How to become a freelance artist

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How to become a freelance artist

A freelance artist is a contractor for hire in the field of art. He or she may work in any medium, but most freelancers work in graphic fields such as illustration, design, or photography. Freelance artists are not in the employ of a single company or organization, but hire their talents out to various clients. Many are self-employed, though some work with agencies or with a small group of regular clients. The field of freelance art can be both more challenging and more fulfilling than standard salaried jobs.

A freelance artist must be a highly self-motivated person, as he or she must effectively run a business as well as handle artistic tasks. Like all artists, freelancers must have innate talent backed by knowledge of popular artistic trends and styles. The freelance artist should have a highly flexible style that can be applied to a variety of assignments. Patience and people skills are also assets, as some clients may not know exactly what they want or may not be able to express their desires clearly.

The most important tool of the freelance artist is the portfolio. This is a collection of the artist’s best and most representative work, assembled in a professional package for potential clients to view. Traditionally, a portfolio was just that: a large case containing a variety of sample prints. In the 21st century, artists can use websites to display their portfolios and woo clients. They should keep traditional portfolios as well, however, as some clients will see this as a mark of true professionalism.

A freelance artist can work for publishers, animation studios, and similar companies. The work must conform to the client’s needs and is often deadline oriented. The freelance artist must therefore be able to produce consistent, quality artwork on demand. While the popular image of the artist is of an individualistic, temperamental person who waits for inspiration to strike, the freelancer must be able to overcome these tendencies or at least set them aside until the job is done.

Entry into any field of art is challenging, as there are many talented people with a yen for artistic expression and the freedom that goes with it. The struggling freelance artist may be forced to take a regular job, art-related or otherwise, to make ends meet until the income from freelance jobs is sufficient. The freelance art field can be daunting, but for many the rewards are well worth the struggle. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, roughly 60 percent of artists in the United States are self-employed.

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Discussion Comments

@whiteplane – In most cases you will have to go out and find your own work. That is why it is so important for any freelancer to have a good website which is simple, easy to navigate, and makes their work look fantastic.

Any prospective client should be able to go to your site, see exactly what you can do, get a sense for your rates and find out exactly how to contact you. This is the 21st century. Anyone who does not have a good website is just shooting themselves in the foot. whiteplane February 14, 2012

Where would I go to find freelance artists jobs? I cannot recall ever seeing one on Craigslist or one of the major job boards. Is this the kind of thing that ever actually gets posted or do most willing clients contact freelancers directly? Ivan83 February 13, 2012

I have been a freelance artists for about five years and in that time I’ve tried just about everything. I’ve done portraits, drawn murals, designed custom greeting cars and even did a series of paintings of a guy’s sports car.

If you are going to succeed you need two major skills, ability and flexibility. You have to be an amazing draftsman and fluent with a number of different materials. It is great if your specialty is oil pastels, but you have to be able to work on a larger scale than this if you hope to make money. Also, you have to be willing to take just about any job. Some of these might be truly asinine, but that is how you make money and you work for the client. You give them what they want, not what you think they should want.

Beyond that, cross your fingers and get out there and hustle. It’s not easy being a freelance artists. You have to make most of your opportunities for yourself.

Find The Best Freelance Artist Designer Jobs For You

Where do you want to work?

Freelance Artist Designer Careers

There is more than meets the eye when it comes to being a freelance artist designer. For example, did you know that they make an average of $24.01 an hour? That’s $49,946 a year!

Between 2018 and 2028, the career is expected to grow 3% and produce 8,800 job opportunities across the U.S.

What Does a Freelance Artist Designer Do

There are certain skills that many freelance artist designers have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed analytical skills, communication skills and computer skills.

When it comes to the most important skills required to be a freelance artist designer, we found that a lot of resumes listed 14.7% of freelance artist designers included web content, while 10.4% of resumes included photoshop, and 10.0% of resumes included graphic design. Hard skills like these are helpful to have when it comes to performing essential job responsibilities.

When it comes to searching for a job, many search for a key term or phrase. Instead, it might be more helpful to search by industry, as you might be missing jobs that you never thought about in industries that you didn’t even think offered positions related to the freelance artist designer job title. But what industry to start with? Most freelance artist designers actually find jobs in the retail and media industries.

How To Become a Freelance Artist Designer

If you’re interested in becoming a freelance artist designer, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We’ve determined that 63.3% of freelance artist designers have a bachelor’s degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 4.2% of freelance artist designers have master’s degrees. Even though most freelance artist designers have a college degree, it’s possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Choosing the right major is always an important step when researching how to become a freelance artist designer. When we researched the most common majors for a freelance artist designer, we found that they most commonly earn bachelor’s degree degrees or associate degree degrees. Other degrees that we often see on freelance artist designer resumes include master’s degree degrees or high school diploma degrees.

