jobs for artists

Illustrations by Joey Souza

So you’re an artist and you want to make a living doing what you love. Some artists make their own products such as furniture and ceramic goods, but what if you’re an artist who only paints or draws? Unfortunately wall art is one of the hardest kinds of art to sell. This is because of a few reasons. First, there’s so much competition, and second, other than being a decoration, wall art has no real functional purpose. So what are people supposed to search for to find your art among all the other 800,000 pieces of wall art on Etsy? If you work in ceramics, people can narrow down their search results by searching for something more specific, such as a coffee cup (80,000 results) rather than having to wade through every ceramic item on Etsy. Even the term portrait isn’t all that specific (180,000 results). How are you supposed to make a living as an artist who only draws or paints when there’s so much competition? You find your niche.

So here you go: 30 jobs for artists to consider pursuing. Some of them will require knowledge of Photoshop or other software, and only a few of them really acquire a college education. Don’t let others make you believe there are no jobs for artists.You don’t have to starve!

1. Graphic Designer
Graphic Designer is a somewhat vague title, so it wouldn’t hurt to have a specialty.

2. Font Designer
Sell your fonts digitally to anyone, anywhere. It’s like selling prints of your work but without the work of packaging and shipping orders, and it provides a lot more functionality to the buyer.

3. Lettering
Lettering is a lot like designing fonts, except it’s usually more custom work of specific words on signs, albums, and labels. Though a lot of artists do lettering digitally anymore, there’s still many traditionalists who paint signs by hand or specialize in chalkboard lettering for businesses.

4. Monogram Artist
Yes, another very similar job, but you could extend it as another service you offer, or specialize in this one area. Weddings could be a huge market for you.

5. Logo Artist
If you enjoy minimalist art work, then this could very well be your calling. Plus you’ll be working with businesses, which tend to be more professional than the average customer.

6. Clip Art Artists
You would be surprised how often clip art is sold on Etsy. Thanks to their digital download feature, it’s easier than ever to sell. and to sell a lot.

7. Commercial Artist
Do art for advertisements for companies large and small.

8. Packaging Designer
Design labels, boxes, and bags and make people want to pick it up and take it home.

9. Textile Designer
Design patterns used for fabrics, wall papers, and stationary.

10. Illustrator
From illustrating children’s books to medical text books, there’s something for the abstract thinker and the realist.

11. Forensic Sketch Artist
Be an artist and a hero at the same time by helping the police catch the bad guys.

12. Caricaturist
Do custom portraits for families. And don’t forget to paint the cat and dog!

13. Storyboard Artist
Storyboarding is like making a rough comic. It’s what gets passed onto animators/filmmakers so they know how to set up the scene.

14. Animation Character Designer
New characters come and go all the time in cartoons.

15. Animation Prop Designer
Cartoons need cars and furniture too!

16. Animation Background Designer
Some shows may even let you experiment with you own style of background that is different from the animation style. Just look at Regular Show, Squidbillies, or Spongebob.

17. Wedding Invitation Artist
You could offer an array of pre-made styles for couples to choose from, or you could offer completely customized invitations for the right price.

18. Greeting Card Designer
Work for a huge company like Hallmark or sell your cards yourself. You could screen print, paper-cut, or letterpress cards, or print them digitally. Which brings us to the next one…

19. Print Maker
Screen print, letterpress, block print, among many other things. Do custom work for others or sell copies of your own originals.

20. Paper-Cutter
Paper-cutting a category that is a lot more of a niche with a lot less competition. You could sell articulated paper dolls, announcements, or many other decorative and practical items.

21. Graphic Novelist
You could do illustrations for someone else, or you could make your own book.

22. Blogger
Make tutorials and share your knowledge.

23. Airbrush Artist
You can make a lot of money painting cars, motorcycle tanks, and helmets.

24. Pinstriper
Use that steady hand of your’s to spend all day around neat old cars. Do your pinstriping at car shows to gain an audience of curious spectators/potential clients.

25. Muralist
Imagine having a child grow up surrounded by your art on the walls of their bedroom. Or potentially thousands of people driving past your art on a wall downtown. Your art could become an icon and destination for an entire city.

