Cartoonists are artists who interpret ideas and communicate them by creating hand-drawn or computerized pictures with words to instruct, guide, tell stories and even offer commentaries on local news. Their aim is to interpret issues to people in an easily understood form, such as an editorial cartoon or comic strip. They usually produce artwork for magazines, news websites, newspapers and other industries that require visual media, such as the gaming industry.
Tasks of a cartoonist vary by industry, but they are generally responsible for sketching and submitting cartoons for approval; developing and brainstorming ideas for comic strips, animations or cartoons; revising artwork as necessary; rendering sequential drawings of characters to be used in animation; developing color moods and patterns; labeling sections with colors to guide other artists; reading and studying relevant topics to be used as materials for cartoon strips or cartoons; drawing and modifying cartoons based on client requirements; using humor to express serious issues through cartoons; and marketing their work through networking, advertising and other channels, among others.
Education and Training Requirements
There is no standard educational requirement for cartoonists, as long as they have excellent drawing skills. Relevant courses in high school include art, literature, history, government and political science. Some employers may prefer those with a bachelor’s degree in fine arts, animation, cartooning or a similar field. Those who wish to become political cartoonists would likely benefit from a degree in journalism or political science. Training in various cartoon types using different media and tools can be an advantage. Cartoonists that wish to get a career in motion pictures, video games and animated TV shows should take courses in animation, video and film.
Knowledge and Skills Requirements
Regardless of the industry cartoonists work in, they should possess excellent communication skills needed in voicing out ideas or speaking to clients. Advanced skills in computer graphics is also a must in this field. They should also be extremely creative, think outside the box and possess a unique sense of humor that would appeal to the audience of a newspaper, magazine, TV show, and other mediums.
Cartoonists work in the office with good lighting and fully equipped computers, usually with a 40-hour work schedule. Sometimes, they are allowed to work from home. Since many cartoonists today use graphics software and e-mails to allow easy submission of work, they can work with print media companies and other employers directly from home with flexible work schedules. Regardless of work location, cartoonists work under pressure to meet deadlines. More experienced cartoonists may have their own team to help in brainstorming, filling in shapes, lettering, coloring or transferring hand-drawn images into computers.
Salary of cartoonists depends largely on the type of work they do. They earn somewhere between $35,000 and $70,000 per year.