When you visit an employment search firm looking for a job, you will see lots of openings in information technology but hardly any in fine art. In fact, many employment and guidance counselors will despair if you tell them you want to be an artist, because popular perception has it that you will never be able to make any money on it. But if you want nothing more than to create as a career, you go have options. Becoming a graphic artist is one of them.
Just a few years ago, being a graphic artist meant being a professional calligrapher, silk screener, photographer, painter, or printer. Today, however, it means that you use computers to create art for the commercial sector. Where once an architect would go to a graphic artist who drew line drawings for promotional materials for his proposed project, today he would employ a graphic artist who created line or three dimensional images on a computer.
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As a graphic artist, you will make most of your money on clients. These clients will order a particular piece of work, such as a drawing outline for an instruction manual or images for a promotional billboard campaign, and you will deliver it to them in return for payment. Many graphic artists use their commercial work to pay the bills and their free time to create fine art works that they promote online or in art and craft fairs to be appreciated for their merit alone.
Most graphic artists are self employed, working on a contract by contract basis, which means they have to be as good at managing their business finances. However, some graphic artists are hired on to salaried positions at big companies that do marketing or advertising. These artists have a steadier, more secure source of income, but are capped as to how much they can make, unlike their self employed cousins.
So how does one become a graphic artist? Many graphic artists are self trained. From an early age they enjoyed teaching themselves how to use Adobe Photoshop or Corel DRAW, perhaps creating motivational posters and other artwork for their schools or parents' businesses, which led them into art as a career. Others have gone to art college and done formal training. Either way, it is the artist's portfolio that gets her work, not her credentials.