Artist Job Description
Artist is a broad term that describes occupations in fine arts, crafts, desktop publishing, website design, animation and video game production. Artists can work as Multimedia Artists, Animators, Graphic Designers or Fine Artists. Depending on where they work and what they do, Artists might work in teams throughout the creative process to complete a project or create a product, though in some cases they will work independently.
Artists can work as freelancers or for studios, advertising agencies, media design companies, marketing firms or in graphic arts departments. Projected job growth rates reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) vary depending on the type of Artist. For instance, the BLS states that fine Artists, which typically work in studios or galleries, are expected to see a 2 percent growth in employment opportunities from 2014-2024, while multimedia Artists and animators, who can work in movie studios, advertising or software development, are likely to see a 6 percent increase in job opportunities over the same time period.
Artist Duties and Responsibilities
Artist duties and responsibilities are not as varied as some occupations, but they still must perform several tasks in order to deliver quality artistic projects. We have reviewed several job listings and found the following among the core Artist duties and responsibilities.
Develop Artistic Project Proposals
It is typically the Artist who creates or reviews project proposals to determine if specific project ideas can be produced. They will design an original concept or evaluate a concept submitted by a project manager, copywriter or other source. The Artist will make creative suggestions and offer solutions to any perceived issues with the proposal.
Manage Art Production
Whether it’s animation for a new video game or graphics for a company website, an Artist will usually manage the entire design and production of the images. This could involve designing the original concept, meeting with team members to finalize the concept and manage the quality of the art throughout the production process. It would also include maintaining a project schedule and evaluating progress at various stages of production.
Collaborate with Teams
In many cases, Artists must work closely with such professionals as art directors, copywriters, project managers and production managers to ensure that artwork for a given project is of high quality and delivered within a specified deadline. This aspect of the job would involve attending meetings to review possible revisions to the art and to discuss the progress of the project. In cases of fine Artists, who tend to work more independently, they would typically have to meet with gallery owners to arrange art exhibits.
Besides strong creative skills, an Artist should be organized, detail-oriented and able to work under deadlines. While some Artists work alone, in most cases they should be team players that can manage and motivate others. Strong oral and written communication skills are essential. Besides these general skills, many employers might look for potential candidates for Artist positions to possess the following skills.
Core skills: Based on job listings we looked at, employers want Artists with these core skills. If you want to work as an Artist, focus on the following.
- Creating original designs
- Articulating design ideas to managers and other team members
- Translating written directions into artwork
- Generating rough concept sketches and illustrations
- Modifying and revising art designs
- Preparing final art proofs
- Possessing proficiency in various design and digital illustration software
Advanced skills: While most employers did not require the following skills, multiple job listings included them as preferred. Add these to your Artist toolbox and broaden your career options.
- Understand layout techniques and typography
- Proficiency in Microsoft PowerPoint for presentation purposes
- Ability to consistently meet deadlines
It is often helpful and even recommended to refer to additional resources when contemplating a career as an Artist. We have provided links to other resources that can give you more insight into this profession.
On the Web
Ucreative – A website with various resources for Artists and designers with links to articles, forums, Artist tools for sale, creative tips and more.
Artistsnetwork – A link to art blogs that offers Artists tips and insight into inspiration and the artistic process.
Line25 - A blog offering tips and strategies for graphic and web designers.
AIGA – the professional association for design – Founded in 1914, AIGA, which is the “oldest and largest professional membership organization for design”, provides Artists working in the areas of graphic design, website design and gaming design a place to find professional development opportunities, networking, conferences, webcasts and many other resources.
National Association of Independent Artists (NAIA) – Established for fine Artists, this organization, which was formed in 1995, allows artists to openly communicate with each other. Resources include a biannual newspaper, a marketplace for Artist tools, tips from experienced Artists and an advocacy-based ActionLine.
Careers in Art: An Illustrated Guide – This book coves everything from what college courses to take for specific Artist careers to tips about succeeding in hundreds of different professions in art.
Living and Sustaining a Creative Life: Essays by 40 Working Artists – An insightful look into making a successful living as a creative Artist, from interviews and narratives with those working in the field.
The Business of Being an Artist – From exhibition opportunities to details about what it’s like to work alone and often face rejection, this book focuses on nearly every aspect of being a fine Artist.
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