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Most people believe that being a brilliant artist and storyteller are the skills to be a great illustrator, and this is true. However, being a great illustrator and a more well-rounded person requires much more.

Creating two-dimensional graphics for a variety of businesses and industries, including fashion design, children’s books, periodicals, medical manuals, websites, technical designs, and advertising, is what an illustrator does.

Sometimes illustrations may communicate an emotion, a meaning, or an essence better than a wall of prose. If you are someone who is interested in giving meaning to visuals and coming up with creative ideas, read this blog and know how you can pursue a career as an Illustrator.

What does an Illustrator do?

Typically, illustrations are used by clients in publications including books, periodicals, websites, and adverts. Depending on the requirements and tastes of the client, they may work together to produce graphics.

The duties in a career as an Illustrator are as follows –

  • Illustrators meet with clients and project managers to discuss the specifications of a project. Illustrators first consult with a customer to go through the design and project specifications.
  • If they are employed by an organization, they might meet with a project manager or team lead to get instructions on their task.
  • The illustrator and client establish a deadline after considering the project’s specifics. With a timeline in hand, the illustrator can use it to finish the project’s various components.
  • Also, information about salary, due dates, and project agreements are negotiated by illustrators.
  • To help them produce the desired aesthetic results, they employ several tools. Typically, illustrators create sample illustrations to present to clients in order to gauge their approval of the work and identify any adjustments that may be required.
  • Depending on the client’s response, illustrators can make adjustments to the project at this stage and change the specifications for the artwork.
  • They conduct a study to better comprehend the specifics of a project. They can also conduct studies on the ideas and subjects related to the project, such as technical words or medical notions.
  • They might get more comments from the client about the item that they can use as a guide for future work.

Job roles for an Illustrator

An illustrator can pursue a career as an Illustrator in full-time employment for an organization. An illustrator can also cater services through freelancing or even through direct sales to clients. In addition, illustrators can create digital illustrations for animated landscapes and objects or stationary and packaging.

Some of the most essential and exciting careers that illustrators can achieve are –

  • Product Illustrator:
    Product illustrators view their illustrations as a means of developing a completely distinct identity for a product and as a crucial component of the narrative that must be told for the product to succeed.
  • Fashion Illustrator:
    Almost any illustration with an emphasis on clothing, accessories, or associated media falls under the umbrella of fashion illustration. The choice of artistic medium is typically decided by the designer, and fashion illustrators may utilize realistic depictions or more abstract sketches.
  • Editorial Illustrator:
    In newspapers, periodicals, and journals, editorial illustrators produce pictures to accompany textual pieces. Detailed explanations are not necessary when a well-designed image appropriately conveys the core of a concept right away.
The projects of an Illustrator 
Book jackets
Computer games
Film animation
Gift cards
The projects of an Illustrator
  • Children’s book Illustrator:
    Children’s book artists produce illustrations that appear alongside the written text in fiction and non-fiction books for children. The illustrator may make a book more vibrant, fascinating, and thought-provoking by bringing a tale or topic to life through their artwork.
  • Medical Illustrator:
    Realistic drawings are produced by a medical illustrator for use in the medical industry. Some medical illustrators focus on a particular field of medicine, surgery, or ophthalmology, while others on pharma or 3D model.
  • Technical Illustrator:
    A technical illustrator designs and produces accurate renderings and visual representations to convey technical information. They draw technical diagrams, equipment installation illustrations, and blueprints for use in publications and manuals.
  • Storyboard Illustrator:
    After a concept or narrative has been completed, a storyboard illustrator starts to create the storyboard. They will create polished drawings for presentations using the rough concepts provided by the art director, filmmaker, producer, or marketer.

Career path to become an Illustrator

If you want to pursue a career as an Illustrator, you can choose the following path.

Path 1:

Complete your 10+2 in the Arts stream and enrol for a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. While qualification is not mandatory to pursue a career as an Illustrator, employers prefer if you have an undergraduate degree.

Salary in different career stages of an Illustrator

Based on expertise, the pay in a career as an Illustrator ranges widely. The compensation relies on the experience level of the artist/Illustrator. With an increase in experience and skills, there will be a notable hike in salary. Moreover, the salary of an Illustrator depends upon the type of career they are pursuing.

