Gods of the Superheroes — Artists!

Batman, Superman, Ironman, Spiderman, Luke Skywalker, Hellboy, X-Men, Watchmen… who was their creator? Who created them, where were they born?

An artist paints with brains and not with hands. ---Michelangelo

They sprang from the depths of the minds of artists, from the passion of animators. Artists birthed all the Superheroes. The Gods of all Superheroes are artists. Many superheroes are the alter-ego of their God, their creator, their artist. Many a superhero was birthed with a Bic pen on a notepad in a high school study hall.

Were you one of the daydreamers in school? Perhaps you had difficulty concentrating on subjects that bored you, but you were a top student in a class that fascinated you. You created a secret world in your dream world, and you captured it in drawings, in stories. Your creations were created to correct all the wrongs you see around you.

But now, you wonder— how do I take this talent and ambition to a higher level?

Multi-media artists and animators work primarily in motion picture and video industries, advertising, and computer systems design services. They draw by hand and use computers to create the series of pictures that form the animated images or special effects seen in movies, television programs, and computer games.

Freelance artists can write and illustrate their own graphic novels. Publishers like Marvel and Dark House and Top Cow have grown massively in recent years.

Some draw storyboards for television commercials, movies, and animated features. Storyboards present television commercials in a series of scenes similar to a comic strip and allow an advertising agency to evaluate commercials proposed by advertising companies. Storyboards also serve as guides to placing actors and cameras on the television or motion picture set and to other production details. Many multi-media artists model objects in three dimensions by computer and work with programmers to make those images move.

design artist

Artists create art to communicate ideas, thoughts, or feelings. They use a variety of methods—painting, sculpting, or illustration—and an assortment of materials, including oils, watercolors, acrylics, pastels, pencils, pen and ink, plaster, clay, and computers. Artists’ works may be realistic, stylized, or abstract and may depict objects, people, nature, or events. The college level of study offers all these areas of art disciplines.

Another degree in a related career might help the lifelong-committed artist to find the financial base to never quit, to never give up his/her art, in order to survive, have a family, or a home, a studio, (or even a good night’s sleep!)

Illustrators usually create pictures for books, magazines, and other publications and for commercial products such as textiles, wrapping paper, stationery, greeting cards, and calendars. Increasingly, illustrators are working in digital format, preparing work directly on a computer. This has created new opportunities for illustrators to work with animators and in broadcast media.

Medical and scientific illustrators combine drawing skills with knowledge of biology or other sciences. Medical illustrators work digitally or traditionally to create images of human anatomy and surgical procedures as well as 3-dimensional models and animations. Scientific illustrators draw animal and plant life, atomic and molecular structures, and geologic and planetary formations. These illustrations are used in medical and scientific publications and in audiovisual presentations for teaching purposes. Illustrators also work for lawyers, producing exhibits for court cases.

Cartoonists draw political, advertising, social, and sports cartoons. Some cartoonists work with others who create the idea or story and write captions. Some cartoonists write captions themselves. Most cartoonists have comic, critical, or dramatic talents in addition to drawing skills.
Sketch artists create likenesses of subjects with pencil, charcoal, or pastels. Sketches are used by law enforcement agencies to assist in identifying suspects, by the news media to depict courtroom scenes, and by individual patrons for their own enjoyment.

3d rendering orbs

Artists usually develop their skills through a bachelor’s degree program or other postsecondary training in art or design. Although formal schooling isn’t strictly required for craft and fine artists, it is tough to make a living without some training.

Due to the level of technical expertise demanded, multimedia artists and animators benefit greatly from the education acquired through a bachelor’s degree. Many colleges and universities offer programs leading to a bachelor’s or master’s degree in fine arts. Independent schools of art and design also offer postsecondary studio training in the craft, fine, and multi-media arts— leading to certificates in the specialties or to an associate or bachelor’s degree in fine arts.

Many educational programs in art also provide training in computer techniques. Computers are used widely in the visual arts, and knowledge and training in computer graphics and other visual display software are critical elements of many jobs in these fields.

Demand for illustrators who work on a computer will increase as Web sites use more detailed images and backgrounds in their designs. Many cartoonists, in particular, opt to post their work on political Web sites and online publications. Cartoonists often create animated or interactive images to satisfy readers’ demands for more sophisticated images. The small number of medical illustrators will also be in greater demand as medical research continues to grow.

Demand for multimedia artists and animators will increase as consumers continue to demand more realistic video games, movie and television special effects, and 3D animated movies. Additional job openings will arise from an increasing demand for Web site development and for computer graphics adaptation from the growing number of mobile technologies. Animators are also increasingly finding work in alternative areas such as scientific research or design services.

Artists held about 218,000 jobs in 2006. About 62 percent were self-employed. Employment was distributed as follows:

  • Multimedia artists and animators 87,000
  • Art directors 78,000
  • Fine artists, including painters, sculptors and illustrators 30,000
  • Craft artists 8,800
  • Artists and related workers, all other 14,00

Despite the competition, studios, galleries, and individual clients are always on the lookout for artists who display outstanding talent, creativity, and style. Among craft and fine artists, talented individuals who have developed a mastery of artistic techniques and skills will have the best job prospects. Multi-media artists and animators should have better job opportunities than other artists, but still will experience competition. Job opportunities for animators of lower-technology cartoons could be hampered as these jobs continue to be outsourced overseas.

Incomes of artists can rise exponentially— for the very successful artists who build their reputation as a major fine art talent, illustrator, or few those able to create a globally recognized product such as a superhero or other type of graphic novel.

Median annual earnings of salaried fine artists, including painters, sculptors, and illustrators were $41,970. The middle 50 percent earned between $28,500 and $58,550. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $18,350, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $79,390. Earnings data for the many self-employed fine artists were not available.

Median annual earnings of salaried multi-media artists and animators were $51,350, not including the earnings of the self-employed. The middle 50 percent earned between $38,980 and $70,050. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $30,390, and . Median annual earnings were $57,310 in motion picture and video industries and $48,860 in advertising and related services.

Projections data from the National Employment Matrix

So, you have talent. You have ideas. You have passion for art and your many creations.

In 2007, the National Association of Schools of Art and Design accredited 282 postsecondary institutions with programs in art and design.

Why not take it to the next level? Why not build your talent, your powers, why not educate yourself in all the arts technology that will expand your horizons, to create, animate, to exploit all your talents?

Unleash your own superhero, the artist inside you, waiting to get out— Educate, educate, educate!

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