How to become an Illustrator?


Why are illustrations created? Illustrations can sometimes convey a feeling, meaning, or essence more effectively than a wall of text. As a result, they are used in advertising and product branding. Also, children’s books, for example, frequently include illustrations because they are a useful, creative, and enjoyable way to educate children.

A walking polar bear with industries on its body represents industries built on its habitats. It's a 'Robin Wood e.V.' advertising campaign called 'Disappearing Animals.'
Source – adsoftheworld

Being an illustrator is a popular job these days: everyone wants to be one. It has a romantic, almost idyllic sound to it. “I will draw and paint all day, every day.”

And if you have the ability to draw well, why not make it your full-time job? But where do you start?

Don’t worry, you’ve come to the right place! This blog will answer your questions as well as share the skills required, colleges and courses, salary, and top companies for having a career as an Illustrator. Follow the step-by-step guide in the blog about how to become an illustrator.

Know more – How to become a Jewelry designer

Who is an illustrator?

A digital illustration tool is being used to create a face portrait of a Black woman.
Source – techspot

Illustrators create illustrations to convey the main message of a blog, advertisement, or product branding. You can make your products and packaging more appealing by hiring an illustrator to create illustrations for your brand.

How to become an illustrator [in 4 steps]

Step 1: Stream to select

After the 10th, students who want to pursue a career in illustration can enrol in the arts stream.

Step 2: Certification courses and project courses

The certification courses listed below can help you become an illustrator.

  • The Art & Science of Drawing/Shading Fundamentals
  • The Art & Science of Drawing/Shading Fundamentals
  • The Complete Drawing & Painting Illustration Course
  • The Art & Science of Drawing/Contours
  • Procreate Academy. Ultimate Course, Digital Drawing on Ipad
  • Learn Illustrator CC: Create a Vector Knight
  • Intro to Fashion Illustration
  • Basics of Flat Design Illustrations In Canva
  • Easy Illustration and 2D Animation
  • The Beginner’s Illustration Masterclass
  • Beginner Moho Pro/Anime Studio: 2D Illustration-Animation
  • Canva Flat Design Masterclass: Guide To Flat Design In Canva
  • Editorial Illustration Tutorial: From Drawing to Photoshop
  • Adobe Illustrator: Create a Quick & Easy Unique Illustration
  • How to Doodle: Basics and Lettering
  • Learn Anime Illustration: Space Girl
  • From Drawing to Illustration
  • OpenToonz 101: drawing tools demystified
  • How to Capture Emotions in Your Illustrations
  • How To Create EPIC White-Board Animation eCard in Blender 2.8
  • Gimp: Make a Digital Painting & Illustration Like a Pro Fast
  • Create A Sci-fi Landscape Illustration Using Pen And Ink
  • How to Draw Perspective for Beginners
  • Fashion Illustration For People Who Can’t Draw
  • Pen & Ink Illustration: The Basics for Creating Magical Art
  • Architectural Illustrations
  • How to Draw Animal Portraits for Beginners
  • How to Design with Low Poly in Illustrator
  • Easy Drawing, Painting & Illustration for Absolute Beginners
  • Art & Drawing Bootcamp Challenge: Developing Daily Habits
  • How to Draw and Paint Cartoon Characters Digitally

Step 3: Educational qualifications

Consider enrolling in a fine arts degree programme to gain technical training in areas such as drawing and computer graphics. While a formal degree is not required, pursuing one can help you develop your skills in a group setting, receive advice about your work, and meet other professionals in your field.

Furthermore, employers typically prefer candidates with an associate’s or bachelor’s degree, so earning a degree may improve your chances.

Also read about : How to become a Graphic Designer

How to become an Illustrator after 10th?

Students interested in fine arts can enrol in the arts stream after 10th and complete their 12th before applying for a fine arts degree.

During this time, they can also enrol in online illustration courses, such as the one offered by Clever Harvey- JuniorMBA Design & Branding, to learn how to use their imagination and visual designing skills.

How to become an Illustrator after 12th?

