My son is in boy scouts and one of his badges he wants to earn is artist. One of the requirements is to find out from an artist the different types of occupations there are for artists out there. If someone would be so kind as to reply to this thread with something like that we would really appreciate it!! Thank you!
Hi Tanya - great question. Many/most people don't understand how important the visual arts are in today's world. Everything manufactured, sold or enjoyed as entertainment today involves artsists - working in many disciplines from Industrial Design to Animation.
Here is a pretty thorough list of the varieties of careers available to the visual arts:
Visual Arts Careers
Here is an overview of the various fields of “visual art” and examples of the names and descriptions for the jobs people do in these fields.
Applied Art – refers to creative design fields that involve mass produced products that we use, buildings and architecture, cars and transportation, etc. Basically anything that is designed to be manufactured, engineered and “used” falls under the Applied Arts.
o Architect: Designs homes, buildings, bridges, shopping centers, etc. and may do some renderings and sketches like Frank Lloyd Wright.
o Architectural Illustrator: Creates sketches, drawings, and renderings of homes, buildings, cities, shopping malls, bridges, etc. for presentations of building projects.
o Landscape Architect/Designer: Designs, sketches and renders landscaping projects for homes, buildings, city parks, etc.
Industrial/Product Design – artists and designers in this field sketch, render and model all kinds of products – furniture, toasters, lawnmowers, vacuum cleaners, stereos, toys, cameras, toothbrushes…almost anything we use in our day to day lives including the kitchen sink!
Automobile/Vehicle/Transportation Design – this is a specialized field of Industrial Design. Artists and Designers working in this field design and render cars, trucks, boats, aircraft, big rigs, tractors, heavy equipment, trains, etc.
Commercial Art – refers to the creative fields related to media and entertainment, business and corporate identity (logos and symbols for businesses and corporations), photography, publishing, printing, packaging and advertising.
Graphic Design – designers in this field design logos, business systems, advertising campaigns, product packaging, posters, etc. They work very closely with Photographers and Printers.
o Typographer: These specialized graphic designers create stylish alphabets used in printing and publishing.
o Web Design: Designers working in this new field use graphic design, interface design and layout theory to create interactive sites that allow people to do a wide variety of activities.
Illustration – illustrators are very closely related to what people usually think of as artists. They create art and illustrations for very specific purposes such as books and book covers, magazines, posters, ad campaigns, etc. They are called “illustrators” because their job is to illustrate something, such as a children’s book, a magazine article, an imaginary alien race, etc. There are five main types of illustration:
o General Illustration – these artists create a wide variety of art and illustration in every style imaginable for almost any type of client or purpose.
o Editorial Illustration – artists specializing in editorial illustration work for magazines and newspapers mainly. They create illustrations that make strong statements about various issues in our society.
o Scientific Illustration – these artists create extremely detailed and accurate drawings and renderings of science and nature subjects. They may illustrate a species of beetle, tropical plants or birds, artifacts from ancient civilizations, scientific discoveries, how gravity works, etc.
o Cartoonists – these artists are often writers as well. They create humorous, stylized illustrations and stories that often comment on human nature, politics or are just fun and make us laugh.
o Comic Book Illustration – This is an exciting and always changing field of art. Artists who work in comics (sometimes called “sequential art” because of the way the artist illustrates action) are often on the cutting edge of art styles in entertainment media.
Fashion – this is a major field of design employing many artists, designers, illustrators and photographers. Fashion is constantly evolving and includes clothing, shoes, accessories, jewelry, cosmetics, costuming, etc.
