Can you really make a (self employed) living with 2d art?

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  12 December 2015
Can you really make a (self employed) living with 2d art?

It seems impossibly hard and only the absolute very best, who also got disproportionately lucky, make it to a comfortable living (which is probably still very humble compared to other much less competitive careers).
 
  12 December 2015
The only people who I know of that make a good self-employed living off of their art are character designers and book cover illustrators. I think I would wrap collectible card game illustrators in that category as well. Keep in mind that this is largely due to a selection bias I have based on the people I know and where I meet fellow artists. Everyone else that I know who makes a living off of doing 2D art are concept artists or animators for studios (both TV and feature).

But there is another group of people that make good money. I know a lot of people who call themselves graphic designers but are also great illustrators. There's so much overlap between illustration and graphic design (especially nowadays), that the people who get the best gigs are well-rounded artist-designer hybrids: Renaissance Men. There's a good demand for graphic designers who can actually draw. Too many designers don't know how to draw something with pushed proportions and appealing design. Instead they resort to tracing photos off of Google Image Search, leading to stale logos, apparel designs that no one will wear, boring websites, and uninspired brand identities.

So I guess it depends on what you want to get into. The answer to your question, "Can you really make a self-employed living with 2D art?" Sure, it just might be in an industry you haven't heard of before. But whatever industry you want to get into, you'll always need to be the best, no matter what.
 
  01 January 2016
I can tell you right now, if you're making top quality work then you will get job opportunities and freelance work. If you do good work and market yourself well then you can make a living for sure.
But 'good work' means looking at the most popular artists online and matching or bettering their quality, not what your friends think is good.
Depending on which country you live in, things will be easier too. If you make 1500USD for a few days work and you're living in India or Southeast Asia you can probably live off that for like 2 months quite comfortably. In Australia or Singapore it might only last a week or 2 after taxes and expenses. So that can play an important role too.
 
  08 August 2016
This is very true, almost no graphic designers can draw or paint, or illustrate. This is because the market is flooded with people who download photoshop, go to youtube, find out how to make some gradients and market themselves as graphic designers, there is nothing wrong with not knowing how to draw, but if you know how to do a lot, then you'll always stay ahead of the crowd.
 
  4 Weeks Ago
100%

Matte Painting and Concept art are incredible careers, and I'm pretty sure you can make a career out of anything with enough drive, passion and hustle. Nothing replaces those and there's no shortcut. Also, its a lot easier to move to a self employed position after putting in your time at a studio and building up those client relationships and trust.

Good Luck!
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  3 Weeks Ago
Ive been working as an illustrator the last 15 years. Seems like no matter what I do, go into the industry, moving to advertisement etc. I always end up getting the illustration gigs. I guess that is a bit of a luxurious problem. But yes, it is quite reasonable to make a living as a 2D artist. But it doesn't hurt to have a deeper knowledge of your field, for instance, animation or games or graphic design/layout.
 
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