Formal schooling is not required for craft artists. However, many take classes or earn a bachelor’s or master’s degree in fine arts, which can improve their skills and job prospects. It is difficult to gain adequate artistic skills without some formal education in the fine arts. Most craft artists have at least a high school diploma. High school classes, such as those in art, shop, or home economics, can teach prospective artists some of the basic skills they will need, such as drawing, woodworking, or sewing. Many artists pursue postsecondary education, and take classes or earn degrees that can improve their skills and job prospects. Independent schools of art and design also offer postsecondary training, which can lead to a certificate in an art-related specialty or to an associate’s, bachelor's, or master’s degree in fine arts. Education gives artists an opportunity to develop a portfolio—a collection of an artist’s work that demonstrates his or her styles and abilities. Portfolios are essential because art directors, clients, and others look at an artist’s portfolio when deciding whether to hire the individual or buy his or her work.
Craft improve their skills through practice and repetition. They can train in several ways other than, or in addition to, attending formal schooling. Some craft artists learn on the job from more experienced artists. Others attend non-credit classes or workshops or take private lessons, which may be offered in artists’ studios or at community colleges, art centers, galleries, museums, or other art-related institutions.
Craft artists create artwork and other objects that are visually appealing. This usually requires significant skill in one or more art forms. They must have active imaginations to develop new and original ideas for their work. Those who sell their work themselves must be good at dealing with customers and potential buyers. Most artists work with their hands and must be good at manipulating tools and materials to create their art.