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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.

artist's portfolioWhile 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.

More about commercial art training and education around the Web:

Best Art Schools & Degrees - The Art Career Projects
- Check out hundreds of listings for art schools in the US by category including graphic design, illustration, photography, fashion, cinema, multimedia and video game design, and more. - Search an extensive database of colleges nationwide with real students giving the lowdown on the quality of education, teachers, campus life, and other variables.

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