Let’s be real. A lot of occupations have little to do with a degree and everything to do with the applicant’s talent, intelligence and general abilities. Sure, you can spend years in college pursuing a graphic design degree and find yourself tens of thousands of dollars in a debt which will take another four to eight years to pay off, but should you? Well, it depends. If you’ve been obsessed with becoming e-popular online, if only for fifteen minutes, since you were a kid, a graphic design degree may not be necessary for you. Besides, there are plenty of people who have been hired by their dream company after their fan-art was discovered, or after entering art in some type of competition. No word on whether or not those people have a graphic design degree… but they did get hired into an amazing position based merely on talent. It just goes to show that there are plenty of ways to become a popular artist online (and offline) without a graphic design degree. Here are just some of them.
Commissioned Work – Babies, Pets, or Girls
Good at drawing animals? Let’s hope so. There are a million crazy cat and dog ladies and men out there just dying to get a $300 portrait of Mister Wiggles or Doctor Meatballs in oil paint … or maybe just in a digital photoshop painting. You don’t need a graphic design degree to sell your art, so get online and start telling all your Facebook friends about your new pet portrait business. If you’re better at drawing babies, you can do that instead…but they all mostly look the same and are boring as all hell. Plus, you’ll eventually face the dilemma of painting a really ugly baby. What do you do then? Paint it realistically in all of its ugly glory at the risk of offending its parents? Or lie, and try to ‘shop in some better qualities like we see in so many airbrushed ads…also at the risk of offending the child’s parents. Pets are way easier because even ugly ones are considered ‘so ugly they’re cute’ or ‘endearing.’
A great way to boost your business is to donate some of the proceeds to a charity. If painting pets, some of the money should go to a shelter or animal rescue charity — no matter how little you care about animals. The charity part will sucker even more people into hiring you online to use your lack of a graphic design degree to paint them a beautiful picture of Magical Fantasy the Obese Paraplegic Cat or Lefty the Reanimated Dog.
You can also use this trick on girls by being hired to paint them in a sexy outfit, possibly as a superhero or mermaid… but expect less payment for this one and more sexual harassment lawsuits.
DeviantArt is the haven for crappy artists and children who are learning how to draw. It’s not to say that there aren’t legitimate artists on the site — there totally are. There are plenty of people online using Reddit, whose artist community/section may be harsh, but honest. It’s filled with great talent, so make sure that your graphic design skills are well and polished before posting online. If your image is a success, however, literally hundreds of thousands of hits can be directed to your own personal website. Take that, graphic design degree and years of debt! Plus, the people on Reddit pride themselves on being really smart, so you can expect the constructive criticism to at least be a little better than that of DeviantArt or your pregnant 17 year old friends on Facebook.
Web comics are a great way to spread the word about your graphic design talents online. If you’re funny, you can easily think of some short but clever comics that others will love and want to share. If you’re not, you can always find someone sharp in the wits department and dull in the design department to be your partner in crime (or design). Just make sure you have at least barely functioning social skills and can maintain a professional relationship — if your comic takes off, you may be faced with a book deal or the opportunity to sell merchandise! These are great developments which many web comic designers have seen after months of creating fun, funny and well designed web comics. The comics typically spread through Reddit and other social media networks such as Facebook, Stumbleupon, and Twitter. Word of mouth has been and always will be the best way to get attention and gain new fans and loyal followers.