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Been searching for several weeks now for a new job but I don't want something full-time because it interferes with my freelancing. I definitely don't have enough steady work to do art full-time, so I was wondering what kind of jobs you all have to keep your art passion afloat. 

Personally I'm tired of retail and don't want anything involving customer service (I know right) but am stumped (aka limited by location) on ideas. So what do you guys do? 

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Why would you spend your time on an unqualified job? Unless art is just your hobby and you don't plan to become a game artist and turn it into a full fledged job, you need to direct all your efforts and time into improving your skillset and making your name in the industry. 

Maybe invest in art courses? Or better art + coding / art + animation / UI/UX design. There's definitely a lack of tech artists, animators and UI designers in the industry right now, and a surplus of concept artists. To find jobs as a concept artist, you need to be the best of the best, but for less popular specialisations you just need to have proper skills. This will provide you more work than you are able to do as a human being limited by 24 hours in a day. Even if you can do just regular isometric game art complying the industry standards, and have a couple of finished projects in your portfolio, you will get enough work to start choosing among offers in you message box instead of sending applications.

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17 hours ago, Angel said:

Why would you spend your time on an unqualified job?

Lol um because bills? Art jobs don't just fall in your lap so you need something to hold you over until you land one. Don't mean to be passive or anything but right now I'm working a "day job" until I can get an industry job. I work part-time so I have time to freelance and work on my portfolio. 

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Currently I’m just a student and don’t really have a job, but I’m planning to become a Clinical Psychologist, so that’s what I’m going to divide my time with as well as doing art for my game/hobby/little random commissions.


I agree that doing art right now is not something ‘stable’ at all, and it’s more of a side job to get some spare money in your pockets. I DO love art, been doing it for years and I can’t see myself stopping, but I also like to be realistic with myself and plan the fact that I won’t ever be able to do digital art full-time (unless I become SUCH a famous artist that people buy my art either every bloody second, or I can sell my piece for crazy money... and that is pretty hard to achieve) At least, that’s my personal opinion.

I think this industry is very cutthroat and hard to sparkle in... firs of all, there isn’t enough job opportunities for every artist out there, and new games seem to hire ‘the best of the best’. Also, I find it pretty hard to advertise my art... like, how are potential employers gonna see me? There isn’t really very many hashtags in Instagram about browser based games o.O

My art seems to only be seen by, simply, other artists and art lovers, not specifically people that have a potential idea to make a new game and might want to hire me.


The Gaming List is, really, the only platform that seems to allow me to advertise for that actual industry, but not many games are being made, and not all Job Postings are right for me.

And even if you decide to do broader art, not just for online games, then good luck, hundreds of thousands of others out there are already doing digital art and graphics.


I do love looking at other people’s art, but sometimes I look at them and they’re so much better than me, and I tell myself “What is my art compared to theirs?” It might sound depressing, but I’m saying it on a realistic way: there are so many more artists out there with art way better than mine, it just is as it is. Employers will probably hire them, not me.


Yes, you COULD try to get lessons and try and improve your skills in art, but I’m thinking, it’s gonna take time - months... years? And where are you gonna get the money to feed yourself and pay the bills in the meantime? And is it 100% sure that after finishing those courses you’ll magically get way more opportunities? Art is all about advertising yourself as mich as possible and being famous; that takes a crazy amount of work, dedication, the right connections... and money. Unfortunately, that is not me.


I know that people say that if you love something enough, you should strive for it. Passion is important, I totally agree, but it shouldn’t make you stupid. Art as a career is not stable at all - it can all crash down in a very short time. So that’s why I have a plan C for everything (didn’t you know? Nowadays plan Bs are not enough anymore ?) and I’m also starting to do business investments as yet another provider of income. So then I will have money coming in from doing art, from my job, and from my investments.


Ok, I think I’ve talked enough, I probably even went out of the railways a bit O.o

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@Bravefoot Do you think if the industry wasn't so congested you would be pursuing art as your career instead of clinical psychology? Just curious! 

I think this is the biggest thing though, it doesn't really matter how good you are (I mean being good obviously counts for SOMETHING) but honestly it's just a big waiting game until you get noticed. Ask anyone you look up to who "made it" and they'll have the same story: knew someone in the industry already (ie friend, teacher) and/or someone in the industry stumbled upon them. We gotta hold out until that moment finally comes it seems! 

