Career Satisfaction

For this career, by 29 people, from 10 (best) to 1 (worst).

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Inside Artist Careers

Things you need to know, but nobody tells you

 

Biggest Surprises


"When Photographing Food, It Has To Be Just Right...
How picky certain people can be" (Artist; 2014)

Career: 3 years of experience, currently based in Kentucky, female
School: at Ashland Community Tech in Kentucky; completed Bachelor degree


"Fearlessness Is What Makes An Artist...
I suppose that really anyone can do it. That people will pay money for art as long as you push your limits and put yourself out there. I've been doing this long before my degree and the consistent thing I see from everyone who wants to enter the field is just fear of putting yourself out where everyone can see." (Illustrator; 2014)

Career: 7 years of experience, currently based in Michigan, male
School: Studied Illustration at University Of Michigan - Flint in Michigan; completed Associate degree in 2009


"Working With Personalities...
I was surprised that theatre work can be so very stressful. Working with actors can be incredibly erratic, because they tend to be ego-driven. A costume designer has to deal with their biggest insecurities, because we are creating how they look on stage. Alternately, when the actor has some humility, they often say that my work really helps them create the character." (Costume Designer, Make Up Artist; 2013)

Career: 15 years of experience, currently based in California, female
School: Studied Theatre Design at University Of Kansas in Kansas; completed Bachelor degree in 1999


"Challenge To Find A Teaching Job...
A lot of people get their MFA to teach at the college level. But it is extremely hard to get a teaching position here in So Ca." (Artist; 2014)

Career: 12 years of experience, currently based in California, male
School: Studied Fine Art at Claremont Graduate University in California; completed Professional degree in 2005


"Learn Software, Be Mindless...
I'm surprised that most jobs are interested in the software you know. It's difficult to find a full-time job because they require advanced knowledge in every piece of animation software for an entry level job. I learned how to make work from start to finish, thinking about what I'm the message I'm sending, and not just cranking out the same generic stuff as others." (Animator; 2014)

Career: 5 years of experience, currently based in Illinois, male
School: Studied Animation at School Of The Art Institute Of Chicago in Illinois; completed Master degree in 2012


"Starving Artist...
Many artists are surprised to find how difficult it can be to find work. It can be very hard getting commissions or getting your pieces in a gallery." (Artist; 2014)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Wyoming, female
School: Studied Fine Arts at Casper College in Wyoming; completed Associate degree in 2012


"Good Art Finds Great Art...
The emotional fulfillment is useful, but the experience of other artists' work is continually inspiring. That you really have to be an artist to discover some of the most wonderful art and artists out there in the world today is the surprising thing." (Artist; 2013)

Career: 22 years of experience, currently based in Texas, male
School: Studied English at Angelo State University in Texas; completed Bachelor degree in 1992


"Very Little Freedom Of Expression...
A lot of people think artists who work for themselves have a lot of freedom. Surprisingly, I have almost no freedom to create the art that I choose. I always have to create commissioned works based on the patron's vision and I do not have the time to freely choose what I create." (Fine Artist; 2013)

Career: 10 years of experience, currently based in New York, female
School: Studied Studio Art at Stony Brook in New York; completed Bachelor degree in 2007


"Lack Of Interest In Art...
I am surprised that there is not more need for art, unfortunately art has really dropped to the back of people's minds and budgets. Also in schools art is being pushed aside to focus on sports and other endeavors." (Artist; 2013)

Career: 6 years of experience, currently based in New York, female
School: Studied Fine Art at Buffalo State College in New York; completed Bachelor degree in 2011


"Who You Are Is More Important Than What You Make...
What surprised me most about my profession is how much of being an artist is selling yourself along with your work. The artists' ego and "myth" is almost more important in selling your work than actually having good and interesting work, you yourself have to be completely intriguing." (Artist; 2013)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in Colorado, female
School: Studied Studio Art/Art History at Louisiana Tech University in Louisiana; completed Bachelor degree in 2012


"The Creative Passion...
In retrospect, the one thing that absolutely surprised me was how I was emotionally moved by the interaction of the colors on my canvases; to this day they still mesmerize. For me, the creative process is one that demands attention, but at the same time it provides great satisfaction. There is no right or wrong to creating a work of art, it is the interpretation which moves one to feel, to think, to experience an emotion; all of which may be the correct answer. There are those that don't value art as a "real career", but when a person is passionate enough to keep doing what they love, no one can tell you that you can't do succeed. Another surprise is how time seems to disappear when I am working. An artist with passion may not be able to walk on water, but he can certainly paint it!" (Master Artist; 2013)

