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If you want to become a graphic artist, you should be passionate about expressing yourself creatively through the use of image and design. There are different career paths for aspiring graphic artists to take. Many people who want to become a graphic artist attend art school, while some begin in the field by assisting experienced artists. A working knowledge of graphics software such as Adobe® or Dreamweaver® products is needed in graphic design or artist careers.
Although there may be slight differences, graphic designers and graphic artists are basically the same thing. If you want to become a graphic artist, you should look at job listings for designers as well. Graphic artists may work in screen printing shops on promotional items or T-shirts. Some graphic artists create logos for printed business cards. Graphic designers and artists may also work in marketing agencies designing advertising materials such as trade show brochures and point of purchase (POP) product displays for store aisles.
Publishing companies often advertise for graphic artists or designers to create book covers. A layout artist may be a good entry-level job for aspiring graphic artists. Assistants to experienced graphic artists also usually do layout work and this is another way to become a graphic artist. It may take persistence to find a local artist looking for an art apprentice.
An internship through an art school is another way to start a graphic artist career. Art school degrees range from a two-year associate's to four-year bachelor's or even higher. The best way to find out how much education you'll need as a graphic artist is to look at job ads to determine what type of education and experience is required for certain types of art careers. If you're interested in digital design, such as in creating computer graphics, you can contact companies in this area to ask them the education they recommend for aspiring graphic artists.
The most important thing to remember if you want to become a graphic artist is to begin now. You can purchase a good quality bound sketchbook in an art supply store and begin filling in some of the pages with your ideas. Some pages may turn out well, while others won’t, but this is how you’ll learn. Later, you may even want to add a few of these pages to your official portfolio, but at first you should just explore color, image, photography and design and let your creativity have full reign.
I think @Illych has a good point, but that’s not to say that you need to wait until you go to school before you start working with graphic arts software like Adobe Illustrator. Digital design software can tend to be on the pricey side but remember that most of them have free demos and if you hunt around you might be able to find some free equivalents that you can start out with. Try some online tutorials and see if you really enjoy it before committing to it as a career, I imagine it’s a pretty competitive career. I mainly just do it for my own enjoyment, although I have done some freelance work in the past.
It’s okay to let your creativity have full reign in the beginning, but if you really want to be a graphic artist you also need focus. Sometimes staring at a blank page can be daunting and you won’t have any ideas. This is because you have no constraints and constraints are crucial to being creative.
Art school sometimes gets a bad rap and of course there are many famous artists that were largely self-taught, but I think one good thing about a formal art education is it forces students to work within the constraints of a given project which, in my opinion, is where real creativity is learned.
Musician Duke Ellington once said “I don’t need time, I need a deadline.” If you let your creativity have full reign, you might never actually get anything done. Just a thought!
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