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Animal Cartoonist Career Profile

Do you want to work as an animal cartoonist?

READ: This page helps you to read about the career and the info you need to decide on whether this is indeed the career you want to follow.

RESEARCH: ​Learn about the skills required and minimum subjects to enter this career, as well as the places where you can study further after school.

PREPARE: If you want to plan and prepare for your career, then join the OZT Community! Members have access to tools while chatting with other students and experts from around the world. Prepare to be amazed!

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UPDATED:

15 April 2024

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What is an animal cartoonist?

An animal cartoonist is an artist who specializes in creating cartoons or comic strips featuring animals as characters. These cartoons can vary widely in style and content, from humorous depictions of talking animals to more realistic portrayals with anthropomorphic qualities.

Gasping Cat

Alternative Names

Some alternative names for an Animal Cartoonist could be:

  • Animal Illustrator
  • Wildlife Cartoonist
  • Creature Cartoonist
  • Zoological Artist
  • Fauna Cartoonist
  • Critter Cartoonist
  • Beast Cartoonist

Disney cartoons?

Oswald the Lucky Rabbit was the first animated cartoon by Disney

Moving cartoons?

Cartoonists that draw moving cartoons (for movies and TV) are called animators

What does an Animal Cartoonist do?

Groups of animals an Animal Cartoonist works with

Cats List Icon
Cats
Dogs List Icon OZT
Dogs
Critters List Icon OZT
Critters
Farm Animals Icon OZT
Farm Animals
Mammals List Icon OZT
Mammals
Birds List Icon OZT
Birds
Fish List Icon OZT
Fish
Reptiles List Icon OZT
Reptiles
Amphibians List Icon OZT
Amphibians
Insects List Icon OZT
Insects
Arachnids List Icon OZT
Arachnids
Crustaceans List Icon OZT
Crustaceans
Mollusks Link Icon OZT
Mollusks
Myriapods List Icon OZT
Myriapods
Worms List Icon OZT
Worms
Cnidaria Icon 2
Cnidaria

An Animal Cartoonist can work with a wide variety of animals, depending on their artistic style and the theme of their cartoons. Some Animal Cartoonists focus on domestic animals like dogs, cats, and horses, while others specialize in wildlife such as lions, tigers, bears, and birds. Additionally, some may create cartoons featuring anthropomorphic animals, where animals are given human-like characteristics and behaviors. The choice of animals often reflects the artist’s interests, audience preferences, and the intended message or theme of the cartoons.

What is the level of Interaction with the Animals?

With whom does an Animal Cartoonist work?

An animal cartoonist typically works with a variety of clients and collaborators, depending on the nature of their projects. Here are some individuals and groups an animal cartoonist might work with:

Publishers:

Animal cartoonists often work with publishers to create content for books, magazines, newspapers, and online platforms.

Editors:

They collaborate with editors, who provide feedback, guidance, and sometimes specific assignments.

Writers:

Some animal cartoonists work with writers who provide scripts or storylines for the cartoons.

Animators:

If the cartoons are animated, the animal cartoonists may collaborate with animators to bring their drawings to life.

Merchandisers:

If the cartoons are popular, animal cartoonists may work with merchandisers to create products like toys, clothing, and accessories featuring their characters.

Licencing Agents:

Animal cartoonists may work with licensing agents to negotiate deals for the use of their characters on various products and in different media.

Art Directors:

In larger projects or publications, animal cartoonists may work with art directors who oversee the visual aspects of the project and ensure that the cartoons align with the overall design and tone.

These collaborations help animal cartoonists bring their creations to a wider audience and ensure that their work meets the needs and expectations of their clients and target audience.

What are the different specialisations or career directions that an Animal Cartoonist can venture into?

Animal cartoonists can explore various specialisations and career directions within the fields of cartooning and illustration. Some of these include:

Editorial Cartooning:

Focusing on creating cartoons that comment on current events, politics, and social issues for newspapers, magazines, and online publications.

Children’s Book Illustration:

Specialising in creating illustrations for children’s books, which may feature animals as central characters or themes.

Comic Strips:

Creating serialised comic strips for newspapers, websites, or syndication services, often featuring recurring animal characters and storylines.

Animation:

Transitioning from static illustrations to animated cartoons, either through traditional animation techniques or digital animation software, for television, film, or online platforms.

Character Design:

Developing and designing original animal characters for various purposes, such as branding, advertising, and entertainment.

Greeting Cards and Merchandise:

Creating illustrations for greeting cards, stationery, apparel, and other merchandise featuring animal-themed artwork.

Educational Materials:

Producing cartoons and illustrations for educational materials, such as textbooks, workbooks, and educational websites, to teach children about animals and nature.

Webcomics:

Publishing original comics online through personal websites, social media platforms, or webcomic hosting services, catering to niche audiences and building a dedicated fanbase.

