Despite the popularity of anime overseas, there aren't as many people working as anime artists in America. Those who are either sell their drawings to make a living or they work for animation studios. Artists have no specific job requirements, but an associates degree and experience with multimedia animation can increase your chances of getting paid to draw anime.
Study the Field
A degree isn't always necessary for an anime artist, but it will give you a solid foundation of traditional art skills. If animation isn't offered at your school, go for a bachelor's in graphic design, computer graphics, art or a similar major. Sign up for any additional courses or electives that may strengthen your focus, such as film, drawing, three dimensional design or art history.
Take Similar Jobs
Apply for related jobs in the industry while you build a portfolio for future employers. For instance, you may work as a multimedia animator or artist and build a portfolio of special effects you designed in video games, television shows and movies. Each animation studio has its own artistic style that you'll need to pick up. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, studios that have personalized computer or software applications put new hires through hands-on training to learn the basics.
Build Your Network
Research local and regional anime events so you can get involved and meet people in the field. Anime Expo, the self-proclaimed largest manga and anime convention in North America in 2014, hosts events like seminars and symposiums to discuss the details of all things anime. The 2015 Anime and Manga Studies Symposium, for example, consists of scholars from around the world, discussing topics like interpretations of Japanese history, copyright status and the importance of female audiences and characters.
Sell Your Work
Anime Expo holds annual conventions for aspiring and popular artists, game creators and fans. The New England Anime Society reports that new artists who are over the age of 18 can apply and register to rent table space in the "Artists' Alley" section of the convention. During your first show, ask seasoned artists for advice, such as which pictures to sell and how to display them. As you sell more and gain a small fan base, apply to be an exhibitor at the expo, which draws more attention than a table in the alley.
Supply the Demand
It's difficult to estimate the earning potential for anime artists. As with many forms of art, revenue depends on your talent and marketing ability. Anime is far more popular in Japan than America, but an article by the College Foundation of North Carolina indicated that it is picking up speed. It quoted the director of marketing and publications from Streamline Pictures, Fred Patten, explaining that anime was practically nonexistent in America until 1989. Patten noted that the market for anime videos and related merchandise in America has since increased to an estimated figure of over $100 million a year, at the time of publication.
2016 Salary Information for Multimedia Artists and Animators
Multimedia artists and animators earned a median annual salary of $65,300 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, multimedia artists and animators earned a 25th percentile salary of $49,320, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $90,450, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 73,700 people were employed in the U.S. as multimedia artists and animators.