I absolutely agree with that passion shouldn't make you stupid. Something as fragile as the art industry should really be keeping back-up plans in case things go slow. 

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@Bingo Since you mentioned you're doing art jobs on a gamedev forum, I supposed you were a game artist and was able to pay your bills even with part-time freelance. This isn't a profession which pays you only the minimum wage even when you're a junior game artist. Game art jobs actually fall into your lap when you're able to produce game art of production quality. I never had problems finding freelance jobs enough to cover the full capacity of several people like me. I even had to make all of my profiles private everywhere because of that. That wasn't always for games, but it was always digital art, design or coding (and I needed all of that and even more when started to create my own games). The demand is still a lot higher than the offer in this industry. If you feel that junior game artist's wage is too low for you, you can expand your skillset like I suggested and just set a higher rate on the same freelance portals that give you jobs now. If you're aiming to get a high paid job in the industry as an artist working in a game studio as your day job, you have to dedicate at least half of your working time to the improving of your art related skills. Otherwise, it would be hard to keep the pace and get enough skills to get that industry job at all even as a junior :( 

It's hard to get the entry level skill as you need to be a strong art generalist with at least basic knowledge of game art specifics, and that requires at least 5 years of everyday studies. But I supposed you already had these skills. Sorry if I'm wrong. Though I still don't get how it's possible to have enough skills to do literally any freelance art and don't have to work at least at a print shop, photo studio or ad agency... If your art skills can't pay even for your bills, and you still have a few years of mastering the basics ahead, then this is not a matter of the type of your day job but rather of your health and natural predispositions. Pick what tires you the least because you need all your energy to study. A random person from the web can't help you here, only you know your body well enough. For example, I can't work with people at all because my natural dopamine system doesn't encourage me for social interactions, so they exhaust me nearly to debilitation. In other words, I'm as introverted as possible to be considered (almost) healthy, and this highly affects the jobs I choose even within my current scope. At the same time I love animals and get from them everything I'm evolutionarily supposed to get from people. This means if I ever had to get an unqualified job and didn't have physical disabilities, I could work on a farm or in a zoo, but couldn't as a cashier, shop assistant or (especially) customer support worker. You definitely have your own predispositions to take into account, and those must define your job choice no matter what other people say.

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@Angel If I were paying my bills with my freelance I would have ditched the day job a long time ago haha. I think you assumed since I was posting here that I'm interested in being a game maker which is not the case. Like several other artists here, I mainly do item/NPC work on this site, and if you've seen other postings, item art runs from $1-$3 each, and no one here has 500+ items they need completed per month. For me this is just another area to get some pocket change now and then, occasionally I will get one or two very large projects, but usually not. Personally I am more focused on illustration and character design which has significantly more competition and low-balling artists fighting for available jobs. On top of that I simply don't have the following I need yet and until I build that up enough I simply can't rely solely on it to keep my head above water. As much as I agree with you in that you need to spend as much time as humanly possible on your art, sometimes we just aren't lucky enough to be in that position at the time. I'm introverted as well and can only handle so much stupid in the customer-service world, so as long as I have to work a day job, I'd rather find something that would fit my personality and passions more. Unfortunately the only thing available locally for me is fast food/retail, so I made this post hoping for other ideas. >.<


@Bravefoot Oh I wish! As much as stuff has become internet-dependent, it'd be really nice if more art jobs became remote and then available to us. :D I hate being limited to what's nearby.


@Blaire You should get one! Don't let yourself get rusty :P

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@BingoIf you have a place for me to leave a review about your work for me to hopefully get you more work in the future, I'd love to provide you with a testimonial!

As far as interim jobs until you land that sweet art job, have you ever thought about going to your local temp job agency? I did that for a while with an agency that focused on office admin work (and got put into a warehouse shipping and receiving for a while that was fun). Temp agency sounds a bit unreliable by name, but so long as you have the skillsets, they'll always have work for you.

