Decorative painter

A decorative painter


Decorative painters design and create visual art on different kinds of surfaces such as pottery, casings, glass and fabric. They use diverse materials and a variety of techniques to produce decorative illustrations ranging from stenciling to free-hand drawing.

Decorative painters typically do the following:

  • Develop creative ideas or new methods for making art
  • Create sketches, templates, or models to guide their work
  • Select which materials to use on the basis of color, texture, strength, and other criteria
  • Shape, join, or cut materials for a final product
  • Use visual techniques, such as composition, color, space, and perspective, to produce desired artistic effects
  • Develop portfolios highlighting their artistic styles and abilities to show to gallery owners and others interested in their work
  • Display their work at auctions, craft fairs, galleries, museums, and online marketplaces
  • Complete grant proposals and applications to obtain financial support for projects

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to decorative painter:

pottery painter
decorative glass artist
traditional glass painter
interior decorative artist
decorative artist
glass painter
tole painter
ceramic painter
specialist decorator

Minimum qualifications

No formal educational credential is generally required to work as a decorative painter. However, it is difficult to gain adequate artistic skills without some formal education. For example, high school art classes can teach prospective craft artists the basic drawing skills they need.

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Decorative painter is a Skill level 2 occupation.

Decorative painter career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to decorative painter.

porcelain painter
wood painter
glass painter
ceramic painter

Long term prospects

These occupations require some skills and knowledge of decorative painter. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of decorative painter with a significant experience and/or extensive training.

sound artist
venue programmer
body artist
scenic painter
assistant stage director

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of decorative painter.

  • Intellectual property law: The regulations that govern the set of rights protecting products of the intellect from unlawful infringement.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of decorative painter.

  • Create original drawings: Create original drawings, based on texts, thorough research and discussion with authors, journalists and specialists.
  • Create artwork: Cut, shape, fit, join, mould, or otherwise manipulate materials in an attempt to create a selected artwork – be the technical processes not mastered by the artist or used as a specialist.
  • Develop visual elements: Imagine and apply visual elements such as line, space, colour, and mass to express emotions or ideas.
  • Maintain an artistic portfolio: Maintain portfolios of artistic work to show styles, interests, abilities and realisations.
  • Use artistic materials for drawing: Use artistic materials such as paint, paintbrushes, ink, watercolours, charcoal, oil, or computer software to create artwork.
  • Create sketches: Draw sketches to prepare for a drawing or as a standalone artistic technique.
  • Select artistic materials to create artworks: Select artistic materials based on strength, colour, texture, balance, weight, size, and other characteristics that should guarantee the feasibility of the artistic creation regarding the expected shape, color, etc. – even thought the result might vary from it. Artistic materials such as paint, ink, water colours, charcoal, oil, or computer software can be used as much as garbage, living products (fruits, etc) and any kind of material depending on the creative project.
  • Articulate artistic proposal: Identify the essence of an artistic project. Identify strong points to be promoted in order of priority. Identify the target audience and the communication media. Communicate key ideas and adapt them to the selected media.
  • Use paint safety equipment: Wear safety equipment appropriately such as face masks, gloves and overalls, in order to stay protected from toxic chemicals emitted during paint spraying.
  • Study artistic techniques: Study a variety of artistic techniques and learn how to apply them in concrete artistic projects.
  • Contextualise artistic work: Identify influences and situate your work within a specific trend which may be of an artistic, aesthetic, or philosophical natures. Analyse the evolution of artistic trends, consult experts in the field, attend events, etc.
  • Submit preliminary artwork: Submit preliminary artwork or art project plans to clients for approval, leaving room for additional suggestions and changes.
  • Use painting techniques: Apply painting techniques such as ‘trompe l’oeil’, ‘faux finishing’ and aging techniques.
  • Define set painting methods: Define painting methods and materials.
  • Work independently as an artist: Develop one’s own ways of doing artistic performances, motivating oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
  • Paint surfaces: Use brushes and rollers to apply a coat of paint to a prepared surface evenly and without leaving drops.
  • Create original paintings: Create paintings, drawing from your experience, inspiration and techniques.
  • Gather reference materials for artwork: Gather samples of the materials you expect to use in the creation process, especially if the desired piece of art necessitates the intervention of qualified workers or specific production processes.
  • Study artworks: Study styles, techniques, colours, textures, and materials used in works of art.

Optional knowledge and skills

Optional knowledge

This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of decorative painter. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Paint spraying techniques: Field of information which distinguishes different kinds of paint spraying equipment and spraying techniques., and the order in which parts should be spray-painted.
  • Home decoration techniques: The techniques, design rules and trends applicable to interior decoration in a private home.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of decorative painter. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

  • Assess conservation needs: Assess and list the needs for conservation/restoration, in relation to current use and planned future use.
  • Decorate musical instruments: Create designs on musical instruments by using methods such as embossing, piercing, painting, woodworking, weaving, and other methods.
  • Select artistic productions: Research artistic productions and choose which ones could be included in the programme. Initiate contact with the company or agent.
  • Collaborate with technical experts on artworks: Collaborate with engineers, mechanics, and other technical experts to build, install and move pieces of art.
  • Paint sets: Paint set constructions and stage props.
  • Paint decorative designs: Apply designs in paint, using paint sprayers, paintbrushes or spray cans.
  • Develop artistic project budgets: Developing artistic project budgets for approval, estimating deadlines and material costs.
  • Confer on artwork: Introduce and discuss the nature and content of art work, achieved or to be produced with an audience, art directors, catalogue editors, journalists, and other parties of interest.
  • Decorate textile articles: Decorate wearing apparels and made up textile articles by hand or using machines. Decorate textile articles with ornaments, braided cords, golden yarns, soutaches, jewellery, and cristals.
  • Define artistic approach: Define your own artistic approach by analysing your previous work and your expertise, identifying the components of your creative signature, and starting from these explorations to describe your artistic vision.
  • Use genre painting techniques: Use a genre or academic painting and drawing techniques.
  • Create 2D painting: Produce a drawing by using a range of digital tools.
  • Decorate furniture: Use techniques such as gilding, silver-plating, framing or engraving to add specific decorations in the material of the furniture.

ISCO group and title

7316 – Sign writers, decorative painters, engravers and etchers

  1. Decorative painter – ESCO
  2. Craft and Fine Artists : Occupational Outlook Handbook – U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
  3. Featured image: Photo by Flow Clark on Unsplash
Last updated on October 5, 2022

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