Art Careers

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Art careers come in all kinds of shapes and forms. Artists use a variety of visual communication methods, such as drawing, painting, and sculpting, to communicate feelings, thoughts, and ideas. Artists also use a variety of tools, such as watercolor and acrylic paints, pencils, pens, ink, clay, plaster, and even computers. Topics of art can include nature, people, animals, events, and objects. Art can be true to life, stylistic, or abstract.

Art is used to create many types of printed materials, such as:

  • Books
  • Newspapers
  • Newsletters
  • Magazines
  • Billboards
  • Flyers
  • Product packaging

Therefore, art careers are available in a variety of fields, including:

  • Publishing
  • Advertising
  • Marketing
  • Multimedia
  • Video Game Creation

Although many people engage in art as a hobby, many enjoy art so much and are so naturally talented that they attend art school. There are many types of art careers that one can pursue, such as an illustrator, sketch artist, cartoonist, sculptor, or multimedia artist. Many artists work in art studios in office buildings, lofts, or even in their own homes. Artistic talent is the main qualification for many art careers, so it's important that those who intend to turn their art hobby into a career keep a portfolio that contains samples of their best artwork. Although artistic talent is important, many art careers, such as directors or managers, require at least a bachelor's degree or an art school education.

Because of the number of creative people, there is extremely tough competition for art careers. About 60 percent of workers in the art industry are self-employed. Those who are not self-employed often find work in museums, schools, advertising agencies, newspapers, magazines, and movie studios. Many artists have to work other jobs in addition to their art career since art, though glamorous, is not always a high-paying and lucrative career.

Hobby vs. Career

  • If you enjoy art as a hobby, why not turn it into a career?
  • Why not love your job instead of going to a job every day that you hate?
  • Many accomplished artists turn their love of art into successful art careers.
  • Some types of art are easier to break into than others, while others require years of schooling in order to land an art career.

If you're serious about turning your art hobby into a career, think about the possible ramifications. Once you turn it into a career, you'll have deadlines and a boss to answer to. Although you'll be doing something you enjoy, you may end up losing your enjoyment and spontaneity once you start having to create artwork on someone else's terms. When you create artwork as a hobby, you're doing it for your enjoyment and it's more relaxed because there's no pressure to sell. Although you can become self-employed and work for yourself, you are then responsible for drumming up your own business. Plus, your paycheck won't be as stable. These situations can be stressful for someone who is unfamiliar with marketing and business strategies, or for someone who depends on a regular paycheck.

  • However, if you're still interested, then there are some ways to break into the art business. One possible career choice is portrait art. If you enjoy drawing people and think you are skilled enough to turn it into a career, there are opportunities available. Many portrait artists use photos of people to create their artwork, instead of having people sit and pose for long periods of time. Some do their artwork in pencil only, while others use pastels. Find your niche and advertise in appropriate places. Many parents like to have drawings of their children, so you may want to advertise in baby or kids magazines.
  • There are also opportunities as an illustrator. Greeting card companies always need fresh ideas for artwork. Authors of children's books always need their books illustrated as well. A good way to break into this business is to illustrate your first book for free. If your artwork is good, you'll get more business by word of mouth. You can also submit your portfolio to publishers and writers.
  • If you enjoy decorating houses or furniture, you may want to consider a career in decorative art or interior design. You can create some samples and market them to stores and on the Internet. If you enjoy painting murals, you can gain business and exposure by creating one for a daycare center or school.

An art school or college education is not necessarily required for these jobs, though formal education increases the number of job opportunities available to you. Many artists hone their skills by practice and persistence. Others use books and Internet research to learn new art skills. If you are looking to run your own business, one thing to keep in mind is that many artists make the mistake of not charging enough money for their artwork. Before making a sale, research prices for similar artwork. If you consistently charge less than what your art is worth, your career will end up reverting back to a hobby because you won't make enough money to survive.

Last Updated: 04/18/2014

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