Storyboarding:

Creating visual storyboards for animated films, television shows, commercials, and video games, depicting the sequence of scenes and actions using animal characters.

Licencing and Merchandising:

Expanding the reach of their characters by licencing them for use on various products, such as toys, games, apparel, and home décor.

These are just a few examples of the diverse career directions that animal cartoonists can pursue, each offering unique opportunities for creativity, expression, and professional growth.

What does an Animal Cartoonist focus on?

Animal cartoonists often use their drawings to convey messages, entertain audiences, or educate viewers about animals and their behaviours.

What are the daily tasks of an Animal Cartoonist?

The daily tasks of an animal cartoonist can vary depending on their specific role, projects, and career stage. However, here are some common tasks that an animal cartoonist might undertake on a typical day:

Idea Generation:

Brainstorming and generating ideas for new cartoons, comic strips, or illustrations featuring animals.

Sketching and Drawing:

Creating rough sketches and detailed drawings of animal characters, scenes, and backgrounds using traditional or digital drawing tools.

Character Development:

Refining and developing the personalities, traits, and appearances of recurring animal characters for ongoing series or projects.

Research:

Conducting research on animal behaviour, anatomy, and habitats to ensure accuracy and authenticity in their illustrations.

Scripting:

Writing scripts or storylines for comic strips, cartoons, or animated shorts, outlining the dialogue, plot, and pacing of the narrative.

Collaboration:

Communicating with editors, writers, and collaborators to discuss project requirements, feedback, and deadlines.

Revisions and Editing:

Reviewing and revising drafts of cartoons or illustrations based on feedback from clients, editors, or personal critique.

Digital Editing:

Scanning or digitally capturing hand-drawn artwork and using graphic design software to edit, colourize, and enhance the final illustrations.

Portfolio Management:

Updating and maintaining an online portfolio or website showcasing their latest work, projects, and achievements.

Networking:

Building and maintaining relationships with fellow artists, clients, publishers, and industry professionals through social media, networking events, and professional organisations.

Self-Promotion:

Promoting their work through social media platforms, blogs, and online communities to attract new clients, fans, and opportunities.

Administrative Tasks:

Handling administrative duties such as invoicing, project management, and communication with clients or agents.

These tasks may vary from day to day and can be influenced by factors such as project deadlines, client needs, and personal creative pursuits. Overall, animal cartoonists must balance artistic creativity with practical considerations to produce high-quality and engaging illustrations featuring animals.

With what kind of tools and technology (if any) does an Animal Cartoonist work?

An animal cartoonist utilises various tools and technologies to create their artwork, depending on personal preference, style, and the nature of their projects. Here are some common tools and technologies that animal cartoonists may work with:

Traditional Drawing Tools:

  • Pencils: For sketching and initial drafts.
  • Pens: Including fine liners and brush pens for inking.
  • Erasers: To correct mistakes and refine details.
  • Paper: Sketchbooks, drawing pads, or specialty papers for different mediums.

Digital Drawing Tablets:

  • Graphics Tablets: Such as Wacom Intuos or Huion tablets, allowing for direct drawing input into digital software.
  • Pen Displays: Such as Wacom Cintiq or XP-Pen displays, providing a more intuitive drawing experience with a screen.

Digital Drawing Software:

  • Adobe Photoshop: A versatile software for drawing, painting, and editing illustrations.
  • Adobe Illustrator: Ideal for creating vector-based illustrations and designs.
  • Procreate: A popular digital painting app for iPad, offering a wide range of brushes and tools.
  • Clip Studio Paint: Known for its robust features tailored for comics and manga creation.

Scanners and Printers:

  • Flatbed Scanners: For digitising hand-drawn artwork and transferring it to digital format.
  • High-Quality Printers: For printing physical copies of illustrations, comics, or merchandise.

Graphic Design Software:

  • Adobe InDesign: For the layout and design of comic strips, books, or other publications.
  • CorelDRAW: A vector graphics editor useful for creating illustrations and designs.

Reference Materials:

  • Books: On animal anatomy, behaviour, and illustration techniques.
  • Photographs: For reference when drawing animals and their habitats realistically.
  • Online Resources: Such as image libraries and reference websites for inspiration and research.

Collaboration and Communication Tools:

  • Email: For correspondence with clients, editors, and collaborators.
  • Cloud Storage: Like Google Drive or Dropbox, for sharing and storing artwork files securely.
  • Project Management Software: Such as Trello or Asana, for organising tasks and deadlines.

By leveraging these tools and technologies, animal cartoonists can bring their creative visions to life and produce captivating illustrations featuring animals in various styles and formats.

In which environment does an Animal Cartoonist work in?

What are the environment and places of employment like?

