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 website. Art can help to inspire and motivate us. It grasps our attention and stirs a range of emotions. Without artists, we would be living in a very dull world.
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 also a form of artistry, and there are many more professions within this category.
Working as an artist can be an extremely challenging and fulfilling career, but to get there, you’ll need a great 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:
- Structuring your artist CV to ensure your key skills and experience stand out.
- Optimising your CV with the most appropriate keywords to guarantee you pass through the ATS.
- Formatting your CV to suit your profession.
- Avoiding costly mistakes on your CV.
What does an artist do?
An artist is responsible for expressing thoughts, and feelings to evoke emotions and 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.
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
Artists can work in a wide array of sectors and as such, there are a 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. 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 52,000 people are employed as artists in the UK, a growth of over 2,000 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, you should follow a set structure when you create your artist CV. The standard structure for most CVs is:
- Employment History
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 for your needs.
Choosing the best CV format for an artist
As many artists work on a self-employed basis, they don’t follow the regular 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 career path. If you have followed a structure though, you can use a chronological CV which focuses on your employment history. A hybrid format is a combination of both.
For more insight and writing tips, check out our graphic designer CV example.
CV summary example: showing your passion
When you think about any artist in the world, you would probably say that the one thing they have is passion. Artist’s 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 summary, you want to show that passion. Check out the summary from our artist CV sample below.
Freelance animation artist with 12 years of experience working in television production. Specialist in storyboard creation and producing concept art with a versatile and energetic attitude. Innovative and motivated individual seeking opportunities to work on fun and challenging programming projects.
“I would rather die of passion than of boredom.” – Vincent Van Gogh
Employment history sample: your area of expertise
Unlike other professions where a recruiter is looking to see a set career path from the candidate, this is not as much of a priority within artistry. The outcomes you have achieved with your work is the main interest for a recruiter, 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 rather than worrying too much about the dates. See our adaptable CV sample below.
Freelance Animator at Self Employed, Edinburgh
January 2010 - Present
- Working on exciting projects creating a range of elements across art styles, including character work with Pixar Animation Studios.
- Managing own workload and working on tight deadlines to ensure projects are delivered on time.
- Communicating with clients on a regular basis with updates on projects.
- Experience using a range of elements and styles to create an outstanding finished product.
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.
If you or your work has featured on any TV programmes, radio 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.
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 that 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.
Reflect on the skills from the job description and use those that are relevant on your own CV. The recruiter may quickly scan your CV to pick out these words, or they may even have an ATS in place. It is crucial that you tailor your CV for each role you are applying to. See our CV sample text below.
- Adobe Flash
- Adobe Illustrator
- Adobe Photoshop
Artist CV education example: the road to success
Education may or may not be important for the role, but it should be included on your artist CV. If you don’t have a degree but have undertaken relevant online courses, you can include these here instead. Check out the education section from our artist CV sample below.
Learn to Animate: Animation Principles - 2010 Learn 3D Animation 2010
After Effects Motion Graphics 2010
Pixel Art and Animation 2010
Rigging Techniques 2010
Animation BA (Hons) at University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh
August 2004 — September 2007
Portfolio section example: your main contribution
You should also include a portfolio section, with links to your work, as well as 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 other 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 offset. They are unlikely to progress you further without this.
CV layout and design: the finishing touches
As an artist, you don’t need us to tell you that apparences count for a lot. When it comes to getting a hiring manager’s attention, your CV layout and design conveys 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 and choose a header that matches the employer’s image, if relevant for the role. A professionally-designed CV template can help give you a head start.
Key takeaways for an artist CV
- If you have not followed a structured career path, it may be more beneficial to use a functional CV format.
- Set out your structure before you get started. In addition to the standard format, you should also add sections for your portfolio and any contributions/awards.
- Tailor your CV to suit the role you are applying to and scatter it with relevant keywords.
- Use a combination of soft and hard skills – they are both equally important to the recruiter.
- Check out our artist CV sample for more ideas on creating a great layout.