26. Art Teacher
This one may be pretty obvious, but it’s still a valid option. Even if you don’t want to have to go to college, you could still teach your own independent courses or sell eBooks on the subject.

27. Tattoo Artist
Probably one of the easiest ways to make money as an artist in your local area. You could even make and sell temporary tattoos!

28. Makeup Artist
Some of the things artists do with makeup are so creative and surreal.

29. Face Painter
So maybe being a makeup artist isn’t your thing because you don’t really get to draw what you want. Well here: go draw a whale on somebody’s face!

30. Window Painter
Be that mysterious person who paints holly leaves and reindeer on shop windows during the holidays. Because, why not?

So what do you think of these jobs for artists? Did they give you any ideas? Leave a comment and share with the artists in your life.

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Posted by:Casey Webb

Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Jung Katz, as well as Editor for ZIIBRA.

20 replies on “30 Jobs for Artists Who Draw or Paint

  1. Hello, I love sketching and I mostly do cartoon sketches. I have no experience in the field and would like to start doing something and make a career in what I like. Im serving notice period in an MNC now. I even like doing wall arts. Suggestions?

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    1. Hey Rahul. Coincidentally enough, I believe someone else who is also into cartoons asked a similar question already in these comments. Feel free to check out my response to them regarding that. I hope it helps!

      -Casey

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    1. Hey, Rocky. I’d recommend familiarizing yourself with programs like Flash and maybe Toon Boom. There’re many tutorials online, YouTube is a great place. Practice, gain some experience and put together a reel as a work sample. There’s tutorials plenty of tutorials on crafting storyboards on the internet as well. The internet is full of knowledge. There’s also a huge event in L.A. every year for cartoonists where a lot of companies go looking for new talent and it’s a great place to network. Unfortunately, the name of said event is escaping me at the moment. You can also find, follow, and connect with many other cartoonists (writers, storyboard artists, etc.) via Twitter and Instagram. Look at the credits of cartoons you like and look up some names. Don’t be afraid to reach out to them directly for advice. Everyone has to start somewhere and these are individuals who have already taken the journey and know the ins and outs of the industry best. I know Joey Souza (our editor and a cartoonist) follows a few such as Pete Browngardt for example, creator of Cartoon Network’s Uncle Grandpa. As well as Marc from Sick Animation and a handful of others. There might be a good place to start. Also, if you haven’t heard of the site Cartoon Brew, I’d recommend checking it out to stay in the industry’s loop and maybe get some ideas/leads. I hope this helps and best of luck, Rocky!

      -Casey

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    2. One more thing… Some animation studios, such as Titmouse allow you to apply directly to them. Of course you’ll want to have a reel and lots of practice/experience under your belt first before contacting them.

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    1. Hey Surya, a great way to build up your writing career is to submit posts you’ve written to interested blogs/sites or offering to guest post for them.

      Hope this helped!

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    1. Hey Vikram, I’d suggest studying up on the creative jobs you’re most interested in and then check out their prerequisites to see if they include any classes like math and then practice painting as much as you can and I’m sure the path will become more clear for you within time once you’re pointed in the right direction.

      Cheers,
      Casey

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  2. Really like the ideas given above the one that stood out for me was Muralist sounds so interesting. In September im going to study Illustration at university and hope to find out what i really want as a creative person and expand my skills as well as my own style.
    I’ve been on YouTube (www.youtube.com/badarakmal) for a few months now and i recently created a piece in my house and hoping to create more artwork as a source of inspiration or for someone who likes looking at art and also hope to create some DIY videos. It’s great to see a page which gives reassurance to students like me with very little knowlegde of the art world.

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    1. Thank you for your kind words and for reading. I actually have a really good friend, Phil Yey, who is a children’s book author and muralist. He travels the world painting murals usually with the help of local children and he also publishes a quarterly magazine called Unlce Jam where he interviews a lot of big names. He’s been the BIGGEST inspiration to me, I could listen to his stories all day (and actually have- he’s quite the talker). If you ever get any of you illustrations up anywhere, be sure to send us a link, we’d love to see them. Just checkout your vlog, very cool. You have some nice hair, my friend.

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