Self-Employed in Art & Design

A degree in Art and Design can lead to an extremely successful and rewarding career as a self-employed artist or designer. You might find yourself working closely with clients to develop a commissioned piece of work, curating a show or developing new techniques in design.

Male student drawingFine Artist

As an Artist you will usually work on one project at a time, generating income through grants, sponsorship and selling your work. You will use your imagination and creative skills to communicate to the world around you. Your typical daily tasks might include developing a piece of work in accordance with a brief for a commission or project, writing funding applications, curating a show or sourcing materials.

Typical starting salary: As you will be self-employed, it is difficult to give an average salary. However artists may earn in the region of £15,000 - £30,000.


The Printmaking team has strong links with workshops and courses worldwide, for example; working closely with innovations in non-toxic processes with the printmaking Centre in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Printmaking students have been very successful in gaining places on Masters courses at The Royal College of Art, The Slade and at Universities in the United States.

Typical starting salary: £16,000. A large amount of your work may be freelance, and you can supplement your income with other work.

Robert Gordon University Graduates

Some of our graduates have gone on to be:

  • Milliner
  • Photographic Studio Owner
  • Gallery Owner
  • Sculptor

“The theoretical aspects of my course have enabled me to develop and work in a way that I would otherwise not have done, helping me to think differently and approach my art practice in a way which is both challenging and exciting.”

Andy Cumming Printmaking 2011 BA (Hons)


  1. 10, April, 2017 Mental Health Movie Monthly: The Milk of Sorrow

    The Sir Ian Wood Building

    Come along to a screening of 'The Milk of Sorrow' as part of Mental Health Movie Monthly.  

Contact Us

Robert Gordon University, Garthdee House, Garthdee Road, Aberdeen, AB10 7QB, Scotland, UK: a Scottish charity, registration No. SC013781