Your love of drawing doesn't have to end with high school art class; talent with pencil and paper can translate into job opportunities in a variety of fields. While some freelance artists may have the benefit of simply relying on word-of-mouth and a great portfolio, a lot of aspiring artists and designers pursue at least a bachelor's degree. In addition to increasing employment opportunities, college gives talented artists time to hone their skills, get constructive criticism from professionals and develop that crucial portfolio.
Some people with established drawing skills are lucky enough to make ends meet working as freelance artists. They may work independently, making sketches, drawings or screenprints that they then sell either directly to consumers, often via the Internet, or to boutiques and galleries. Others work collaboratively as illustrators. After ascertaining the needs of their clients, illustrators provide pictures for children's books, graphic novels, textbooks or magazines. Still others work as cartoonists, providing comic strips or political cartoons for newspapers and magazines.
Animators work in industries such as film, television and software development, turning great ideas into movies and video games. While some animators use computer software to produce animations, some still draw by hand. For example, some animators sketch storyboards of the ideas presented to them by designers, giving first form to characters, environments and key plot points. Many animators use a mix of old and new technology, first sketching ideas, then painting them, and then scanning them into computer programs to manipulate the images electronically.
Graphic designers work primarily in advertising and public relations, creating logos and other forms of advertising for businesses. As of 2010, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that about 29 percent of graphic designers were self-employed. Others work for specialized design firms that creaate advertising campaigns for individual clients. Graphic design work frequently combines hand-drawing and computer-aided design. Prospective designers should have not only excellent drawing skills, but also a keen understanding of how color and shape combine to attract the attention of consumers.
Sketch artists work in police departments and courtrooms, creating drawings by hand using pencil or charcoals. Sketch artists in police departments create sketches of criminal suspects based on witness or victim descriptions. Court sketch artists create visual records of court proceedings in settings where cameras or recording equipment are not allowed. Because their work must be done quickly, sketch artists must be comfortable working under pressure.
Other Careers That May Involve Drawing
There are many careers for which drawing skills are not necessarily critical, but can nonetheless be helpful. For example, tattoo artists often sketch tattoos before inking them. Many design occupations also involve preliminary sketching, such as fashion designers, interior designers, set designers and exhibit designers. And while many landscape and urban architects are turning to computer design to make blueprints, they sometimes rely on pencil and paper to get their basic ideas down.