Characters are created and drawn for advertisements, graphic novels, political cartoons, comic strips, and comic books by professionals known as cartoon artists. Many cartoon artists are employed on a freelance or contractual basis by a publishing company or newspaper. Consequently, artists’ wages often depend on whether or not they can get their work published through media outlets. These professionals often sell their work to small-sized publications before it can be syndicated by newspapers with immense readership. Cuts to newspaper company’s employees may adversely affect job opportunities for artists who draw cartoon or comic strips for these publications, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov)). Cartoon artists can enjoy additional job opportunities offered by online or multimedia outlets.
Becoming a Cartoon Artist
While it helps to be able to draw cartoons with solid compositions and strong lines, cartoon artists must first and foremost have exceptional communication skills. Individuals who want to develop these skills should participate in workshops organized by professional cartoon artists. They could also enroll into cartooning classes offered by a college or university. Typically, coursework in such classes focuses on subject areas in drawing techniques, figure drawing and 2D design. Students may be taught how to work with oils and watercolors or pen and ink. They might also be shown ways of conveying nonverbal humor, refining their style of writing or developing characters.
While there is no need for any formal training for an individual to become a cartoon artist, many syndicated or successful artists originate from commercial art or graphic design backgrounds. There are some schools that offer cartooning bachelor degree programs, but this is extremely rare. Aspiring cartoon artists also need to sharpen basic business and entrepreneurial expertise. Professionals are often required to complete accounting paperwork, maintain their websites and create materials and marketing strategies. Correspondences with readers and editors may also be required to be maintained by them. Cartoon artists also depend on an important component of their sales arsenals, namely, a professional portfolio that demonstrates style, versatility, technical skill and originality. Artists can find buyers for their work by distributing their portfolios.