The indoor and outdoor working environments, as well as the places of employment, can vary for an animal cartoonist depending on their specific projects, preferences, and career choices. Here’s a breakdown of potential working environments and places of employment:

Indoor Working Environments:

  • Home Studio: Many animal cartoonists work from home, setting up a dedicated workspace or studio equipped with drawing materials, a computer, and digital drawing tools.
  • Shared Studio: Some may work in shared studio spaces with other artists, providing opportunities for collaboration, networking, and creative exchange.
  • Office: Animal cartoonists employed by publishing companies, animation studios, or advertising agencies may work in office environments, collaborating with colleagues and meeting project deadlines.
  • Coffee Shops or Cafés: Some artists find inspiration and productivity in public spaces like coffee shops, where they can work on sketches, brainstorm ideas, or meet with clients in a relaxed setting.

Outdoor Working Environments:

  • Inspiration Gathering: Animal cartoonists may venture outdoors to observe animals in their natural habitats, gather reference materials, or seek inspiration for their artwork.
  • Plein Air Drawing: Some artists enjoy sketching outdoors (“en plein air”) to capture the beauty of nature and wildlife firsthand, which can inform their illustrations and compositions.

Places of Employment:

  • Publishing Companies: Animal cartoonists may work as staff or freelance illustrators for publishing companies that produce books, magazines, newspapers, and online content featuring animal-themed illustrations and comics.
  • Animation Studios: Those specialising in animated cartoons may work for animation studios, contributing to the creation of animated series, films, commercials, or online content.
  • Advertising Agencies: Animal cartoonists may find employment or freelance opportunities with advertising agencies, creating animal-themed illustrations and cartoons for advertising campaigns, branding initiatives, and promotional materials.
  • Educational Institutions: Some animal cartoonists may work in educational settings, creating illustrations and cartoons for textbooks, educational materials, or online learning platforms focused on wildlife, zoology, or environmental education.

Overall, the working environments and places of employment for animal cartoonists can be diverse and dynamic, offering opportunities for creativity, flexibility, and collaboration across different settings and industries.

What is the Average Annual Salary for an Animal Cartoonist?

The average yearly salary/wages of an animal cartoonist can vary significantly depending on factors such as experience, skill level, location, employer, and industry demand. Here are approximate salary ranges for animal cartoonists in specific English-speaking countries and regions:

USA: The average salary for an animal cartoonist in the USA can range from $30,000 to $80,000 per year, with experienced professionals earning higher salaries, especially in metropolitan areas with a high demand for creative talent.

Canada: In Canada, animal cartoonists can expect to earn an average salary ranging from CAD 35,000 to CAD 75,000 per year, depending on factors such as location, experience, and industry demand.

UK: The average yearly salary for an animal cartoonist in the UK is typically between £20,000 and £50,000, with variations based on factors like experience, industry demand, and geographic location.

India:

In India, the average annual salary for an animal cartoonist can range from INR 300,000 to INR 800,000, depending on factors such as skill level, experience, and the nature of projects undertaken.

Australia and New Zealand: In Australia, animal cartoonists can earn an average salary ranging from AUD 40,000 to AUD 100,000 per year, while in New Zealand, salaries may range from NZD 40,000 to NZD 80,000 annually.

Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa: Salaries for animal cartoonists in these African countries can vary widely. In Nigeria and Kenya, average annual salaries may range from NGN 600,000 to NGN 2,000,000 and KES 500,000 to KES 1,500,000, respectively. In South Africa, salaries may range from ZAR 150,000 to ZAR 500,000 per year.

South America: Salaries for animal cartoonists in South America can vary by country and economic conditions. In general, annual salaries may range from $15,000 to $50,000 USD, depending on factors such as location, industry demand, and experience.

Europe: Average salaries for animal cartoonists in Europe can vary significantly from country to country. In Western European countries such as Germany, France, and the Netherlands, salaries may range from €25,000 to €70,000 per year. In Eastern European countries, salaries may be lower, typically ranging from €15,000 to €40,000 annually.

Southeast Asia: Salaries for animal cartoonists in Southeast Asia can vary by country and economic factors. In countries like Singapore and Malaysia, average annual salaries may range from SGD 30,000 to SGD 80,000 and MYR 30,000 to MYR 60,000, respectively.

Can an Animal Cartoonist be promoted?

Promotion levels for an animal cartoonist can vary depending on their career path, industry, and individual goals. Here are three prominent promotion levels based on Education, Responsibilities, and Certification:

Junior/Entry-Level Cartoonist

Education:

Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts, Illustration, Graphic Design, or a related field.

Responsibilities:

Assisting senior cartoonists with various tasks, such as sketching, colouring, and editing artwork. Learning and mastering illustration techniques, digital drawing tools, and software. Collaborating with team members to brainstorm ideas, develop characters, and create storylines.

Certification:

No specific certifications are required at this level, although additional training in illustration software may be beneficial.