You may find that experience in other jobs will help you become a freelance artist designer. In fact, many freelance artist designer jobs require experience in a role such as graphic designer. Meanwhile, many freelance artist designers also have previous career experience in roles such as graphic artist or internship.

What is the right job for my career path?

Tell us your goals and we’ll match you with the right jobs to get there.

How to become a freelance artist

Related

  • Career in Art Education Requirements
  • In-Demand Careers That Use Art Skills
  • How to Become a Colorist for Comics
  • Qualities of a Cartoonist
  • Careers With a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree

More than half of all artists have at least a bachelor’s degree, according to the National Endowment for the Arts, but the median income for artists is lower than that of workers in other fields with comparable education. One reason is that artists are less likely to enjoy full-time, year-round employment in their field. The majority of artists are freelancers.

Qualifications

Although it helps to have some formal arts education to develop your skills, college is only one path. You can also learn by apprenticing yourself to an experienced artist, taking workshops or attending non-credit classes. Artist Holli Conger has a BA in graphic design, but she says online that what helped her most when she decided to turn freelance were such things as a good critique group, studying other artists’ work and daily sketching practice.

Portfolio

Your artistic talent and skill matter more than your formal credentials, advises the National Association of Schools of Art and Design. A portfolio displaying your best work will impress clients more than a degree. After you’ve been working awhile, articles about your work and past commissions will also add to your marketability.

Ability

The Council of Arts Accrediting Associations offers an online description of basic artistic competency you can use to assess your professional potential. Skilled artists have a personal vision and the skill to capture it in their work. They understand the connection between the idea and the way to express it. They define and analyze problems they encounter in their works; make effective choices; evaluate their own work accurately; and take criticism from others. If you meet the council’s standards, you may be ready without further education.

Considerations

According to the NEA’s 2011 report, 27 percent of fine artists, art directors and animators — the report groups them together — with college degrees took their degree in fine arts. Some artistic specialties are more likely associated with degrees than others. Most medical illustrators have a master’s degree in medical illustration, for instance. As you face all the standard challenges of a self-employed professional — tracking income and expenses, paying taxes, marketing yourself — studying basic business skills may be a career asset.

How to become a freelance artist

Table of Contents

  • What Do Freelance Artists Do?
  • What Are Different Kinds of Freelance Artists?
  • In Which Industries Do Freelance Artists Work?
  • How Do You Find Freelance Artist Jobs?

What Do Freelance Artists Do?

Freelance artists craft pieces of art from different mediums, depending on their specialty. These artists are independent contractors and may create works to sell on their own, or they may be commissioned by someone to produce something specific. As a freelance artist, you use your talents to develop an artistic style that is unique to you. You may focus on one type of medium, or you may experiment with multiple forms of art. Freelance painters may choose to use oils, watercolors, pastels, or a combination of paints for their pieces. Sculpting by hand or on a wheel uses clay in different ways to make pottery, sculptures, and other clay-based works. Sketch artists may use charcoal, pencil, chalk, or other writing utensils to draw realistic or abstract images. Photographers and actors are also considered artists. Freelance photographers are hired to take pictures of people, things, or events, while freelance actors perform in shows but are not on the staff of a particular theater or performing arts company.

What Are Different Kinds of Freelance Artists?

There are many different kinds of freelance artists. They each develop their own unique style and perspective to their works and are hired as independent contractors. Painters may use oils, acrylic, watercolors, or other materials to portray realistic or abstract items or scenes. They may paint on canvas or on any surface that can absorb paint, such as a wall or even a vehicle. Illustrators bring words to life in their images. They may provide pictures for books or create images for marketing campaigns or other business communication. Other types of freelance arts include photographers, calligraphers, graphic designers, and printmakers.

In Which Industries Do Freelance Artists Work?

Many different industries utilize freelance artists. Some examples of where you find freelance artists include secondary and postsecondary education, marketing and public relations agencies, entertainment, manufacturing corporations, and interior design firms. Each industry makes use of an artist’s talents in different ways that are unique to the company’s needs. For example, marketing campaigns rely on an artist’s eye to create eye-catching displays and to determine what looks good in print; interior designers need to have an artistic disposition to put together patterns, textures, and colors in interesting combinations that look good together; and the entertainment industry uses freelance artists to produce the visuals they need to promote their latest film release.

How Do You Find Freelance Artist Jobs?

Many artists who want to get paid for their work start out as freelance artists. There are no formal education requirements, but employers in some industries may prefer candidates with an associate or bachelor’s degree in a related field. Cultivate your craft and develop skills that are unique and make you stand out from other artists in the field. Before seeking work, you must build a substantial portfolio by creating a variety of works that showcase your talent. Becoming proficient in different mediums shows your range of ability. Publication artists, such as graphic designers and illustrators, should network with different companies that utilize freelance artists to find job opportunities. For those who create decorative art, pursue relationships with art galleries and other organizations that showcase artwork from local artists to find venues to display your work and gain attention from potential clients.

