B.F.A. Illustration, Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, CA
Fashion Merchandising classes at FIDM Los Angeles, CA


Experienced Educator – Otis College and Art Center (Administration & Teaching) | Award-winning Creative & Designer | Toy Design & Development Consultant |Traditional and Digital Illustration and Design| Textile, Face Paint & Rooting Expert | Antiques, Books, Doll, and Toy Collector

Kelly Matheny is a Senior Lecturer in the Toy Design department at Otis College of Art & Design with decades of diverse toy and entertainment design and product experience, a rich background in college admission counseling, administration, and teaching across the arts, and genuine dedication and enthusiasm for knowing how to showcase and nurture the unique talents of every design student. 

Her vast teaching experience with Otis Toy Design began in 2014. Though for those that know her it is not surprising that Kelly’s path in education started considerably earlier as the Assistant Director of Art Center College of Design, in Pasadena. There as both administration and Adjunct Lecturer from 1987 – 1997 her responsibilities included student recruiting and advising, student and parent portfolio counseling, developing class curriculums and scheduling, creating, and developing special promotions and events, participating and reviewing student applications and portfolio submissions for admission into the part-time and full-time programs at Art Center.

Kelly has taught a variety of classes in traditional and digital drawing at Otis such as Drawing for Toy Designers, Doll Design Workshop, Toy Design III, Drawing for Portfolio Development, Toy Design IV, Toy Design VI, and Digital Drawing, and Illustration. The design classes she taught at Art Center are notable as well and included Basic Color, Figure Drawing, Advertising Illustration, Character Design, and Still Life Drawing. Ms. Matheny has also taught at LA County High School for the Arts, UCLA John Wooden Center, Studio 7 Fashion School, and the Learning Tree University. Classes included 2D Design and Color, Figure, and Fashion Illustration.

This would be impressive enough if not for her years as a successful creative and businesswoman.  After attaining her BFA degree at Art Center, Kelly transformed her freelance career working in advertising, fashion, publishing, and consumer products into a career in the toy industry. Kelly freelanced for a diverse number of companies after attaining her degree including, Robinsons May Company, Dakin, Nickelodeon, and Mattel Toys. Through these experiences Kelly developed multifaceted design skills in art directing, advertising illustration, trend board design, children’s book illustration, 3D sculpting, paper engineering design, marker sketching, digital drawing, control view drawing, graphic design, fashion illustration, textile design, fashion layout design, product merchandise design, gift and floral design, and conceptual toy design and development.

Subsequently, Kelly joined Mattel Toys full-time in 1992 and worked there as a Principal Designer for over 20 years. While at Mattel, Kelly designed numerous patented features for small and large dolls, playsets, toddler dolls, pets, and girl’s role-play products, for Barbie Entertainment and the Disney Princess brand. She was also a key player in the team that invented Baby Kelly, Barbie’s youngest toddler sister.

Kelly continues to provide innovative consulting and design solutions for her clients, as well as continuing to mentor and teach young artists to become confident future toy designers and good global citizens who contribute to our industry and the future of our planet.


Kelly Matheny's Picture

Professional Development / Memberships:

  • Advanced Leadership, Emotional Intelligence, True Colors, Executive Edge, Creative Breakthrough, TIA Member, Women in Toys, Paper Doll Guild, National Association of Women, SBA Business Workshops.


  • Team lead for the design group that won the task on Donald Trump’s “The Apprentice” reality show, Second season.
  • Recipient of Mattel Matty Award for the highly successful design and launch of the Kelly brand.
  • Won Governor’s Award for co-designing the first wheelchair fashion doll Barbie.
  • Created the first Visual Design department and process for the Barbie brand organization.
  • Created the one-of-a-kind Dream Halloween Barbie for children with AIDS charity auction, the one-of-a-kind doll sold for $25,000.

Clients/Employment History:  

Teaching Employment:

  • Otis College, Art Center College, LA High school for the Arts Education, Studio 7, John Wooden Center, and The Art Workshop.

Industry Employment: 

  • Mattel, Disney, Jada, Jakks Pacific, Spin Master, Madam Alexander, Pop Media, TPF Toys, Funmax, Funville Toys, Jazwares, Robinsons May Company, Chiat Day, Rainbow Zoo, American Advertising, Artisan ASAP, Nickelodeon.