Craft artists and fine artists use materials and techniques to create art. The art is then sold and displayed. Below, you’ll see a video explains what a craft artist does.
Where Craft Artists Work
Many artists work in fine- or commercial-art studios located in office buildings, warehouses, or lofts. Others work in private studios in their homes. Some artists share studio space, where they also may exhibit their work.
How to Become a Craft or Fine Artist
Craft and fine artists improve their skills through practice. A bachelor’s degree is common for these artists.
The median annual wage for craft and fine artists was $48,760 in May 2019.
Overall employment of craft and fine artists is projected to show little or no change from 2019 to 2029.
Employment growth for artists depends largely on the overall state of the economy and whether people are willing to spend money on art, because people usually buy art when they can afford to do so.
Craft and fine artists use a variety of materials and techniques to create original works of art for sale and exhibition.
Craft artists create objects, such as pottery, glassware, and textiles, that are designed to be functional. Fine artists, including painters, sculptors, and illustrators, create pieces of art more for aesthetics than for function.
Personality Type Match
The ISTP personality type is called the Maker or the Craftsman. They are naturals for becoming a craft artist. The ISTP personality type likes to experiment with items and work with their hands.
They are not afraid to try something just to see what happens, not necessarily for the sake of success. This kind of freedom from expectations makes creating a pure joy, not a chore.
Affirmations for a Craft Artist
- I express my ideas with … yarn, paint photography
- When I create, I am free from expectation or demands.
- I develop creative ideas with ease.
- I create sketches, templates, or models to connect with the divine.
- I use color, texture and strength to convey ideas and emotion.
- I compose my world with intention.
- With my hands and heart, I create beautiful, thought-provoking art.
- Beauty is all around me.
- The more I do my craft, the better it becomes.
- I have infinite resources of creativity and inspiration.
- I am good at what I do.
Crafter Job Duties
What do craft artists do? Craft artists work with materials, such as ceramics, glass, textiles, wood, metal, and paper.
They create pieces of art, such as pottery, quilts, stained glass, furniture, jewelry, and clothing from these materials.
Many craft artists use fine-art techniques—for example, painting, sketching, and printing—to add finishing touches to their products.
Fine Artists Job Duties
Fine artists, on the other hand, display their work in museums, in commercial or nonprofit art galleries, at craft fairs, in corporate collections, on the Internet, and in private homes.
While some artwork may be commissioned (requested by a client), most fine artists’ work is sold by the artist or through private art galleries or dealers.
The artist, gallery, and dealer together decide in advance how much of the proceeds from the sale each will keep.
Most craft and fine artists spend their time and effort selling their artwork to potential customers and building a reputation.
In addition to selling their artwork, many artists have at least one other job to support their craft or art careers.
Some artists work in museums or art galleries as art directors or as archivists, curators, or museum workers, planning and setting up exhibits.
Others teach craft or art classes or conduct workshops in schools or in their own studios.
Types of Artists
Cartoonists create simplified or exaggerated drawings to visually convey political, advertising, comic, or sports concepts.
Some cartoonists work with others who create the idea or story and write captions.
Others create plots and write captions themselves. Most cartoonists have humorous, critical, or dramatic talent, in addition to drawing skills.
Ceramic Artists shape, form, and mold artworks out of clay, often using a potter’s wheel and other tools. They glaze and fire pieces in kilns, which are large, special furnaces that dry and harden the clay.
Digital Artists use design and production software to create interactive art online. The digital imagery may then be transferred to paper or some other form of printmaking or made available directly on web-accessible devices.
Fiber artists use fabric, yarn, or other natural and synthetic materials to weave, knit, crochet, or sew textile art. They may use a loom to weave fabric, needles to knit or crochet yarn, or a sewing machine to join pieces of fabric for quilts or other handicrafts.
Fine-art painters paint landscapes, portraits, and other subjects in a variety of styles, ranging from realistic to abstract. They may work in a variety of media, such as watercolors, oil paints, and acrylics.
Furniture makers cut, sand, join, and finish wood and other materials to make handcrafted furnishings. For information about other workers who assemble wood furniture, see the profile on woodworkers.
Glass artists process glass in a variety of ways—such as by blowing, shaping, staining, or joining it—to create artistic pieces.
Some processes require the use of kilns, ovens, and other equipment and tools that bend glass at high temperatures. These workers also decorate glass objects, such as by etching or painting.
Illustrators create pictures for books, magazines, and other publications and for commercial products, such as textiles, wrapping paper, stationery, greeting cards, and calendars.
Illustrators increasingly use computers in their work.
They might draw in pen or pencil and then scan the image, using software to add color, or they might use a special pen to draw images directly onto the computer.
