Many artists dream of monetizing their work. Just imagine: quitting your 9-5 and working for yourself as an artist! For some people, though, an even better dream might be converting your 9-5 with all its great benefits into an opportunity to do digital art every day.
Finding an entry-level digital art job can be difficult, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Artists can find employment working in a variety of industries, so here is our best advice for aspiring artists looking for full-time employment using their skills.
Types of Digital Art Jobs
There are a variety of careers in digital art you might want to pursue. If you are willing to hone specific skills, there is room to make great money in digital art. For senior and experienced employees, here are ten digital art jobs that can earn you a salary as high as six figures in the US.
Visual Effects Artist
Visual Effects artists create special effects for the film industry to portray visuals that might not be possible or would be too costly to film with standard means. Every film uses sometimes dozens of independent studios to help them create all their effects in a timely manner.
Storyboard Artists specialize in visual storytelling. They use their illustration skills to map out the story of a media production. These artists focus less on perfect, finished artwork, and instead sketch freely, with a focus on story and the general visualization of that story and characters.
Digital Art Director
As a digital art director, you will use a variety of media to help turn ideas into visuals. This is a highly creative role and is usually entrenched in the visual side of marketing and advertising.
Technical artists work in video games and 3D animated films and TV. Usually, it’s a technical artist’s job to take the art provided by other teams and make sure that it runs optimally and as needed. Many technical artists need a good understanding of working with shaders and other technical aspects of game engines and rendering software.
User Interface Artist
UI artists and designers can appear in many forms. In the video game industry, there is a need for designing interesting and intuitive UI designs. UI designers also find work in more graphic design style roles, as many companies want to ensure that users have the best experience while interacting with their digital products.
3D Character Artist
If you love designing and modeling characters, this may be the job for you. It requires strong skills using modeling software. However, depending on the size of your team and the creative projects you are able to work on, you might not have full control over the characters you create, as they may be designed by other artists earlier in the creative pipeline.
At large-scale productions, it is very common to have an artist who specializes specifically in rigging. A 3D Rigger will ensure that a character is optimally rigged and ready to be passed on to the animators.
3D Lighting Artist
Lighting is one of the most important aspects of 3D, though it is often overlooked by the layperson. This type of artist specializes in all things lighting and helps create gorgeous scenes in film and the video game industry.
Concept artists are highly creative individuals who specialize in envisioning and stretching ideas for video games, films, comic books, and many other media. This art is far from final, so as a concept artist the focus is on capturing ideas and establishing mood, setting, emotion, and character.
While salaries as a typographer are much lower than many other types of digital art, there is room to find work as a typographer in book publishing, news, and more. Typographers have a strong understanding of the visual word and design and desktop publishing software.
What Skills Should You Have To Land a Digital Art Job?
As you can see, with so many different kinds of digital art jobs available, there are a plethora of skills that would help you qualify for any of these roles. That said, there are some general skills that will help advance your career in any field of art.
This can be difficult for a lot of beginning artists, who are probably used to working solo on projects. Depending on the field, and the size of your team and projects, you may find yourself working with a big team. A large part of any 9-5 is coordination meetings and communication with teammates.
This brings us to the next crucial skill: working well with others. Understand how to delegate, and how to receive tasks that are delegated to you. Receive feedback positively, and give it out in the same spirit. Demonstrating your skill as a team player can help increase your hireability.
Follow a Brief and Adapt as Needed
A huge skill will be the ability to adjust your style and approach to fit the needs of any task. Often in business, you will receive a short brief explaining what is needed. You will have to find ways to express your creativity and artistic talent while being sure you adhere to the requirements of the briefing.
Understand the Developmental Process of Your Field
If you are a small part of a large pipeline, learn the ins and outs of your industry and where your art fits in the pipeline. This knowledge can not only save time, but it can also help inform your artistic decisions.
Don’t Feel Like Your Art Is the Star of the Show
Humility isn’t always easy, especially for artists. It’s okay to be proud of your work. You should be! But when it comes to working a digital art job, more times than not, you are just one step in a greater process. The entire project, once completed, is the star of the show, and you are one of many lucky contributors. Remembering this will help you stay humble and be a better team player.
Creating an Awesome Portfolio to Showcase Your Work
So, you’ve researched the industry you want to work in, and you’ve put in the work to educate yourself and meet the qualifications required in a job listing. Now what?
The very first thing you should do is design a portfolio. This is by far the most important thing you can work on as an aspiring artist looking for work. Depending on your field and the application process, you may have to choose between digital and traditional printed portfolios.
A digital portfolio can be housed on a website like ArtStation, or you could even create your own website. Making a website is so easy and affordable these days, and it’s well worth the small investment to have your own website.
While large sites like ArtStation just make sense due to the natural exposure you can gain, there is nothing wrong with having both. However, a well-designed custom web-based portfolio can leave a really good impression when applying for digital art jobs.
When applicable, a printed portfolio can be a great way to show off your prowess as an artist and a designer. Making wise choices over paper quality and type, design layout, typography, color, binding methods and more can subtly demonstrate your skills as a creative professional.
Continue Improving Your Skills
As you start applying for jobs, and even after you land your first one, don’t stop learning and seeking ways to improve your skills. It’s also a good idea to continue to update your portfolio so that you are ready on a dime if a new opportunity presents itself.
If you want to explore the marvelous world of 3D art and character design, check out our free software Daz Studio. It’s easy to create and render beautiful, realistic 3D images to spice up your portfolio. Start your 3D journey today!
Featured image: “My Workstation” by Richard C in the Daz Gallery.