In this day and age, the concept of a starving artist is not only offensive, but also outdated. Telecommuting has reached into many worlds, and art is one of them.
Some of the best telecommuting jobs in art include: photographer, videographer, illustrator, graphic artist, designer, blogger, editor, reviewer, greeting card writer, and partier.
Below, I have included a list of the 20 most interesting telecommuting jobs in the art world. I have also included brief descriptions. In some cases, I have included companies that hire for these positions, either part-time, full-time, or contract. I have separated the jobs by category, so that you search them easily. Enjoy!
Photography and Videography
1. Virtual Tour Photographer/Videographer
Many real estate brokers have too much on their plates to take pictures or videos of a house or apartment. Maybe they don’t know how to take good pictures or videos. Perhaps they don’t want to invest in the equipment.
With the right tools and skills, you can find work creating virtual tours of real estate.
These homes and apartments tend to be vacant during showing periods. This means that you can generally set your own hours.
If you get enough experience and feel ambitious, you can start your own company doing this! Keep in mind that building, updating, renovating, and painting real estate happens continuously. Thus, there will never be a shortage of work in this area.
- To get a sense of what this job is like, check out virtual home tours.
2. Wedding Photographer/Videographer
Yes, technically you have to be at the wedding. I know that this is a fate worse than death. However, you can edit the video and choose the best pictures at home.
Wedding photographs have been around for a much longer time, but wedding videos have become more common in recent years. If you have experience taking pictures or shooting video for events, you might find contract gigs for weddings. However, most couples will not take the chance that you will mess up the photos/video.
If you have no experience, talk to an engaged couple. Ask if you can take pictures or shoot video for free. They might make you promise not to get in the “real” photographer’s way. Still, you will have something to write on your resume or put in your portfolio.
If you do a good job, the couple might end up paying you a little something anyway. You might also find referral work as you improve your skills.
3. Venue Photographer
Again, technically you need to be on-site to take pictures of a venue. However, you can do most of the work of choosing the best pictures and touching them up at home.
Go through the websites of some bars, restaurants, and other venues near you. If they have no pictures or poor pictures of the inside, make a note. Call them and ask if they need a photographer to take pictures and update the website.
Most venue owners are too busy to do this, or might not even think to do this. However, if you put it right in front of them and make the business case, they might agree. Remind them that a lot of people in the younger crowd will check online before going to a restaurant. If they don’t get a good vibe, that is one less customer. Your service can help to prevent that!
4. Location Photographer
Many magazines will hire local freelance photographers who know the area and can take high-quality pictures. This job will pay you to take pictures while you attend events and see the sights in your area.
- You can check out Boston Magazine here. This page has an email address to send inquiries about freelance opportunities.
- You can check out Chesapeake Bay Magazine here.
5. Party/Event Photographer
In this job, you will attend parties or networking events and take pictures. Did I just say free food and fun, in exchange for taking some pictures? There is one downside. Some of these jobs don’t pay, but think of it this way. If the totally offensive and outdated “starving artist” stereotype applies to you: suck it up and take the job!
You can eat for free, and network while you’re at it. Perhaps some of the people at these events will be wealthy or well-connected (gee, you think?). In that case, you might find some business prospects in need of one of your skills.
- Check out Party Digest here. They do not pay their correspondents, but you get to attend the events for free. All you have to do is take pictures and report back on the event.
Art, Illustration, and Design
6. Product Design
If you have a creative flair and an art background, this job might fit well with your tendencies. Many companies offer personalized, custom gifts for birthdays, graduations, anniversaries, groomsmen and bridesmaids, etc.
You would take specifications and design something novel that incorporates what the buyer envisions. You might also help to create artwork for product packaging, or design the packaging itself. Another possibility is creating artwork, which the company reproduces on collectibles, such as plates, ornaments, or figurines.
7. Greeting Card Illustration
In this job, you would illustrate cards, based on what a writer produces. You will need to express creativity, while maintaining the company’s standards and matching the words on the card. In some cases, you will have space to be humorous or off-color with your artwork. You can also illustrate for postcards, calendars, and posters.