For a full-time employed Illustrator, the salary ranges between ₹ 2 lakhs to ₹ 12 lakhs, with an average annual salary of ₹ 3.5 lakhs. To get onto the highest salary package he/she has to gain career experience of 10-15 years as an illustrator.

These are the results of our analysis of Illustrator pay according to the level of experience.

Salary of an Illustrator based on experience
Salary of an Illustrator based on experience

However, on the other hand, an Illustrator working as a freelancer can work on multiple projects at once and can make a much higher monthly income as compared to a full-time employed Illustrator.

Skills to become an Illustrator

Illustrators interact with their clients, who may be other designers, an editor, or an author. Illustrators need a diverse set of practical talents to have a successful career as an Illustrator.

  • Unique Style:
    You must establish a relevant style if you wish to be published. Your style will become apparent if you persevere long enough.
  • Creativity:
    Being an independent illustrator requires following a creative path, and creativity is incomplete without imagination.
  • Convincing:
    If you haven’t worked with your customer before, they may feel anxious, so do all in your power to reassure them and demonstrate your enthusiasm and interest.
  • Communication:
    You must have the courage and willingness to call your art director for clarification and to ask questions. Asking for feedback will hone communication skills as well as an understanding of client requirements.
  • Visual library:
    You are developing your visual library as you gather references, traveling could be a great source of gathering information and capturing experience.

Is a career as an Illustrator a good one?

If you enjoy the art of creating, illustration is a good career. Although there is a significant demand for Illustrators, the field is highly competitive. Being an Illustrator also makes it simple to work independently.

The market for Illustrators is present in different businesses, however, the demand for Illustrators is generated by the artists themselves. Along with being fully skilled artists Illustrators should also possess the art of commerce and self-promotion.

For instance, a talented Illustrator who despises self-promotion may not be in demand as much as a mediocre Illustrator who excels at networking and obtaining business.

For a career as an Illustrator, the BLS predicts employment growth of 14% between 2020 and 2030, a pace that is much higher than the average for all other profiles in the workforce.

If you want to know more about a career as an Illustrator, sign up for the Clever Harvey JuniorMBA- Design and Branding course today to add a real industry project to your student portfolio.

Type of industries hiring Illustrators

Illustrators are artistic experts who create graphics for various uses. Illustrators have a variety of job opportunities, including those in software development and advertising. An examination of the many markets for Illustrators already in existence indicates a remarkably deep and wide range of prospective options. Here’s a list of a few industries you can work in to pursue a career as an Illustrator.

  • Editorial, Publishing and Advertising
  • Product
  • Fashion 
  • Technical and Graphic
  • Medical and Science 
  • Entertainment

Top recruiters for Illustrators

If you want to pursue a career as an Illustrator, here’s a list of the top recruiters in the field.

  • BigBook Designs
  • DataMatics
  • Geethik Technologies
  • Medlar Publishing Solutions
  • Pro Global Business Solutions

Courses to upskill as an Illustrator

To be hired, you don’t need a degree. The primary requirements are talent and experience. You will get hired if your work is appealing. But in order to use various illustration tools, you should be able to apply a variety of ways. However, it is difficult to specify a certification course for illustration as it is a broader stream.

There are a number of design institutions which provide training and certifications courses to start your career as an Illustrator such as –

  • Graphic Designing
  • Advertising
  • Product Design
  • Book Design
  • Architecture

If you want to know more about a career as an Illustrator, sign up for the Clever Harvey JuniorMBA- Design and Branding course today to add a real industry project to your student portfolio.

Qualifications to become an Illustrator

Specialized schooling is frequently needed for specialized illustration. But a degree is not necessary to become an Illustrator. However, many artists have benefited from degree programmes in developing their artistic abilities, technical expertise, and professional networks. In this section, we shall be discussing the educational qualifications required to pursue a career as an Illustrator.

Degrees in India

If you want to pursue a career as an Illustrator, take a look at these undergraduate and postgraduate programs you can study in India.

