What Is the Job Description of an Artist?

There are many different jobs in the field of art, but each job comes with its own duties and description. Depending on your interests, you may be suited for a career as an illustrator, graphic designer, sculptor, or multimedia artist. If you are interested in becoming an artist, read on to learn about the job description of these careers to see if any sound like a fit for you. Schools offering Art degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Overview

An artist's main assignment is to create something interesting, unique or functional for use as an advertisement or product packaging, for sale or exhibition, or just to entertain. There are many types of artists and each type of art has its own job description. These job descriptions overlap somewhat; for example, an illustrator may create backgrounds for use in multimedia projects.

Important Facts About Artists

Required Education High school diploma for fine artists; Bachelor's degree for other fields
Key Skills Creativity, attention to detail, artistic ability, time management, oral and written communication, computer competency
Work Environment Office, home-office, or studio settings
Similar Occupations Art directors, desktop publishers, industrial designers, printing workers, technical writers, web developers

Graphic Designer

Graphic designers work for advertising companies, design firms, magazines and newspapers, and on the Web. As a graphic designer, you would work closely with art directors and clients to plan, design, and produce original artwork for use within an advertising or branding campaign.


Illustrators create original artwork for books, product packaging, greeting cards, or anything else that requires images. As an illustrator, you can use traditional media such as acrylic or oil paints, pen and ink, or colored pencils, or could expand your skill set to include digital drawing programs to design your artwork.

Technical Illustrator

Technical illustrators work with more precision and detail than fine arts illustrators. If you become a technical illustrator, you would work for a scientific or medical company, or even as one who draws instructions for assembling and repairing items such as furniture, electrical equipment, or machinery.


A sculptor creates a three-dimensional piece of art from a wide variety of materials such as wood, metal, rock, or ice. As a sculptor, you would create the piece of art either from scratch or from a mold. Ideally, you could sell your finished work to a collector, get it placed in a gallery or have it accepted by a museum.

Multimedia Artist

Multimedia artists often work in the television, film, and video game industries. Their main job is to create backgrounds, characters, storyboards, and finished pieces for use as animation. Many multimedia artists work in both 2-D and 3-D.

Sketch Artist

As a sketch artist, you could work with a government agency to help solve crimes, find people, or depict scenes in places where cameras are not permitted, such as courtrooms. You would work primarily with media such as pencils and charcoals, as speed and accuracy are both important.

Salary Info and Job Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that the employment of graphic designers will likely grow by about 7% between 2012 and 2022, while job opportunities afforded to craft and fine artists (including illustrators and sculptors) will grow by about three percent during the same time frame. The BLS predicts that employment growth for multimedia artists and animators should be around six percent during the decade. Graphic designers were reported to have earned median salaries of $45,900 in May 2014 by the BLS; the same source indicated that fine artists (including painters, sculptors, and illustrators) earned a median of $43,890 a year in 2014, while multimedia artists and illustrators earned a median of $63,630.

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