Career: 25 years of experience, currently based in Virginia, male
School: Studied Fine Art, Landscape And Portraiture, Illustration, Graphic Design (Manual & Computer), Photography, Storyboarding, Self Promotion, Business Studies, Etc. at La Jolla Academy Of Advertising And Design (Now Known As The Art Institutes) in California; completed Associate degree in 1991


"Lack Of Entry Level Career Opportunities...
It is impossible to get a job in the real field I want due to lack of experience. EVERY ONE wants 3-5 years experience and does not want a new graduate. It's even worse being a girl, I can get an interview but it's a highly male dominated field." (Game Design; 2013)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Texas, female
School: Studied Art And Technology at University Of Texas At Dallas in Texas; completed Bachelor degree in 2010


"Underestimating Speaking Skills...
The thing that surprised me the most about going out into the field of graphic design is how important it is to not just be able to show your portfolio, but also talk about it in detail. People underestimate how important speaking and writing skills are in the field of art and design. Those new to the field need to not only be able to show their skill visually; also explain their intent, their concepts, and convince those around them of the strength of their designs." (Graphic Designer; 2013)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Texas, female
School: Studied Fine Arts at University Of Houston Clear Lake in Texas; completed Bachelor degree in 2012


"Time Does Not Equal Payoff...
What surprised me most, but not by much, is how little the payoff is compared to time worked. I was paid about $50 for an illustration commissioned by a magazine that took about 5 days to complete." (Illustrator; 2014)

Career: 3 years of experience, currently based in Virginia, male
School: Studied Fine Arts at VCU in Virginia; completed Bachelor degree in 2011


"It Does Not Pay Enough To Justify The Cost Of College...
A two year degree will only get you a low paying job. If you don't mind working in a plant nursery in all weather for minimum wage, that's ok, but I expected more. I worked in landscape design, and that was kind of fun, but that was not regular work and only a little higher pay." (Landscape Designer; 2013)

Career: 5 years of experience, currently based in California, female
School: Studied Horticulture Landscape Design at Sierra College in California; completed Associate degree in 2002


"Teaching Careers In Art...
I am most surprised by the number of teaching jobs there are in art. This is true even if you do not have your degree in art education." (Free Lance Artist; 2013)

Career: 24 years of experience, currently based in Michigan
School: Studied Graphic Design And Painting at Wayne State University in Michigan; completed Bachelor degree in 2012


"My Job Is A Job Not A Hobby...
It surprises me how often people want me to work for free or think that less than minimum wage is fair just because they think I do my full-time job for "fun."" (Freelance Artist; 2014)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in Michigan, female
School: Studied Illustration at Kendall College Of Art And Design in Michigan; completed Bachelor degree in 2012


"Self-Driven Career...
As a fine artist I was surprised to find the freedom and flexibility that comes with this career. It is self-run and self-motivated, so if one is talented and ambitious the sky is the limit. On the other hand, if you are inclined to be lazy and unmotivated you might need to get your act together and push yourself more." (Fine Artist; 2014)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Arkansas, female
School: Studied BFA- Fine Art at Abilene Christian University in Texas; completed Bachelor degree in 2011


"The Kind Of Clientele That Enjoy Textile Arts...
Most people would be surprised that there are not many opportunities for textile artists. Most people do not quite understand that a textile artist works with various fibers to create art." (Textile Artist; 2013)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in Indiana, female
School: Studied Fine Arts at Indiana University in Indiana; completed Associate degree


"Location...... Location...... Location...means Everything.....
I am surprised most about how location has an effect on how sales of art are made. I have sold more of my art out of the area I live in than with in the area . This area is sort of stuck in one genre . I do very well when I go to crafty artsy locations where the people are more open minded than traditional." (Craft Artist; 2013)

Career: 25 years of experience, currently based in South Carolina, female
School: Studied Art Painting Jewelry Making at Took Art Based Major In High School in New York; completed Diploma degree in 1990


"I Was Surprised To Find That Experience Is The Best Teacher...
I was surprised by how little you actually learn in college. I always tell people I learned more in two days working in my field than I did in four days at school. Experience really is the best teacher. If it were still possible I would recommend not going to a traditional four year school, but most everything requires a bachelors these days." (CG Artist; 2014)

Career: 5 years of experience, currently based in California, female
School: Studied Media Arts And Animation at Art Institute in Georgia; completed Bachelor degree in 2009


"I Found That My Career Doesn't Use Half The Tactics That School Showed Me...
fact that I could have got same degree @ way cheaper school also a lot of my work is hands on learning" (Graphic Designer; 2013)

Career: 13 years of experience, currently based in Arizona, male
School: Studied Graphic Design at Ithaca College in New York; completed Bachelor degree in 2003


"People Skills Required...
I was surprised that there is more to it than just the animation. I didn't realize how much people skills were required because you need to be able to deal with clients well." (Animator; 2013)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in New Jersey, male
School: Studied Animation at Rhode Island School Of Design in Rhode Island; completed Bachelor degree in 2012