Other than that, since retail isn't your thing, some companies hire part time front desk people to meet and greet people at the door and get them to the person they need to see. Generally pretty easy if you have decent computer skills (and by decent, I mean you know how to copy & paste, send emails, and other basic tasks that I am surprised a lot of people have trouble with)

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@Solistia That's very sweet of you! I don't at the moment but if that changes I'll be sure to let you know ^-^

You know, I haven't considered a temp agency! How do they work exactly? Do they place you somewhere based on your skillset or based on whether they just need some bodies?

I'm actually between a rock and a hard place now; nearly a year ago I injured my SI joint (doctor thinks it'd how I was sitting when drawing) and it makes sitting uh...difficult lol. I can only sit for a half hour or so, which is why I purchased a desk riser (coming later today, woo!!) so I can stand while I draw at home now, but just last week I injured my upper back at work...I can't lift anything very heavy or bend over. So I can't sit for very long or do any lifting. >8T I would love to do a warehouse job like you described but now I worry about my back. Hopefully it'll be better in a few weeks, something like a 3rd shift UPS processing thing would be awesome. 

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@Bingo Sounds great!

It varies agency to agency (and depending on how populated your area is, you might find a few). The one I went to, after filling out a paper to tell what my skills were, they then tested me on them (on the computer, since they were all office related skills, not sure what they do for people specializing in labor). Using the data from the tests, they placed me in appropriate work environments. But, another temp agency may work another way. I know my current roommate got placed in a call center when she joined one many years ago. It wasn't something she loved, but it made money, and she worked in the area where people are calling in, not where she had to solicit calling out.

Ack, yeah, I hear you. I used the computer wrong for so many years I developed tennis elbow. Had to live with it for a number of years before I finally made enough money to get proper physical therapy. I'm also thankful that my current boss is concerned about my well being enough that he pays for half of special things I need (like certain kinds of mice, chairs, etc), though in a temp environment, you'll have to work with what you have. If you go to the agency and tell them your limitations, they may be able to recommend certain kinds of jobs for you based on that, it's what they specialize in after all. And it hurt my pride to do it, but helped when I wasn't making a lot, have you considered applying for government assistance? Even the food program really helped when I needed it and wasn't making a whole lot of money. Plus, with your currently medical issues, you may qualify for some kind of temporarily handicapped assistance. If you talk to a human services agent at your local county office, they may be able to find you a bit of help.

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I work in an office. My official title is Web Content Analyst - Digital Marketing Manager

What I do at my day-job is actually pretty close to what I want to do for a pet/sim site; update the website. I post new content, update existing content, help plan content, and code/comp out some new concepts to Test and see if they'll make our site more effective/lead to more revenue generated.

I don't do much art on the job (we're partnered with a studio that does most of our production art), but I find that advantageous because it allows us to sketch out a concept and do other work while the art team refines it. There's also nothing stopping me from sketching things out at the desk and finishing once I get home.

Sometimes I do Customer Service; answering emails that come in through our Contact Us form, but only because I want to and have been trained to by a previous position. I used to work in Retail; from Cashier to Sales Floor to Receptionist. 

I understand the difficulty of "breaking in". Once I made it my Full-Time job it still took about six months to even get close.  
Most of that was because I was learning how to look while I was looking. That in itself is a valuable skill. 

Here's some Tips for Job-Hunting: 

1. Be Proactive. Go to the Job. If you wait for the Job to come to you you'll be waiting for a long time. Find the Jobs you want and/or the Companies you want to work for, send in your Applications/Resume, and follow up (once a week, not every day) until you get a "No". 

And when you get that "No" thank them for their time and ask if they can give you advice to improve your chances. 

In the heat of it I applied for 5-10 jobs a day every weekday and followed up every Monday. 

2. Find Your Job Title. Open up your favorite Job Search Site and find 3-5 jobs that sound like the thing you want to do. For this stage of the process do not take your personal experience or education level into account. That comes later.

From there, copy the entire job description and paste it into a Word Cloud. Copy down the 5-7 biggest words that do not include the Company Name for each position. Then compare the positions to see if there's a correlation.

Get those skills. Use those Keywords. 

Now, go to a Salary site and -- you're not looking at how much you'll be paid. You're actually looking for "similar jobs" to show you what else this position might be called professionally. 

