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Written by Lyndsey McLaughlinLyndsey McLaughlin

Artist CV Example & Writing Guide

Art can help to inspire and motivate us. It grasps our attention and stirs a range of emotions. How can you evoke the same response from a hiring manager who is reviewing dozens of applications for the same artist job? Let Resume.io take you through the process of creating an artist CV with all the most compelling shades and tones.
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Artist CV Example & Writing Guide
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Without artists, we would be living in a very dull world. Working as an artist can be an extremely challenging and fulfilling career, but to get there, you’ll need a great artist CV. That’s where Resume.io can help. Our CV examples are designed to walk you through all the details of creating a great application.

In this writing guide and artist CV example you will learn about:

  • The role of artists and their place in the UK economy
  • Structuring your artist CV and choosing the best CV format
  • Optimising your CV to ensure your key skills and experience stand out in each section: header, summary, employment history, education, and skills
  • Making CV layout, design, and formatting choices that do justice to your artistic talents
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How to write a CV

Knowing how to write a CV takes effort, but we help break down the mystery. Take a look at this detailed guide to learn more about how to structure, write, and design a job-winning CV.

What does an artist do?

The work of artists is all around us, from the paintings on our walls to the architecture in our local town and the images on our websites. Artists are not just those who put pencil to paper. Artistry is also prevalent in photography, music, graphic design, illustration, and architecture. Applying make-up professionally is another form of artistry, and there are many more artistic professions.

An artist is responsible for expressing thoughts, ideas, and feelings to evoke emotions. This can happen in many ways, including through painting, sculpting and illustration. Artists use a variety of materials to create their artwork. They may use pencils, paint, a camera, computer — there are endless possibilities.

Statistical insight

The average salary for an artist is £32,500. The creative industry, which artistry falls under, contributed over £115.9 billion to the UK economy in 2019, an almost 50% increase in the preceding decade.

As you walk through your local town and admire the beauty, you are looking at the work of artists, and the outcomes of their imagination.

Artists find inspiration in many different things and that’s what makes artistry so unique to the individual, and so exciting.

“The richness I achieve comes from nature, the source of my inspiration.” — Claude Monet

Statistical insight

Artists can work in a wide array of sectors. As such, there is a wide range of opportunities available to candidates who are seeking work. An artist might choose to work in advertising, marketing, fashion, film, music and many more sectors. 

There are over two million people working in the creative industry in the UK, and this is growing at a high speed. The figure is more than a third higher than it was in 2011. Approximately 45,500 people are employed as artists in the UK, a growth of over 6,000 since 2010.

How to write an artist CV

Just as you would create one of your masterpieces from scratch, your CV is a blank canvas, ready for you to craft your best work.

Although imagination is a key quality for an artist, there's a set structure for creating your artist CV. The standard structure for most CVs is:

  • Header
  • Summary
  • Employment History
  • Education
  • Skills
Expert tip

Artists will often benefit from additional sections to show off their portfolio, exhibitions, memberships or awards. Don’t be afraid to customise your CV format to suit your needs.

Choosing the best CV format for an artist

As many artists work on a self-employed basis, rather than in employee positions, they don’t always follow the conventional career path of other professions. In this case, it makes sense to use a functional CV format, with the focus on your skills, rather than employers. Otherwise, to highlight a more traditional employment history, you can use the most common chronological CV which focuses on your employment history. A hybrid format is a combination of both.

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Your CV format will dictate which parts of your CV will stand out to an employer.

Expert tip

CV header

Your CV header serves both a practical and aesthetic purpose. An eye-pleasing design sets your CV apart from the rest, and attracts the reader’s attention right away to what is meant to be noticed first: your name, occupation, and contact information. It’s a good place to include your art portfolio link also. 

The prominent display of this identifying information makes it easy for recruiters to get in touch with you. It also makes everything else on your CV page look inviting to read. For a unified look, be sure to make your artist resume and cover letter match by applying the same header design.

Artist CV summary example: showing your passion

When you think about all the artists in the world, you would probably say that the one thing they have in common is passion. Artists love what they do! They love creating in their chosen field, and the reception they get from their audience. Whether creating a piece of fine art, playing music to a live audience or showing a client a finished website, the one thing that matters is passion. Therefore, in your artist CV summary — sometimes called a profile or personal statement — you want to show that passion. 

Check out the summary from our artist CV sample below.

Adaptable summary CV sample

Freelance animation artist with 13 years of experience working in television production and 10 years in graphic design. Specialist in storyboard creation and producing concept art with a versatile and energetic attitude. Innovative and  motivated to work on fun and  challenging programming projects for your production team.