- Check out American Greetings Corporation here.
- Check out Carlton Cards here. This page has a link to LinkedIn, where you can see available jobs.
- Check out Noble Works Cards here. A little off-color, if that is your style.
8. Display Fixtures
If you have experience in retail or advertising, this job might make sense for you. Retailers will always need eye-catching displays for new items. They also need to conserve space, since every square foot wasted means lost revenue. If you have an interest product design, advertising, and consumer psychology, then you should consider this job.
- Check out Display Connection, Inc. here. This company produces advertising display fixtures
9. Children’s Book Illustration
Maybe you have children, and have read every children’s book in the library with them. In that case, you know what type of illustrations they like. You also know which ones fall flat. If you have artistic talent and want a flexible schedule to work from home, this job might match your style.
As an illustrator, you can work on several different projects. You might design a book cover, the pages of a book with words, or a coloring book.
A word of advice: find out up front how the assignment pays you. You might get an advance. You might also get a flat fee per illustration page or per book. It is also possible to see some type of commission or royalty based on copies sold. It could also be some combination of these.
10. Graphic Designer
A graphic designer puts together images, type, and other elements to create a piece of visual art. A graphic designer might create graphics for brochures or advertisements, such as in magazines. He might also design logos for small businesses, corporations, and charities. These are good places to start looking if you are a freelancer!
Other places to check are Fiverr and Upwork, which both have freelance jobs available in graphic design. These sites pay less than larger companies, but they are a good place to start.
If you enjoyed reading the “funnies”, or the cartoons in the newspaper, then you might like this job.
To succeed as a cartoonist, you don’t need to be a great artist, though it doesn’t hurt. You do need to be clever with your writing and humor. In addition, you need to be able to start and end your joke within a few frames.
Keep in mind that getting syndication is a tough nut to crack. The cartoon syndicate will put your cartoon in as many newspapers as possible. However, they reject most applicants, due to the sheer volume of applications. You could try to convince newspapers to run your cartoon yourself, but some might only work with syndicates.
One idea is to write for a smaller publication, such as a college or industry magazine, to get some experience. Either way, you should start your own website and publish cartoons there. You should do this as often as you can, in order to practice your craft. You will also have a large portfolio to point to when you start to get your big break!
12. Awards Designer
As long as there are sports tournaments and high school graduations, there will be a need for awards. There will also be a need for people to design those awards!
For starters, you might design medals for events such as high school and college awards ceremonies. You might also design trophies for sports tournaments at the high school or college level, or beyond. In fact, you could even design class rings. Since every school wants a unique ring, there is plenty of work to go around!
- Check out Herff Jones here. To find more such companies, do a Google search. Better yet, ask a recent high school graduate where his class ring came from!
Writing and Editing
13. Greeting Card Writing
This is the other side of greeting card illustrating. You will need to be creative and express sentiment, while not taking yourself too seriously. You might have the opportunity to express humor with certain lines of cards.
Some bloggers write for their own blogs. Others write only for other people’s blogs, in a sort of perpetual “guest post” deal. In either case, you need to write in a way that is interesting to your intended audience. Long-winded, complex sentences will not score you any points. Save it for your Ph. D. dissertation!
As a blogger, you should know something about your topic of interest. You can learn about it in school, through experience, or by doing your own research. Some blogs are purely informational, intended to educate and inform readers.
Other blogs intend to entertain, perhaps by displaying humor, tragedy, or otherwise eliciting an emotional response from readers. Some blogs have a financial incentive. This means they will use ads, affiliate links, and calls to action to get readers to buy something.
If you want to work as a professional blogger, you should start your own blog. Write about something you know and love, in order to gain experience. Also offer to guest post on other blogs in your niche. Finally, find some smaller websites that have poor quality blog content, and ask if you can write for them. Once you gain enough experience and get enough exposure, you can charge more for your skills.
