If you’ve got skill as an artist, it’s not always clear how you can monetise this. Many creative roles can be hard to get into, and finding freelance jobs for artists often ends in low quality content mills.
To be clear here, we’re looking at art in the sense of illustration, such as graphic design. But art is obviously a broad term and your visual design skills can be translated in various ways in the digital age.
Modern artists often need to master graphic design to compete online. But what can you do as a freelance artist to make money?
Art, and especially graphic design, is a dynamic and diverse field in the 21st Century. The range of its application in various industries is undeniable.
Within the realm of online communication and international reach, illustrative art has played a crucial role in the fields of marketing, advertising, and more.
In this article, artists graphic designers will find five jobs that suit their specific skill-sets.
1. Social Media and Advertising Graphic Designer
Social media acts as a powerful tool for businesses to promote their products and services so as to reach a wider audience. Social media graphic designers are responsible for creating visual content for social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. They create stimulating media content that attracts and engages users.
The goal of advertising design is to grab the viewer’s attention and persuade them to take action, such as buying a product or service. And this is where having a good eye for design or visual flair can make a huge difference.
Of course, this requires experience with social media platforms, understanding their users, and algorithms.
Software tools such as Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign, along with various video editing tools such as Adobe Premiere Pro and After Effects are a staple in the industry. A good understanding of marketing and consumer behaviour is necessary to be a valuable graphic designer.
2. Brand Identity Designer
Brand identity design creates a visual identity for a business. This includes logos, colour schemes, typography, and other visual elements highlighting the motives and objectives of a brand..
Accurate representations occur when designers work with the company to understand their goals. A good graphics design team is capable of producing eye-catching and interesting brand identities that further increase brand loyalty.
Such designers should also have a strong understanding of branding principles and be able to create visual identities that are consistent and recognizable.
Having a background in mass media, social media curation, and public communication skills are vital for such positions. But equally, this is an interesting job for artists as it often means you are in charge of many of the visual elements in a company. This might include imagery for blogs, social media and advertising – among other things.
3. UX/UI and Web Designer
User experience (UX) and user interface (UI) design create the layout and visual style for websites, apps, and other digital platforms. They collaborate with web developers, project managers, and other designers to design and implement user interfaces that are easy to use and navigate.
UX designers work with clients to meet their requirements based on preference and brand identity. This helps to streamline the process for the consumer, ensuring maximum satisfaction and ease of use. It’s often seen as quite a nerd job, but in fact it is very creative and artistic.
Having a profound understanding of user behavior and psychology to create effective designs is necessary for such roles.
The demand for UX/UI designers is high, with many companies seeking artistic professionals who can design intuitive and engaging user experiences through websites, apps, and more. So this could be an excellent job for freelance artists.
4. Packaging Design
A job often sidelined, but which remains a critical aspect of branding and marketing is intelligent packaging design.
A product’s packaging can influence a consumer’s purchasing decision, and a well-designed package provides a brand their unique identity amongst other free market competitors.
Packaging often becomes the face of the brand during its lifetime, which cements the importance of smart graphic design.
Understanding materials as well as the manufacturing process is crucial for competent graphic designers creating appealing graphic designs for products.
They need to be able to create designs that are not only visually appealing but also functional and cost-effective for the business in the long-run.
Packaging designers may also be aware of legal and regulatory requirements regarding labeling and packaging materials.
5. Advertising Design
Advertising design is a lucrative opportunity for creative graphic designers capable of thinking outside the box and creating memorable advertising campaigns. This involves creating designs for various media such as print, online, and television.
The goal of advertising design is to grab the viewer’s attention and persuade them to take action, such as buying a product or service. Good graphic design captures the interest of a potential consumer, leading them to be more susceptible to buying a product.
Advertising designers must have a good understanding of marketing and consumer behavior. They must be able to create designs that are not only appealing to their target audience, but also convey the brand’s message effectively, accurately, and in a memorable fashion.
Advertising design often involves working closely with copywriters and marketing professionals to create a cohesive campaign.
It’s often an artist or graphic designers dream to be given the opportunity to illustrate a graphic novel, children’s books or even design for film or TV. And there are actually more roles than you might think for an illustrator to hone their skills.
The role of an illustrator might often be displayed as something like, ‘Art supervisor’, ‘Creative designer’ or ‘visual design’. And, as we’ve seen from many of the roles here, you will most likely need to use software or even do things like video or photography too.
Roles for illustrators and visual design tend to start from around GB£25,000 in the UK, so it’s a relatively low paid starting wage. But high end illustrators can make upwards of £50,000 or more.
7. Freelance artist
If you’ve got the art skills, why not sell your art as a freelancer. There are more platforms than ever where you can sell art prints, t-shirts, custom artwork or even the crypto art craze of NFTs. OK, that last one might not be for everyone, but why not?
As a freelance artist, you’ll get to pursue your passion as a career – although let’s be honest and say it isn’t the easiest role to succeed in. But… Succeed you can!
Try platforms like Etsy, Amazon print on demand (aka Amazon Merch) or Opensea for NFTs.
8. Art teacher
If you’re passionate about art and graphic design, why not pass your passion on? You can use your art skills and teach anyone from children to adults who want to express their artistic side. And being a freelance art teacher is possible.
Run pop up classes, offer your services to corporate entities for mindfulness or team building, or offer online courses and coaching. The possibilities are actually very varied.
Where to find freelance artist work
Depending on the role you’re looking for, there are plenty of places you can get started looking for freelance art work.
Linkedin is always a good place to build your professional network, and we strongly recommend you have a presence there. Read about how to manage your Linkedin, and how to send connection requests on Linkedin.
Sites such as Indeed, Monster and TotalJobs will have regular jobs such as graphic design jobs listed above. Keep an eye on those and search regularly for ‘artist’, ‘visual’ or ‘design’ and you’ll find plenty of opportunity.
If you want to sell your art then Etsy is probably the best known online option. However there are plenty of online art platforms such as:
You could also setup your own website or online gallery and sell your art works directly to the internet public. You’ll obviously need to do some marketing and probably run a strong social media profile to attract a big audience.
Instagram has a good reputation for freelance artists, and you can now sell your art directly on their platform.
We can see how relevant the role of freelance artist and even graphic design is to the current technological space. Honing your craft, learning new software, and keep up to date with industry standards help you become a more competitive employee in the market.
The advancement of technology requires artists to learn new tools so as to create various forms of commercial and non-commercial art.
So if you’re looking for a freelance art job opportunity, there are plenty of opportunities out there.