A Digital Arts Guide For Beginners

As more and more of our daily activities move into the digital realm, including online shopping, mobile banking, and blogging, digital artists are becoming more in-demand than ever before as we’ll review in this digital art guide. This is an exciting career path that opens up a myriad of possibilities for those with an interest in technology and skill in art. Hussian College is a dedicated art school and many of our graduates have established successful careers in digital arts. The degree program is designed to provide students with a broad knowledge base in preparation for a career in digital art.

Here’s a look at what you can expect from a career in the field, the tools you’ll need to be successful and how you can further your education in this area.

What Is Digital Art?

What Is Digital Art - Digital arts guide

Digital art refers to art in the online and multimedia spaces. This can include things like designing character graphics for video games, developing animated videos for company advertising, creating 3-D animation for feature films, and even enhancing photographs for publication using Photoshop or other software. It is an incredibly broad category with many different possibilities.

While digital art is largely done as the name suggests–digitally–is can also be used to mimic a variety of more traditional art forms. For example, simple line sketches for a children’s book may be enhanced using digital software or a sculpture may be designed digitally and brought to life using a 3-D printer.

No matter the area of digital art, professionals will need to have more than just artistic vision at their disposal; they also need to master the technical aspects of creating digital art, namely the computer software that makes it possible. After all, just as painters require paint and sculptors require clay, digital artists require the software tools to bring their ideas to life.

What Does a Digital Artist Do?

What Does a Digital Artist Do

Digital artists can work in a variety of functions. One of the most common careers in digital art is working in the field of entertainment. Animated motion pictures, video games, and even mobile apps all require the skills of digital artists to make stories come alive.

On the other hand, digital art can serve practical purposes, as well. Companies may publish explanation videos or illustrative instructions to help their customers understand how to use their products, like a furniture company whose products require assembly. A digital artist will likely be on the team responsible for bringing these creative works to fruition. Digital artists can also create visual imagery for company websites, helping them to stand out from their competitors.

Even more traditional print media uses digital art. For example, fashion magazines require retouching of their photos to make them look immaculate, and college textbook publishers need infographics to help clarify their content. There really is no end to the projects a digital artist is capable of taking on. At the benefit of today’s students, art skills—both digital and traditional—are highly translatable into a professional career. Hussian is pleased to help each of our students find just the right artistic career path for them.

Who Hires Digital Artists?

Companies in just about every industry require the skills of digital artists from time to time, so you’ll have your pick of employers. In larger corporations, you may be able to specialize in just digital art, letting you make the most of your artistic skills.

In smaller companies, on the other hand, you may be asked to wear many different hats. Aside from digital art, you may also need to have other related skills, including:

Digital Art and Freelance: An Alternative to Traditional Employment

Digital Art and Freelance: An Alternative to Traditional Employment

Aside from traditional employment, digital artists can also work as freelancers. In this job format, you won’t be officially employed by a particular company. Instead, you’ll work as an independent contractor, usually for the duration of a single project. Of course, that employer may wish to hire you for multiple projects in the future, so it is important to nurture your business relationships. Past employers can also be a great source of referrals to other organizations for future work.

When looking for work, don’t feel like you can only work for companies in entertainment or technology. Just about every business has a website or online presence, and they can all benefit from working with a digital artist.

Be creative in thinking about where you look for employment. Even if a company isn’t actively seeking a digital artist, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they don’t need one. It is up to you to convince them of the benefits of working with you. Focus on the needs that you can fulfill for them, even if they haven’t yet realized that those needs exist.

What Does a Digital Arts Education have to Offer?

What Does a Digital Arts Education have to Offer?

Many colleges and universities offer digital arts programs. Some are full degree programs, while others are minors or concentrations. If you truly believe that digital art is the career path for you, you will likely find that a dedicated art school, like Hussian College, will best meet your needs. At Hussian, we offer a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Digital Media. This is a four-year degree program that will prepare you for entering the digital art field.

Although a college degree is not always required for gaining employment as a digital artist, it will help you stand apart from others in the field, especially if you are just starting out. Many companies are reluctant to hire someone with little to no work experience in the field. However, if that same applicant has a college degree, it gives prospective employers greater confidence that the person will be successful if hired.

What Courses Would a Digital Art Student Take?

Early on in your career as a digital art student, you’ll start with the broader, more general topics, working towards more specialized courses in your later years of school. Each year, the courses you take will build upon the knowledge gained in the previous semesters. To help you hone your skills even further, many schools, including Hussian College, offer electives that allow you to focus specifically on your areas of interest. By the time you graduate, you’ll be familiar with all aspects of digital art creation so that you are a well-rounded digital artist capable of taking on a large scope of projects and client.

While course offerings will vary from school to school, the general curriculum of most dedicated art schools will be designed to teach the fundamentals. First and second-year classes may touch upon things such as color theory, art history, and introductory fine art classes. As you enter your third and fourth year, your classes will begin to grow more and more specific.

The digital media degree program at Hussian College is designed to give students a broad knowledge base with a strong foundation. You’ll study a variety of topics, including:

  • Design Principles
  • Digital Art Creation
  • Web Programming
  • Digital Game Design and Production
  • Motion Graphics
  • Digital Art Technology

How to Create a Digital Arts Portfolio?

Upon entering the job market, many potential employers or clients will request to see a portfolio of your work so that they have a better understanding of how your artistic styles and skills suit their needs. If you’re just starting out, it can be hard to build a solid portfolio without professional work experience. Digital arts school students have an advantage here, as the classes they take will result in creating solid portfolio pieces. In fact, many art schools, Hussian College included, require a portfolio building course to be taken prior to graduation.

By building a digital arts portfolio, you’ll be able to showcase your talents and diversity. You’ll want to incorporate pieces of work in a variety of different areas, such as animation, typography, video game styling, and more. If you hope to specialize in a single area, try to demonstrate various styles and techniques within that category. Hussian students have ample resources at their disposal when it comes to standing out to employers and clients, including our professional guidance in creating a strong art portfolio.

From Digital Arts Guide to a Digital Arts Education at Hussian College

As we become a more technologically advanced world and the “need it now” mentality continues to grow, digital artists will be more and more in demand. With a formal education and digital arts experience beneath your belt, you will stand out to potential employers and gain the skills needed to foster a successful career. Beginning your journey at a dedicated art school, such as Hussian College, is the first step. You’ll gain a solid background in both the visual techniques and technical skills you’ll need to be a successful digital artist.

Browse our course catalog for a better understanding of what life is like as a student at Hussian.  You may also contact us to schedule an appointment for a tour of our Philadelphia campus