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Cartoon Artist Job Information

Cartoon artists specialize in drawing illustrations that express thoughts and convey stories through their imagination or in current events and political and social satires. Some artists may use their abilities to promote and advertise goods and services. Read on to learn about the training, skills, salary and employment outlook for this career.

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Career Definition for a Cartoon Artist

Cartoon artists use a combination of drawings and words to tell stories and offer commentary on people, society and life. Cartoon artists use pencil or charcoal to sketch their drawings and fill them in with pen and marker. Many cartoon artists get their ideas from the news and satirize political issues, current events and pop culture. Other cartoon artists may dream up ideas or use their creativity to come up with characters, story lines and themes. Cartoon artists, in the computer and animated world, use graphic arts and software programs to turn their ideas into reality.

Education Formal education is not commonly required
Job Skills Communication, creativity, dexterity, drawing ability
Median Salary (2015)* $45,080 (all craft and fine artists)
Job Growth (2014-2024)* 3% (fine artists, including illustrators, painters and sculptors)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education Required

While there are no education requirements for cartoon artists, many individuals choose to attend art school or pursue a bachelor's degree in fine arts. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that while in school, students should take classes in typography, drawing, computer graphics and lettering. Artists need to continue to educate themselves on social and political issues and learn different styles to continue to improve and advance their drawing and creative abilities.

Skills Required

Cartoon artists must have exceptional drawing abilities and be highly creative. Artists must be able to communicate their ideas effectively and have the ability to link stories and ideas. They need to be able to manage their time efficiently and be self-motivated. Cartoon artists can find more employment opportunities by having computer skills and understanding different software programs.

Career and Economic Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that employment of fine artists (which includes cartoon artists) will have slower than average growth of 3% from 2014-2024. A decline in employment opportunities for cartoon artists working for print publications is expected, though they may look to online-based media for work. Fine and craft artists made median annual earnings of $45,080 in 2015, according to the BLS.

Alternate Career Options

Individuals pursuing degrees in cartoon art may be interested in similar occupations, including graphic design and multimedia art.

Graphic Designer

Often needing bachelor's degrees in graphic design or a similar field, in addition to a strong work portfolio, these designers may use computer software to create visual concepts to catch consumers' eyes in advertising. Slower than average employment growth of 1% was predicted by the BLS for these designers, from 2014-2024. In 2015, they earned an annual median salary of $46,900, according to the BLS.

Multimedia Artist and Animator

These artists often earn bachelor's degrees in art, computer graphics or related fields, through which they develop good portfolios highlighting their capabilities. They are hired to create visual effects and animation for video games, movies and television. A slower-than-average job increase of 6% was projected from 2014-2024 by the BLS. Multimedia artists and animators earned an annual median wage of $63,970 in 2015, the BLS reported.

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