15. Market Research Writer
This job may be a bit too “mathy” for most artsy types. I’m sorry, that’s offensive. The truth is though, that most people are either left-brain dominant (math, logic, reasoning) or right-brain dominant (art, intuition, creativity).
Yes, I know that we all use both sides of our brain. However, I personally am left-brain dominant. I am strong at math. However, I got a B- in Cartooning in high school. Believe me, that grade was a very generous gift, from a teacher who liked me. If you want to see some scans of my old cartoons, let me know.
Back on topic with market research writer! You may need to do some math, in the way of statistics based on the market you are studying. For example, what percentage of women aged 20 to 35 have at least one child? Of those, what percentage live in the Northeast U.S.? How do you advertise to these women? This will differ from how you advertise to 50 year old women in the Southern U.S.
Your job is to take your research and condense it into something an executive can understand and act on.
16. College Application Essay Critiques
Note that this does not mean writing or rewriting essays for students. This job would involve providing critique in a few different areas. First, you would want to make sure the essay sticks to the requested topic.
Second, you need to make sure that the essay has a good overall structure. It should have strong transitions between paragraphs to make it flow.
Third, you should comment on the use of literary devices, such as metaphors, appeal to emotion, and other tools.
Finally, you should make general comments about how the student can improve the essay.
For example, you could encourage writing in depth on a topic that you think is worth developing. This is a good opportunity to help students to develop their ideas and get into the school of their dreams.
17. Dissertation Editor
Grammar nerds might enjoy this job – perhaps too much. If you enjoy ensuring smooth citations and like to do formatting for fun, read on. Many Ph.D. candidates are very busy conducting research, whether that means laboratory experiments or in-person interviews.
As a result, they quickly bang out their dissertation, and scatter pesky things like grammar to the four winds. You can help them with that! In many cases, you need experience, but the pay can be good ($25 per hour or more).
18. High Tech Marketing Copywriter
Try this job if you enjoy writing, marketing, and keeping up with the latest in tech. Every company with constantly evolving technology, from Apple to Google, needs to communicate with an audience. Since software engineers are sometimes not so good at writing “the English”, you have a potential in with these companies!
I will take this opportunity to make an outrageous claim. It is less competitive to find work as a writer at Google than as a software engineer. Case in point: every software engineer ever dreams of working at Google. Many of them apply, and many of them go to Ivy League schools. Most writers, however, don’t have Google (or any other tech company) top of mind.
Let’s say you can’t get in at one of the Silicon Valley tech behemoths. Plenty of other companies develop software, apps, and devices that you can explain to the general public. Remember to focus on benefits, not features!
19. Career Guide Writer
In this job, you take your experience in a career and share your knowledge with others. You can help people to climb the corporate ladder, while avoiding the pitfalls and mistakes that you made. A guide that takes a few days to read could save a reader weeks, months, or years of time!
You might also interview others who work in a specific career, and then condense their collective wisdom into a guide. Education, experience, and companies that hire for the career in question are important. It is also important to write about which personality types will enjoy the job, and which ones won’t.
You might gain more insight from someone who left the career than from someone who stayed for life. Since new careers are always popping up, this job should keep you busy for a while.
- Check out Fabjob.com here. Their stated goal is to help people find their dream careers.
20. Business Training Kit Writer
When writing these types of training kits, you will cover a variety of topics. These include promotions, career development, sales, time management, productivity improvements, and business opportunities.
You might also write copy for franchises.There are many established franchises that need to change with the times, and update materials accordingly. New franchises pop up all the time. They need good writers to produce quality material to help their franchisees to a strong start!
Conclusion – Best Telecommuting Jobs in the Arts
The jobs listed above certainly represent a diverse range of opportunities. However, it is by no means exhaustive. I get the impression that this list is only beginning to scratch the surface of what is available out there!
You can likely find plenty more like these, especially if you use this article as a jumping-off point for inspiration. If you aren’t sure about whether you would like remote work, check out my article on the pros and cons of telecommuting.
If you come across any interesting jobs or companies during your own search, please share them in the comments below. Thanks for reading!