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Bird Art: Information About Becoming a Bird Artist

See what it takes to become a bird artist. Find out what bird artists do, how to prepare for the job, and what the career prospects are to determine if bird artist is the right occupation for you.

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Career Definition for a Bird Artist

A bird artist is one who prepares paintings, sketches or even sculptures of birds. There are opportunities in this field with publishing houses, advertising campaigns, and textbooks. A bird artist may specialize in illustrating nature guides for the ornithologist. A birder can make good use of a talent in drawing or painting bird illustrations.

Education No degree required, but undergraduate degrees in fine arts available
Job Skills Marketing, interpersonal skills, bird watching, artistic ability and detail-oriented
Median Salary (2017)* $49,520 for fine artists
Job Growth (2016-2026)* 7% for fine artists

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

Formal education is not required to be a bird artist; however, an undergraduate degree program in fine arts can help hone a bird artist's skill. The bird artist may choose to pursue a degree in art, sculpture, or graphic arts. Classes in anatomy, biology, botany or ornithology will add interest and depth to the artistic endeavors. The classes should include opportunities to draw from life. A portfolio of sketches, paintings, illustrations or sculpture is key to showcasing work and gaining potential clients or employment.

Skills Required

Those who create bird art must be scrupulous about accuracy in representing the feathered subjects. If drawing from bird sightings in the wild, the bird artist must enjoy the pursuit of the hobby or occupation of bird watching. They must also have well-defined artistic skills in one or several media, like drawing, painting, illustration, or sculpture. Bird artists must have exceptional marketing skills to promote their works or gain potential clients, as well as strong interpersonal skills to interact with coworkers and gallery owners.

Career and Economic Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov) predicted that employment opportunities for fine artists, such as bird artists, would grow by 7% from 2016 to 2026. The majority of artists in the United States are self-employed, but significant numbers work in advertising, media presentations, and computer graphics. Fine artists earned a median annual salary of $49,520 in May 2017, per the BLS.

Alternate Career Options

For other opportunities in the field of art, check out the following:

Archivist

An archivist collects and preserves documents and other materials like photographs, letters, or maps for their historical value and for research purposes; common employers include colleges or universities, state and local government, and museums. Choosing an area of specialty in which to work - such as a specific place or time period - is common. A bachelor's degree in history or library science is generally required for entry-level employment, although some employers prefer an advanced degree. Archivists can look forward to 14% employment growth from 2016-2026, per the BLS; working archivists earned a median salary of $51,760 in 2017.

Curator

Curators are responsible for collecting, maintaining, and promoting collections of items that have historic or other kinds of value, usually for a museum, botanical garden, historic site, or similar organization. Activities may include organizing an exhibition, fundraising, and grantwriting. Many curators develop an area of specialization. Jobs as curators usually require a master's or doctoral degree in museum studies or in the field in which the museum focuses on; having two degrees can be advantageous. The BLS reports that curators can expect job growth of 14% from 2016-2026. Curators earned median salaries of $53,770 in 2017, per the BLS.

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