Senior Cartoonist/Lead Illustrator

Education:

Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in Fine Arts, Illustration, or a related field. Advanced courses or specialised training in animation, character design, or storytelling may be advantageous.

Responsibilities:

Leading and managing projects from concept to completion, including character design, storyboarding, and final artwork. Mentoring and providing guidance to junior cartoonists, interns, or team members. Collaborating with editors, writers, and other stakeholders to ensure artistic vision aligns with project goals.

Certification:

Optional certifications in relevant software or animation tools, such as Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, or Toon Boom Harmony.

Art Director/Creative Director

Education:

Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in Fine Arts, Graphic Design, Animation, or a related field. Advanced training in leadership, project management, and visual communication may be beneficial.

Responsibilities:

Overseeing the artistic direction and vision of projects, ensuring consistency, quality, and alignment with brand guidelines. Managing a team of artists, illustrators, animators, and other creative professionals, delegating tasks, and providing feedback. Collaborating with clients, stakeholders, and marketing teams to develop creative strategies and concepts for campaigns, products, or publications.

Certification:

Optional certifications in project management or leadership skills, such as Project Management Professional (PMP) or Certified ScrumMaster (CSM), may be advantageous.

What difficulties does an Animal Cartoonist face?

Animal cartoonists may encounter various challenges in their profession, including:

Physical Demands:

Extended periods of sitting and repetitive motions while drawing or using digital tools can lead to ergonomic issues such as eye strain, back pain, and wrist injuries.

Safety Concerns:

When working with live animals for reference or inspiration, animal cartoonists need to be mindful of potential safety hazards, such as bites, scratches, or allergic reactions.

Variability in Working Conditions:

Freelance animal cartoonists may experience fluctuations in workload, income, and project timelines, leading to periods of uncertainty and financial instability.

Emotional Challenges:

Creating artwork featuring animals, especially if the subject matter involves themes like animal cruelty or environmental destruction, can be emotionally taxing for some animal cartoonists.

Business Management:

Running a freelance or independent cartooning business requires skills in marketing, networking, client management, invoicing, and budgeting, which may present challenges for artists who primarily focus on their creative work.

Regulatory Compliance:

Depending on the nature of their projects and clients, animal cartoonists may need to comply with copyright laws, licencing agreements, and industry regulations governing the use of intellectual property and likeness rights.

Continuing Education:

Staying updated with evolving illustration techniques, software tools, and industry trends requires ongoing learning and professional development, which can be challenging to balance with other responsibilities.

Unpredictable Work Hours:

Deadlines for projects may vary, leading to irregular work hours, including late nights and weekends, to meet client expectations and delivery timelines.

Client Relations:

Effectively communicating with clients, understanding their needs and feedback, and managing expectations can be challenging, especially when balancing creative freedom with client preferences.

Mental Health:

The solitary nature of artistic work, coupled with self-doubt, perfectionism, and creative blocks, can contribute to mental health challenges such as anxiety, depression, and burnout among animal cartoonists.

Overall, navigating these challenges requires resilience, adaptability, and a proactive approach to self-care, skill development, and business management. Seeking support from peers, mentors, and professional networks can also help animal cartoonists overcome obstacles and thrive in their profession.

​Future growth and Possibilities

The projected annual growth of the animal cartoonist job market can vary depending on factors such as technological advancements, shifts in consumer preferences, and industry demand. Here are some current trends and possibilities that may influence the future of the industry:

Digital Transformation:

With the increasing prevalence of digital platforms and online content consumption, there’s a growing demand for digital illustrations and cartoons. Animal cartoonists who adapt to digital tools and platforms may find more opportunities for exposure and distribution of their work.

Niche Markets and Audience Segmentation:

As audiences become more diverse and specialised, there’s a demand for niche content catering to specific interests and demographics. Animal cartoonists who can target niche markets, such as pet lovers, wildlife enthusiasts, or conservation advocates, may find success by tapping into these audiences.

Cross-Media Collaboration:

Collaborations between animal cartoonists and other creatives, such as writers, animators, filmmakers, and game developers, can lead to innovative multimedia projects spanning various platforms, including books, animation, video games, and digital media.

Social Media and Online Platforms:

Social media platforms and online communities provide animal cartoonists with opportunities to share their work, engage with fans, and build a loyal following. Those who effectively leverage social media marketing strategies may increase their visibility and reach a broader audience.

Environmental and Conservation Awareness:

With growing concerns about environmental conservation and animal welfare, there’s a demand for educational content that raises awareness and promotes empathy towards animals. Animal cartoonists who create content with conservation themes or advocate for animal rights may attract audiences interested in these topics.

Globalisation and Localization:

The globalisation of the media and entertainment industries opens up opportunities for animal cartoonists to reach international audiences. Adapting their content to resonate with diverse cultural backgrounds and languages can help animal cartoonists expand their global reach and appeal.