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How to become a freelance artist

Related

  • Career in Art Education Requirements
  • In-Demand Careers That Use Art Skills
  • How to Become a Colorist for Comics
  • Qualities of a Cartoonist
  • Careers With a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree

More than half of all artists have at least a bachelor’s degree, according to the National Endowment for the Arts, but the median income for artists is lower than that of workers in other fields with comparable education. One reason is that artists are less likely to enjoy full-time, year-round employment in their field. The majority of artists are freelancers.

Qualifications

Although it helps to have some formal arts education to develop your skills, college is only one path. You can also learn by apprenticing yourself to an experienced artist, taking workshops or attending non-credit classes. Artist Holli Conger has a BA in graphic design, but she says online that what helped her most when she decided to turn freelance were such things as a good critique group, studying other artists’ work and daily sketching practice.

Portfolio

Your artistic talent and skill matter more than your formal credentials, advises the National Association of Schools of Art and Design. A portfolio displaying your best work will impress clients more than a degree. After you’ve been working awhile, articles about your work and past commissions will also add to your marketability.

Ability

The Council of Arts Accrediting Associations offers an online description of basic artistic competency you can use to assess your professional potential. Skilled artists have a personal vision and the skill to capture it in their work. They understand the connection between the idea and the way to express it. They define and analyze problems they encounter in their works; make effective choices; evaluate their own work accurately; and take criticism from others. If you meet the council’s standards, you may be ready without further education.

Considerations

According to the NEA’s 2011 report, 27 percent of fine artists, art directors and animators — the report groups them together — with college degrees took their degree in fine arts. Some artistic specialties are more likely associated with degrees than others. Most medical illustrators have a master’s degree in medical illustration, for instance. As you face all the standard challenges of a self-employed professional — tracking income and expenses, paying taxes, marketing yourself — studying basic business skills may be a career asset.

Successful artist and guest author Noah Bradley shares some tips for artists who want to sell their work as freelancers. Learn more by visiting his website, The Art of Freelancing.

How to become a freelance artist

“Moat” by artist Noah Bradley

It takes a lot of luck to be a successful freelance artist. And it takes a lot of hard work and persistence to be lucky.

Here are 6 actions you can start taking today that will help you to have a successful, fulfilling career as a freelance artist:

1. Work hard. Work really hard. Work really, really, really hard. This career is not for the half-hearted. It takes a tremendous amount of effort and devotion to succeed.

2. Keep at it. I know plenty of people who could have been great, but simply gave up too soon. Success is never overnight and rarely comes as quickly as we might like. You might be doing great work but just need to keep trying a little bit longer to find success.

3. Get your work in front of the right people. Far too many people create great work but never show it to people. Sadly, art directors cannot magically find you if they don’t know who you are. So make sure they do. Get your work in front of their eyes. Put it online in every place you can and send personal emails to the clients you really want to work with. Do the leg work to put your work out there.

How to become a freelance artist

“Our Grasp of Heaven” by artist Noah Bradley

4. Network like crazy. Networking seems sort of scary to most of us. It’s a weird, sleazy-sounding activity that we’d much rather avoid. But it’s not all that bad. Networking is just making friends. Go to conventions, local meet-ups, and classes and start to connect with your fellow artists. These connections will be mutually beneficial and are essential for maintaining a successful career.

5. Do the work you love. As you begin to get work you’ll soon find yourself wrapped up in commissions, never doing work for yourself. Make the time to do personal work. These will be your chances to do work that you’re truly passionate about and will most advance your career. Even though I’ve done plenty of work to fill a portfolio with, half of my work that I show is still personal work.

6. Be a pleasure to work with. Be on time, be polite, be professional, and communicate clearly. An artist who is fun to work with gets a lot more work than an obnoxious artist. Be a nice person and nice things will happen to you.

How to become a freelance artist

“The Burdens of Triumph” by artist Noah Bradley

I won’t say that it’s an easy path to take. But being a freelance artist has been immensely enjoyable for me thus far. The freedom to travel the world while doing work I love is a gift I wouldn’t easily part with. If you decide to pursue a freelance career I wish you the best of luck and hope you enjoy it at least half as much as I have.

How to become a freelance artist

This post is also available in: French Chinese (Simplified) German

This guide for how to become a successful freelance artist or designer explains what things you need to follow and implement in your work to propel your career. In order to find freelance art jobs, one has to follow certain principles without fail, and only then would it become possible for you to start getting a lot of client projects.

