March 30, 2024

Explore Careers in the Visual Arts

a tryptic of the VFX process


by Donya Collins

If you have ever told someone you want to be an artist, chances are you have been told there aren’t a lot of jobs. Many people have this misconception that professional artists equals “starving artist.” But there are many jobs available to artists. Let’s explore careers in the visual arts by taking a look at art jobs in the Game and Entertainment Industry. This list, though robust, is not exhaustive. If you find these job paths interesting, start building your skills in Ignite by using our Digital Media Labs to access the Adobe Creative Suite or by practicing with our Drawing and Painting Kits.

Explore Careers in the Arts


Animation is probably one of the more well known careers in the visual arts. An animator produces multiple images called frames, which when sequenced together create an illusion of movement. This is known as animation. The images can be made up of digital or hand-drawn pictures, models or puppets. Animators tend to work in 2D, 3D model-making, stop-frame or computer-generated animation. An example of an animated movie would be something like Shrek or Kung Fu Panda. Animators work in many different fields like commercial, tv, movie and game. In Ignite you could practice this skill by using our DMLs and Adobe Animate or After Effects. (Note: For the DMLs you must be 13 and up and have either a library card or ID) You could also practice on paper and make a flipbook.

a motion animation strip of a little girl running

Visual Development

Visual Development is an umbrella term meaning covers many different things, like a character designer, background designer, color designer and prop designer. A character designer is someone who designs what a character looks like in a project. This artist determines whether a character has long hair or short hair, is wide or tall, etc. A background designer is similar because they do the same thing but with backgrounds. They’d draw the character’s room or the location like school, on the bus or at a park they decide what that looks like.

illustration of four burly pink men

Color designers and prop designers decide the color of these places and what the house looks like with color. An example would be in a sad scene where you see a lot of blues. Color designers use color to create certain moods. Prop designers draw the props that actors and characters use in the story.

illustration of a two coffee mugs on a desk

All these jobs can work under those specific names or as a visual development artist. Since these jobs often work hand in hand most “vis dev” artists do more than one type in this category. In Ignite, you can practice this skill by using the following kits and resources: Drawing, Painting (all kinds especially Gouache) and our DMLs with Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator.

VFX and Technical Artists

VFX Artists design special effects like falling leaves, rain, fire, etc. They are also the people who animate on top of actors to create digital characters, such as how Mark Ruffalo became the Hulk. Technical artists are the bridge between a programmer and the art. They will, for example, build a tool that populates a village with randomized villagers using a number of presets, so that they don’t have to be drawn individually.

a tryptic of the VFX process

Producer and Illustrator

A producer is someone who manages the production of a movie. They make sure the whole thing is running smoothly. Lastly, an Illustrator is an artist who draws pictures for magazines, books, advertising, movies, etc. In animation, an illustrator would be used primarily to highlight how important scenes would play out and look visually. This job is the one most transferable to just about any field.

illustration of three skateboarders on a green and pink background

Start preparing for your career in the arts by checking out kits and equipment available in Ignite. Happy making!