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How do I Become a Cartoon Illustrator?

Becoming a cartoon illustrator involves honing your drawing skills, studying cartooning techniques, and mastering digital art tools. It's crucial to build a strong portfolio showcasing your work. Consider formal education in art or graphic design and network within the industry for opportunities.
Jill Gonzalez
Jill Gonzalez

If you want to become a cartoon illustrator, you are likely to find that you can have many different types of backgrounds in order to be a good candidate for these jobs. You may be able to find employment with an associate's or bachelor's degree in graphic arts. If you want the best possible education to help you find a great position, you might want to pursue a degree in cartooning or cartoon animation. It is important to note that even though a bachelor's degree is technically not necessary to find work in this field, it is recommended, simply because of the amount of competition you will face in this field.

For the most part, jobs that are found in this career require candidates to have the ability to draw and work with images using different computer software programs. If you have the desire to become a cartoon illustrator, employment options can be found with newspapers, websites, or in the broadcasting industry. The best way to prepare for your future career is to focus on a few specific areas of study while you are pursuing your degree. These areas include cartooning, drawing, the nature of color, and sculpture.

A cartoon character.
A cartoon character.

While you do not necessarily have to be a funny person or have an unusual sense of humor to become a cartoon illustrator, it may be helpful for success in some jobs. You do not, however, need to have the ability to create drawings on paper. Since everyone uses software systems today, you will probably do the majority of your work using a keyboard and mouse, or other computer-based technology.

Some illustrators provide art for comic books.
Some illustrators provide art for comic books.

As someone who is interested in this type of career, you should be aware that cartoon illustrators may work in one of several different areas. These could include freelance cartoon illustrator, cartoonist, film animator, or commercial illustrator. Depending on the type of educational background you have, you may be qualified to work in more than one of these areas. This, of course, would make you more marketable, and might provide you with a greater sense of security.

Television shows may feature animated characters, like Porky Pig, that are created by a cartoon illustrator.
Television shows may feature animated characters, like Porky Pig, that are created by a cartoon illustrator.

In some situations, you might find it a bit difficult to initially find a job in this field. If you want to become a cartoon illustrator, you should realize that competition for positions is keen. If you have the skills and education to back you up, you might need to find alternative employment to begin with, such as working as a graphic artist or as a video game designer.

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    • A cartoon character.
      A cartoon character.
    • Some illustrators provide art for comic books.
      By: Joseph Bremson
      Some illustrators provide art for comic books.
    • Television shows may feature animated characters, like Porky Pig, that are created by a cartoon illustrator.
      By: Rusty Clark
      Television shows may feature animated characters, like Porky Pig, that are created by a cartoon illustrator.
    • Cartoon illustrators may find their work in a newspaper comic strip.
      By: by-studio
      Cartoon illustrators may find their work in a newspaper comic strip.
    • Creating political cartoons is one career avenue for illustrators.
      By: Bill Strain
      Creating political cartoons is one career avenue for illustrators.