Artistic Careers You Don't Have to Starve For

Most of us were encouraged to be artistic when we were children. From drawings and dioramas to noodle jewelry and collages, art is an integral part of a child’s life and no school day is complete without time for arts and crafts. As we grow older, however, we are counseled to settle into practical careers and to confine our artistic impulses to hobbies, if we pursue them at all. There is definitely some wisdom to this advice, as it is very rare for the average person to support oneself as a full-time artist. Therefore, if you feel that you are an artist at heart, it is likely that you also feel torn between pursing your passion for art and finding a well-paying and stable career.

But it doesn’t have to be that way! There are many careers that can provide a good salary and job security, while also allowing you the freedom to be creative and artistic. The careers noted below are all expected to see job growth over the next few years and, if you have an artistic temperament, one of them just might be perfect for you.

Graphic Designer

Graphic designers are artists who design and create visual messages in print and electronic media, typically using specialized software packages. Examples of graphic design projects include developing the layout and design of a magazine, producing the credits for a film and designing a logo for a business.

Graphic designers are employed by advertising, publishing or design firms and also work as freelancers and consultants. A bachelor’s degree in graphic design is usually required. As of May of 2008, the median salary for graphic designers was $42,400 and employment was expected to grow 13% through 2018.

Technical Writer

Technical writers convert technical information into simpler language, for products such as operating instructions, online help documentation and how-to manuals. Those of you who love to write but also have an interest in technology may find this career to be a good fit. A technical writer’s duties may include writing documentation; overseeing preparation of illustrations, photographs and charts; and conducting research for usability product studies.

As of May 2008, the median salary for technical writers was $61,620 and employment was expected to grow 18% by 2018. A bachelor’s degree in required, preferably in communications, journalism, or English. Technical writers perform freelance work or may be employed by a technical services or consulting firm.

Landscape Architect

Landscape architects design attractive and functional outdoor spaces, including public parks, residential communities, school grounds and shopping centers. In other words, they are artists who work with nature rather than with paint or music. A landscape architect might be called upon to determine the best arrangement of flowers, plants and trees for a public garden or to beautify a local highway.

Landscape architects may be employed by architectural and engineering services firms, government agencies or may perform freelance work. In May 2008, the median salary for landscape architects was $58,960 and employment was projected to grow 20% by 2018. 49 states require landscape architects to be licensed, with a bachelor's or master's degree in landscape architecture and 1-4 years of relevant experience usually required for licensing.

Urban Planner

Urban planners develop plans for the use of land and natural resources and determine the best way to manage growth for communities. Persons who appreciate practical applications of artistry may enjoy the challenge of finding the best location for a new school, creating a course of action to preserve local wetlands or drafting legislation on planning a public park.

Urban planners are typically employed by local governments but may also work for architectural, engineering and consulting services firms. A master’s degree in urban planning or design, or a related field, is usually required. As of May 2008, the median salary for urban planners was $59,810 and employment was expected to grow 19% by 2018.

Animator

Animators create animations and visual images for film or video, typically for use in the motion picture, advertising, and computer systems design industries. An animator may draw images by hand and then use computers to animate the images or they might use a computer to model objects in three dimensions before working with programmers to make the images move.

Animators need a high level of technical knowledge. A bachelor’s degree is usually required, with courses in relevant computer techniques recommended. Animators are often self-employed, but may also be employed by advertising, publishing and design firms. As of May 2008, the median salary for animators was $56,330 and the career is expected to see job growth of 14% by 2018.

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