Entrepreneurship and Self-Publishing:

With advancements in self-publishing platforms and crowdfunding, animal cartoonists have more autonomy and control over their creative projects. Those who embrace entrepreneurship and self-publishing may bypass traditional gatekeepers and find success by directly connecting with their audience.

While these trends and possibilities present opportunities for growth and innovation in the animal cartoonist industry, it’s essential for professionals in this field to stay adaptable, creative, and responsive to evolving market dynamics and audience preferences. By staying informed, embracing new technologies, and cultivating their unique artistic voice, animal cartoonists can position themselves for success in the future.

Availability of Jobs

Average

Which Skills do Animal Cartoonists need?

The skills required for a career as an Animal Cartoonist can be divided into two very important groups. The first is the group containing life skills and personality traits, which are the core skills that are necessary or desirable for full participation in everyday life. The second group is career skills, or the specific skills required to allow a person to enter and operate effectively within a specific career. Some or maybe even all of the life skills can assist in strengthening the career skills, and they might even be the same for specific careers.

Life Skills and Personality Traits

Individuals employed as animal cartoonists often possess a combination of artistic talent, creativity, and specific personality traits that contribute to their success in the field. Here are some specific personality traits commonly associated with animal cartoonists:

Creativity:

Animal cartoonists are highly imaginative individuals who can conceptualise unique characters, settings, and storylines featuring animals. They possess a knack for thinking outside the box and finding creative solutions to artistic challenges.

Passion for Animals:

Animal cartoonists have a deep love and appreciation for animals, which fuels their motivation to portray them in their artwork. They may spend hours observing animal behaviour, studying anatomy, and capturing the essence of different species in their illustrations.

Patience:

Creating detailed illustrations and cartoons requires patience and attention to detail. Animal cartoonists are willing to invest time and effort into refining their artwork, whether it’s sketching intricate character designs or perfecting the shading and colour palette of a scene.

Observation Skills:

Animal cartoonists have keen observational skills, allowing them to capture the nuances of animal behaviour, expressions, and movements in their artwork. They may spend time studying reference materials, such as photographs or videos, to ensure accuracy and authenticity in their illustrations.

Adaptability:

The field of cartooning is constantly evolving, with new technologies, trends, and audience preferences shaping the industry. Animal cartoonists need to be adaptable and open to learning new techniques, software tools, and artistic styles to stay relevant in the competitive market.

Sense of Humour:

Many animal cartoonists specialise in creating humorous and lighthearted cartoons featuring animals as central characters. A good sense of humour and the ability to infuse wit and charm into their artwork can make their cartoons engaging and entertaining for audiences of all ages.

Resilience:

Like any creative profession, cartooning comes with its share of rejection, criticism, and artistic challenges. Animal cartoonists need to be resilient and persistent, bouncing back from setbacks and using constructive feedback to improve their skills and craft.

Business Savvy:

For freelance animal cartoonists, having basic business skills, such as marketing, networking, and client management, is essential for building a successful career. They may need to negotiate contracts, manage finances, and promote their artwork to attract clients and opportunities.

The specific personality traits of animal cartoonists can vary, but a combination of creativity, passion for animals, patience, adaptability, and resilience are commonly observed among individuals thriving in this unique and rewarding profession.

Life Skills
40%

Career Skills

  • Animal handling
  • Animal care
  • Customer service
  • Handle instruments
  • Good overall health
  • Computer literate
Career Skills
60%

Which Subjects must I have at School to help me prepare for this career?

The subjects you choose at school are important as they lay the foundation for further studies at college or university. While still at school, it’s also important to learn more about the animals you will work with, as well as gain some experience.

OZT has a list of various tertiary institutions where you can study further, after school. Each of these institutions also have their own Group page on OZT where you will find the exact subjects they require of you to have passed in school. Keep these requirements in mind, and discuss it with your school, guidance counselor and parents to ensure that you are prepared!

What will I need to Study to become an Animal Cartoonist?

To become an Animal Cartoonist, you’ll need to pursue a combination of formal education, self-study, and practical experience to develop your artistic skills and knowledge of the field. Here’s what you’ll need to study under each heading:

Minimum Requirements

High School Diploma:

The minimum educational requirement to pursue a career as an animal cartoonist is a high school diploma or equivalent. While not mandatory, taking art and design classes in high school can provide a strong foundation for further study in the field.

Study Focus

Subjects If Further Study Is Required:

Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts, Illustration, or Graphic Design:

Many animal cartoonists choose to pursue a bachelor’s degree in fine arts, illustration, graphic design, or a related field to develop their artistic skills and knowledge. The courses in these programmes cover topics such as drawing, painting, colour theory, composition, digital illustration, and sequential art.

Advanced Studies (If necessary):

Master’s Degree in Illustration or Animation:

For individuals seeking advanced training and specialisation in cartooning, pursuing a master’s degree in illustration or animation may be beneficial. Advanced studies at the graduate level provide opportunities to refine your artistic style, explore new techniques, and engage in research or thesis projects related to cartooning.

