Scenic Artist

What is a scenic artist?

A scenic artist is an artist who paints murals, complex props pieces, and backdrops most often for film sets or theatre productions. Scenic artists will touch up or finish pieces done by the painting team and are skilled and versatile artists. Their work and deadlines are outlined by Production Designers and scenic artists take on the responsibility of ordering the materials needed as well as the installation of their work.

This career requires artists to work independently but also as a team. Their work specifications are set by the Production Designer or Head Painter so it is necessary that there is cooperation in order to transform small scale ideas into large, full scale productions.



In order to pursue this career, one must be a highly trained artist with qualifications from art school. It is important to have a good understanding of concepts, theories, styles and techniques of art and be knowledgeable in art related courses including art history and architecture. In addition, a scenic artist must have extensive knowledge of health and safety legislation and procedures to ensure that tasks are carried out in a safe working environment that follows the strict health and safety guidelines.

Skills Required

  • Comprehensive artistic and scenic skills
  • Know basic scenic painting techniques (landscape, figurative etc.), layout and paint application skills (different media), colour mixing (colour theory)
  • Fine art skills such as sketching, rendering, and painting
  • Have skills in techniques including marbling, graining and texturing
  • Beneficial to have previous experience

Average Pay

  • $27- $38 hourly


The work environment of a scenic artist are mainly theatre productions and film sets where backdrops, murals and props need to be painting for the setting.

I think that this would be a career that I am interested in pursuing because I enjoy painting murals and especially realistic landscapes or sceneries. While it is nice to have creative control and freedom, I do prefer when I am given guidelines and specifications for what to paint or draw. As an aspiring ballerina, it would also be a great experience to work at a theatre and the behind the scenes.

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