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 (2017)*||$49,160 (all craft and fine artists)|
|Job Growth (2016-2026)*||7% (fine artists, including illustrators, painters and sculptors)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
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.
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 an average growth of 7% from 2016-2026. 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 $49,160 in 2017, 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.
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 4% was predicted by the BLS for these designers, from 2016-2026. In 2017, they earned an annual median salary of $48,700, 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 8% was projected from 2016-2026 by the BLS. Multimedia artists and animators earned an annual median wage of $70,530 in 2017, the BLS reported.