Optional Short Courses:

Cartooning Workshops or Short Courses:

Taking short courses or attending workshops focused specifically on cartooning can provide valuable hands-on training, feedback from experienced professionals, and networking opportunities. These courses may cover topics such as character design, storytelling, comic strip creation, and digital illustration techniques.

Digital Illustration Software Training:

Familiarising yourself with digital illustration software such as Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, or Procreate through online tutorials or short courses can enhance your proficiency in creating digital artwork and preparing illustrations for publication or online distribution.

Storytelling and Narrative Development:

Courses or workshops on storytelling and narrative development can help you hone your storytelling skills, develop engaging characters, and craft compelling plotlines for your cartoons and comic strips.

Business and Marketing Skills:

Taking short courses or workshops in business and marketing can provide valuable insights into self-promotion, client management, contract negotiation, and other aspects of running a freelance cartooning business.

Study Duration

The duration of a college diploma is between 2 and 3 years. Time spent on a bachelor’s degree can be up to 4 years, and another 2 to 4 years for a doctorate. Short courses are usually between a few weeks and a year.

FREE Career Preparation Path Plan

If this is your dream career that you want to pursue, then it’s important to plan the way forward.

Why is planning important?

​To ensure that you understand the requirements for your career, and that you are always prepared for the next step on the road towards your dream. A preparation path is like a road map to where you want to be.

Possible Paths:

Here’s a possible career preparation path for a high school student interested in pursuing an animal cartoonist career, based on the provided points:

1. Attend Career Guidance Sessions:

Participate in career guidance sessions to learn about various career options, including animal cartooning, and gain insights into the skills and qualifications required for success in the field.

2. Research all of the possible careers:

Conduct research to explore different career paths within the field of cartooning, including animal cartooning, and identify the specific skills, education, and experience needed for each career option.

3. Explore Educational Paths:

Investigate educational paths that can help prepare you for a career in animal cartooning, such as bachelor’s degrees in Fine Arts, Illustration, Graphic Design, or Animation. Consider programmes that offer courses or concentrations in cartooning or character design.

4. Align high school subjects with the educational path:

Choose high school subjects that align with your educational and career goals, such as art, design, computer graphics, English, and biology (to learn about animals).

5. Obtain a High School Diploma or Equivalent:

Focus on academic achievement and successfully complete your high school education to obtain a diploma or equivalent qualification.

6. Learn about animals that will work with:

Take the opportunity to learn about different animal species, their behaviour, anatomy, and characteristics, which will inform your cartooning work and help you create authentic and engaging animal characters.

7. Align post-school path with either entering a career/job directly, studying further, or starting a business:

Determine your post-school path based on your career goals. This may involve entering a bachelor’s degree programme in illustration or a related field, pursuing further education in cartooning or animation, or exploring entrepreneurship opportunities to start your own cartooning business.

8. Gain experience through volunteering, internships, mentorship, etc.:

Seek opportunities to gain practical experience in cartooning through volunteering, internships, mentorship programmes, or freelance projects. This hands-on experience will help you develop your skills, build your portfolio, and make valuable connections in the industry.

9. Pursue Extracurricular Activities:

Participate in extracurricular activities that complement your interests and career goals, such as art clubs, drawing workshops, animation festivals, or community theatre productions.

10. Join Professional Associations:

Consider joining professional associations or organisations related to cartooning, illustration, or graphic arts to access resources, networking opportunities, and industry insights.

11. Gain Specialised Skills:

Develop specialised skills in cartooning, character design, storytelling, digital illustration software, and animation techniques through formal education, self-study, and practical experience.

12. Network with Professionals:

Build relationships with professionals in the field of cartooning by attending industry events, participating in online forums or social media groups, and reaching out to established artists for advice and guidance.

13. Enter the job market, finish tertiary studies, or launch a business:

Depending on your career path, you can enter the job market as a freelance or staff cartoonist, complete your tertiary studies to obtain a degree or certification, or launch your own cartooning business.

14. Stay Updated and Pursue Continuing Education:

Stay informed about industry trends, technological advancements, and new artistic techniques by pursuing continuing education opportunities, attending workshops, and staying connected with the artistic community.

By following this career preparation path, you can equip yourself with the necessary skills, knowledge, and experiences to pursue a rewarding career as an Animal Cartoonist.

Possible Combined Career Paths

It is possible to sometimes combine two or more related careers. This normally happens when you study and practice a specific main career, but the knowledge and experience gained also help you to have a paying hobby or secondary income career.

Possible Alternatives (there are a lot more):

Stepping-stone Career Paths

A stepping-stone career refers to a job or position that serves as a transitional or intermediate step towards a long-term career goal. Individuals may take on a stepping-stone job as it requires minimum education or finances to enter, gain relevant experience and develop skills, or make professional connections that will ultimately help them progress towards their desired career path.

