How to start an illustration career
Being an illustrator sounds romantic, almost iddylic, but is it the most romantic job ever? I wrote a blog for those interested in diving into the world of professional illustration, based on my own experiences and those of illustrator-friends.
Are you drawing or illustrating?
An illustrator creates an image to accompany a piece of text, whereas fine art is created solely for the purpose of communicating with an audience. Illustration is distinct from fine art in that it can stand alone, whereas fine art is built around an idea or concept.
Are you drawing yet?
Renu00e9e van den Kerhof, also known as neetje (illustrator), has some excellent advice for aspiring illustrators: invest your spare time in drawing, experimenting, and taking painting and drawing classes, and always take your work seriously.
Knowing what you’re doing
There are very few lithographers left, so illustrators should be able to scan or photograph their work. Knowing how to digitize your work so it’s ready for print gives you an advantage. You can find graphic design classes in your area or look up tutorials online.
What does an illustrator do exactly?
Illustrators must answer emails, do administration, pay taxes, and be prepared to promote their work through social media.
Getting familiar with your own work and wishes
Make a list of everything you see when looking at your own work. Who is your target audience, would you say? Is your work colorful, happy, dark, gloomy, thoughtful, decorative?
Creating a portfolio
You can’t start a career as an illustrator without a portfolio, which shows what you can do and helps you get assignments. You can hire a professional web designer to create your portfolio, or you can start with companies that provide portfolio websites. Renu00e9e has a suggestion for you: go to a portfolio review event.
Part 2 of ‘How to start an illustration career’ is posted here. Read along!
I’ll talk more about how to get paid jobs, how to deal with clients, and social media tips in the second part of this series. This blog is free, but if you want to support me, feel free to make a donation of your choice.
What qualifications do you need to be an illustrator?
Most illustrators have a bachelor’s or associate’s degree, though some entry-level positions can be filled with just a high school diploma and exceptional drawing skills.
Do illustrators get paid well?
Volunteering to create illustrations for a local publication is another way to gain experience. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), illustrators and other fine artists earned a median wage of $49,520 per year in May 2017, with half earning less and the other half earning more.
Are illustrators in demand?
Illustrators are in high demand across a wide range of industries, but it is usually up to the illustrators to create that demand. Illustrators must not only be talented artists, but also business savvy and adept at marketing themselves.
Is Illustration a good career?
Although a career as an illustrator can be extremely rewarding, it can also feel a little like chasing your own tail. Being a freelance creative is a fickle business; you must constantly work at it. Be creative with how you find work.
Can I be an illustrator without a degree?
Yes, you can work as a freelance illustrator without having an illustration degree. Many artists in the industry don’t have an illustration degree, and most clients will judge you on the quality of your work in your portfolio, not on the degree or diploma that you may or may not have on paper.
Is it too late to become an illustrator?
It’s never too late to become an illustrator, regardless of your age; anyone can learn to draw and build a portfolio of work, and you’ll be surprised at how good you can get if you put in the time and effort.
How do illustrators get paid?
If an illustrator has signed a contract stating that they will receive a percentage of each sale of the product they were hired to create, royalties are paid to the illustrator once their advance has been ‘earned out.’ The percentage of royalties is typically between 5% and 10% and starts being paid to the illustrator once their advance has been ‘earned out.’
How much do illustrators charge per page?
Working with illustrators who are still in college, you can expect to pay between $25u201350/hr, whereas working with more experienced illustrators, you can expect to pay between $100u2013250/hr; it all depends. The same situations apply when it comes to project-to-project illustrators.
How much do illustrators charge per hour?
The average cost of an illustration project can range from $90 to $465 nationwide, but larger projects will command higher rates, and every project is different. Hourly rates for illustrators range from $25 to $100, and can be higher depending on the area of specialty and artist reputation.
Is graphic design a dying career?
Is graphic design dead? No, according to recent studies conducted by IBISWorld, the industry generated $15 billion in revenue in 2019, with an annual growth rate of 3.5%, and it is expected to grow at a rate of 2.7% in 2020 to become a $14.8 billion-dollar industry.
What are jobs for illustrators?
Illustration Jobs: A Look at the Different Career Paths and Salaries
- Courtroom Illustrator.
- Forensic Artists.
- Film Storyboarding.
- Medical Illustrator.
- Fashion Illustrator.
- Fine Art Illustrators.
- Fashion Illustrators.
Should I do graphic design or illustration?
The main distinction between graphic design and illustration is how and where they are used; typically, graphic design is more commercial, whereas illustration is more related to fine art; however, as more commercial projects require emotive and distinct visuals, those distinctions are blurring.
How can I learn illustration?
Illustrators can benefit from the following 12 excellent learning resources.
- Society of Visual Storytelling.
- London Art College.
- Universal Principals of Design.
What art jobs pay the most?
The 9 Best-Paying Art Jobs
- #1 Art Director. Median Salary: $94,220.
- #2 Producer and Director. Median Salary: $74,420.
- #3 Landscape Architect. Median Salary: $69,360.
- #4 Video Editor. Median Salary: $63,780.
- #5 Graphic Designer. Median Salary: $52,110.
- #6 Drafter.
How much money do illustrators make a year?
According to the BLS, illustrators earned an average annual salary of $63,030 in May 2019, with salaries varying widely depending on the size of their employers, experience, and location. Fifty percent of these fine artists’ salaries fell between $32,400 and $74,110 per year.