commercial art student painting a picture.

Commercial Art

Commercial Art

Steve Mantz, Instructor
Phone: 610-866-8013, ext. 153

Heather Burkhart, Guidance Counselor
Phone: 610-866-8013 (Ext. 127)

Commercial art is the application of art to such familiar areas as advertising, packaging, publications, exhibits, and displays. Commercial artists design and illustrate newspapers, catalogs, brochures, manuals, books and record jackets, signs, special exhibits, merchandise displays and many other items requiring visual appeal. Entry-level opportunities in the field are primarily layout artists. These artists take all the elements of an advertisement or other printed material and carefully position them according to instructions. Those with talent and ambition may advance to graphic designer and then art director. Others may gain enough skill to succeed as a freelancer or specialized designer.

Success in today’s competitive market requires good drawing techniques, judgment concerning color and harmony, a keen sense of design, manual dexterity, neatness and accuracy. Commercial artists may leave their drawing boards and computers to discuss projects with supervisors, clients and/or other artists. Commercial art can be extremely rewarding and lucrative for the creative person. The field offers the opportunity to manipulate ideas, find new ways to solve problems, and enjoy the satisfaction of seeing ideas take shape and evolve.

At the Bethlehem Area Vocational Technical-School, we train our commercial art students at three levels. The first year (level one) teaches drawing and design foundations, including typography and color theory. Level two is the application of the previously learned skills with introduction to the computer. In the students senior year (level three) the commercial art student is introduced to art history and has finessed enough skills to compile a “portfolio,” a collection of examples of the artist’s best work. The nationally recognized Student Occupational Competency Achievement Test will measure a student’s mastery of occupational skills at the end of the program. Students may qualify for the Pennsylvania Skills Certificate, including high performance and job readiness in multiple areas.

Careers in Commercial Art
Unskilled: None
Semi-Skilled: Layout Artist
Skilled: Designer, Illustrator, Animator, Technical Artist, Cartoonist, Caricaturist, Assistant Art Director
Degree Professional: Art Director, Creative Director, Owner, Instructor, Special Effects Designer