A student who wants to embark on a career as a background painter has a few degree options that will help him or her get there. A significant factor in their choice involves what kinds of media they want to paint backgrounds for. The following outline of the best degrees and practices to enter this career is intended to help provide students with a clearer path towards working in this important but often overlooked profession.

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Different Types Of Background Painters

To understand what degree options are available for aspiring background painters, students must first understand in what capacities background painters can work. For a relatively straightforward art specialty, background painters can work in several different capacities and that should influence the degree they choose. For example, aspiring background painters who want to work in the video game industry might be better served to obtain a multimedia art degree or something more specific to game design. Background painters can also be employed by film or television productions or work for themselves as independent artists.

Fine Art

Most colleges do not have individual degrees for specific artistic disciplines. Instead, students can obtain a fine arts degree with a focus on their area of interest. For background painters, this is usually with a concentration in painting. Fine art degrees are offered by most colleges and universities around the country, which gives students many different options when choosing a school. Of course, obtaining a general degree in fine or studio arts is not a bad option. It provides students with a well-rounded education in the arts so they can change course in their careers later if they so choose.

Painting

There are a handful of degree programs offered by colleges that are specifically in painting. This may be an option for students lucky enough to find a program with this level of specialization. These programs are not especially common but a few of them do exist out there. A degree in painting will educate students on the particulars of painting as an art form, providing them with more in-depth knowledge and training on this subject than a general arts degree will.

Digital and Multimedia Art

Most work on background art today is done digitally, though in the past hand-painted backgrounds were commonly used in films, especially science fiction and fantasy productions. A degree in digital art will teach students how to use digital tools to create beautifully painted backgrounds on computers and tablets for use in video games, movies and TV shows. Students who primarily want to work in digital art and need little training in traditional painting may decide this is the right degree for them.

Vocational Art School

Artists also have the option of attending a specialized vocational art school as opposed to a traditional university according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Some schools specialize in different types of media, such as video games, so students may wish to look for a program that most closely matches their field of interest. Students can usually forego general education courses at vocational schools and simply focus on classes in their area of interest. These programs may also be cheaper and take less time to complete. Art vocational schools are also more likely to have stronger connections to employers who frequently hire artists, which can increase chances of landing a job upon graduation.

Other Considerations

In addition to obtaining a degree, students will need to consider some other important factors that will help them land their dream job. Artistic careers are not like careers in other industries and often play by rules that are just a little bit different. An aspiring background painter needs to understand this and play by the rules of the artistic community.

Practice

An improvement as an artist of any kind is intrinsically connected to practice. While some people do have more innate talent than others, all artists improve with practice. This is why it is critically important for art students to find a degree program that affords them plenty of opportunities to make art. Background painters should also practice on their own and work on personal projects before, during and after studying for a college degree. Doing so will increase their artistic ability and knowledge of both the skills and tools of their craft.

Creating A Portfolio

For most artists, a portfolio of their work is how they land jobs. Portfolios of past work showcase an artist’s skills and style. These samples help clients and employers decide whether an artist’s abilities match what they are looking for. Students should begin developing their portfolios as soon as possible and especially while they are still in art school. Artists should select their best work in addition to choosing pieces that represent the type of work they want to be doing. For background painters, their portfolios should mostly consist of background paintings for the type of media they wish to do. Artists need to update their portfolios every so often and mostly showcase recent work. Be certain that permission has been given to use any work done for clients. This can easily be done by adding a clause in a standard contract that allows work to be displayed in a professional portfolio.

Internships

Like all professions, internships provide several benefits for students. First and foremost, internships give students hands-on work experience that not only makes them more likely to succeed in the working world but also demonstrates workability to potential employers. Internships allow students to make professional connections that they can use for references or help find a job. Some degree programs require internships, which certainly gives students an advantage over their competition upon graduation. The Balance points out students should retain any work done in an internship for use in their portfolio.

Specialization is always advised so aspiring artists can stand out from their competition. This is true whether searching for a traditional job or trying to appeal to private clients. Several degrees can be good choices for an aspiring background painter.

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