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How to make a career from being an artist

How to make a career from being an artist

There are a whole host of jobs available for those with an artistic flair, the one that suits you best will depend on where your skills and interests lie. Whatever your medium, whether that’s pencil, paint, computer software, or something else, there is a career out there in the artistic field. 

Graphic designer

If you enjoy creating attractive visuals and are good at working to a brief, you might be suited to graphic design. Graphic designers work with both pen and paper and computer software, so you will need a good grasp of tech to make a go of this role.

Working with a variety of different people, including clients, marketing teams, and artistic directors, you also need to be a people person too.

A graphic designer could see themselves creating:

  • Product packaging
  • Brand identities (e.g., logos, letterheads)
  • Books or magazines
  • Marketing materials (e.g., posters, flyers, brochures)

Portrait artist

The ability to capture a true likeness of a person, both their physical presence and their true spirit, is a skill only a small percentage of people possess, but if you have a knack of capturing moods and expressions and enjoy the lengthy process of immortalizing a soul to canvas, then portrait artist could be the job for you.

For the exceptionally gifted, it can be a rather lucrative career. However, for anyone with talent, they can still find their niche and make a decent income from it too.

Types of portraiture:

  • Classic portraits
  • Abstract portraits
  • Pet portraits
  • Photographic portraits

Concept designer

If you love working on meticulous designs and have a keen eye for detail, a concept designer could be your calling. Working on anything from items of clothing in an animated movie to weaponry in the latest video games, your computer artistry will be put to good use in this role.

There are some specific skills needed you might not have picked up at art school, though. To fill the gaps and help build a relevant portfolio, online art schools like Visual Arts Passage offer concept designer classes covering everything from line sketching to rendering.

Areas of expertise:

  • Character design
  • Creature design
  • Environment design

Art teacher

Generally requiring a broad knowledge of working in different mediums, as well as having a good level of art history knowledge, too, art teachers should be good all-rounders, particularly in a school setting. However, higher education and freelance art classes may allow you the freedom to showcase your specialism in the art field.

If you love sharing your love of art and encouraging others to make progress on their own artistic adventures, why not consider teaching.

Where to teach:

  • Elementary school teacher
  • Middle school teacher
  • High school teacher
  • University professor
  • Freelance adult classes

These are just a flavor of the myriad career options out there for those with an artistic flair. Other options to consider are illustration, animation, printmaking, art therapy, or conservator. If they don’t grab you, alternative creative job roles include architecture, fashion design, or theatrical set design.

Think about your skills, think about what you really enjoy creating, then go and turn your passion into a paycheck by landing your dream job.

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