Art Careers Overview

You're creative. You love to draw, paint, sculpt, write, or design. But what does it take to have a career as an artist? What paths can or should you pursue, and how valid is the stereotype of the starving artist? Pursuing a career as a full-time artist is possible, if you have the passion and the energy.

Art Career Paths

Artists can typically be categorized into four groups:

  • Art Directors: Art directors develop design concepts for media pieces and oversee the entire creation and production process.
  • Craft Artists: Craft artists hand-make objects, such as candles, tapestries, quilts, and pottery, to be sold or shown.
  • Fine Artists: Fine artists create items such as paintings, sculpture, and illustrations that are often displayed in museums and galleries.
  • Multimedia Artists: Multimedia artists and animators create images for film, video, the web, and other forms of electronic media.

Art Career Profiles

Related Resources


MonsterCollege - Advice and entry-level opportunities through MonsterCollege, the job network for college students and recent grads.

Idealist - Search for internships in non-profit organizations worldwide.

National Network for Artist Placement - Links to assorted publications about internship and job placement for artists.

National Gallery of Art - Graduate internships and fellowships administered by different divisions within the institution.

Cover Letter & Resume Advice

Cover Letters That Catch the Eye - Throw away your form letter. These days, getting your cover letter noticed means getting creative.

Resume Tips for Creative Professionals - Learn how to convey the right message about your creative abilities.

Creative Ways to Improve Your Resume - Here's how to review and revise your resume with fresh eyes.

Designing Creative Resumes: A Complete Resource for the Creative Professional - A guide for the design elements of a creative resume.

Crisp Designing Portfolios - Guide for creating a portfolio.

Career Descriptions & Outlook

Visual Artist - The Occupational Outlook Handbook entry for visual artists.

Career Alternatives for Art Historians - A list of job possibilities, compiled by Charles Rosenberg for the University of Notre Dame.

Careers in the Arts - Career descriptions related to the visual arts, from SUNY Oswego.

Careers in Art: An Illustrated Guide - Provides an overview of the various career possibilities in art, including steps on how to be successful in each career field.

Opportunities in Arts and Crafts Careers - A book to help you as you consider a career in one of 25 different art concentrations.

The Self-Employed Artist

Advice on Art - Career skills for artists. Focuses on fine art topics such as dealing with galleries, and photographing your work.

Selling Your Art at Online Auctions - Tips on how to successfully sell art through online auctions. - Professional art opportunities available to subscribers.

Artist's & Graphic Designer's Market (Annual) - Annual guide for freelance contacts in the art market.

Graphic Artists Guild Handbook: Pricing and Ethical Guidelines - A comprehensive guide to buying and selling art work.

How to Survive and Prosper As an Artist : Selling Yourself Without Selling Your Soul - Resources for prospering as an artist.

The Artist's Marketing and Action Plan Workbook - Guide for the successful sale of artwork.

Taking the Leap : Building a Career As a Visual Artist - Information on establishing a visual arts career.

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