What Does a Cartoon Artist Do?

As a cartoon artist, your focus is on drawing cartoons, which may involve sketching, storyboarding and creating a polished final image. The type of cartoon you draw can vary, from comic strips to political cartoons and animation. Continue reading to learn more about working as a cartoon artist. Schools offering Children`s Book Illustration degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Job Overview

Not every cartoon artist has the same job responsibilities. Your responsibilities will depend on where you work and the type of cartoon you draw. However, the main duty you will have, regardless of your job details, is to draw the cartoon. Beyond drawing, your duties may include writing the captions or story for the cartoon.

If you work on comic strips, you may work on a contract basis or as an employee. You may design comic strips for newspapers, magazines, or books. You may also create your own comic books. Generally, as a comic strip artist, you'll handle both the drawing and writing duties.

If you work in animation, you may only draw the cartoons, and the writing may be handled by someone else. This is especially true if you are working for an animation company, but if you are a freelancer, then you'll be more likely to handle both writing and drawing duties.

Important Facts About Cartoon Artists

Median Salary (2014) $43,890 per year ('for fine artists, including painters, sculptors, and illustrators')
Job Outlook (2014-2024) 2% growth
Key Skills Active learning, originality, decision making, manual dexterity, clear communication, social awareness, critical thinking, problem solving, deductive reasoning
Similar Occupations Art directors, graphic designers, multimedia artists, animators, photographers, fashion designers

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Duties and Responsibilities

While the main responsibilities of your job are likely to involve writing and drawing, you may have additional duties as a cartoon artist. According to the National Cartoonists Society (NCS), which is a recognized society of cartoonists who work together to advance the field and provide support for fellow cartoonists, before you can create a cartoon, you must brainstorm ideas (www.rueben.org). Since many cartoons are humorous, developing an idea may involve coming up with funny situations or jokes. Other, more serious cartoons may be memoir-based or depict historical events.

Once you have an idea, you'll begin brainstorming how to turn that idea into a cartoon. You may need to work on character creation, giving the character a personality that comes through to readers and tying the character to the main storyline of the cartoon.

Creating the cartoon includes a process of drawing and editing to create the final look. You'll also have to write up the wording for the cartoon, if you are handling that task.

Career Preparation

There is not a standard process for becoming a cartoon artist. You may take formal classes or earn an art degree, but it is not required. Generally, you need to know basic drawing techniques and have a talent for creating visually appealing cartoons. You may take drawing classes in high school or through an adult education program. You can also use books and programs to teach yourself artistic techniques.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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