Cartoon Artist: Career and Education Facts

Prospective cartoon artists can receive training through an illustration, digital arts or animation degree program. Continue reading to find out more about what you can learn in such programs and the career outlook for cartoon artists. Schools offering Children`s Book Illustration degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

Cartoon artists illustrate print and digital media, including newspapers, television advertisements and video games. You can choose to specialize in a field such as Web design or animation. Most careers related to cartoon art require a bachelor's degree at minimum.

Degrees Associate's, Bachelor's, Master's
Training Workshops, extension courses, technical undergraduate courses
Career Outlook 8% growth from 2016-2026 for multimedia artists and animators

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Are the Prerequisites for a Cartoon Artist Program?

To be admitted to a cartoon artist program, you may have to fulfill certain requirements. These may include submitting a brief portfolio of work to a board of college faculty members. Courses and programs focused on cartoon animation might explore these topics:

  • Film production
  • Advertising
  • Journalistic illustration
  • Website development
  • Comic strip storyboarding

What Type of Degree Can I Earn?

Workshops, weekend and summer extension courses can help beginners, intermediate artists and experienced illustrators learn specific skills in cartoon animation. Many art school undergraduate programs offer an associate's degree program in art illustration. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), though, animation careers require technical skills that are typically learned through a bachelor's degree program (

A Bachelor of Arts in Illustration with a focus on cartoon drawing or a Bachelor of Arts in Digital Arts with a focus on video animation can help you hone specific career-based skills. In an undergraduate program, you may study storyboard composition, computer animation, animation video editing and animation as fine art.

If you wish to teach illustration, further refine your craft and improve your portfolio, you may wish to earn a Master of Fine Arts in Animation or a related degree program with a focus on animated features. You might also want to consider a Master of Fine Arts in Digital Animation and Motion Arts.

What Are My Career Options?

Along with educational experience, your career success will depend greatly on the breadth and quality of your portfolio and reputation. Occupations for cartoon artists are varied and growing. Traditional careers in cartoon art include designing storyboard illustrations for political, social and sporting events; creating illustrations for print or television advertising and developing artwork for comic strips or newspaper editorials.

Modern trends in cartoon art include the growing motion picture industry, with companies such as Disney, Pixar and DreamWorks producing increasingly popular feature films. Experience in digital media illustration can also lead you to a career in Web designing or video game animation. The BLS reported careers for multimedia artists and animators should grow by 8% from 2016-2026, which is slower than the average for all careers.

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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