Become a Comic Book Artist: Education and Career Roadmap

Research the requirements to become a comic book artist. Learn about the job description and duties, and read the step-by-step process to start a career in comic book art.

Do I Want to Be a Comic Book Artist?

A comic book artist is a very specialized type of visual artist. Creative professionals within this industry use specific skills in drawing, illustration and graphic design during the process of creating and crafting comic book characters and settings. Depending on the materials used by the artists, this work may involve exposure to chemicals' fumes. Opportunities in traditional publishing are declining, and artists may need to focus more heavily on digital media in a competitive market.

Job Requirements

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), although a postsecondary education is not required to enter this field, acquiring some level of training can benefit aspiring artists by allowing them to develop creative techniques and enhancing their career opportunities. The following table contains the core requirements for becoming a comic book artist.

Common Requirements
Degree Level Postsecondary education beneficial; college or professional art school coursework helpful*
Degree Field Drawing, illustration, fine art, studio art*
Experience Honing artistic skills takes time, practice and training; art classes provides foundation*
Key Skills Artistic ability, creativity, manual dexterity, interpersonal skills*
Computer Skills Examples include Photoshop, Illustrator, Quark Xpress**, Indesign***

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **DigitalManga (job posting, November 2012), *** (job posting, November 2012).

Step 1: Complete Formal Training

A formal training program provides aspiring comic book artists with the opportunity to acquire necessary skills. Whether attending art school or a university that offers bachelor's degrees in art and design, a prospective student should check that the program and its course offerings match up with the student's interests and goals.

Success Tip:

  • Complete an internship. Because this is such a specific concentration within the broader field of art, gaining professional experience while still in school can help immensely. Opportunities include internship programs that can provide on-the-job experience. Finding professional opportunities may require thinking outside of the box; one possibility is drawing a comic strip for the school newspaper. Another possibility is doing illustrations as a freelancer.

Step 2: Apply for an Entry-Level Position

The first post-college or post-art school position may not be as a comic book artist, but it can offer valuable experience and allow prospective comic book artists to further develop and sharpen artistic and creative abilities. An entry-level art position in a publishing firm or film production house, for example, can offer skill-building work along with opportunities to network.

Success Tip:

  • Join a professional association. To advance to a position as a comic book artist, one needs dedication and persistence. Networking at comic conventions and other events can lead to important connections in the industry, which can enhance job opportunities.

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