Alternate Careers In Art

Posted: August 21, 2012

Considering interesting and creative art career options? Some suggestions to help you in the search for alternate careers in art!

By Melanie Lobo

Gone are the days when careers in art meant simply being an art teacher. Nowadays there are multiple alternative careers that one can choose from. These include careers in art and design, careers in graphic arts, careers in art history and so on. Read on to find out more about alternate careers in art. 

Art career option 1: Cartooning

The popularity of Cartoon Network in India has led to cartooning becoming a favoured choice. Cartoonists use illustrations, satirise, tell a joke or a story or even make caricatures. How does one get into cartooning though? Most cartoonists train at art colleges or polytechnic institutes, while some just learn the art of cartooning on their own. Some cartooning experts feel that no one can teach you to draw a cartoon, but polytechnic institutes and art colleges do give you a good base if you wish to follow this career. Also remember that a person who can sketch does not necessarily become a good cartoonist. You must have a sense of humour and be creative as well – two properties that will stand you in good stead if you chose to take up this alternative career in art.

What is the scope of cartooning in India? You can work as a comic or political cartoonist for a newspaper or a magazine, either on a regular basis or on contract. Or you can work in an animation house. Other opportunities include jobs in advertising agencies, animation films, publishing houses and television production companies.

Art career option 2: Art Therapy

This is one field that is gaining popularity as far as art career options go. An art therapist is a person who has skills in various kinds of art forms (like painting, drawing, sculpture) and these skills are used in medicine, psycho-sociology and psycho-therapy for assessment and treatment. Art therapy combines the fields of visual art and human development and is used for counselling. You can become an art therapist even if you are in another line of work such as teaching, counselling or psychology. Most of the art therapy schools and art colleges offer courses that are tailor made for people who are at various stages in their lives. So this is an ideal choice if you are looking for a career change, although a degree in Psychology is preferable. Having good listening skills as well an ability to adapt to a situation or client helps too.

You can become an art therapist even if you are in another line of work such as teaching, counselling or psychology.

Art career option 3: Art Management

This is a relatively new career choice for artists. Combining your management skills as well as your passion for the arts will help if you choose to follow this alternate art career. An Art Manager develops and manages cultural projects. This field integrates and combines tools from various other fields such as business (marketing, planning), culture (art appreciation), communication (PR, visual design) and community building (fundraising). Art career options for Art Managers include managing an auction house, private art institutions, or even art exhibitions. Art has become a huge business today and like other markets, needs specialized professionals to manage it. A wider understanding of both management and art is needed in order to manage the above mentioned places and this is exactly where Art Managers come in. Opt for an Art Management Internship or Diploma Course if you wish to pursue this option.

Art career option 4: Art Restoration

An art restorer is a person whose job is to undo (or restore) the damage on art work which has occurred over the years due to neglect, bad storage of artefacts as well as the environment. Art restoration includes restoring and research of fine art and antiques. This includes works of art on paper, frames, glass, ceramics, gilded objects, porcelain, stone, glass, furniture and specialized paintings as well. Keep in mind that art restoration does not only mean restoring, touching up or painting over works of art. It is a specialized field wherein the restorer should have some knowledge of chemistry, art history and painting. Skills required for this alternate career option include being good at various art forms such as sculpture, painting, as well as handling textiles, photographs, manuscripts and so on. Professional courses in this line of work are short term courses, which last for 2 years. You can also opt for a Masters in Fine Arts which would take you 5 years to complete.

Keep in mind that art restoration does not only mean restoring, touching up or painting over works of art. It is a specialized field wherein the restorer should have some knowledge of chemistry, art history and painting.

A degree with specializations in ancient and medieval history, world history and archaeology, as well as a basic knowledge of the art schools and art forms is advisable if you wish to follow this art career. Where do you work once you have completed a course in art restoration? Skilled and trained art restorers should look at openings in museums or private firms. You can even choose to go the entrepreneurial way and start your own company if you so desire.

Art career option 5: Commercial Art and Fine Arts

Commercial artists create and design posters, hoardings, advertisements, book covers, window displays, cinema slides, CD covers and wrappers. A person who joins this field should be good at publicity and marketing as well as be a good artist. Careers in Fine Arts include specializations in Art History, Criticism, Sketching, Sculpture and Painting. Some of the fields one could opt for include design and graphics. Commercial art careers allow you to freelance as well. If you already hold a degree in Fine Arts, you can opt for a Post Graduate Diploma in Commercial Art. Commercial/Applied Art Courses such as Graphic Art/Design, Illustration, Desktop publishing, Multimedia Design and Typography could be undertaken for a career in fine arts.

What is the scope for such careers that are creative? Sunita Dey, General Manager and Counsellor, Western Region, Institute for Career Studies, Pune states, “The most popular fields are computer graphics, photo journalism, animation, advertising and design and even art therapy.” She suggests that people who already have jobs and are interested in art, can freelance in the above mentioned careers. She also adds that it is very important to carry along an art portfolio when you are called for an interview. “Many times, people do not have the requisite qualifications for a particular career but displaying a portfolio of their best art work can help them to attain a job,” she concludes.

As you can see, there are a plethora of alternative careers in art that you can choose from. If art is one of your passions, there is no stopping you now.

 *Photo credit: Vilseskogen (Used under the Creative Commons Attribution License.)

Melanie Lobo is a freelance writer. She grew up in cities across India but now

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Comments

2 Comments


  1. You can also write about Art and create awareness about it, which is very low in India.

  2. dinakaranonline -

    Nice compilation of various career choices available in the Fine Arts area. Few career options am hearing for the first time.

    Most of them would be aware about ‘Art Restoration’ – that’s what Deepika Padukone does in Love Aaj Kal. If such a career is shown in main stream movies , then i suppose it has good demand if am not wrong !

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