How to Become a Cartoonist

How to Become a Cartoonist

Cartoon artistry is in increased demand and individuals with a natural talent for drawing and creating computer-generated images are required to produce a wide variety of cartoons. Cartoonists are trained professional illustrators that create images for a wide variety of publications.

What does a cartoonist do?

Cartoonists create cartoons that are typically of political nature for many different publications such as magazines, newspapers, comic strips, books, brochures, websites, and advertisements. They often draw social, sports, advertising, and other political cartoons. They create 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional images by hand or through computer software. They use a variety of methods to illustrate their drawings such as pencils, pen and ink, watercolors, acrylics, and pastels. They use color, perspective, and shading to realistically depict people and events.

Some cartoonists work with other professionals who develop the idea or story and write the captions to the drawings. Others create their own stories or captions when they illustrate their images for comic strips.

What kind of training does a cartoonist need?

Cartoonists typically complete a bachelor degree in art or design. Many colleges, universities, and independent art and design schools offer bachelor and master degree programs in fine arts. In 2007, there were 282 postsecondary institutions that were accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design. Cartoonists typically complete training in computer techniques since computers are becoming increasingly used in the field. Cartoonists also often complete internships and other opportunities to gain practical experience. Cartoonists must typically compose a portfolio to demonstrate their talent and skills to present to potential employers. The portfolio often consists of handmade, printed, computer-generated, and photographic samples of the cartoonist’s work.

What are the prospects for a career as a cartoonist?

Employment of all artists is projected to grow faster than average for all professions, increasing 16% from 2006 to 2016 (1). The increase demand for animated and interactive images will drive job growth of cartoonists.

Job prospects are expected to be good with keen competition. Cartoonists with experience working on online publications and political web sites will have the best prospects. Job openings will also arise from the need to replace cartoonists who retire or leave the field for other reasons.

How much do cartoonists make?

As of October 2009, the middle 50% of cartoonists earned annual salaries between $44,631 and $60,745. The highest 10% earned annual salaries of more than $68,766 (2).

A career as a cartoonist is an excellent choice for individuals who have a natural talent for drawing and great artistic ability. Cartoonists must pay close attention to detail and be able to think abstractly. They must have excellent communication and interpersonal skills because they interact with many different professionals and clients. Many cartoonists have critical, comic, and dramatic skills in addition to their drawing talent.

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