Top Career and Job Ideas for Anime Artists – Examples And Tips

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In this post, I’ve collected the career and job ideas for anime artists and the best ways you can make a living as an anime artist. There are plenty of options out there to make money from your passion. You just need to know the options. Here’s a list of the opportunities available to you.


Key Takeaways

  • There are always open opportunities to earn income as an anime artist.
  • You can earn a lot of money as an anime artist.
  • The amount of money you earn as an anime artist depends on the time invested in the chosen craft.
  • When you work for yourself, you determine the salary and the rates.
  • When working for a company or a studio, you are paid the industry standard salary.
  • Freelance working or being an entrepreneur has no income level limit.

Commission Work & Freelancing

If you’re a novice Anime artist and are still trying to build your portfolio, there are many wonderful opportunities to do so while making money.

Commission work and freelancing are solid places to start your career as an Anime artist. The pros are many, like the fact that you don’t need a college degree or be well-connected to get gigs. You can work on your commissions on your laptop or tablet and get paid wherever you are. 

All you have to do is look up Anime jobs on websites where people ask for commissions. 

Popular freelancing websites like Upwork, SimplyHired, and Fiverr have entry-level jobs for beginners, while specialty websites like ArtStation and Behance post vacancies for more seasoned artists. 

While some jobs are small with pay to match, you can luck into a long-term contractor job if the client likes your work.

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Commission work for the Artemis album cover

What happened to me was that an agency/studio contacted me through Behance, and in a matter of a few days, I was drawing the Artemis album cover for Lindsey Stirling.

I have to say Behance has been the best place for me personally to get regular commission requests for a variety of projects. And to give a bit more context, it was my first professional project commission, and I didn’t promote myself in any way. My artwork made the talking.

Create and Sell Merchandise and Digital Products

Many Anime artists build a following on social media where fans can appreciate their work. One way to monetize this following is to create a line of merchandise featuring your art. You can also sell digital products, like non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

There are plenty of different physical products you can sell in your online store, such as: 

  • Apparel (printed T-shirts, sweatshirts, and tank tops)
  • Stationery (printed notebooks and supplies)
  • Mugs
  • Posters
  • Prints of your anime art

Selling merchandise requires more work than digital commissions because you’ll have to source a supplier and figure out shipping logistics. Nowadays, though, you can outsource this part of your operation to a company that handles the production, ordering, and shipping processes (print-on-demand business model).

Here are the most popular POD options that plenty of anime artists already use:

  • Redbubble
  • Teespring
  • Society6
  • Printful

Physical items will help your audience connect better with your art. This creates a bond with your work and incentivizes your audience to invest more in your art.

If you are into selling digital products (a business model I like the most and do the most), you are in luck, as it’s super simple to monetize your artwork these days.

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Example image of showing digital product catalog

Some of the ways you can sell your anime art as a digital product:

  • Digital download of your high-resolution artwork.
  • If you are doing digital art, you can sell the PSD file, for example.
  • Selling an online course teaching a specific technique.
  • Selling the digital brushes, you use to create anime art.

Work in an Animation Studio

Remember that everybody has to start somewhere, so applying for a job at a small animation studio isn’t a bad idea. You can also intern at a large studio if you’re still a beginner, which should boost your resume and make you a better candidate for a job later.

Most Anime-production companies are based in Japan, but that doesn’t mean you’ll have to move there! You can find opportunities for remote work if you search online for studios and apply for the vacancies they advertise. 

There are also a few production studios in North America, such as:

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Recruitment example by Madhouse Studio

While they don’t have the same scale and number of projects as a Japanese animation studio, you might be able to gain a lot of experience by working there and then, later on, apply to work for MAPPA or Madhouse, for example.

Work in a Video Game Studio

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Bandai Namco recruitment page (there are spots for international applicants)

Anime video games are part of the booming gaming industry that’s expected to gross over $365.60 billion in 2023. As a result, this enormous marketplace always needs new talent to create and animate storylines for gamers to gobble up as soon as they’re released.

Keep your portfolio updated with your latest work. Then, start applying to studios that produce video games based on popular Anime series, like Dragon Ball Z and One Piece, or originals like Tales of Arise.

Some of the biggest companies to work in regarding anime games:

Become a Teacher in the Field

Teaching someone the basics of Anime art or specific techniques can help them create their dream series or art one day. So consider becoming a teacher if you enjoy passing on your skills to someone else who’s just as passionate about the industry as you are.

There are many art schools in the U.S. that have programs dedicated to anime art, such as The Art Institute of Pittsburgh, The School of Visual Arts in New York, and The California Institute of the Arts.

There’s also the option of running your own anime art academy by either holding in-person workshops or creating a virtual classroom via your own art website.

You can also create an online course on websites like Skillshare or Udemy, platforms that host all sorts of online courses.

I’ve created a few anime art online courses for Skillshare and Udemy and for a few other places and make some money from those regularly. As you can see, you can truly expand your knowledge and skills in anime art to earn an income.

Create a YouTube Channel

YouTube has become the new way we consume entertainment, including anime and anime art. You can capitalize on its popularity by creating your own YouTube channel. Post your finished anime artwork, tips and tricks, ongoing projects, and behind-the-scenes creator videos.

The best part is that you can monetize your YouTube videos by allowing ads to play before or during your videos. These bring in a little extra income that can become enormous if your channel catches on.

Another stellar aspect of this is that your channel can bring in sponsorships if it grows large enough. Also, the income is relatively passive once it gets going.

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YouTube earnings example

You need to set up a Google AdSense account before you can monetize your YouTube channel, and also reach the channel requirements to be eligible for monetization.

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YouTube channel requirements before you can apply for monetization

Become a Mangaka

A mangaka is an artist who draws manga, the comic book source material for most Japanese anime. Although this job lacks the animation aspect of anime, it still carries similar art styles and concepts. It also caters to the same audience.

Examples of renowned mangakas include:

  • Yoshihiro Togashi
  • Akira Toriyama
  • Naoko Takeuchi
  • Osamu Tezuka
  • Takeshi Obata

You don’t need to have an employer to work as a mangaka. All you need to do is find a place to publish your finished work online, whether that’s a specialty website like Crunchyroll, Pixiv, or a social media account.

Become an Entrepreneur

Sometimes, it makes more sense to create opportunities instead of waiting for one to come your way. You can start a business selling custom-made, anime-inspired designs like Ryan McCarthy, the founder of Imouri.

This entrepreneurial spirit can help you navigate the anime art industry. You can still create, produce, and distribute your original anime art material even if you’re not in Japan.

Just keep in mind running an online business of any kind is a massive investment of time, effort, and money that can either go extremely well or poorly. So be prepared to sink or float.

Consistency, perseverance, and a healthy mindset for continuous learning are the best advice I can give as an anime art entrepreneur.

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Okuha

Digital Artist

I’m a digital artist who is passionate about anime and manga art. My true artist journey pretty much started with CTRL+Z. When I experienced that and the limitless color choices and the number of tools I could use with art software, I was sold. Drawing digital anime art is the thing that makes me happy among eating cheeseburgers in between veggie meals.

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