Become a Printmaker: Education and Career Roadmap
Learn how to become a printmaker. Research the job duties and educational requirements and find out how to start a career in printmaking.
Requirements to Become a Printmaker
Printmakers engrave images on a substance such as metal, wood, or stone before using ink and a press to impress the image onto paper or fabric. Printmaking is considered a form of fine art, much like painting or drawing. While a degree is not a hard requirement to become a printmaker, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that it is difficult for artists to acquire the necessary skills to find success in the field without formal training through a degree or apprenticeship. The following table contains common requirements for printmakers as reported by the BLS.
|Degree Level||There are no formal education requirements for printmakers, but a degree or apprenticeship could be necessary for a student to learn the trade and to increase career opportunities.|
|Key Skills||Strong artistic and creative skills. Manual dexterity is necessary, since printmakers work with their hands.|
|Computer Skills||Proficient computer software skills could be necessary for creating designs using technology.|
|Additional Requirements||Sales and marketing skills are necessary when interacting with clients/customers.|
Step 1: Earn a Degree
Earning an associate's or bachelor's degree in fine arts with an emphasis in printmaking can serve as the first step toward a career in printmaking. An undergraduate program will offer classes in subjects such as drawing, two-dimensional design, creative processes, art appreciation, art history, and painting, all of which will provide a student with a well-rounded education in printmaking as a form of art. A degree program will also give students the ability to experiment with different printmaking methods while working alongside a mentor.
- Participate in an internship. Building internship experience while in school will give a student the chance to gain valuable first-hand experience while working alongside a professional in the field. Internships can help students continue to build and expand on their knowledge of printmaking outside of a classroom.
- Take business and marketing courses. Printmaking can lead to entrepreneurship opportunities, so enrolling in business and marketing electives will help students prepare to run their own businesses. These courses will teach students how to effectively manage a business and market their printmaking services to customers.
Step 2: Participate in an Apprenticeship
An apprenticeship can be completed in addition to earning a degree or as an alternative to postsecondary education. An apprenticeship involves working under a professional printmaker and learning the printmaking process on the job rather than through coursework. Apprenticeships also will typically teach a student about the business end of working as a printmaker.
- Participate in workshops. Attending workshops held by other professionals or through art centers can help a student continue to advance his or her skills and learn new ones outside of an apprenticeship. As students compile their resumes, workshops can be added as experience.
Step 3: Develop a Portfolio
A portfolio is a photographic compilation of an artist's work, and it is necessary for showcasing a printmaker's talents and abilities. Aspiring printmakers will typically begin compiling their portfolios during school or while completing apprenticeships, and they'll continue to expand and update them throughout their careers.
- Use high-quality images. A portfolio should contain only the best examples of a printmaker's work, and all photos should be taken at the best quality possible to accurately represent the work.
Step 4: Pursue Advancement or Self-Employment
At the entry level, printmakers may find that the tasks they're entrusted with are relatively basic, like assisting with print production and cleaning press materials. As their level of responsibility increases, printmakers may be eligible to move into management positions, or they may choose to work freelance or open their own printmaking shops.
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