"Diverse Skill Set...
It is surprising how many responsibilities you can have as a graphic designer. I work doing pre-press for a manufacturing company, but because it is a small company, I do a lot more than separate files. There is marketing campaigns, website design, and customer graphic design. With such a board range of activities, it is hard to get bored. I have quickly developed a wide range of skills." (Graphic Designer; 2013)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in New Hampshire, female
School: Studied Journalism at Unh in New Hampshire; completed Associate degree in 2006


"Wide Range Of Clients...
The different art I'm asked to create. Some unique pieces some are generic but all are art." (Artist; 2013)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in Virginia, female
School: Studied Art History at William And Mary in Virginia; completed Associate degree in 2009


"Remote Work Isn't Hard To Find...
Finding freelance work is a easier than you may think and can be done while you're in school. There's a fair amount of remote work out there and studios don't care or ask if you're in school; all that matters is that you can do quality work." (Animator; 2013)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in Utah, male
School: Studied Animation at BYU in Utah; completed Bachelor degree in 2012


"Networking More Important Than You Think...
I was surprised with how hard it is to get into the video game industry and how incredibly important networking is. I was also surprised to learn that almost no game artists/developers get hired from submitting applications through a game studio's website. Most people get jobs from referrals or the studio directly contacting them." (3D Artist; 2014)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Texas, female
School: Studied Game Art at Full Sail University in Florida; completed Bachelor degree in 2011


"Art Is Indefinable...
I was surprised to learn how open-ended a career in art would be. When I was younger I thought I would be a painter but in reality I have ended up doing everything from building models for films to writing and illustrating books. Because I chose to major in art my hobby and career have molded into one. Right now I am a stay at home mom but I can still say that I am an artists because creativity does not have to be confined to a rigid job." (Artist; 2013)

Career: 15 years of experience, currently based in Pennsylvania, female
School: Studied Painting at Penn State in Pennsylvania; completed Bachelor degree in 2011


"Writing Ability A Plus...
I was surprised at how useful my writing skills were when communicating with clients. Being friendly, literate, and helpful goes a long way when it comes to pleasing the customer." (Freelance Artist; 2012)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in Minnesota, female
School: Studied Art And English at St. Cloud State University in Minnesota; completed Bachelor degree in 2012

Best & Worst Things About This Career


Freelance Artist: "The best thing about this position is that I can stay home with my two kids and two animals and earn some income at the same time. It was very challenging trying to find a job that would work around my husband's unpredictable schedule (and frustrating as well). So it was nice to be able to stay home and do something I love and earn some much needed income. One of the worst things is the clients that don't respond to messages or stiff you on payment. It's very rough sometimes. You need to be careful about how you conduct business. Ask for half down before starting a project so you know they're serious." (2011)

Career Background


Artist

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Career Tips


"Sell Art Or Sell Out...
Know who you are and what your art is about. Know how to sell yourself, and know if you want to sell what you want to create or if you will sell what the galleries want you to create." (Artist; 2014)


"Have A Job That You Love And Not Hate...
Find a job you love doing and you will never work a day in your life" (Artist; 2014)


"Find A Target Audience...
As a fine artist I would first try to build a strong interest in your work. This could be in a specific location, like the city you live in, or it could be broader, like a target group on the internet. This can be done by showing your work in said location, or by creating a website that caters to your audience." (Fine Artist; 2014)


"Always Be Creating...
If you want to be an artist in the game industry, the most important thing you can do is keep creating art. It's not easy to find work, but if you keep honing your skills and keep your portfolio up to date, work will find you." (3D Artist; 2014)


"Still Get Your Terminal Degree If You Want To Teach...
If you want to be an artist, you probably don't need an MFA. I've seen plenty of artists without one showing in galleries. If you want to teach, you definitely need one." (Artist; 2014)


"Stand Out...
Challenge what has been made before you. Challenge to make new, interesting work that has meaning rather than learning the "cool" effects. Just because everyone else is working this way doesn't mean you have to; stand out from the others." (Animator; 2014)


"Teach Yourself To Be An Artist...
Never stop practicing your craft, never stop putting yourself out where people can see. Your audience will find you. Dedication to teaching yourself is the end all, be all of this job." (Illustrator; 2014)


"Get To Know People...
Make connections while still in school, and focus your path." (Illustrator; 2014)


"Freelance Pay...
If you do freelance work online NEVER settle for less than minimum wage for your art. If you spend eight hours on it you deserve AT LEAST $80. You pay taxes on what you get!" (Freelance Artist; 2014)


"Create A Great Portfolio Of Work...
If you want to be a successful computer graphics artist, I suggest practicing. All that matters in this industry is your portfolio and past experience." (CG Artist; 2014)


