Steps to Becoming a Comic Book Artist: Career Path & Training

Discover the career path to becoming a comic book artist. Learn about the key skills, education and training you'll need as well as the salary you could make. Schools offering Children`s Book Illustration degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Information at a Glance

Comic book artists do illustrations for comics or graphic novels. Like many artistic careers, a degree may not be required, but studying drawing, design and fine art can be helpful. Take a look at our chart below for details on a career as a comic book artist.

Recommended Degree Bachelor's degree
Education Field of Study Art, design, illustration
Key Skills Drawing, storytelling, time management
Job Growth (2016-2026) 7% (for fine artists, including painters, sculptors, and illustrators)*
Median Salary (2019) $37,000**

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **

What Would You Do as a Comic Book Artist?

Comic book artists illustrate cells in a comic book or graphic novel. Some may come up with everything from scratch, creating characters, storylines and all the artwork themselves in hopes of selling it to a publisher. Others do piecemeal work for a comics company, contributing to one small part of the comic book such as the backgrounds or a particular character.

Do You Need a Degree to Become a Comic Book Artist?

Like many professions in the art world, having a degree isn't mandatory. Some artists can sit at home and come up with a creation that spark's a publisher's - and the public's - interest. Also, artists can post their work to a personal website and build a following that eventually makes their hobby into a profession.

That said, the BLS reports that most artists earn a degree in order to gain both the basic and advanced skills they need to excel at their craft and make themselves more attractive to potential employers. You'll also be able to build a worthwhile portfolio and can take business or marketing classes to understand how to make a living as an artist.

What Skills Do You Need to Become a Comic Book Artist?

It may seem obvious, but an aspiring comic book artist will need to be able to draw proficiently. Capturing movement, mastering proportion and understanding color are key. If you're thinking about working for a comic book publisher, your drawing talents might be enough to get you in the door.

If you would rather create your own comic, you'll need to be able to write well, build meaningful characters and tell a story efficiently. Some practical skills will help, too. Working in a vacuum like this requires dedication, time-management skills and perseverance.

How Do You Make It as a Comic Book Artist?

Aspiring artists should start by mastering the basics of their craft -- write every day, draw every day and study art every day. Building a portfolio is important, too, even if it just means posting your work to your own site. Finally, if you go freelance, you'll need to understand how to market yourself to prospective clients, which means having an online presence and a way to present your material quickly and efficiently.

How Much Do Comic Book Artists Make?

According to, entry-level comic book artists make a median salary of $34,144. The median annual salary for a comic book artist with a little more experience is $37,000. Of course, the salary can depend on a lot of variables, including the company you work for, whether you publish your own comic book and what experience you have. Also, in the comic book industry, it's common to pay per page, so the amount you make may depend on how many pages you can churn out per day.

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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