says the school.” The collaborative BFA in Communication Design with an Emphasis in Illustration combines graphic design, illustration, and interaction design. This means, students in the program can choose to focus on illustrating stories, creating comics, and designing printed posters and books, as well as study the history of printed images, comics, and advertising, make pictures for games and motion graphics, and more.

During the last year of the program, “students will pursue a capstone project that culminates in an illustrated book, zine, screen-based presentation, graphic novel/mini-comic, or digital experience,” says the school. The final project is displayed in a public exhibition and reviewed by external design professionals.

The MFA in Illustration + Visual Culture (MFA-IVC) is a two-year program that combines studio practice in illustration with curatorial training in visual and material culture. The two-year program consists of courses such as Comics and Cartooning: A Survey, lllustration Studio: Artist, Author, Audience, Illustration Studio: Drawing & Voice, Literatures of Drawing, Readings in Visual and Material Culture, and The Illustrated Periodical. Students in the program will also complete an internship.

Graduates of the MFA program are prepared to work as author-artists of graphic novels and picture books, professors of illustration, critical writers on popular culture, and curatorial staff in museums, libraries, and auction houses. This program launches in Fall 2019.

2. Kansas City Art Institute, Kansas City, Missouri
Kansas City Art Institute

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 around 700 students, enrolled in 13 art and design programs across several departments. The Department of Illustration houses the school’s BFA in Illustration program.

“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,” says the school. “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.