Getting into the world of graphic arts can be an exciting venture where you not only get to express your creative talent, but also earn a great living doing what you love to do. It is a very flexible career choice with many paths to go down and combinations to master. For example you could start off being a graphic designer working for a company, then learn web design in addition to graphic design and start your own design business from the comfort of your home or you could just earn extra money on the side being a freelance graphic artist if you already have another job you want to keep.
Steps to Get Into Graphic Arts
1. Start With the Basics
Even though graphic design is mainly associated with computers nowadays, its roots are in fine art. Many graphic art pieces years ago were all done by hand using tools and materials and not by fancy computers and software. This is why its great to have a foundation in drawing, painting and other fine art skills. If you attend design school, many of them will require you to take basic art classes before you are even allowed to touch programs such as Photoshop and Illustrator.
2. Design School
If you can afford it nothing beats going to a 4 year design school. The experience and guidance you will get is well worth the money and by the time you are done you should have a solid portfolio and resume ready with maybe even a few contacts. Many schools have career departments that can even hlep you find a job after school and the 4 year degree looks great and resumes and can mean an instant higher yearly salary for you.
3. Mastering the Software
The Adobe software suite is what most graphic artists use, so you will need to master these programs and the only way to do that is to spend many hours using each one. Read books, practice tutorials and take classes so the programs become second nature to you.
4. Creating a Portfolio
A portfolio is a must-have for any graphic artist. Some places don’t even care about your resume, they just want to know you can produce amazing work and when you are looking for clients online people go straight to the portfolio before anything else. So make sure you have a nice custom website portfolio up and be sure to update it on a regular basis.
5. Creating Your Resume
Most companies who are hiring will want to see your resume and some freelance clients will request it as well. You should have a copy of your resume ready to go in case some one requests it and you should have a few nicely printed versions ready to hand out with a disposable portfolio, which you would leave after an interview.
Networking is an essential aspect of any business and graphic design is no exception. The more designers and players in the design community you know the better your chances will be when it comes to finding a job of new freelance clients. Keep in contact with your network, take them to lunch, call them once in a while or send an email. This way you are actually making friends and not just abusing people when you need something. Be nice to others and they will often return the favor.
7. Join the Offline Community
If you want to make the most of your career you should get as involved as you can in the offline design community. Try going to museums, lectures, shows and anything else you can. If you love design you may even find yourself doing things like saving business cards from stores you go into just so you can look at them later for inspiration!
8. Join the Online Community
The online design community is one of the richest on the web. It is filled with great blogs, tutorial sites, forums, books, free resources, interviews and much more. Staying involved in the online community will help you keep up to date with the design community on topics such as design trends, hot new studios, marketing tips, business advice and much more.