How to Become an Artist


Artist Job Description

Artists research and create drawings and pictures for the purpose of visually portraying their own or other people’s ideas. The illustrations may be prepared for advertisements, brochures, galleries, annual reports, medical textbooks, magazines, storybooks or private sale.



Typical Job Duties

• Consult with clients, editors, writers, art directors and others in order to define the artistic direction and conceptual nature of the desired illustrations

• Prepare preliminary sketches for approval

• Estimate timelines and cost of materials needed to complete the illustration

• Prepare comprehensive rough draft in order to finalize the image in its appropriate context and obtain approval

• Prepare finished artwork using chosen medium or materials, such as; computer graphics, acrylics, pastel, pencil, ink or other mediums



How to Begin Your Career as an Artist

There are many different paths one can take to become a professional artist (illustrator), and many of them have very common elements. If you are considering a career in this field, ensure that you have natural talent and a good plan for promoting your work.


When developing your portfolio, make sure you don’t rush; take time to perfect your style. It is never a good idea to be in a rush to put together or advertise your portfolio, as you should only promote your work when you feel you have a real signature.


Aside from natural talent and well-developed artistic skills, promotion is the most important ingredient for success in the world of illustrating. Even if you end up landing an agent or representative, you must usually begin by marketing your work to them.


Social networking can be highly advantageous for an artist/illustrator, as it is a great way to spread the word quickly and to show that you are busy (even if you’re not). Update your personal blog and social media accounts frequently, as it will showcase your most recent work, and give the impression that you are very busy and in-demand.


Producing and distributing printed promotions, to small or big businesses, publications and others who may be interested is a great way to promote your work and showcase your abilities. Art competitions are also a great way to find work; increase your level of exposure by entering as many competitions as you can.


One illustrating job may not lead directly to a successful career as an artist/illustrator, but as more jobs come in you will quickly be on your way to growing your portfolio, increasing your network, and putting yourself in a position to obtain further work.



Relevant Scholarships 

The Applicable Majors section below shows fields of study relevant to a career as an Artist. You can search for scholarships matched to those fields of study on our Fine Arts Scholarships page.


Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!


Applicable Majors

Studying one of the university majors listed below is an excellent starting point for becoming an Artist. Click on the links to find out what else you can do with these majors!


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Fine Arts