This information will help you tailor your skills and resume template. 

3. Find Your Companies. What's one of the best places to look for local work? Google. Not the Search, mind you, but Google Maps. Take a look at the area you want to work in and zoom in until you can see the building and quite possibly the company names.

Click on those, and you may be able to find their company website and possible Careers site. Even if you use the Job Sites like Indeed, Monster, or LinkedIn you should use Maps to determine where the job is. 

4. Tailor that Resume. Let's say you found some strong matches and want to apply. Great!

Just don't Resume-Bomb them or send them over the same generic resume you post everywhere.

Take a look at the position again and revamp your resume to match what you're applying for. Use the words they use. Talk about how your previous experience/current skills match what they want. Since you're an artist, send them a couple of samples of work that are similar to what they're trying to hire for. Surely you have a portfolio, yes?

5. Try Temping to Build Skills and Experience. Maybe you can't get a Full Job off the bat, but many companies need an extra set of hands to get their work done. Try signing up with a Temp Agency which will attempt to connect you to people who are looking for folks with your skill-set. I believe The Creative Group is the big Temp Agency for artists. 

I built experience through Temping before landing my current job. They're not kidding when they say it's a Temp/Gig Economy. It seems a growing number of companies want to Try before they Buy. 

Most Desk Jobs will try to accommodate your physical limitations. Here, they will install some desk risers so you can stand at your desk if you request it. You can also get up, walk around, and do some work in areas away from your desk if you want. 

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Given from someone who has worked in the art industry for years now during and even after college, art is not always a steady source, but it is not impossible to work solely in art. The main issue that comes with artists is knowing how to reach out their niche and market themselves above others. It's not easy to do and is not something that is taught. When we enter real life then with real bills to pay and real responsibilities, many of us, without this taught skill, fall short about how to get jobs in their desired field and thus have to fall back on things like part-time jobs. 

A lot said here seems to be a tit or tat on whether art is a good career or not and if the reason you aren't getting enough art related is work is due to lack of school or effort. Many seem to forget that it is not an easy field and we are not taught how to market ourselves towards the clients we'd like to receive. The other issue that tends to be neglected is time management. As an artist working from home, if you don't know how to manage your time then you're not going to make the goals you desire. 

I've had on and off part-time jobs during my career and I still usually take on some holiday work to build up some extra income, but the rest of the time, I do actually depend on my artwork to get me by. It has not been easy going way of life, but I took the time to try hard and stay focused. I understand my own personal limits and though hard, learn to say no to other jobs to prevent piling up work. It's not easy to keep yourself motivated and functioning all the time. I know there was a time a few months back when I suddenly had no work for almost 3 months, despite me putting things out there and showing off what I had to offer. Due to that, I took the time to reevaluate myself and a few things and find a method to help myself market my work better by understanding the audience I'm trying to target. Everything and anything is a market, but knowing how to do and target it to your benefit takes time and skill, but in the long run helps you in every way. 

For example, I knew I needed to get a bit more well known if I wanted to expand my viewing audience so I could have more eyes see the work I do and more chances to get hired for work. I joined Artstation.com for this reason as they Challenges, usually about every other month or so, and many people, including those looking to hire, check these out. It really puts your skills to the test sometimes and you can get some real good work out of it if you put forth the effort and time. Plus, on Artstation real people also post freelance jobs and you can also sell your own content on there as well. So if you have a batch of items, you can sell the batch of items there to potential buyers, I've seen people sell tutorials and help sessions. 

I'm sure there are other options out there, but I'm still learning things myself but mainly, I just advise to not give up. When you're not doing a part time job, keep practicing your artwork and your craft. Look around for different marketable areas, like FB groups that may be in your desired drawing field and so on. Today's world is a lot about social media and that tends to land me the most work. I keep posting things and show what I have to offer and I usually get a wide range of interested audiences.

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@Solistia Thanks so much for all the information, I will definitely be checking temp agencies out! Maybe I'll be able to find something there that the job forums aren't listing. 

And wow, are you back to 100% on the tennis elbow now? That's amazing your job is so considerate! The doctor I saw recommended PT for me as well but I have to pay out of pocket for everything so... I probably don't qualify for any sort of government assistance, I am capable of working but now that I hurt my upper back that might be a different story. Or I'll just have to suck it up and do some sort of cashier work, much as I hate it. 

