What are the Different Graphic Artist Jobs?

G. Wiesen

There are potentially many different graphic artist jobs, each depending a great deal on the interests of the artist and the skills he or she can bring to a particular industry. Perhaps the most common type of job for a graphic artist is in advertising, doing graphic design for companies and advertisements. There are also many graphic artists working in film as conceptual artists, and professional artists providing illustrations to books and magazines. Some graphic artist jobs can also focus on the use of traditional artistic media such as paint and canvas, while other artists will work with digital media to create works of art using a computer.

Graphic artists may provide illustrations for books and magazines.
Graphic artists may provide illustrations for books and magazines.

Advertising and graphic design are perhaps the most common types of graphic artist jobs, and within these industries there are many different needs and artists to fill those positions. Many artists work in advertising, producing conceptual artwork for commercials, as well as final products for print advertisements. This work can frequently be seen in magazines and newspapers, though the Internet also provides a visual environment in which such graphic advertisements can be displayed. Graphic artist jobs in graphic design are often somewhat similar to the work done in advertising, but the work usually focuses more on aspects of design such as creating logos for companies.

Graphic artists may paint work that will be used a backdrop or prop in a stage play.
Graphic artists may paint work that will be used a backdrop or prop in a stage play.

Visual identifiers for companies can be very important, and many popular companies and businesses are immediately recognizable through simple, identifiable visual images associated with the companies. There are many graphic artist jobs that focus on this type of commercial work, but more creative work can also be found by a visual artist. Illustrations for children’s books, comic book art, conceptual artwork for films, and original creative content for websites are all examples of artistic work that graphic artists often create. These types of graphic artist jobs are often very desirable and can be quite competitive, but there is also often more artistic freedom involved in such work.

Within these various fields of artistic work, there are also different types of graphic artist jobs that can depend on the type of media with which different artists prefer to work. For example, some artists may prefer to work with traditional media such as paint and canvas, or pen and ink. Other artists may utilize modern tools such as computers and illustration software to create a wide range of different images. Different forms of creative media are generally equal in terms of value and productivity, but merely represent different types of graphic artist jobs in terms of the skills needed and the tools used.

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Discussion Comments


@irontoenail - Unless someone is willing to work for pennies most entry level graphic artist jobs are going to require a degree, simply because you'll be competing against a lot of people who do have a degree, as well as a lot of experience. It's a very competitive industry and I don't know many people who would be able to break into it at this stage without qualifications.

There are a lot of stories of people who did so, but those stories are usually told because the person was the exception, rather than the rule. It also used to be easier back when the industry was changing and digital artists didn't have as much competition. But every graphic artist can work the latest software now, so just knowing how to do that isn't enough.

@Fa5t3r - There are a ton of web resources out there as well, if someone is really serious about learning graphic art. I don't know if they can take the place of a real course in the industry, but you can definitely pick up a lot of really interesting stuff.

One thing that all graphic artists need is patience. It might look like a design is very simple and easy to put together but most of the time designs take a very long time to achieve.


If you're interested in being a graphic artist but you aren't sure what it's going to entail, I would recommend going to your local library and picking up a few magazines that are geared towards graphic artists. I read them myself occasionally because I do a bit of digital art as a hobby, but they are pretty good as an introduction to the kinds of skills you'll need to develop, particularly as they are often geared toward beginners and intermediate level artists.

They are also an amazing resource for people who just want to learn some techniques but don't want to graphic design job.

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