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Cartoon Designer Education Requirements and Career Information

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a cartoon designer. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about training, job duties and necessary skills to find out if this is the career for you.

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If you're a person who desires to animate movies and shows, illustrate novels, or create comic book art, then a cartoon designer may be a good career for you. Completing degree programs in animation, as well having a knack for drawing and illustrating, are two important qualifications for a cartoon designer. A portfolio may also be needed.

Essential Information

Cartoon designers create animated pictures for television, movies, and websites using hand-drawn or computer-generated techniques. They may specialize in interactive content, multimedia animation, comic strips, comic books, and graphic novels. Although a formal art education is not required, most employers prefer cartoonists who have completed some training beyond high school. Individuals can choose from associate's and bachelor's degree programs in animation for entry-level employment, and master's degree programs in animation can lead to career advancement. Cartoon designers need to especially be skilled in drawing and animation, and have a professional portfolio to be successful.

Required Education Associate's or bachelor's degree in animation preferred; master's degree in animation for advancement
Required Skills Drawing, animation, and the use of cartoon software
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)* 4% for Multimedia Artists and Animators
Median Salary (2018)* $72,520 annually for Multimedia Artists and Animators

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education Requirements for Cartoon Designers

Understanding the fundamentals of drawing is essential for cartoon designers. Aspiring cartoonists may take some college courses or pursue an undergraduate or graduate education. Many universities, community colleges and art schools offer cartoon animation and illustration programs. Undergraduate requirements typically include courses in figure drawing, cartooning, illustration, comic book art, character design, and 2-dimensional design. Degree options include an Associate of Arts in Animation, a Bachelor of Media Arts in Animation, and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Animation.

Those interested in furthering their artistic education may consider a Master of Fine Arts in Animation program. Course requirements may include computer-enhanced animation, visual storytelling, character development, storyboard organization, and cartoon software. A graduate-level education is beneficial for cartoon designers pursuing administrative careers.

Career Information

Cartoon designers find careers in a range of industries, from print advertising to film to game design. Entry-level cartoonist jobs typically require an undergraduate education or several years of practical experience. Cartoon designers often enter careers animating for television or motion pictures, designing video games, illustrating children's books, animating special effects, and producing graphic novels. Career options outside the entertainment industry include art director, software publisher, art professor, and medical illustrator positions.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported the median annual wage of salaried multimedia artists and animators as $72,520 in May 2018. For those working in the motion picture and video industries, the mean annual wage was $86,080 as of May 2018. Multimedia artists and animators held about 28,560 jobs in May 2018. According to the BLS, employment opportunities for these professionals are expected to grow 4% between 2018 and 2028 (www.bls.gov).

A career as a cartoon designer calls for adroitness in animation, drawing, and illustrating. Making cartoons for online content, movies, and TV are among the numerous jobs for cartoon designer. To move up to higher positions, a bachelor's or master's degree in animation or a related field is strongly recommended, in addition to a compelling portfolio.

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