Breaking into commercial art takes both inborn talent and drive, and a distinct combination of salesmanship and networking with others in the field to eventually find the holy grail of all commercial artists -- a paying gig.
While it's the unusual artist who can intuitively navigate the commercial aspects of being a commercial artist without some college background, most employers want to see that you;ve put in time and paid your dues developing your skills and talents with a solid education at an accredited art school.
That traditionally means a Bachelor of Arts degree in the fine arts, illustration or cartooning, graphic design, or photography from an established university.
(TIP: When browsing information on various colleges, always opt for institutions staffed by instructors based on real world experience. For obvious reasons, a teacher who currently works in the field will be of far greater benefit to you than a theorist.)
The road to success in commercial usually doesn't stop with education, however. Building up a commercial art portfolio while in school with work that you've actually published, or projects completed at a summer internship, will likely increase your chances of establishing a great first impression at your next gig.
Finally, before graduation day it's always a good idea to seek out a trusted teacher to review your portfolio. The insider tips that they offer on what to include -- and how to present it to prospective employers -- may be invaluable as you head out the door.
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