Education and Training Requirements

High School

If you are interested in becoming a cartoonist or animator, you should, of course, study art in high school in addition to following a well-rounded course of study. To comment insightfully on contemporary life through your art, it is useful to study political science, history, and social studies. English and communication classes will also help you to become a better communicator.

Postsecondary Training

Cartoonists do not need to have a college degree, but some art training is usually expected by employers.

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

There are no certification or licensing requirements for cartoonists and animators.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

Most cartoonists are self-employed, but experience can be gained by generating your own story ideas and drawing cartoons to portray them. Taking classes in art, drawing, and illustrating can also help hone your skills.

Cartoonists must be creative. In addition to having artistic talent, they must generate ideas, although it is not unusual for cartoonists to collaborate with writers for ideas. Whether they create cartoon strips or advertising campaigns, they must be able to come up with concepts and images to which the public will respond. They must have a good sense of humor (or a good dramatic sense) and an observant eye to detect people's distinguishing characteristics and society's interesting attributes or incongruities. They must develop their drawings styles so that they have an individually defined style that appeals to a wide audience.

Cartoonists also need to be flexible. Because their art is commercial, they must be willing to accommodate their employers' desires if they are to build a broad clientele and earn a decent living. They must be able to take suggestions and rejections gracefully.