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Commercial artists create well-designed and crafted advertisements and product packaging, resulting in increased sales for various industries. They often meet with a client to get a general idea of a project concept and then work out the details independently.

What does a commercial artist do? Companies employ a commercial artist to create print media, including ads, posters, banners, logos, and the like. Commercial artists are typically skilled in many forms of artistic expression, including painting, graphic design, illustration, photography, or sculpting.

These artists are often relied upon to be creative innovators within marketing departments. However, often, the commercial artist is a small business’s ‘in-house’ graphic designer and more economical than hiring an outside design firm.

The process of creating a product that is both functional and artistic can be lengthy and complicated. For this reason, it’s crucial to work closely with the client throughout the development period. This time can vary depending on the client’s needs and how many revisions are needed to complete the project.

Commercial artists create items using various techniques, including drawing with pen or pencil, painting, printmaking, or any number of other methods. Commercial artists may also use clay modeling in some cases. Once an item is finished, it can be photographed for reference or promotional use.

Commercial artists usually work in an office or studio environment, although depending on the company, they can also be called upon to make various public appearances or presentations. They also may need to travel from time to time, depending on their clientele. For example, caricature artists and commercial photographers will travel depending on what event or project they are hired for.

Commercial artists typically work for companies or organizations that are in the business of creating print materials for advertising purposes. Commercial art is a highly competitive field with stiff competition from colleagues who have similar skill sets. On top of being skilled in artistic expression, commercial artists need to have good business sense to ensure they are well compensated for their work.

Most industries employ commercial artists, so there are many different work settings in which they might find themselves. Most people who want to be commercial artists will focus on taking classes in several different styles so that they can market themselves to an array of potential employers.

Commercial artists might find that many clients are “sticky,” meaning they will stick to the same artist even if there is a more qualified candidate. For this reason, it’s important for commercial artists not to rely on one form of art or style so that their work appears fresh and unique.  What is your “and”? 

Commercial artists earn an average salary ranging from $30,000 annually for entry-level work to $60,000 – $150,000 for mid-level work and upwards of $200,000 plus for top-notch talent. The commercial artist’s salary can be significantly higher if they own their own business or are in high demand due to the location where they reside.

How much you earn as a commercial artist might depend on a number of factors, including the geographical location, your previous work experience, and how well you market yourself. Commercial artists who live in large cities tend to earn more than those who live in rural areas.

They need to be skilled at creating pieces that are both aesthetically pleasing and accurate to reflect what they are selling. They also must consider the needs of their client as well as what appeals to a target market. Also, they need good business sense since they are essentially small business owners who depend on sales and repeat customers to earn a living.

Commercial artists need to be skilled in artistic expression, good business sense, and marketing. They must create pieces that are aesthetically pleasing, accurate, and appealing to the target market. Commercial art is one of the highest-paid fields for artsy folks, but it is also one of the most competitive.

What skills do you need to be a commercial artist?

Essential Commercial Artist Skills for Resume and Career

  1. Art Projects
  2. Layout
  3. Photography
  4. Photoshop
  5. Graphic Design
  6. Technical Illustrations
  7. Customer Relations
  8. Posters
  9. Web content
  10. Promotional materials
  11. Windows
  12. Business cards
  13. CAD

Commercial artist education requirements

There are no set requirements to becoming a commercial artist, but most professionals hold degrees in fine arts, graphic design, commercial art, public relations, illustration, marketing, or advertising. These types of degree programs can be found at community colleges, private art colleges, and four-year universities.

Below is a solid example of how:

Step 1: Earn an Undergraduate Degree

While there are not typically formal requirements to become an artist, aspiring commercial artists might need to earn a bachelor’s degree. Prospective commercial artists often pursue degrees in graphic design or photography. While the graphic design program will focus more on the technical aspects of art, photography programs will teach students about drawing and taking pictures. Both programs will teach students about color, composition, and lighting. Students will also learn how to use various software programs and digital art concepts.

(Participate in an internship. Creating art for commercial operations requires communicating with clients, maintaining a schedule, and meeting deadlines. Working under the supervision of an experienced commercial artist can give students an understanding of what it takes to work on their own once they’ve completed their degree.)

Step 2: Develop a Portfolio

When applying for a job, the portfolio may be the determining factor on whether or not a commercial artist is hired. It will showcase an applicant’s artistic skills and demonstrate to employers their creative abilities. To create a portfolio, individuals will put together their best work from classes or art that they’ve created on their own. It’s also an opportunity to show one’s proficiency with different types of software programs, like Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator or InDesign. Professional work in a portfolio will be viewed more favorably than work completed during a degree program.

Step 3: Continue Training for Career Advancement

As individuals gain more creative, artistic, and technical skills, it’s important that they add new items to their portfolio to continue to foster creativity and remain marketable. Commercial artists often have the challenging task of promoting themselves, especially in freelance work. Basic marketing and business knowledge, combined with a quality portfolio, can help increase exposure to their work and grow their client base.

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