Sketch Artist Education and Degree Programs

Sketch artists may find careers in illustration, forensic art or one of many other areas relevant to drawing. Read on to learn the description of a sketch artist, common courses in degree programs, online options and career information. Schools offering Art degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What is a Sketch Artist?

A sketch artist is an artist or illustrator who creates likenesses of any number of subjects, from the human form to clothing to landscapes. A sketch is usually made relatively quickly and is drawn from life, a description or the imagination. Sketches can be made with pencil, charcoal, ink, watercolors and other mediums. Some sketches are early drafts for future compositions, while others are considered works of art in themselves.

Career Description Illustrator who creates likenesses of different subjects in a variety of art mediums
Program Choices Bachelor's, master's degree; workshops/seminars
Learning Options Programs offered both online and on campus
Career Fields Self-employed, U.S. justice system, medical field
Median Salary (2018)$49,380 (for fine artists, including painters, sculptors, and illustrators)*
Job Outlook (2018-28)1% growth (for all fine artists, including painters, sculptors, and illustrators)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Kind of Degree Programs are Available?

You can obtain a Bachelor of Fine Arts or a Bachelor of Arts degree in art or illustration with a concentration in drawing from many schools. Classes typically give you ample opportunity to work in a studio and practice your drawing techniques. You will also have the opportunity to study other art subjects, from art appreciation to history, printmaking and more. Some schools may require a minor, thereby ensuring that your studies extend into areas beyond your concentration.

A Master of Fine Arts (MFA) program can give you more in-depth study in an area of art, such as drawing or painting. Emphasis is on a final thesis or body of work. MFA programs are typically 2 to 3 years in duration and require you to already have a bachelor's degree.

If you're interested in forensic art, there are opportunities available for training by professional forensic artists. These classes and seminars, taught privately or through a university, can teach you techniques for drawing, interviewing (in order to get details for your drawings) and with other subjects.

Medical and scientific illustrators create images of the human body and depictions of plant and animal life that are hard to see with the naked eye. In order to become a medical illustrator, you'll have to have a minimum of a bachelor's degree in art and premedical courses, and preferably a master's degree in medical illustration. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there are only four accredited schools in the U.S. offering master's degree programs.

Can I Study Online to Become a Sketch Artist?

There are online degrees in drawing offered by art schools in illustration and the fine arts, such as painting and printmaking. Basic courses in color, design and drawing are generally required for most art degrees and the same is true for online programs.

What Kinds of Jobs Can I Find?

Sketch artists may work for a variety of employers; others are self-employed. Sketch artists create illustrations for books, magazines, clothing catalogs, greeting cards, comic books, films and video games. Some sketch artists are employed in the U.S. justice system, making detailed drawings of crime scenes, trial proceedings or criminal suspects based on the description of observers. Medical illustrators work for themselves or a variety of institutions, such as hospitals, medical publishers, universities and research institutions.

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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