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Becoming a Cartoonist or Animator

Cartoonist vs. Animator

Both cartoonists and animators create comics by combining a story with a series of images. Generally, a cartoonist creates comic strips, while an animator draws cartoons for TV, movies and video games.


Education

Whether you want to become a cartoonist or an animator, the process is similar. You don’t technically need post-secondary education in this field, but like all jobs, more education means more experience and a better chance of landing a job.


A Few Tips

  • Present your stories in as few words as possible. Keep your dialogue short, concise and easy to follow.

  • Don’t rely on your dialogue to tell the story. Your cartoon images should have universal meaning. That way, even those who don’t speak English can follow along with just the pictures.

  • Observe people and nature. Exaggerate what you see when drawing your cartoons—emotions, movements, body language.

  • Find your unique style. Consistency in your art will make your work easily recognizable to fans.

  • Find your genre. What are your comics about? Everyday life? Politics? School? Finding your genre—or niche—and sticking with it (at least while you’re getting established) will help you build a fan base.

  • Prepare a professional-looking portfolio of all your quality work. Put emphasis on the pieces that you’ve sold or had printed in a publication or online.

  • Publishing Your Work

    There are two ways to get your comics into the hands of potential fans: freelance (selling by yourself), or with the help of an agent. You can sell your pieces individually to different publications. Or you can work for one publication on a regular basis. As an animator, you’ll work for a TV, film or gaming company rather than a publication.


    Salary

    According to salary.com, a cartoonist/animator can make anywhere from $37,000 to $68,000 with the average annual salary of about $50,000.


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