Art is often ridiculed as a subject that won’t get you a job. But being able to draw well is in fact a valuable skill that can lead to a very well-paid profession. Here are a few examples of jobs that require your drawing talents.
Graphic design is essential to almost every product around us. On top of technical drawing, many products will require a sketch drawing which is freehand and requires more artistic ability. Branding such as packaging, logo-building and ad design also relies heavily on the more arty side of drawing, with designers having to draw cartoon characters or inventing iconographies. Familiarising yourself with certain graphics design programmes such as Adobe Illustrator can be useful (there are many Illustrator training courses available). Graphic design tablets and styluses have made digital drawing a lot easier – you can practically draw as if you were using paper and pen, with the added bonus that you can digitally erase.
Finding full-time work as a cartoonist is difficult but if you look hard enough you’ll find it. You may not land a job illustrating a comic strip or providing the animation for a Disney movie, but you may be able to provide political cartoons to newspapers or provide humorous cartoons for a kids magazine. If you’re bold enough, you can even take to the streets and offer caricatures. Many cartoonists will work on a freelance basis. Build up a portfolio and you’ll eventually be able to attract your own clients.
Publishing companies will often work with illustrators, providing writers with images for their books. Getting one’s foot in the door can be difficult – many will create blogs of their artwork and then approach publishing companies and authors individually. Children’s books are a particularly good way in as these are more picture-heavy. Illustrators may also be required for instruction manuals – whilst this can sometimes be more technical, pictures of people and hands may be needed that require a more skilled artist.
Whilst some musicians are happy to use a photo in their press pack, others prefer to have hand-drawn artwork to go with their albums and singles. This can be a lucrative market, although may require a lot of networking with local musicians. Eventually you can build up a portfolio which you can use to attract clients. Band, PR companies and music agents may recommend you based on your previous work.
Before photography, courtroom sketching was commonplace. It has recently become more widespread, with many courts banning photographers. Courtroom sketches involve drawing a picture of courtroom proceedings and require a certain level of drawing talent. You don’t need to be legally trained, although an art degree may be favourable in many cases, as well as the ability to work in a short time frame.