These interim positions may not be the ultimate or dream job, but they provide valuable learning opportunities and contribute to the individual’s overall career development. Stepping-stone careers are often seen as a strategic approach to building a successful and fulfilling professional trajectory, allowing individuals to gradually move closer to their desired roles or industries.

If students pursue a career as an Animal Cartoonist as a stepping-stone career, they may develop a diverse set of skills and experiences that can be transferable to various other professions within and beyond the field of art and illustration. Here are some potential career paths that individuals with a background in Animal Cartooning may explore in the future:

Training and Apprenticeship

Entering an animal cartoonist career typically involves a combination of formal education, self-directed learning, and practical experience gained through on-the-job training, mentorship, or apprenticeships. While there are no formal on-the-job training or apprenticeship programmes specifically tailored to animal cartoonists, individuals can pursue various avenues to gain relevant experience and skills in the field. Here are some ways individuals can obtain on-the-job training and apprenticeship opportunities:

Internships:

Seeking internship opportunities with established cartoonists, illustrators, animation studios, or publishing companies can provide valuable hands-on experience and exposure to the industry. Interns may assist with various tasks, such as sketching, colouring, storyboarding, or digital illustration, under the guidance of experienced professionals.

Mentorship:

Finding a mentor who is an experienced animal cartoonist or illustrator can offer invaluable guidance, feedback, and advice on improving artistic skills, navigating the industry, and building a successful career. Mentorship relationships can be formal or informal and may involve regular meetings, portfolio reviews, and collaborative projects.

Freelance Projects:

Taking on freelance projects or commissions allows aspiring animal cartoonists to gain practical experience working with clients, managing deadlines, and producing professional-quality artwork. Freelancing also provides opportunities to build a portfolio, establish a reputation, and network within the industry.

Self-Study and Practice:

Dedication to self-directed learning and continuous practice are essential for aspiring animal cartoonists to develop their artistic skills and style. Investing time in drawing, experimenting with different mediums and techniques, and studying the work of established artists can contribute to growth and improvement over time.

Online Courses and Workshops:

Enrolling in online courses, workshops, or tutorials focused on cartooning, illustration, and digital art can supplement formal education and provide targeted training in specific skills or techniques. Many online platforms offer courses taught by industry professionals that are accessible to individuals worldwide.

Participating in Art Communities:

Joining art communities, forums, or social media groups dedicated to cartooning, illustration, or animation allows individuals to connect with peers, share artwork, receive feedback, and learn from others in the field. Engaging with a supportive community can foster growth, inspiration, and collaboration opportunities.

While there may not be formal apprenticeship programmes specifically tailored to animal cartoonists, individuals can proactively seek out opportunities to gain relevant experience, refine their skills, and build a portfolio that demonstrates their talent and capabilities in the field. By combining practical experience with ongoing learning and dedication, aspiring animal cartoonists can position themselves for success in this creative and competitive industry.

Average level of education of all the people who enter the career:

High School Certificate 0%
Diploma or Short Courses 0%
Degree or Higher Studies 0%

Licenses, Certificate, Registration and Professional Associations

Becoming an animal cartoonist typically does not require specific licences, certificates, or legal registrations. However, there are some considerations related to intellectual property, copyright law, and business registration that aspiring animal cartoonists should be aware of:

Copyright and Intellectual Property:

As an animal cartoonist, it’s essential to understand copyright law and intellectual property rights. You should ensure that your artwork is original and does not infringe on the rights of others. Familiarise yourself with copyright laws in your country or region to protect your own work and respect the rights of other creators.

Business Registration:

If you plan to operate as a freelance animal cartoonist or establish your own cartooning business, you may need to register your business with the appropriate government authorities. This process may involve choosing a business name, obtaining a business licence or permit, and registering for taxes or business identification numbers.

Contracts and Agreements:

When working with clients, publishers, or collaborators, it’s important to use contracts or agreements that outline the terms of your engagement, including payment terms, project scope, copyright ownership, and dispute resolution mechanisms. Consider consulting with a legal professional to draft or review contracts to protect your interests.

Optional Certifications:

While not mandatory, some animal cartoonists may choose to pursue optional certifications or memberships in professional organisations related to illustration, cartooning, or graphic arts. These certifications or memberships can demonstrate your commitment to professionalism and ongoing professional development in the field.

Tax Obligations:

As a self-employed individual or business owner, you’ll be responsible for fulfilling tax obligations related to your income from cartooning activities. Keep accurate records of your income and expenses, and consult with a tax advisor or accountant to ensure compliance with tax laws and regulations in your jurisdiction.

Online Presence and Digital Rights:

If you plan to distribute your artwork online or through digital platforms, consider issues related to digital rights management, online privacy, and terms of service for hosting platforms. Understand the implications of sharing your work online and take steps to protect your digital assets and personal information.

