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Cartooning Degrees

 Educational Requirements to become a Cartoonist

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, you don’t need a formal degree to become a cartoonist.  However, since a lot of technical skills are required, it might be difficult for you to become a successful cartoonist without some formal education. Let’s take a look at your degree options in this field:

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Cartooning

A Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in cartooning would help students develop a fundamental understanding of the basics of cartooning. The students will be exposed to a variety of art and cartoon-specific subjects and would also need to complete technical and theoretical cartoon training.

Duration of the Degree

4 years

Admission Requirement

High School Diploma or a GED Equivalent

Common Courses

  • History of Cartooning
  • Fundamentals of Cartooning
  • Watercolor Techniques
  • Illustration Etching
  • Pastel Techniques

You are advised to take art courses in high school, in order to better develop your mind in a technical and artistic manner.

Master of Fine Arts in Cartooning

This is a graduate degree that would allow students to learn the advance level concepts involved in cartooning. It would give them the opportunity to study this intriguing subject in great detail and would typically involve a mix of technical coursework and a thesis. Most master’s programs would require you to submit a detailed thesis or a final year project. The first year of education in a master’s program would involve clearing the core courses in advanced drawing and cartooning techniques.

For admission into a master’s program in cartooning, you will need to submit all your previous transcripts from every accredited institution you have attended. In addition to that, you might even be required to provide letters of recommendation. Even though most programs do not require some relevant work experience, having some is definitely an added bonus. You will also be required to submit a thesis, towards the end of your degree.

Duration of the Degree

2 years

Admission Requirement

Bachelors of Fine Arts

Common Courses

  • Lettering by hand
  • Silk screening
  • Digital cartooning
  • Figure drawing
  • Observational drawing
  • Illustration and Cartooning
  • Sculpture making
  • Visual computing
  • Pictorial problems
  • Acrylic painting
  • Western civilization
  • History of Cartooning
  • Drawing with Ink
  • Survey of World Art
  • Literature
  • Writing

After completing either of the degrees, students will have the opportunity to complete an internship program. In addition to that, you may also compile a portfolio of your best work, which will serve to be an invaluable tool when you look for a job in the industry.

Career Information for a Cartoonist

Duties of a Cartoonist

A cartoonist would typically be required to perform the following tasks:

  • Create illustrations and drawings
  • Use a computer to create graphics and animations
  • Work in a team of artists and designers to create projects such as movies, games or a visual effect
  • Research upcoming projects to help create realistic renditions or animations
  • Develop storyboards that map out the main scenes in the storyline
  • Edit designs, drawings and animations and effects on the basis of feedback received from other animators, directors, game designers or the clients
  • Have several meetings with the clients to ensure you fully understand the project’s requirements
  • Meet with other personnel involved, such as the other animators, game designers, directors and other staff members to review deadlines and develop the most efficient timelines

Additional duties for cartoonist may include developing moods and color palettes, creating or painting background scenes or dramatizing action.

Some cartoonists work entirely on computer software and render the images on the PC. Other artists prefer to work by hand and then translate their results on to a computer for further editing. Drawing and painting on tablets is also becoming very common now.

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics provides the following information regarding multimedia artists and animators. Have a look:

2016 Median Pay

$65,300 per year

Typical Entry Level Education

Bachelor’s Degree

Work Experience in a Related Occupation


On-the-job Training

Moderate term on the job training

Number of Jobs, 2014


Job Outlook, 2014-2024


Employment Change, 2014-24


Work Environment for a Cartoonist

Most cartoonists work in a typical office setting with regular hours, though work from home is also an option in many cases. Near project deadlines, the cartoonist may have to put in overtime. Team work is a very common part of a cartoonist’s job and late working hours are a norm in most multimedia organizations. The jobs in this sector are typically full-time, though some organizations do hire cartoonists on a part time basis.

A lot of cartoonists work on a freelance basis as well. This is a much more relaxed work environment and does not require a strict schedule, unless the deadline is near. This project-based approach is used widely in various industries.

Where can a Cartoonist find work?

A cartoonist can find employment in a number of settings. Let’s take a look at some of the options available:

  • Animation Studios
  • Video Studios
  • Cartoon Networks
  • Gaming companies
  • Print publications
  • Publishing companies
  • Magazines

The number of opportunities in this sector is vast. Cartoonists deal with a variety of fields including multimedia, advertising and fine art. There work is highly diversified in different industries. So, if you are planning to get a degree in cartooning, the opportunities for you are endless.

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