"Internships Are A Must...
You should try to get an internship in your field as soon as possible. Work on your portfolio, nothing else matters in getting an artistic job." (Game Design; 2013)


"Do What You Love!...
If you want to be happy with your life in art do what you love. do not let others mold your work to fit their desires. Yes I know sometimes you will have to alter things you create to make a sale but when you work for yourself it is less about the desires of others and more about the expression of the self." (Craft Artist; 2013)


"Make Contacts...
Make as many contacts as possible, always have business cards and samples of your work handy at all times, you never know who you will meet. Go to as many art shows and openings as you can, make your presence known." (Artist; 2013)


"Get A Bachelors' Degree...
Forget about the two year degree. Stay in school and get a Bachelor's degree. That will be worth the time and money. Bachelor's degrees are more universal than Associate's. An associate's is only good for that field and it gets outdated. A bachelor's will get you jobs in other fields. Many employers don't care what your major was, only that you finished." (Landscape Designer; 2013)


"Continue To Update Skills...
take time research career hand on maybe intern or try field first" (Graphic Designer; 2013)


"Move To The Big City, Young One...
Starving artists starve because they don't live near a larger metropolitan area. If you're going to be a happy artist, you need to sell art and be part of a larger artist community, therefore you should live within easy traveling distance of a large metropolitan area. If you don't already live near one of the biggest cities in the world, move there - New York, LA, the Dallas-Ft. Worth Metroplex, Paris, London, etc, or at least to one of the larger cities with a known artist population like Seattle." (Artist; 2013)


"Ask Everyone...
If you want to get a job as a graphic designer, ask everyone you know! All businesses, large and small, need graphic work done. Be open to learning as many different parts of graphic design so that you become invaluable to even the smallest company," (Graphic Designer; 2013)


"Always Create...
No matter what position you find yourself in whether you have become a parent or you are currently in a completely uncreative job, never stop creating for yourself. Success will come if you keep your artistic passion alive at home and in your free time." (Artist; 2013)


"Taking Paying Work...
To have a productive career as a costume designer, I would recommend getting as much paid work as possible, as early in your career as possible, and just really focus on doing any paid work you can find. During your summer breaks in college, really find some theatre to work on." (Costume Designer, Make Up Artist; 2013)


"Art Career Preparedness...
Make sure you have an excellent art portfolio and are willing to work hard and long hours." (Artist; 2013)


"Make Connections...
If you want to be a successful artist, you must surround yourself with other artists, and make connections as much as you are able to." (Artist; 2013)


"Making Commissions Work For You...
If you want to work solely on a commissioned basis, take photographs of your work so that you can create and sell prints and continue to make money off of them even after you have sold the original." (Fine Artist; 2013)


"Important Of Networking...
If you want to be successful in graphic design, you need to network as much as possible. Talk to other designers, make acquaintances at your jobs. This will help you not only at your current workplace, but also in finding more jobs down the line." (Graphic Designer; 2013)


"Fabricating Fabrics...
If you plan to be a textile artist plan on putting more into it, than you are going to get out of it."" (Textile Artist; 2013)


"Loading Your Brush...
Whether your beginner or accomplished painter, don't compare yourself to other artists, you have your own talents and passions, paint with passion and you'll create with confidence. Try to keep the proverbial brush loaded. Sketch, draw, doodle, and do it all of the time; its your practice, your rehearsal, your prepping and it will help you make the smooth transition into the real work that awaits you. Don't listen to the critiques especially from other artists, you are not painting for them, you are painting for yourself or for your patrons. It will help keep your mind clear and your brush moving." (Master Artist; 2013)


"Gaining Useful Work Experience In Art As An Undergraduate...
If you are definitely interested in being an artist, take as many art education courses as you can so that you can gain steady work while you create your art. You need not graduate with a degree in education, but some background is helpful." (Free Lance Artist; 2013)


"Always Improve...
Always work on improving your craft. If you're good at what you do, there will be work for you." (Animator; 2013)


"Building A Portfolio Early...
If you want to be an animator, you should start off being willing to work for any client you can find, even if the pay is not great. This way you can get a larger portfolio to show others a better sample of your work for higher paying clients." (Animator; 2013)


"Know How To Market Your Work...
Well first of all, study marketing and how to self promote. Do lots of research on different freelancing sites and places to display your work. Odds are clients will come from all places, so the more work you have out, the wider your reach and possibilities of landing a job/commission. Make sure you protect yourself by having an invoicing program or billing program. It is mandatory to conduct your business like a large business, even though it's just yourself. Never undersell yourself. There are so many positives to being a Freelancer, but it is tough and a constant struggle to land jobs. But it's worth the effort." (Freelance Artist; 2011)