Undergraduate courses in India

  • Bachelor of Fine Arts
  • Bachelor of Visual Arts
  • BA Illustrator
  • UG Diploma in Animation & Illustration
  • B.Sc in Graphics, Illustration, Web Design

Postgraduate courses in India

MFA2 years
MA Illustration15 months
M.Sc Visual Communication2 years

Degrees abroad

If you want to pursue a career as an Illustrator, take a look at these undergraduate and postgraduate programs you can study abroad.

Undergraduate courses abroad

  • BFA (Art, Illustration)
  • BFA Hons Illustration, Animation
  • BDes (Graphic Design, Illustration)
  • BA Hons (Graphic Design, Illustration)

Postgraduate courses abroad

Master in Illustration1 – 2 years
MA Visual Communication (Illustration, Animation)1 year
MFA Medical Illustration2 years
MA Children Literature1 – 2 years

To know more about how you can pursue a career as an Illustrator, read this blog- How to become an Illustrator


Do you want some extra information about a career as an Illustrator? Keep reading!

Four of the most influential Illustrators –

  • Charles M. Schultz- No list of the most influential illustrators of all time is complete – or should even begin – without a nod to the godfather of daily comic strips, Charles M. Schultz.
  • Richard Corben- Corben, is one of the lesser-known illustrators on this list. Corben has limited his expertise to the realm of graphic novels, but his work there has received widespread acclaim from other top illustrators.
  • H.R. Geiger- Few illustrators have a penchant for the nightmarish quite like the late Hans Rudolf Geiger, a man whose surrealist work – be it illustration, sculpture, or paintwork – was as unique as it was unsettling.
  • William Blake- While the English poet’s art and illustrations did not receive much acclaim during his lifetime, his artistry – both written and illustrated – had a huge influence on the world.

Books that can be helpful for illustrators –

  • Becoming a Successful Illustrator
  • The Addictive Sketcher
  • 365 Days of Art
  • How To Be An Illustrator

Tips for Aspiring Illustrators

  • Networking with other industry professionals
    To meet other illustrators, go to networking events hosted by groups like the Association of Illustrators.
  • Promoting your work
    Posting your work on social media and online portfolio sites will help you attract the attention of publishing companies, art directors, agents, and new clients. You might also be able to approach publishers and art directors directly to present them with your ideas.
  • Sticking to deadlines
    Be clear in your communication with clients/colleagues regarding their needs, wants, and what you can provide for them. Never miss a deadline. To increase your clientele, produce high-calibre work, and demonstrate dependability.

That’s all you need to know about a career as an Illustrator. We hope this blog helped you and answered all your questions about how you can become an Illustrator, what skills you need, and where you can work. Good luck!

FAQs related to a career as an Illustrator

What is the future of illustration?

Future illustrations will serve as more than just a visual aid. The ongoing development of cutting-edge digital techniques, web platforms, and programming, along with talented, creative artists.

Is an illustrator degree useful?

A degree in the illustration is worthwhile when you consider how much you’ll study and how much longer it might take you to learn it on your own. Additionally, you’ll develop beneficial connections with other students that can open up job prospects for you later in life.

Can illustrators work for companies?

The majority of illustrators are self-employed and produce their own work in response to customer demands. Rarely are paid job openings posted. Publishers, print media (newspapers and magazines), advertising agencies, design consultancies, and event management firms are examples of potential clients.

Do illustrators make good money?

The average yearly income for an in-house illustrator is $65,020, which equates to an hourly wage of $31.26 per hour, according to the most recent report from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Is illustrator a designer?

A designer that produces pictures and artwork for use in designs, children’s books, or even commercial packaging design is known as an illustrator. Illustration belongs more to the art category than the design one.

Are illustrators in demand?

Many different businesses need artists, however, it is typically up to the illustrators to generate this demand. Illustrators need to be skilled artists as well as businesspeople who can effectively market their services.

What industry is an illustrator in?

Creating two-dimensional graphics for a variety of businesses and industries, including fashion design, children’s books, periodicals, medical manuals, websites, technical designs, and advertising, is what an illustrator does.

How do I get paid as an illustrator?

When an illustrator signs a contract stipulating that they would receive a cut of every sale of the product they were contracted to design, they are paid royalties. The illustrator begins receiving royalties once their advance has been “earned out,” which is normally between 5 and 10%.

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