Welcome to KCAI Illustration.

Illustration has always helped to define, energize or set the mood/tone for the story. As a result, it has often helped to record the diverse human experience and related visual narratives. Illustration has had many faces and various venues always seeming in flux, moving forward and transitioning now toward what seems to be a new personal view. This morphing of purpose and exciting change continues, its definition dependent upon the avant-garde creative and passionate producers, who through their cutting edge work, will inform us of its ever changing direction, culture and identity.

Here at KCAI, we value and help deliver to the external community, young artists that mirror our unique interpretation of those narratives and help celebrate them as the visual essay. The art we develop and form for print or the screen, individually or collaboratively, is thoughtful, innovative, and communicative.

Our Mission: The illustration program emphasizes the development of creative and effective image-making skills, a contemporary approach to unique (visual essay) solutions and the professional practice necessary to help promote living life as a productive artist and as a contributor to the ever-changing visual culture.

Our faculty are seasoned, practicing, award-winning professionals working to bring to the classroom a wealth of experience, work ethic, knowledge of processes and a dedication not only to the discipline, but also to the educational opportunity of sharing, guiding and learning through teaching.

The successful graduate will find work in many different areas, depending on their strengths, preferences and locale. Children’s books, web-ventures, editorial magazines, newspapers, new product lines, game design, animation, design firms, galleries, corporations, ad agencies and other yet undefined new future ventures all offer employment opportunities. A number of exceptional graduates are also able to establish a practice as a freelancer.

Recent graduates are employed at M-TV, Nickelodeon, Hallmark, American Greetings, MK-12, the Kansas City Star, C3, Nike and many other businesses. Their work has been featured in many publications such as Step-Inside-Design, the New York Times, Women’s Day, 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.

Thank you for visiting. If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch via our Contact Page. 


Steve Mayse, Professor and Department Chair