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Design Bundles. All ideas are my own, with the goal help you be at your best in your chosen creative field.

When you follow these suggestions

By applying these tips, it becomes easier to start dealing with clients that are trustworthy and come back to you with repeated assignments, rather than ones that are difficult to work with and haggle overpricing. A freelance artist would gain more popularity only when they start developing their skill sets and sharpen their technical abilities every single day without giving up.

Unless and until a freelance artist is capable enough to meet the requirements of the gig economy today, it would be very difficult for them to cope with the requirements and the job postings of clients in the freelance world.

Keep reading for some of the must-follow tips to find more freelance jobs – and better ones too. The guide below elaborates on the points that are going to set you apart from others so that you can excel in your chosen career path.

Remember, it’s not just about being technically capable either. Clients look for more than only that.

They look for individuals who have a lot of drive, can multitask, and work efficiently on projects without compromising on the quality of work. For those who want to go far in their field, choose resources that are top-quality and affordable, such as a camper SVG for your travel business or camping group.

7 tips to become a successful freelance artist or designer:

1. Come up with your own guidelines

Just as clients have their own policies and guidelines, so too should a freelancer. When you define a set of rules by which you work, as well as personal standards, you can grow to be a better and more confident artist.

The rules that you make are not for the clients. Instead, they are for yourself, to help make sure you get what you need from this career path, both emotionally and monetarily. It is important that you stick to them at any given point in time.

Setting up a rule to follow deadlines without fail is one such example. You can work on similar aspects and come up with more rules that can help you to gain confidence.

2. Keep practicing

Irrespective of the number or type of projects that you have, it is essential that you keep practicing and honing your technical skills. Do so daily! Try creating something different and unique until and unless you feel that that improvising makes sense for a more creative result.

3. Take courses to help you with how to become a successful freelance artist or designer

If you feel that you lack any of the technical skill sets that are required in your profession, it is always important to start learning them. You’re more attractive to clients when you have knowledge of the latest style of creating art.

Thus, focusing on improving your technical skills is one of the key factors that would help you to get a greater number of assignments. It’s part of your move toward self-improvement and self-care while becoming a better artist.

4. Start self-learning

As a freelance artist or designer, there will be times when you will not have any projects to work on, as that’s just the nature of the freelance field. During those times, you must not sit back and relax completely.

Instead, use that time to improve on any skills that need it. You might take classes or even teach others who are aspiring to become graphic designers or artists as a side hustle.

Check out leading online sites for designs too that you can incorporate into projects that you use on your website or in other useful places to attract clients. Think outside the box and use creative materials available easily online!

Using SVG graphics is an easy way to improve how your projects look. For example, a daisy svg is a sweet, uplifting design that resonates with all ages.

5. Start making videos

You can become popular by making videos on the concepts that you are aware of and confident in doing. Developing followers and gaining a lot of audiences is yet another way of sustaining yourself in the freelance world as clients will approach you to work together.

To become a successful graphic designer, videos can be one of the greatest sources because a lot of people these days love to learn through online channels. Video is the wave of the future! If you have great content, you can become successful, but do be aware that it can take time to grow a following and gain the notice of those who want to hire you.

6. Be proactive

In the freelance world, it’s easy to become lazy once you start finding projects and just rely on the existing customer base. But the problem then comes if one of those people no longer needs your services, as then your income will take a hit.

Thus, always keep in mind that the role of the freelance artist can never be compared with that of a full-time artist. You must continually seek out projects and apply almost daily for new opportunities (or daily, depending on your schedule).

The client always has the power to terminate your services irrespective of the number of years of association you have with them. Of course, you can do the same if you are not happy with the relationship.

Therefore, as a freelance artist, you must always put equal importance on the existing projects and looking for leads for future projects.

7. Increase your rates

Once you become an established freelance artist, it does not mean that you start increasing your charges exorbitantly. That’s a turn-off.

Instead, a successful freelance artist can raise their rates slowly and reasonably. Then you can definitely compete with the full-timers and also remember to follow the standards that are followed by any other organization when it comes to what is the pricing.

Summary on how to become a successful freelance artist or designer

These are some of the most important tips that can help you to become a successful freelance artist and set you apart from the pack.

The primary qualifications for becoming a freelance concept artist are familiarity with several physical and digital mediums and the ability to produce art on a deadline. Most employers judge freelance concept artists by skill instead of by education; an associate or bachelor’s degree in art can help you learn artistic techniques or ways to promote yourself, but most employers prefer an impressive portfolio over formal education. Many concept artists start by working for a single company to get experience before becoming freelancers. Fulfilling the job duties of a freelance concept artist requires excellent organizational and communication skills, creativity, and mastery of image editing software.

Table of Contents

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  2. Freelance Concept Artist Jobs
  3. How to Become a Freelance Concept Artist

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