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“I would rather die of passion than of boredom.” — Vincent Van Gogh

Employment history sample: your area of expertise

Unlike other professions where a recruiters look at a candidate's progressive career path, this is less a priority for an artist CV. They are mainly interested in the outcomes of your work. However, your employment obviously still plays a key role in your employability. If you are self-employed, you may want to list the projects you have worked on, and perhaps the clients, rather than worrying too much about dates. 

See our artist CV employment history sample below.

Adaptable employment history CV example

Self-Employed Freelance Animator, Edinburgh 
January 2010 - Present 

  • Create a diverse range of elements across art styles for exciting projects, including character work with Pixar Animation Studios.
  • Manage workload within tight deadlines to maintain 100% track record of delivering projects on time.
  • Propose and implement solutions for client cost savings, with about 20% of projects completed under budget.
  • Communicate regularly with clients to update them on  project progress and obtain approvals at every stage.

 

Artist at Midnight Snack, Edinburgh 
January 2005 - November 2009 

  • Created 10+ designs monthly using Adobe Creative Cloud and  Photoshop.
  • Ensured images met the appropriate print and web standards.
  • Updated and managed image library of 1000+ content pieces.
  • Ensured all artwork was developed in line with company  marketing goals.

 

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Expert tip

If you or your work has been featured on any TV or radio programmes, or you have worked for any widely recognised clients, make sure you include it on your artist CV. It will instantly enhance your job prospects.

Artist CV education example: the road to success

Education may or may not be important for the artist role you are seeking, but it should be included in this section of your artist CV. Even if you do have a college degree, be sure to include any relevant courses you've taken at a learning centre or online. In any case, your education information should be listed here in reverse chronological order, from highest to lowest level. 

Check out the education section from our artist CV sample below. 

Adaptable education CV example

Animation BA (Hons) at University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh
August 2004 — September 2007

Udemy Courses

  • Learn to Animate: Animation Principles - 2010 Learn 3D Animation 2010
  • After Effects Motion Graphics 2010
  • Pixel Art and Animation 2010
  • Rigging Techniques 2010
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CV skills example: innovation and creativity

Artists are constantly learning and fine-tuning their skills. They never stop. A musician takes time to create music. A watercolour painter will keep learning new techniques and an animator will continue to evolve their skills by keeping on top of new programs and techniques.

As someone who likes to constantly digest new information, it is also critical, for obvious reasons, that an artist is highly innovative and creative.

In many ways, the soft skills of an artist are just as important as the artistry itself, requiring highly specialised hard skills.

Reflect on the skills from the advertised job description and use those that are relevant on your CV. The recruiter may quickly scan your CV to pick out these words, or they may even use an applicant tracking system (ATS) to screen online job applications. It is crucial that you tailor your CV for each role you are applying for. 

See our sample CV skills text below.

Adaptable skills section CV example
  • Passionate
  • Innovative
  • Deadline-driven
  • Adobe Flash
  • Spine
  • Adobe Illustrator
  • Adobe Photoshop
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Portfolio and recognition: your art showcase

You should also include one or more portfolio web links on your CV so recruiters can view samples of your work. This can be part of your header information or in a separate resume section. In the latter instance, highlight any any exhibitions you have featured in or awards/grants you have received. These sorts of contributions to the creative sector will instantly help your CV to stand out from those of other artist candidates. 

The hiring manager will ask to see your portfolio at some point anyway, so it makes it easier if you have it there from the onset. Otherwise, it's unlikely your job application would progress any further. 

CV layout and design: the finishing touches 

As an artist, you don’t need us to tell you that appearances count for a lot. When it comes to getting a hiring manager’s attention, your CV layout, design and formatting convey your eye for detail and your personal style — all before the employer has read a single word on the page.

Make sure to keep a good balance of white space to text, including wide enough margins. Ensure your font choices are legible and reader-friendly. Choose design and formatting elements that match the employer’s image, if relevant to the role. 

Using one of our professionally-designed CV templates can help give you a great head start with the visual details. Choose one from a wide selection of designs in four style categories: simple, modern, creative, and professional.

Key takeaways for an artist CV

  1. If you have not followed a linear career path in employee positions, it may be more beneficial to use a functional CV format instead of the conventional chronological format.
  2. Set out your CV structure before you get started. In addition to the essential sections that virtually all CVs have in common, be sure to include at least one link to your portfolio samples, or place this in an additional CV section showcasing any special contributions or awards.
  3. Tailor your CV to suit the role you are applying for and incorporate relevant keywords to help avoid rejection by an ATS.
  4. Include a combination of soft and hard skills on your CV list — they are both equally important to the recruiter.
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