Courtesy Mark English

Transitioning from picking cotton to painting storefront signs was a big change for a young Mark English growing up in Texas during the Great Depression. 

The change was notable for its pay increase, English remembered, going from earning two dollars a day to a hundred. But painting signs was also his first “art job.” 

At the time, English had yet to take an art class or even meet a self-described artist. 

Having a sibling with autism can be challenging, as kids with autism often struggle to connect with other children. These frustrations inspired actress Holly Robinson Peete to co-write a book with her daughter, Ryan Elizabeth, about Ryan's twin brother, R.J.. The book, My Brother Charlie, won an NAACP Image award.


Laura Ziegler / KCUR

Kansas City artist Shane Evans was raised by a mother and father whose racial and cultural backgrounds were different from one another. But to Evans they were just mom and dad. He’s also raising a mixed-race daughter.

That’s why Evans was eager to collaborate with his friend, actor Taye Diggs, on a children’s book that takes on the complex issues of growing up in a mixed-race household. Diggs has a six-year-old son with actress and singer Idina Menzel, who is white.

Courtesy Mexican Consulate in Kansas City

English-only speakers might not be able to read Spanish, but they'll likely recognize the emotions, situations and imaginary worlds created by children's book illustrators from Mexico on display at the Kansas City Public Library. 

Laura Spencer / KCUR

For centuries, scientists have looked to artists to help visualize the complexities of the human body. The techniques have changed — from wood engravings and copper plate prints to microscopic photos and digital animation — but the focus on storytelling is the same. It’s a profession known as medical illustration and there’s an effort to cultivate more of it in Kansas City. 

Mixing art with science 

The illustration department at the Kansas City Art Institute is tucked into a former grocery store at 43rd and Oak. At two long tables near the entrance, a handful of students quietly surf the Internet or eat a snack just before the start of a biomedical visualization class.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

Last week, visiting instructor Héctor Casanova Cinderhouse was at his desk in the illustration department at the Kansas City Art Institute, contemplating a small pile of plans for the first phase of a mural project at Scarritt Elementary School in the historic Northeast.

William Joyce has captivated young audiences and their parents with his whimsical and imaginative characters in film, TV, and in books.  The creator of Rolie Polie Olie and The Guardians of Childhood has a new book and film, The Numberlys.  Joyce talks with Steve Kraske about what inspires the characters he creates.

KC Exit Interview: Illustrator Nathan Fox

Jun 28, 2012
Nathan Fox

From large Mutant Mosquitoes to sumptuous femme fatales to souls that turn into wolf form, illustrator Nathan Fox has drawn and seen it all. His work has appeared in The New York Times, The New Yorker, Rolling Stone, Wired, ESPN, Entertainment Weekly, Mother Jones, Spin, Mad Magazine, DC Comics, Vertigo, Dark Horse Comics, Marvel and more. And, up until just 2 weeks ago, he was based here in KC.