Fine Artists, Painters, Sculptors and Illustrators: Salary, Job Description, How To Become One, and Quiz

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Job description

Fine Artists, Painters, Sculptors and Illustrators create original artwork using any of a wide variety of media and techniques.

  • Use materials such as pens and ink, watercolors, charcoal, oil, or computer software to create artwork.
  • Integrate and develop visual elements, such as line, space, mass, color, and perspective, to produce desired effects, such as the illustration of ideas, emotions, or moods.
  • Model substances such as clay or wax, using fingers and small hand tools to form objects.
  • Create sculptures, statues, and other three-dimensional artwork by using abrasives and tools to shape, carve, and fabricate materials such as clay, stone, wood, or metal.
Read more about what does a Fine Artist, Painter, Sculptor and Illustrator really do at work and what is it like being and working as one.

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Average salary
$58370 per year

Average hourly wage
$28 per hour

Fine Artists and Painters with little to no experience tend to make between $20020 and $31750 while the more experienced ones can earn over $70190 per year.

Top 5 paying states Hourly Annual
CT $38 $80,010
CA $37 $76,230
OK $31 $65,140
NJ $30 $62,840
AZ $30 $62,200

One of the easiest ways to increase your salary as a Fine Artist, Painter, Sculptor and Illustrator is to move to a higher paying state like CT. Right now, the highest paying states for Fine Artists and Painters are CT, CA, OK, NJ and AZ.

However, a higher pay at CT doesn’t guarantee that you will make more because the living expenses at CT might be twice as high than where you are currently at now.

Three other factors that can increase your salary as a Fine Artist, Painter, Sculptor and Illustrator is the degree you hold, the industry you work in, and lastly the company you work for.


Recommended degree level
Associate’s degree

We asked other Fine Artists and Painters what degree they had when they got the job and most of them said they had a College Certificate followed by a Bachelor’s Degree.

Other than that, we also asked them what did they major in and here are the most popular majors that came up.

Visual and Performing Arts, General
Art/Art Studies, General
Fine/Studio Arts, General
Read more about how to become a Fine Artist, Painter, Sculptor and Illustrator and the degree, training and education you need.

Pros and Cons

Here are some of the pros and cons of being a Fine Artist, Painter, Sculptor and Illustrator.

Suitable for people who likes to work with designs
Suitable for people who values achievements and are results-oriented
This career is perfect for people who love to work indoors.
It is not too difficult to get into this career. Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for this career.
Short working hours (Less than 40 hours per week)
Not suitable for people who likes to follow routines
Salary is below average

What is the job like

Job satisfaction

Is this job meaningful

58% of Fine Artists and Painters said they were satisfied with their job and 51% said they feel like their job is making other people’s lives better.

Is this right for me

Best personality for this career
The Artists and The Builders

You can read more about these career personality types here.

People who are suitable for this job tends to like working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules..

They also like work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They like working with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery.

Learn more about Fine Artists and Painters

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Related career information

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