Living an artist life can be hard and only a couple of years ago you had very little chance of actually paying the bills working as a full-time artist. But that changed with the internet and the entertainment industry!
So can drawing actually be a career? Yes, it can! With the Internet there came a whole lot of possibilities for artists! You can sell your art online, you can become a concept artist, you can work as a graphics designer, you can draw comics, or you can become a professional illustrator. There are a lot of career possibilities!
What jobs are there?
Jobs in the entertainment industry for artists:
There are a lot of jobs in a lot of different industries. One of the youngest most promising industries would be the entertainment industry. The entertainment Industry includes board games, video games, television, trading card games, movie and more.
A concept artist draws concepts to help visualize the idea that writers and storytellers have. As a Concept designer, you can specialize in many different fields. For example environment design, character design, Vehicle design and more. You will mostly draw digitally and you have to be able to use 3D programs like z-brush, Maya or similar. The main goal of a concept artist is to draw many different ideas as fast as possible. A concept artist does not draw illustrations!!!
Yes, a 3D artist has to able to draw! In fact, they help visualize ideas for movie and games by drawing them first and then they move on to the 3D program of their choosing! They have to know anatomy and perspective just like every other artist. And a 3D artist has a lot of job opportunities with the rising popularity of special effects in movies and the very detailed 3D rendered Games nowadays.
Story Board artist
Often overlooked but so important! The Storyboard artist is the artist, who draws the action, mood, sequence, and composition of every scene in every big to medium sized movie or game before that scene is being shot or created. He works closely with the director or game designer to map out how each scene is constructed. He generally draws the scenes in a comic like fashion but with more detailed information.
The Illustration artist creates beautiful very detailed illustrations. These Illustrations are different from normal Concept art drawings because they are not meant for conception purposes but most of the time for marketing purposes. Concept art is quickly created to show an idea and is generally not as detailed while illustrations are very detailed and most of the time display a selling point of the product. Like the feature of the game or the main characters and the mood of a movie.
A lot of animation nowadays is being done n 3D but that does not mean, that there aren’t still 2D animators needed. With the rise of youtube and the possibilities of the internet, there is a rising demand for artists who do animations for channels, companies, and organizations. Studio Ghibli proved, that 2D animation is everything but dead!
Comic book Illustrator
Becoming a comic book Illustrator is the childhood dream of many. And while there is a gigantic amount of competition out there, it is still possible to break in the industry. A comic book Illustrator does ink illustrations for a comic book company. He or she gets a script and has to draw the comic book pages according to the script.
Jobs in the Marketing Industry
As a Graphics designer, you should be able to at least conceptualize an idea by drawing (even though a lot of graphics designer out there are not able to draw). But if you are able to draw as a graphics designer you will be able to conceptualize and create awesome designs, logos, flyers and more. As a graphic designer, you will also have to learn about typography and composition. And you have to be able to use necessary programs, like photoshop, illustrator and more.
An art director has to be able to conceptualize by drawing and illustrating his or her idea. The Art Director creates marketing campaigns and Corporate identity for companies and is responsible for almost every step of the creation process. Most of the time you will start out as a graphic designer and then be promoted to an art director.
Jobs in the fashion Industry
A Fashion Designer draws concepts of clothing, dresses, or assoceries. These concepts are the base for the creation of the final product. The Fashion designer has to know everything about different materials and how they can be worked. There is a lot of competition but a fashion designer is alos needed in a lot of different industries. Like the theatre, movies, games and television.
As a Makeup artist, your job is to make people beautiful, ugly, give them bruises, make them look like monsters and more. You have to create believable illusions on your clients for movies, television or events.
How much can an artist earn?
The short answer is: Artist can earn a full income from their craft if they really want to!
But the truth is, that artist, most of the time, earn less, than what other people in the same industry with the same amount of experience are earning. That is because there is one big difference in most other people and artists. Artists are passionate about their job and their craft, and the main reason why they want to work in that particular industry and for that one company is because it is their dream or ambition to do so. Compared to the other workers in that industry, where the main driving factor to work for that company is simply money.
That gives the companies an advantage over you as an artist because they know, that you really want to work for them. And so they will offer you less money but the perspective, that you will work in your dream job as an artist. And a lot of artists accept to work for less money.
This is really problematic in the industry right now and the reason why a lot of artists choose to work freelance or choose to work for companies, that are solely focused on their particular craft like concept art companies or illustration companies.
That being said, there are a lot of possibilities for artists through the internet right now. Like selling your art or art prints on online shops or craft shops like Etsy. Or you can create an online portfolio on art station or Behance and apply as a freelancer to companies. Or you can work on contract base for companies on films or games in your area. Start small and work your way up. But as long as you are doing something and as long as you don´t give up you will find a way to live as an artist.
Where can I learn the necessary skills?
Again the Internet is the way to go. You can just search online and you can literally learn anything. And once you have the basics down then you can still go to local events or events close to you to ask questions and connect to other like-minded artists. Or you can apply to a physical school to learn your craft. You can also take courses in your local area. There are a lot of great ways to learn, you just have to search for them.
Can I earn Money with abstract art?
YES! While it can be a little bit harder, you can earn money with abstract art. But don´t think “I can´t draw but I want to make money so I will make abstract paintings and sell them for a lot of money!”. This way of thinking will not work here. As an abstract painter, you still have to know some foundations of drawing. Like Composition, color theory, and perspective. Even though it doesn´t seem like it, abstract painters have to put a lot of work in their craft as well. And they have to be good salesmen!
My Personal Opinion on living as an artist
Living as an artist isn´t always easy. It will get hard and you are going to struggle a lot. So if you want to become a professional artist then you have to be in it with your heart. You have to learn a lot and it is hard to get in these industries. But working as an artist is also one of the most fulfilling jobs, that you will ever have because it is a job that you are passionate about. And that is very rare in this modern world!