Comic Book Artists
|Degree Level||College or professional art school coursework helpful; bachelor's beneficial|
|Degree Field||Drawing, illustration, fine art, studio art, art and design|
|Experience||Honing artistic skills, practice and training, art classes provides foundation; internship|
|Key Skills||Artistic ability, creativity, and manual dexterity; interpersonal skills; proficient in Photoshop, Illustrator, Quark Xpress, and Indesign|
|Salary||$58,450 (2015 median salary for all fine artists and related workers)|
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Comic book artists draw comic books, usually in the form of illustrative panels. And, although the superhero movie business is booming, opportunities in traditional publishing are declining, and artists may need to focus more heavily on digital media to be competitive in the market.
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 comic book illustrators. Prospective comic book artists can obtain training by entering an art program of some kind. In an art program, artists learn creative techniques, which can increase their career opportunities. Colleges and professional art schools offer a variety of degree and certificate programs that may be helpful, such as a bachelor's degree in art with an emphasis on drawing or illustration. Coursework in fine art, studio art and art and design may also be useful. Those interested in becoming comic book artists should also work hard to hone their artistic skills, whether through formal training or at-home practice. Artistic ability, creativity, manual dexterity, interpersonal skills and proficiency in a wide variety of illustration-based software are just some of the key skills prospective artists need.
According to the BLS, artists and related workers earn a median annual salary of $58,450, as of May 2015. In order to become a successful comic book artist, prospective illustrators should look to completing some type of formal training, potentially earning a degree, gaining professional experience and applying to an entry-level position.
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 various forms or styles of art and design, a prospective student should check that the program and its course offerings match up with the student's interests and goals.
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. You could draw a comic strip for the school newspaper or do illustrations as a freelancer.
Your first job after college or art school may not be as a comic book artist, but it can still offer valuable experience and allow you to further develop and sharpen your 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.
It's also a good idea to join a professional association. To advance to a position as a comic book artist, you need dedication and persistence. By networking at comic book conventions and other events, you can make important industry connections, which can lead to a job.
Remember, to become a successful comic book artist, prospective illustrators should work to complete some type of formal training, such as a degree program; gain professional experience in a related field; and apply to entry-level positions in the art industry.