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Job Descriptions

Artist / Illustrator

Artists / illustrators can work in a variety of work settings - including publishing companies, for book authors, or a magazine company. If you are an artist / illustrator, your employer may ask you to draw/illustrate for books, magazines, packaging, greeting cards, and/or stationery. You can also be self-employed and work from your own home (known as a freelance artist). You will have some clearly defined tasks (e.g., drawing pictures/graphics to match text). 


This job usually requires a high school diploma and/or a GED certificate. Some employers may require a college-level degree in fine arts or diplomas and/or certificates in computer-assisted design software.

Previous Experience

Previous experience drawing, painting, and/or illustrating is necessary. Many employers will require an artistic portfolio.  A portfolio is a file folder containing your best artistic work (e.g., paintings, drawings, etc.) to demonstrate your talent, style, and ability. Many employers may also require that you are able to use digital media (computer-assisted design) to complete illustrations or drawings. If this is the case, they will specify this requirement in their job advertisements.

Job Duties

  • Creating and producing art such as drawings, paintings and other artwork using pens, pencils, oils, pastels, watercolors, charcoal, ink and media (e.g., computer software).
  • Consult with clients, editors, writers, and/or art directors to determine the overall look, and artistic elements and materials required to meet their needs.
  • Submit artwork to clients for approval and take direction from supervisory staff or clients regarding project plans and changes to artwork.
  • Adapt existing artwork to suit your clients’ needs.
  • Your employer may also ask you to carry out additional duties than those listed here.

What’s Your Scene?

This job requires that you are able to work "Out of the Scene." If you are working as artist or illustrator, you may not be working with the public on a regular basis.  However, you may be required to speak with and interact with co-workers (depending on if you work alone from home or in an office). You will also need to communicate well with your employer or supervisor to help meet his/her artistic needs.

Skills / Abilities

Fine Arts - Talent, ability, and knowledge of artistic techniques required to produce artwork.

Written Expression - You will be required to write and spell correctly.

Reading Comprehension - Demonstrated ability to read, and follow written instructions and ideas.

Oral Comprehension - Demonstrated ability to understand and follow verbal instructions and ideas.

Organization and Prioritization - This job requires the ability to clearly organize and categorize work priorities to complete your work.

Manual Dexterity - This job requires the repeated and coordinated use of your hands, wrists, and fingers to use artistic instruments (e.g., pen, paintbrush), requiring the use of fine motor skills.

Environmental Demands

Location - An artist/illustrator typically works indoors in a climate-controlled office setting. If you work from home, you may choose your own work location.

Noise Level - The noise level will be quiet.

Lighting Level - The lighting level will be dependent on your employer. If you work in an office setting at work, you may have to work in florescent lighting. If you are able to work from home, then you can choose your lighting level.

Work Hours - The hours in this job may vary from part time to full-time hours. However, sometimes you may be working on a project with a deadline that requires you work more than 40 hours a week.   It will be up to your employer to decide if you are allowed to work flex time (working before 9am or after 5pm) and/or overtime. If you work from home, you may be able to come up with your own schedule.

Amount of Movement - This job typically requires that you sit for long periods of time. It also requires that you work long hours using small instruments (pen, pencil, etc.), therefore you will need to have good fine motor skills.

Cleanliness and Odors - If you are using certain artistic mediums (paint, charcoal), you might get messy or dirty. In addition, if you are working with certain types of artistic mediums (e.g., paint, charcoal, etc.), these materials may emit strong odors.

Work Attire - Work attire will range - if you are in an office setting, work clothing will typically be business casual clothing. If you work from home, you can choose what you want to wear.

Structure and Predictability - This job will typically have a moderate degree of structure and predictability.  This means that you might complete the same tasks each day, or you may have different tasks each day.  These tasks might not be done in the same order each day.  You might not always know ahead of time how long each task will take to complete.  You might work in the same areas each day, and you might interact with the same people each day.

What's the Pace?

    • Steady: In most cases, the work pace will be steady, which means that you will always have some work to do.  When the work pace is steady, you are working at a level “5” on a scale of “1” (nothing to do) to “10” (extremely busy, rushed pace).

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