Getting a Job in the Cigar Industry: Part Two
Written by James Payne

Monday, 08 March 2010

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Programs You Will Want

As you may have guessed, I not only write, but I do some graphic design as well. In the freelance world, versatility is a skill that can get you through lean times. In my graphic artist toolbox, I use the following programs:

Adobe Photoshop: This is the granddaddy for graphic artists. It is a program that is both simple to use, versatile, and extremely complicated at the same time. This is due to the large number of features it possesses, some of which I have still yet to use. If you only have budget for one program, I suggest this one, though it will cost you around a $1,000 (a little less than $200 if you are a student).  The current version of the software is CS4 and it can be a bit of a resource hog, so have a good amount of ram on your computer and a decent video card (I would say no less than a gig of ram and 128 or more video ram).

Other programs you might want to consider and are common in the field are desktop publishing programs such as Adobe InDesign, FrameMaker, and PageMaker, the Corel Suite, and QuarkXPress.  If you are on a truly tight budget, there are free programs out there as well. Consider Picasa (from Google), Gimp, and ArtRage.

Breaking In

Being an artist is much like being a writer, and breaking into the marketplace can be challenging. If you have no prior credentials or publications, you will need to make yourself a portfolio of artwork. A good idea is to create a portfolio specific to the job you want. If you want to work in-house at a cigar company, then put together a book of 25 or so advertisement pages, a minimum of five custom made logo pages, a brochure or two, even a newsletter. The idea is to showcase your talent across the board and show that you have a firm understanding of what the job will require of you.  You will also want to start submitting art clips to magazines and publishing houses. Every clip you have published will help your cause. Artists and Photographer’s Market is a great book to help you find companies looking for freelancers.

Another great way to build up a portfolio is by doing a few jobs for free. If you have friends that own a company, offer to do their design work for them. It will help them out, and further your cause. You can also act as a volunteer doing design work and build up some samples that way.  Finally, you will want to submit work to art forums on the internet. They offer great critique and exposure experiences. Many editors scour these sites looking for talent, and I would wager companies looking for good artists do to.

Above all else, be professional and prepared. Being an artist is something you cannot fake. You can either do it or you can’t. Do the hard work, and in the end, you will have an edge over other artists vying for your position.


Well, that is all for this article. Once more, I could write a book on being an artists, the tools and education you need, and how to break into the market. But these tips should help you get on your way.  And if you are already an artist in the industry, we would love to hear your story and how you broke into the business.

Till then...




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