@Mobotropolis Wow, let me just say that I'm really glad you posted your title, I've seen that very thing floating around jobs sites but the description of what the actual job is is always incredibly vague!  I'm also super impressed with the job-hunting suggestions, I've never seen these methods before (usually you just get those suggestions of cold-calling and trying to take the CEO out for coffee). I also didn't know that about temping, though it makes a lot of sense. I will have to see if I can tailor that to suit my situation. I live on the east coast and 95% of what I want to do is on the west coast. This makes it a bit harder for me because ideally I'd want to start with an internship to get my foot in the door, but financially I couldn't live off something like that alone out there, I'd need something full-time. This is why I love the idea of remote options. xD Thanks so much for the suggestion of The Creative Group too, I'll be looking into that!  

@Aminirus It is pretty silly, isn't it? We're taught art skills in school but absolutely nothing about putting ourselves out there. I am actually in the same boat as you were; while I try to have my hand dipped in several different websites, by far my biggest source of income is from one particular site that has been completely dead for going on two months. By June of this year I had surpassed the amount of money I made freelancing in all of 2017, and then there was a complete halt that I haven't gotten out of, it's very alarming. Couple that with the work drama that started this month in my day job, it's gotten bad. 

I have been frequenting the ArtStation job listings but didn't know you could sell tutorials and things on there, I will most definitely be checking that out! Can I ask what you primarily do art-wise? I know we've chatted here and there on these forums and VPL and know you're a great illustrator, is that primarily what you do for income or do you code/etc.?

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@Bingo Yup, you can sell things on Artstation. It's under "Marketplace". Most of the stuff there seems to be for 3D related games, but I have seen people selling their Digital drawing knowledge as tutorials and personal help sessions too.

I most do game related artwork. These days it's been a lot of items of all kinds, from fantasy to plants to odd things. I do usually also get a few personal commissions of people's characters. When I do have downtime on my jobs, I either work on Wild Howlz, my comic project, and then usually make up a few YCHs to sell. I post frequently to things like twitter and instagram with WIPs and commission opportunities. The point is, is that I'm always doing something to keep my pace. I know what sells the most versus what sells the least but has a higher price, so I know what to focus on each month in order to get the income I need and then some. 

These days, it's been improving. The more work I do, the more I get to show off to others and thus I tend to get work requests from others. The main thing you can't be afraid is actually showing that work off and telling everyone what you are capable of and where you've worked at before. You not only promote yourself that way, but you also please your client by saying something like, "Look at this awesome work I do for ______ game! Be sure to check it out and hire me today to get your own cool items!" 
Keep in mind that it is always okay to say that you're looking for work and you need work. Sometimes, if you don't say it, no one knows and thus no one will do anything. You also have to keep reminding people. Sometimes those silent fans of yours are building up their savings and can forget if you don't remind them.

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the description of what the actual job is is always incredibly vague

 Office Jobs tend to be like that. Most office workers wear a variety of hats and do what is needed of them. 

I do about 15-20 tasks on a daily basis, but feel its easier to just say " I update the website " since most things fall under that banner.  


usually you just get those suggestions of cold-calling and trying to take the CEO out for coffee

The CEO is usually not the one doing the hiring unless its a very small/startup company. 

Your resume usually lands in HR's lap first, and they decide to pass it along to whoever may soon be your Manager if it checks most of the marks.

Temp job-hunting is similar. They'll call you in for an Interview and ask for your Resume to get an idea of your skillset. 

Then they'll pass your Resume along to their clients/your possible future Manager if they believe you check most of the boxes.



I live on the east coast and 95% of what I want to do is on the west coast.

I also live on the East Coast in (fortunately) one of the best places to do this type of work.

I want to move out West but not for those prices and/or horror stories.


This makes it a bit harder for me because ideally I'd want to start with an internship to get my foot in the door

I made more than I made in Retail as a Temp; about $650 a week (after taxes) as the Agency paid weekly.

That was a couple of years ago when the market was looser. You might make more now. 

Edited by Mobotropolis
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