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Japanese Artist: Information About Starting a Career in Japanese Art

Japanese art often includes depictions of temples, nature, and tea ceremonies, as well as manga- and anime-style drawing. Continue reading to learn more about this unique art form, as well as educational requirements, career outlook, and salary potential for Japanese artists.

Career Definition for a Japanese Artist

In comparison to Western standards, traditional Japanese art often appears stylized. Distinguishing characteristics include a single subject or scene, as well as a graceful script called 'kanji'. Contemporary Japanese art is often representative of the manga style, which is used in graphic novels, television, and movies. Ikebana (flower arranging) is another form of traditional Japanese art. Professionals who specialize in ikebana, kanji, and related media are referred to as Japanese artists, whether or not they are of Japanese descent.

Required Education None required, but undergraduate and graduate programs in fine arts or illustration may give you additional skills
Skills Required Japanese brushwork, flower arranging, drawing and familiarity with pen and ink and graphic arts
Career Outlook (2016 to 2026)* 6% growth for fine and craft artists
Median Annual Salary (2017)* $49,520 for fine artists, including painters, sculptors and illustrators

*Source: U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

A formal education is not required for a career as a Japanese artist in the United States; however, a working knowledge of kanji, stylistic principles and subject matter is highly recommended. Relevant training can be found through undergraduate and graduate programs in the fine arts, including those that offer courses in calligraphy, illustration, painting, and printmaking. Additionally, students who are interested in working on manga-style graphic novels or movies might benefit from a concentration in illustration. Formal education can also help prospective Japanese artists build a portfolio, a professional necessity for all fine artists.

Skills Required

Japanese brushwork and flower arranging skills are required for the more traditional Japanese art forms. Manga and anime require drawing and pen-and-ink skills, as well proficiency in the use of computer graphics.

Career Outlook and Salary

Salaries in this field can vary significantly. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), fine art professionals of all kinds earned median annual wages of $49,520 in May 2017 (www.bls.gov). Companies that often employ Japanese artists might include comic book, computer game, or television publishers. Additionally, the BLS projected that all craft and fine artists would see a 6% growth in employment from 2016 to 2026, an average rate when compared to all other occupations.

Alternate Career Options

Related careers include:

Archivists, Curators, and Museum Workers

Archivists are responsible for appraising the value of valuable documents and records and overseeing their storage. Academic requirements include a graduate degree in archival or library science, history, or records management. In May 2017, archivists earned median annual wages of $51,760, according to the BLS.

A graduate degree in art, archaeology, history, or museum studies is also required for curators, while museum technicians and conservators can enter the field with a bachelor's degree. In May 2017, curators and museum technicians received mean yearly salaries of $53,770 and $40,670, respectively. Overall, employment of archivists, curators, and museum workers is expected to increase by 13% between 2016 and 2026, or faster than average when compared to all other occupations, according to the BLS (www.bls.gov).

Graphic Designers

Graphic designers use computer-generated or traditional media to create images, logos, or packaging concepts for commercial or decorative purposes. Minimum educational requirements include completion of a bachelor's program in relevant field of study, which may be found at the approximately 300 institutions across the country that have been approved by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design. According to the BLS, employment opportunities for graphic designers are expected to grow at a slower-than-average rate of 4% between 2016 and 2026. As of May 2017, professionals in this field earned median annual wages of $48,700 (www.bls.gov).


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