Job Family: Arts, Communications, Media, and Design Graphic Designers and Illustrators
Services Offering this Occupation
Army  | Navy  | National Guard

Photo 1: Graphic artist puts finishing touches on sign.
Photo 2:
Combat illustrator poses in front of his work.

Short Description
The military produces many publications, such as training manuals, newspapers, reports, and promotional materials. Graphic artwork is used in these publications and for signs, charts, posters, and TV and motion picture productions. Graphic designers and illustrators produce graphic artwork, drawings, web pages and other visual displays.


What They Do
Graphic designers and illustrators in the military perform some or all of the following duties:
  • Produce computer-generated graphics through understanding of electronic imaging equipment, multimedia and telecommunication software, image scanners and digitizing devices
  • Draw graphs and charts to represent budgets, numbers of troops, supply levels, and office organization
  • Develop ideas and design posters and signs
  • Help instructors design artwork for training courses
  • Draw illustrations and cartoons for filmstrips and animation for films
  • Make silkscreen prints
  • Work with TV and film producers to design backdrops and props for film sets

Helpful Attributes
Helpful school subjects include art, drafting, desktop publishing and geometry. Helpful attributes include:
  • Ability to convert ideas into visual presentations
  • Interest in artwork or lettering
  • Neatness and an eye for detail
  • Understanding of visual communication

Training Provided
Job training consists of classroom instruction including practice in preparing graphic designs and illustrations. Further training occurs on the job. Course content typically includes:
  • Introduction to graphics, lettering, drawing, and layout techniques
  • Illustration and television graphic techniques
  • Theory and use of color

Work Environment
Graphic designers and illustrators usually work in offices on land or aboard ships.


Civilian Counterparts
Civilian graphic designers and illustrators work for government agencies, advertising agencies, print shops, engineering firms, and large organizations that have their own graphics departments. They may be known as graphic arts technicians or commercial artists.

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