Jewelry artists use metals, stones, beads, and other materials to make objects for personal adornment, such as earrings or necklaces. For more information about other workers who create jewelry, see the profile on jewelers and precious stone and metal workers.
Medical and Scientific Illustrators
Medical and scientific illustrators combine drawing skills with knowledge of biology or other sciences. For example, medical illustrators work with computers or with pen and paper to create images, three-dimensional models, and animations of human anatomy and surgical procedures.
While scientific illustrators draw animal and plant life, atomic and molecular structures, and geologic and planetary formations.
These illustrations are used in medical and scientific publications and in audiovisual presentations for teaching purposes. Some medical and scientific illustrators work for lawyers, producing exhibits for court cases.
Public create large paintings, sculptures, and displays called “installations” that are meant to be seen in open spaces. These works are typically displayed in parks, museum grounds, train stations, and other public areas.
Printmakers create images on a silk screen, woodblock, lithography stone, metal etching plate, or other types of matrices. A printing hand press then creates the final work of art, inking and transferring the matrix to a piece of paper.
Sculptors design and shape three-dimensional works of art, either by molding and joining materials such as clay, glass, plastic, and metal or by cutting and carving forms from a block of plaster, wood, or stone. Some sculptors combine various materials to create mixed-media installations, such as by incorporating light, sound, and motion into their work.
Sketch artists are a type of illustrator who often use pencil, charcoal, or pastels to create likenesses of subjects. Their sketches are used by law enforcement agencies to help identify suspects, by the news media to show courtroom scenes, and by individual customers for their own enjoyment.
Tattoo artists use stencils and draw by hand to create original images and text on skin. With specialized needles, these artists use a variety of styles and colors based on their clients’ preferences.
Video artists record avant-garde, moving imagery that is typically shown in a loop in art galleries, museums, or performance spaces. These artists sometimes use multiple monitors or create unusual spaces for the video to be shown.
Where They Work
Many artists work in fine- or commercial-art studios located in office buildings, warehouses, or lofts. Others work in private studios in their homes.
Some artists share studio space, where they also may exhibit their work.
Studios are usually well lit and ventilated.
However, artists may be exposed to fumes from glue, paint, ink, and other materials. They may also have to deal with dust or other residue from filings, splattered paint, or spilled cleaning and other fluids.
Artists often wear protective gear, such as breathing masks and goggles, in order to remain safe from exposure to harmful materials.
Ceramic and glass artists must use caution in working with materials that may break into sharp pieces and in using equipment that can get very hot, such as kilns.
Injuries and Illnesses
Artists and related workers, all other have one of the highest rates of injuries and illnesses of all occupations.
Most craft and fine artists work full time, although part-time and variable schedules are also common. Many hold another job in addition to their work as an artist.
During busy periods, artists may work additional hours to meet deadlines. Those who are self-employed usually determine their own schedules.
Occupations with Similar Job Duties
These are jobs that perform some of the same job duties as a craft artist, however, they may not fulfill the same work values, career interests or be a job match for the ISTP personality. Please see each post to learn more about each job.
Art directors are responsible for the visual style and images in magazines, newspapers, product packaging, and movie and television productions. You’ll need a bachelor’s degree to do this job. Read more
Archivists appraise, process, catalog, and preserve permanent records and historically valuable documents. To become an archivist, you’ll need to earn a master’s degree. Read more
Fashion designers create clothing, accessories, and footwear. This is a best career for an ISTP personality type and the INFP personality. You’ll need a bachelor degree. Read more
Graphic designers create visual concepts, using computer software or by hand, to communicate ideas that inspire, inform, and captivate consumers. Read more
Industrial designers combine art, business, and engineering to develop the concepts for manufactured products. Read more
Jewelers use precious stone and metal to design, construct, adjust, repair, appraise and sell jewelry. Read more
Multimedia Artists and Animators
Multimedia artists and animators create images that appear to move and visual effects for various forms of media and entertainment. Read more
Photographers use their technical expertise, creativity, and composition skills to produce and preserve images. Read more
Woodworkers manufacture a variety of products such as cabinets and furniture, using wood, veneers, and laminates. Read more
For more information about art and design and a list of accredited college-level programs, visit
For more information about careers in the craft arts and for a list of schools and workshops, visit
For more information about careers in the arts, visit
For more information about careers in medical illustration, visit
For information about grant-funding programs and other local resources for artists, contact your state arts agency. A list of these agencies is available from the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies.
For more information about how the federal government awards grants for art, visit
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Craft and Fine Artists,
at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/arts-and-design/craft-and-fine-artists.htm (visited ).