Artists make art. They use many styles—painting, sculpting, or
picture. They use many materials—oils, watercolors, acrylics,
pastels, pencils, pen and ink, plaster, clay, and computers. Their
art may show objects, people, nature, or events.
Artists fall into one of three groups. Art directors
design and look at material that is going to be in magazines,
newspapers, and other printed or digital form. They decide which
art to use.
Multi-media artists and animators create art on film,
on video, or with computers. They draw by hand and use computers
to create the large pictures that form movies, television programs,
and computer games.
Fine artists create original art. They specialize in
one or two art forms, such as painting, illustrating, sketching,
sculpting, printmaking, and restoring.
Illustrators create pictures for books, magazines, and
other publications. They also create pictures for products such
as wrapping paper, stationery, greeting cards, and calendars.
Illustrators work directly on a computer. Medical and scientific
illustrators combine drawing skills with knowledge of biology
or other sciences.
Cartoonists draw cartoons. Some cartoonists work with
others who create the idea or story.
Sketch artists draw using pencil, charcoal, or pastels.
Sculptors make artwork using clay, glass, wire, fabric,
plaster, wood, or stone. Some combine materials to make art.
Printmakers create printed images. They use wood, stone,
Painting restorers restore damaged and faded paintings.
Many work in art studios. Others work in their homes. Some share
studio space, where they also may show their work. Work areas
have a lot of light and air. However, artists may be exposed to
fumes from glue, paint, ink, and other materials and to dust from
filings, splattered paint, or spilled fluids. They may get back
pain or eyestrain, or feel tired.
Artists may work extra hours to meet deadlines. Self-employed
artists can set their own hours. They spend a lot of time selling
their art and building a reputation.
|How do you get ready to be a professional artist?
Formal training is not strictly necessary for artists. But it
is hard to be successful without some training.
Many colleges and universities offer bachelor's or master's degree
programs in fine arts. Independent schools of art and design offer
associate and bachelor's degree programs in art. These educational
programs include training in computer techniques.
Those who want to teach art at public elementary or secondary
schools must have a teaching certificate and a bachelor's degree.
Medical illustrators need a bachelor's degree combining art and
premedical courses. A master's degree in medical illustration
is recommended, but only five schools in the United States offer
Artists usually prepare a "portfolio"—a collection of samples
of their work. This collection shows their talent and skill, and
it helps them sell their art and get jobs.
|How much do artists get paid?
The middle half of all artists earned between $23,970 and $48,040
in 2002. The lowest-paid 10 percent earned less than $16,900,
and the highest-paid 10 percent earned more than $73,560.
Earnings for self-employed artists vary widely. Many do not make
enough money just from selling their art.
Artists held about 149,000 jobs in 2002. More than half were
Employment of artists is expected to grow about as fast as the
average for all occupations through the year 2012. However, there
will be strong competition for most jobs. Many people with a lot
of talent want to be artists.
|Are there other jobs like this?
|Where can you find more information?
More information about artists and related workers can be found
in the Careers Database.
Occupational Outlook Handbook -- U.S. Department of Labor Bureau
of Labor Statistics