The internet has impacted our lives in every way, starting from our living style to career paths. Along with the ever-growing technological evolution, it’s no surprise that digital artists are in high demand in this digital age.
Just like the term indicates, digital artists create their art and share it via digital means, whether this involves creating the art manually and transforming it into a digital copy or creating it digitally from scratch. Whether you’re curious about the field or you want to start using your digital art skills to earn money, here’s how you can start and expand a fulfilling career.
The first step to starting any career is to determine your starting position. That’s even more crucial in creative fields of work where skill matters the most, which is the case for digital artists. You may be a talented artist who hasn’t tried digital art before, or you may have solid computer skills with an artistic eye so the field intrigues your curiosity. It’s okay if you don’t have any previous experience in the field; you’re just evaluating your skills to determine where you stand among your peers. You’ll come across digital artists of all skill sets and expertise levels throughout your journey, so it’s imperative that you know the gap between your starting point and your goal.
Digital art is a skill, which means that it can seamlessly find its way to different applications. Depending on the kind of digital art, different career paths may be more suitable for you. For instance, if you’re looking for paths demanding still visuals, then you can consider graphic design and modeling. You can also create still images and submit them to other artists who will animate them, or do the animation yourself. Career paths that require animation and 3D art include video games, motion graphics, 3D modeling, broadcasts, and videos.
If these career paths seem too “generic” for you, it’s because they are. These are positions that can exist in that kind of industry. You can later on work for a marketing and advertising agency as a graphic designer, an animation company as a 3D artist, or as a digital artist in any other industry in general. That’s one great thing about your career path options; your skills won’t be limited to a specific niche or industry. Usually, digital artists work with a group of creatives to produce the final art piece, but you can also develop your skills in multiple areas and work as a one-man team.
You’ll find that there is a myriad of software you can use as a digital artist. While you can use whatever software that delivers the job, most employees have specific requirements. Before you can start working, you’ll have to get familiar with the software most relevant to your art style and become specialized in at least one software. You’ll also find some industry-standards limiting your options, as is the case with 3D modeling, for instance. You’ll be required to create art in a certain format, so you can either use Free DXF extensions or create the art using the designated CNC software. The key is knowing what’s required of you and having a way to deliver it according to standards.
What about creating the art itself? You’ll need to learn how to use the software, but you’ll also need to explore the tools you can use for the process. It’s extremely difficult to use the mouse to create art; you’ll need a more accurate and sensitive tool to create your drawings and add painting as you want.
Many digital artists invest in laptops and tablets created for the sole purpose of graphic design, and these options usually come with their own pen which you can use to draw freely. You can also combine the traditional way of creating art manually and then scanning it to edit it more freely in a digital format.
To get work you need experience, but to get the experience you need work. While this is a vicious cycle that many artists fall into, the easiest way out of it is to create a lot of samples for free at first. Whether you create these samples for yourself, as an intern, or for random online sources, you’ll be the one benefiting most from this experience. Not only will you gain more expertise, but you’ll also have a few samples to showcase in your portfolio. The best way to create a digital artist portfolio is to create a profile on leading portfolio-creating websites or by creating your own website altogether.
Now that you have something to show for your talent, it’s time to reach out to potential employers with a solid heart. Don’t be discouraged if you get rejected or, worse, fail to get a reply. That doesn’t mean it’s hopeless, it just means you have to keep reaching out until you get accepted. Meanwhile, make sure to keep promoting your work across your social media profiles, groups, and forums.
The more you get into the field, the more you’ll get overwhelmed with the level of skills you come across. That’s completely normal; even veterans keep getting that feeling. You’ll start by copying different styles until you gradually build up your experience. Once you feel like you’ve got the hang of it, it’s time to start developing your personal style. This is the thing that will urge clients and employers to choose you over everyone else.
Eventually, you’ll be the one holding the reigns of your career. You can start as a freelancing artist and work your way up to a reputable company, or start in a startup and develop to the extent of having enough work as a freelancer. You can later decide to start a marketing agency with a group of skilled creatives. There’s no limit to the levels you can reach if you have a solid vision in mind.
There’s a lot of misconceptions surrounding pursuing a career in art. If anything, the term “starving artist” speaks for itself. However, you don’t have to suffer this fate if you play your cards correctly. There’s an extremely high demand for all roles in digital and creative fields, and digital art is one of them. Just determine your thing and go at it full power – and keep in mind, practice makes perfect.