How Much Do Artists Make Anyway?

There’s nothing as rewarding as earning from your inherent talent.

As we all know, art is the application of human creative skill which is talent in layman’s language. However, most people don’t priorities the potential to make a living from their art. Perhaps it is because there is always a lucid risk in investing both money and time in pursuing an artful career.

At the end of the day, it is all a personal choice. Some people prefer to pursue careers that give them both social and personal value. Such people will always pursue noble and social professions like teaching, nursing, caregiving among others. On the other hand, some people will find satisfying prestige from their talents-art.

How much artists make is one knotty question that does not get an absolute answer. Some fine artists grace global sophisticated galleries. There are also those subtle powerful artists who make valuable contributions to the industry, but they are yet to be thrust into the limelight.

To tackle this question from a sensible angle, we have pieced together an informed write-up on major art careers. Scroll down the page to read more.

1.    Commercial Artists

These are artists contracted by business entities to design and craft a project. They are also known as freelance artists. Most commercial artists specialize in advertising, branding, and graphic designs. They can also be illustrators, photographers among other things. The list is endless.

However, the roles of a commercial artist will vary from one client to the other. While some business entities would want to place their creative artists on a retainer basis, others prefer to strictly keep them on a contractual basis. Working on a contractual basis gives the artist a lot of latitude in deciding what and what not to take. On the flip side, there’s a lack of security in their income flow.

When it comes to revenue generation, commercial art is no different from any other job. Being a top-tier artist means more income. According to the 2021 expert career report, an art director can make up to $117,000 per annum. The report further indicates that an average artist will make up to $74,000 per annum while the less established ones can make up to $47,000 per year.

2.    Visual & Commission Artists

This kind of art creation is purely based on the client’s invitation to work on a particular project. Visual artists on the other hand creatively design visual art with the hope of finding an interested buyer. Though there’s a thin line between the two, they eventually converge in the long run. Most visual artists are the ones commissioned to undertake a project related to their field.

Visual artists mostly create paintings, drawings, sculpting, molding, crafting among many others. These artists display their art in galleries, studios, related websites among other strategic places likely to attract clients to their creative work. Being a visual artist is all good except that their productions will determine their income.

According to the Bureau of Labor of Statistics, the least paid visual artist made $190,150 per annum in 2011. The average artist made $53,400 while the experts went home with a whopping $90,050. As you can see, it is possible to make a decent and comfortable living out of visual art. However, it requires patience, hard work, and proper positioning to make it to the top.

3.    Graphic Design Artist

You might not be the David Carson of our times, but it is possible to sell your designs for a mint. Graphic design is all about projecting visual communications through photography and illustrations. Graphic designers also use typography to solve their customers’ needs.

Over the years, graphic design has steadily become the holy grail course for most students. To begin with, it is one of the most marketable careers, especially in this technological era. However, some people seem to think that this choice is no longer lucrative as it used to be. Perhaps it is because the field has become so saturated and extremely competitive.

According to recent studies done by IBISWorld 2019, the industry seems to be performing quite well. It generated a revenue of 15 billion dollars with a further projection of 14.8 billion dollars in the coming years. Most graphic designers make between $82,020 to $46,640 depending on their level.

Interested in becoming a Graphic Designer?  Check out our guide on How to Become a Graphic Designer (without a Degree)!

Already have experience and looking to start your own business? See our guide on How to Start a Graphic Design Business (for Free)!

4.    Illustrators

Illustrators are artists specializing in creating a visual representation of respective texts. These visuals are meant to enhance and consolidate to persuade or entertain the target audience. Most illustrators usually design covers for books, magazines among other print media.

Depending on an individual preference, an illustrator can work either as a freelancer or on a retainer basis. Both of them have their pros and cons therefore you have to choose wisely depending on your financial status.

According to a report by BLS 2017, most illustrators earn an average of $63,030 per year. The lowest made a gross income of $20,070 per year which is still decent enough. According to these statistics, most of these fine artists made more as compared to those in the entry-level.

Interested in becoming an Illustrator? See how guide on How to Become an Illustrator (without a Degree)!

5.    Coach Artists

This entails a wide range of services. These artists are responsible for training upcoming artists to nurture and perfect their talents. They provide bespoke coaching and instructing their clients to achieve their artistic goals.

Coaching artists can be music teachers, fitness trainers, voice training artists among others. It is one upcoming lucrative field that most seasoned artists venture into in their passive retirement. This makes it more reliable because such coaches have high experience and expertise in their respective fields.

Teaching artists can make between $46,999 to $56,630 per year. This is according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, it all depends on where these artists do their coaching. You would expect those coaching in the affluent neighborhood to make much more than those in smaller towns.

In Conclusion

Being a retainer artist is far more reliable and sustainable as compared to freelancing. If you chose to be a freelancer, you should be prepared to have patience and put your best foot forward. However, there is a way to go around this. You can start by being a hired artist. When you have saved enough to sustain yourself as you build your clientele, you can go forth and become a freelancer.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *