Greeting Card Illustrator: Career and Salary Facts

Explore the career requirements for greeting card illustrators. Get the facts about education requirements, salary and job outlook to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Children`s Book Illustration degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Greeting Card Illustrator?

Greeting card illustrators design and create pictures specifically for use on various kinds of greeting cards. They may draw these images by hand, but more likely use a computer to scan and color images or create them entirely. These professionals are skilled in an array of art techniques, such as color, space, texture and more. Greeting card illustrators may work as freelance artists or directly for a card company. Either way, they likely keep an updated portfolio of their work to show to potential clients. Learn about the work of a greeting card illustrator. Find out what type of education and training will be most helpful, as well as how much you might earn in the field.

Education Required High school diploma; postsecondary degree is optional
Key Skills Writing, artistic ability, creativity
Job Growth (2014-2024) 3% (for all fine artists, including painters, sculptors and illustrators)*
Median Salary (2015) $46,460 (for all fine artists, including painters, sculptors and illustrators)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Would I Do as a Greeting Card Illustrator?

Greeting card illustrators are artists who create original content for birthday, anniversary and many other types of cards. Usually, you'd create images according to what a greeting card writer has already conceptualized in lines of text. With your individual artistic sensibilities and style, you interpret the greeting's message in a visual way. Some large greeting card companies have illustrators in full-time positions, but many greeting card illustrators are self-employed, or they work on a freelance basis.

What Education Do I Need?

Though no degree is required to become a greeting card illustrator, you would need some artistic training for this career. You may choose to enroll in a fine arts bachelor's degree program through which you take classes in many different media and learn art history as well as technique. You may choose to take some art classes outside of a degree program, through a local organization or a continuing education program. As a greeting card illustrator, you need to be able to represent the card's message and vision as delineated by the writer or client. In addition to taking traditional art classes, computer classes may be important, since your work may involve the use of digital illustration programs.

What Could I Expect to Earn?

Because many greeting card illustrators work for themselves or on a job-to-job basis, earnings in this career can vary greatly. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that fine artists, including painters, sculptors and illustrators in the 10th-90th percentile range made $19,140 - $99,140 in May 2015 (www.bls.gov). May 2015 data from the BLS reported that fine artists, which includes painters, sculptors and illustrators, had a median income of $46,460 per year.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Some similar alternative careers that require a high school diploma include woodworkers, photographers and jewelers and precious stone and metal workers. Woodworkers specialize in creating various products out of different kinds of woods. Photographers capture images to tell a story or record events. Jewelers and precious stone and metal workers specialize in creating, designing and repairing a variety of jewelry.

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