While there may not be specific licences or certifications required to become an animal cartoonist, understanding legal and business considerations related to copyright, contracts, taxes, and online distribution is essential for establishing a successful career in the field. Consider seeking guidance from legal professionals, business advisors, or industry organisations to navigate these aspects of your cartooning practice effectively.

Professional Associations

The National Cartoonists Society (NCS):

  • The NCS is an organisation based in the United States that promotes and supports cartoonists and comic artists across various genres and formats. While not specifically focused on animal cartooning, it provides networking opportunities, resources, and recognition for cartoonists.
  • Website: National Cartoonists Society

Society of Illustrators:

  • The Society of Illustrators is a prestigious organisation dedicated to promoting the art of illustration globally. While not exclusive to cartoonists, it offers exhibitions, events, educational programmes, and resources for illustrators working in various genres, including cartoons and comics.
  • Website: Society of Illustrators

Cartoonists’ Association of Nigeria (CARTAN):

  • CARTAN is an association based in Nigeria that supports and promotes cartoonists and comic artists in the country. While focused on Nigerian cartoonists, it provides networking opportunities, workshops, and advocacy for cartooning as an art form.
  • Website: Cartoonists’ Association of Nigeria

The Association of American Editorial Cartoonists (AAEC):

  • The AAEC is an organisation dedicated to promoting editorial cartooning and defending freedom of speech and the press. While focused on editorial cartoonists, it provides resources, advocacy, and networking opportunities for professionals in the field.
  • Website: Association of American Editorial Cartoonists

Comic Artists Guild:

  • The Comic Artists Guild is an international organisation that supports comic artists, cartoonists, and illustrators. While not exclusive to animal cartoonists, it provides resources, networking opportunities, and advocacy for professionals working in comics and related fields.
  • Website: Comic Artists Guild

Where can I study further? (List of Registered Tertiary Institutions)

All of the above information will help you understand more about the career, including the fact that there are different paths to take to reach it. But if you are almost done with high school (grades 11 or 12), you also need to start thinking about further studies and where you will study.

See the list of universities, colleges, and online training academies that offer courses in drawing.

How do I start to prepare for this Career?

If you do decide on following this career, then OZT can assist you in figuring out a path to prepare, as well as help you to gain further knowledge about the career and the animals you will be working with. We do this by offering you FREE career development tools. There are almost a dozen free tools, but these are the three primary ones:

CAREER PATH PLAN

Use the career path plan above on this profile as an example to follow, or to work out your own path.

COST; Free

ACCESS: Open to visitors and Members 

SHORT COURSES

Access easy-to-use short courses to make your career preparation easier! The basic information in each course is free, but the rewards can only be unlocked as an OZT member!

COST; Free

ACCESS: Open to visitors and Members 

STUDY GUIDE

Get a supercharged study guide that fits into the career path plan! Now that's really upping your preparation game! Join us for free to gain access!

COST; Free

ACCESS: Members Only

But, if you are still uncertain about choosing this specific career, and even where to start, then have a look at our special series of WHAT NEXT courses (link below). They take you through all of the questions you might have on how to choose the right career, what to do while at and after school, and even how to start your own business.

OR

Join the OZT online community for special access to more tools!

Join us as a special member and learn more about becoming an animal cartoonist.

Members of the Platform have special access to:

  • Info on the best places where you can study (colleges, universities and online)
  • Expertly designed advice to prepare you for the career and links to places where you can gain valuable experience. Some career experience is necessary; otherwise, you won’t get the job!
  • Top-notch information on each of the different species you will work with
  • Make friends around the world and share knowledge
  • Compete and win points, badges, games, prizes, and certificates. Be the best of the best while you learn and prepare!

If you have decided on being an animal cartoonist, please click on the JOIN GROUP button. Members will be directed to the group, while non-members will be assisted in registering first.

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Some of the best websites to help you decide on a career are:

  1. CartoonSmart (https://cartoonsmart.com/): CartoonSmart offers online courses and tutorials covering various aspects of cartoon creation, animation, character design, and storytelling. The platform provides resources for both beginners and experienced artists looking to enhance their skills in cartooning and digital illustration.

  2. Toon Boom Learn (https://learn.toonboom.com/): Toon Boom Learn is a website offering educational content and resources for animators and cartoonists using Toon Boom animation software. The platform features tutorials, webinars, and articles covering topics such as animation techniques, character rigging, and storyboard creation.

  3. CreatureArtTeacher (https://creatureartteacher.com/): CreatureArtTeacher is a website founded by artist Aaron Blaise, known for his work on Disney animated films such as “The Lion King” and “Brother Bear.” The site offers a range of courses, tutorials, and resources focused on character design, animal anatomy, and digital painting techniques for cartoonists and animators.

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