If you don’t want to settle for a non-creative job just to pay the bills, you don’t have to. Here are seven of the highest-paying art careers for you to consider.

BY Lexie Lu

Many creative individuals believe they need to make a choice between their art and having a profitable career. While not everyone can make it as a painter, there are still many jobs out there that pay well and allow you to use your artistic skills — you just need to be open to the many different channels and ways you can use your creative capabilities.

Graphic Designer

Potentially the most common career for artistic individuals is as a graphic designer. Graphic designers are used heavily in a variety of industries, including marketing, business and tech. The work a graphic designer does can vary immensely from job to job.

A graphic designer may help a business create marketing materials, such as a logo, brochure or advertisements. Graphic designers may also design products for consumers to use, such as wedding invitations or personal stationery.

The salary a graphic designer can expect largely depends on the industry they work in. However, the average salary for a graphic designer is around $44,000 a year. California and New York are the most popular states for graphic designers, but Illinois, Texas and Florida are also boom areas for graphic designers. Graphic designers may also choose to work remotely.


Photographer - 7 Art Careers That Pay Well

Photography is another popular career path for artistic individuals. Because high-quality images are needed for everything from businesses to weddings, photographers are always in demand.

If you choose to become a photographer, you need to be prepared to work a crazy schedule. Unlike other artistic careers, photography requires you to work around the client’s schedule. If you’re hired to take pictures at a wedding or other event, you need to be prepared to give up weekend days and nights.

Self-employed photographers tend to make the highest annual salary, with an average of between $21,000 and $90,000 a year . Cities such as San Francisco, Dallas, Seattle and Philadelphia tend to pay photographers a bit more.

Web Designer

Web Designer - 7 Art Careers That Pay Well

With so much stress on a company’s online presence, a highly skilled web designer can make a good salary each year. Because a web developer is in charge of designing, building and sustaining a company’s website, they typically have ongoing business with the same client.

To become a web designer, you will need more than just art skills. You must also know your way around HTML and CSS code, and understand the way websites work. This means you typically need more than just a creative eye to become a successful web designer.

Web developers can make very good money, with the average web designer salary at around $50,000 to $64,000. Higher salaries are typically given to web developers in San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and Seattle, but smaller cities such as Raleigh, NC, and Minneapolis, MN, are also great areas for web developers.


Many artists choose to go down the architecture career path. Architecture allows artistic individuals to use their design skills to create buildings, homes, commercial offices and more. Depending on the style of architecture you decide to do, it can be an incredibly creative and lucrative business.

Architecture is another career that requires more than just an art degree. If you want to get into the architecture industry, you’ll also need to learn about construction and building development. However, this additional education can be incredibly beneficial for individuals who decide to pursue it.

On average, architects make just over $76,000 a year, making it one of the most lucrative jobs on this list. Because homes and buildings are needed all over, architects can live just about anywhere. West Palm Beach, FL, and Syracuse, NY, are among the top-paying cities for architects.

Interior Designer

Interior design is another popular career for creative individuals. By using color coordination skills and strategic placement of items and furniture, interior designers can help clients create a welcoming and comfortable home.

There are a few industries that an interior designer may choose to enter into. The most traditional kind of interior designer is for clients looking for help decorating or redesigning their homes. Interior designers may also be hired to do commercial work, including designing for office buildings, hotels or even hospitals.

On average, an interior designer makes about $40,000 to $50,000 a year. The most popular cities for interior design work include Boston, Washington, D.C., San Francisco and Seattle. However, interior design work is needed and used in buildings all over the country.

Creative Director

Creative Director - 7 Art Careers That Pay Well

A creative director is an upper-level management position at a marketing, advertising or media agency. The role of the creative director is to oversee other designers, artists, writers and team members as they make a creative vision come to life.

Creative director positions are typically not offered to individuals just beginning their artistic careers, but becoming one can be a great career goal for artistic individuals. Creative directors typically work in all different industries, so the work is extremely versatile depending on your interests and specialties.

Because a creative director is a more senior position, the salary is much higher than other careers, coming in at about $133,000. However, becoming a creative director for a large company could easily present you with a salary over $200,000. Cities like Austin, Texas, New York City, and Los Angeles typically offer the highest salaries for creative directors.

Layout Editor

Layout Editor - 7 Art Careers That Pay Well

Layout editors use their creative eye to design the best placement for books, magazines, newspapers and other reading materials. A layout editor may be used to create physical reading materials, but they can also be used for online magazines.

Layout editors need experience working on magazines or books as well as computer skills to use the necessary software. Businesses that publish frequent brochures or publications may also hire layout editors on staff to help with their marketing creations.

The typical annual salary is just under $40,000. To secure the most business or highest-paying job, layout editors will want to work in a major city with a high number of publications. However, layout work is primarily done online, meaning layout editors may be able to find remote work easily.

If you’re an artist individual looking for a high-paying career, don’t feel like you need to let go of your creative dreams. Consider one of these seven artistic job paths when deciding which road you would like to go down.

Author Spotlight

Lexie Lu

Author Spotlight

Lexie Lu is a freelance web designer and blogger. She keeps up with the latest web design news and always has coffee in close proximity. She writes on Design Roast and can be followed on Twitter @lexieludesigner.

About Author Spotlight

Sometimes, some posts here will not be written by me. These posts are from other bloggers, authors, and writers of all breed. These posts have their own category - Spotlight, and would focus on topics that are dear to them. If you're interested in submitting a post or two, then get in touch.


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