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Details for Fine Artists, Including Painters, Sculptors, and Illustrators


Create original artwork using any of a wide variety of mediums and techniques, such as painting and sculpture.


  • Examine and test paintings in need of restoration or cleaning to determine techniques and materials to be used.
  • Model substances such as clay or wax, using fingers and small hand tools to form objects.
  • Collaborate with writers who create ideas, stories, or captions that are combined with artists' work.
  • Confer with clients, editors, writers, art directors, and other interested parties regarding the nature and content of artwork to be produced.
  • Create finished art work as decoration, or to elucidate or substitute for spoken or written messages.
  • Create graphics, illustrations, and three-dimensional models to be used in research or in teaching, such as in demonstrating anatomy, pathology, or surgical procedures.
  • 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.
  • Create sketches, profiles, or likenesses of posed subjects or photographs, using any combination of freehand drawing, mechanical assembly kits, and computer imaging.
  • Cut, bend, laminate, arrange, and fasten individual or mixed raw and manufactured materials and products to form works of art.
  • Integrate and develop visual elements, such as line, space, mass, color, and perspective, in order to produce desired effects such as the illustration of ideas, emotions, or moods.
  • Maintain portfolios of artistic work to demonstrate styles, interests, and abilities.
  • Monitor events, trends, and other circumstances, research specific subject areas, attend art exhibitions, and read art publications in order to develop ideas and keep current on art world activities.
  • Render drawings, illustrations, and sketches of buildings, manufactured products, or models, working from sketches, blueprints, memory, models, or reference materials.
  • Render sequential drawings that can be turned into animated films or advertisements.
  • Submit preliminary or finished artwork or project plans to clients for approval, incorporating changes as necessary.
  • Study different techniques to learn how to apply them to artistic endeavors.
  • Use materials such as pens and ink, watercolors, charcoal, oil, or computer software to create artwork.
  • Apply solvents and cleaning agents to clean surfaces of paintings, and to remove accretions, discolorations, and deteriorated varnish.
  • Brush or spray protective or decorative finishes on completed background panels, informational legends, exhibit accessories, or finished paintings.
  • Collaborate with engineers, mechanics, and other technical experts as necessary to build and install creations.
  • Develop project budgets for approval, estimating time lines and material costs.
  • Shade and fill in sketch outlines and backgrounds, using a variety of media such as water colors, markers, and transparent washes, labeling designated colors when necessary.
  • Study styles, techniques, colors, textures, and materials used in works undergoing restoration to ensure consistency during the restoration process.
  • Trace drawings onto clear acetate for painting or coloring, or trace them with ink to make final copies.
  • Alter, modify, or retouch photographs to update likenesses so that photographs can be used in criminal investigations.
  • Classify and code components of images to help identify suspects, using established systems; search police photograph records to locate any existing photographs of suspects.
  • Consult with criminal justice specialists, hypnotists, psychics, and medical doctors to obtain information needed to render likenesses of suspects and victims.
  • Create age-progression drawings to show what individuals might look like after a certain number of years, using photographs of individuals, knowledge of the aging process, and computer software.
  • Create and prepare sketches and model drawings of cartoon characters, providing details from memory, live models, manufactured products, or reference materials.
  • Draw sketches of crime scenes, depicting such details as locations of doors and windows and exact positions of pieces of evidence.
  • Gather relevant information about unidentified human remains, including photographs, bones, hair, and any other artifacts, for use in facial reconstructions.
  • Interview crime victims or witnesses to obtain descriptive information about suspects, as well as objects such as jewelry or weapons.
  • Perform two- and three-dimensional facial reconstructions, using drawings, enlarged photographs, clay, and tissue markers.
  • Prepare graphic design material for uses such as departmental training sessions, public safety programs, and recruitment efforts.
  • Prepare line drawings conforming to descriptions of suspects or crime scene details, presenting drawings to witnesses or victims for approval and completion of composite sketches.
  • Provide entertainment at special events by performing activities such as drawing cartoons.
  • Provide photographs, sketches, and/or expert testimony on identification for criminal trials.
  • Show crime victims and witnesses photographs depicting different facial features, head shapes, and hair types so that those best representing suspects may be selected for use in composites.
  • Sketch courtroom scenes for media broadcast or publication.


  • Realistic - Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
  • Artistic - Artistic occupations frequently involve working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.

Education, Training, Experience

  • Education - Most occupations in this zone require training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.
  • Training - Employees in these occupations usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.
  • Experience - Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for these occupations. For example, an electrician must have completed three or four years of apprenticeship or several years of vocational training, and often must have passed a licensing exam, in order to perform the job.


  • Mechanical - Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
  • Clerical - Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.
  • Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
  • Administration and Management - Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • Production and Processing - Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • Sales and Marketing - Knowledge of principles and methods for showing, promoting, and selling products or services. This includes marketing strategy and tactics, product demonstration, sales techniques, and sales control systems.
  • Design - Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
  • Fine Arts - Knowledge of the theory and techniques required to compose, produce, and perform works of music, dance, visual arts, drama, and sculpture.


  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Related Careers

  • Costume Attendants
  • Film and Video Editors
  • Floral Designers
  • Graphic Designers
  • Jewelers
  • Makeup Artists, Theatrical and Performance
  • Precious Metal Workers
Wages for this career
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