Please Help! Career advice?

Hi! I am new to this board so i apologize if my question doesnt belong here.

I am a 20 year old college student that just started my 3rd year of school, I transferred to a university with my major being graphic design. But I am very worried the major isnt for me. I want to switch to illistration and heres why: I am an A student, All of the art i have ever made in my classes that got me this far have never been on the graphic design side, when ever I talk to a graphic design major they always tell me how passionate they are about logo creating and type setting and i realized i never really had that passion. My goal was to become a graphic designer just so id have a better chance at getting a job, but my real dream would be to work as a design artist for a studio like cartoon network or paramount, or illustrate children books for a living.

This has made me so confused, I would still like to know the aspects graphic design and use it in my career but i think my true passion lies in illustration, I would much rather do graphic design as a side job… so I am wondering, If I choose to major in illustration, would I have a better chance at following my goals in life? If I choose to major in graphic design would I still be able to pursue my dream or would illustration be the better pick?

Sorry if this is a weird question! I would just really appreciate any advice on the matter! Not sure if this will help but I will link the deviantart i created if it helps to see my work, just about everything on it was made for school… thank you so much in advance.


This isn’t what you want to hear, but it’s important.

Unless you’re immensely talented and incredibly lucky, the chances of landing a well-paying, full-time job as a professional illustrator hovers just somewhere above zero.

My wife is (was) a very good illustrator. She was laid off from her job seven or eight years ago and was never able to find another position, so she went back to school for a Master’s Degree in another field.

Illustrations are time consuming and, as a result, expensive. Most every publisher, agency or in-house group ends up using photos because they’re easy to find, cost-effective and work well most of the time.

There is still a need for illustration, and it’s easy to find examples, but most of it is amateur work or that of very talented and established freelancers. It’s possible to become a full-time, professional illustrator, but the odds today are about the same as becoming a professional basketball or football player.

Thank you for your response. May I ask what your wife’s job was?

I was hoping for a job in visual development, or something close to the animation industry, I was told by a professor that would be a good field to go down.

Even if I majored in illustration I would still like to do graphic design work… if my other job doesn’t work out that Is.

She worked at a newspaper. Of course newspapers, as a whole, haven’t been doing well, but she was unable to find anything at all — not even any jobs to apply to.

It’s not just my wife, though. I know, probably, a dozen different illustrator and none of them are doing it full-time any longer. The ones who have done the best are the ones who have somehow managed to merge it with an illustrative design style where they get to do a little of both — either that or picking up freelance work after their day jobs.

As for animation, much of it is farmed out to other countries — especially in Asia — where it can be done cheaper.

If you really have a passion for illustration, it’s still possible, but you’ll be competing with thousands of other for the same jobs. The odds just aren’t in your favor.

How about motion graphics? There’s plenty of opportunity there for combining design, illustration and animation. Add to that some video expertise, and I think there are good possibilities in advertising. For that matter, combine it with the growing field of virtual reality (especially with games) and I think there are even solid growth opportunities over the next few years.

I had a look at your portfolio…
The quality of the things you posted is all over the place. For an illustrator portfolio only show your BEST work.

There’s an awful lot of Anime already out there. Just sayin’

Like Graphic Design, Commercial Illustration will not be about what you want to draw. While you may be hired based on your style, you won’t get to pick the subject matter. Is that what you really want to be doing? A lot of students of both design and commercial art find out way too late and way too deep in a financial hole that they don’t like the constraints of being told what kind of art to produce.

Be a little more clear on what you mean by “visual development.” I’m not sure what that is.

Have you considered a career in animation?

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