Photography – this is a broad category of commercial art. Artists working in this field shoot all kinds of images from travel photos to fashion. Photography is a huge field and you will find people working in a wide variety of styles for an almost unlimited range of purposes and clients.
o Film, Television and Theater – artists/designers working in film and television create anything and everything from costumes to huge cities or giant space ships! Here is a general list of the kinds of things people create for movies and television:
• Character designs
• Costume design
• Creature and monster design
• Set and scenery design
• Vehicle designs
• Weapons and hardware designs
• Storyboarding – a very special skill where an artist/designer draws out the entire movie so that cameras, lighting and movement can be planned out in advance before filming starts
• Computer graphics and effects – many of today’s films and television productions require a tremendous amount of computer special effects to create the fantastic worlds and creatures the audience loves
o Animation – animation is a very special art form that has been around a very long time, almost 100 years! Animators create hundreds and thousands of images to give a sense of movement or motion to the characters. They have to be excellent draftsmen, wildly imaginative and be fairly good actors themselves to bring their characters to life. Animators work in movies (with computers usually), television and also in computer and video games.
o Interactive Games – this is a fairly new creative field for artists and designers. They do many of the same things that are done in movies but they are required to do them in a much more limited fashion because of the limitations of the computer and video machines themselves. A further difference between movies or TV, but the thing that makes games fun, is they are interactive – meaning there is a player in control of the character and action – not just a passive viewer watching the show.
o Amusement Parks – this is actually a very large field for artists and designers. Creative people working in this field also do many of the things that artists/designers do in film and television. In addition, this field employees many architects, architectural illustrators and landscape designers. Artist/designers working in amusement and theme park design may create anything from water rides to thrilling simulator rides based on your favorite fantastic heroes and villains.
Fine Art – people working in the Fine Arts are what people usually think of as “Artists”. Fine Art is the area of traditional art that dates back to the dawn of humanity with the cave paintings of prehistoric man. Artists and Designers working in the Fine Arts are an important part of the continuing development of art history.
Painting and Drawing – this is probably the largest of the Fine Arts areas. Painting and drawing are closely related and artist/designers may specialize in certain, traditional subject areas or they may work in all the classic subjects. The visual Fine Arts can be broken down into two main categories: representational and non-representational art. This simply means that representational artist/designer draw and paint subjects in such a way that the image or painting “represents” the subject. Non-representational art explores imagery, color, composition, etc. in such a way that the finished art does not necessarily “represent” any thing to the viewer. There are hundreds of sub divisions (almost as many as there are artist/designers!) and ways of drawing a painting within these two categories.
The three main types of representational art are:
o Landscape – artist/designers simply painting the landscape either on location (en plein air) or in the studio from outdoor studies.
o Figurative and Portrait – artist/designers drawing and painting the human figure and portraits.
o Still Life – artist/designers painting an arrangement of interesting subjects which have been set up and lit in a certain composition.
Non-representational art has more types of expression than can be covered here. A few of the main categories are:
o Abstract Expressionism
o Geometric Illusion
o Color Field
Sculpture – sculpture, like painting and drawing, can be broken up into representational and non-representational styles. Artist/designers use a wide variety of materials and techniques to create their sculptures – everything from found objects (literally things the artist/designers find) to wood, stone, steel, aluminum, glass, bronze, etc. Sculptural work comes in almost any size – from pieces that will fit on a tabletop to monumental sculptures that are placed in city parks and plazas.
Fine Art Photography – Fine Art Photography differs from Commercial Photography based on the artist/designer’s intent or reasons for taking photos. In Fine Art Photography the artist/designer is using the camera as a medium of expression to take pictures for their own sake. In Commercial Photography the photographer uses the camera to take photos of something like a product, a building or a fashion show that will then be used in a magazine or advertisement – the photo is taken for another reason besides the artist/designer’s desire to express themselves.
Printmaking – this is a very traditional art form that goes back hundreds of years. Printmakers use a few, traditional techniques to create an image on some durable material (usually stone or metal) then use inks and a press to transfer that image onto the paper creating a print. Modern materials, techniques and inks have expanded this traditional art form but true, fine art prints are painstakingly crafted by hand in limited numbers and are therefore called limited edition prints.
Calligraphy – this is another very traditional art form that dates back thousands of years in some cultures. It basically involves the writing of words and letters in beautiful, decorative ways. Calligraphy can be thought of as a combination of drawing, painting and graphic design all rolled into one!