Artists hired by firms often start with relatively routine work. While doing this work, however, they may observe other artists and practice their own skills.
Craft and fine artists advance professionally as their work circulates and as they establish a reputation for a particular style. Many of the most successful artists continually develop new ideas, and their work often evolves over time.
Many artists do freelance work while continuing to hold a full-time job until they are established. Others freelance part-time while still in school to develop experience and to build a portfolio of published work.
Freelance artists try to develop a set of clients who regularly contract for work. Some freelance artists are widely recognized for their skill in specialties such as cartooning or children's book illustration. These artists may earn high incomes and can choose the type of work they do.