Following the completion of the 12th grade, students can enrol in a fine arts degree programme to gain technical training in areas such as drawing and computer graphics. Some universities, such as Banaras Hindu University, hold entrance exams for undergraduate admission.

Students can also apply for illustration courses abroad.

  • UG courses to become an Illustrator in India:
CourseDurationAverage Fees
Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA)3-4 yearsINR 30,000
  • Top UG colleges to become an Illustrator in India:
Name of InstitutionLocation
College of Arts, Delhi UniversityNew Delhi
Faculty of Visual Arts, Banaras Hindu UniversityVaranasi
Faculty of Fine Arts, Maharaja Sayajirao UniversityVadodara
Faculty of Fine Arts, Jamia Millia Islamia UniversityNew Delhi
Chamarajendra Academy of Visual Arts, University of MysoreMysuru
Sir J.J. School of ArtMumbai
Kala Bhavan, Visva Bharati UniversitySantiniketan
L.S Raheja UniversityMumbai
Bharati Vidyapeeth’s College of Fine ArtsPune
Aligarh Muslim UniversityAligarh
  • Top courses to become an Illustrator abroad
Concept art course2 years
Diploma in illustration3 years
Concept Art and Illustration Classes10 Weeks
Diploma in Concept Design and Illustration1 year
Illustration Concept-Art9 months
Foundation Year in Art and Design1 year
Bachelor of Creative Arts (Visual Effects and Entertainment Design)3 years
  • Top colleges to become an illustrator abroad:

The following are the names of the world’s top 7 illustration schools:

Name of InstitutionLocation
New3dge (New 3D General Education)France
The One Academy of Communication DesignMalaysia
Syn StudioCanada
3dSense Media SchoolSingapore
Universal Arts SchoolSpain
ECV Creative Schools and CommunityFrance
Flinders UniversityAustralia

Know about : How to become an Interior designer

Step 4: How to prepare for the job?

  • Create a portfolio- An illustration portfolio is part of your creative identity. It is what distinguishes you as a creative working professional from a hobbyist. Showcase your best work.
  • Get an internship- Internships have never been more common or important for aspiring artists. Working as an intern is an important career stepping stone—a way to gain important on-the-job skills, experiences, and connections for success in the art world.
  • Specialize in one industry- While it’s great to be good at several things at once, it’s critical that you focus on one illustration style or industry. Choosing one illustration field will help you stand out in that industry.
  • Get experience- Illustration careers can be divided into three categories: employment, freelance, and direct sales.
  1. Employment: Working full-time for a company. This means a “traditional” job in an office, with a boss, coworkers, a regular paycheck, and so on.
  2. Freelance: Doing commissions for clients. This means being paid by various clients to work on specific projects. Freelancers typically work from home.
  3. Direct sales: Selling art directly to the public. This means creating a product from beginning to end and selling it directly to consumers through a physical store/gallery/convention or an online store. You are only working for yourself, not for clients.

Read more: Career as a UX Designer

8 most important skills to become an illustrator

  • Drawing, sketching, and painting skills
  • Creativity
  • Having a distinct style
  • Capable of seeing fine details and having good hand-eye coordination
  • Knowledge of design software
  • Storytelling
  • Ability to work with a client brief (Communication skills)
  • Have an Online Presence

Salary of an illustrator in India:

An entry-level Illustrator with less than one year of experience can expect to earn an average annual compensation (tips, bonus, and overtime pay) of ₹204,257.


Salary of an illustrator in Abroad:

The following are some entry-level illustrators’ salaries from around the world.

CountryAnnual Salary
United States$32,000 (USD)
United Kingdom£17,000
Australia$41,000 (AUD)
Canada$36,000 (CAD)
MalaysiaMYR 3,000
Singapore$19,000 (SGD)
South AfricaR11,000

Top 10 recruiters in India

1. Technicolor
2. Freelancer
5. Amazon
6. MPC
7. Zynga
8. Ubisoft
9. Prime Focus
10. MPC Film

Top 10 recruiters abroad

1. Meta
2. Uber Technologies Inc.
3. Nike
4. Paramount Pictures
5. Riot Games
6. Microsoft
7. Dreamworks Animation
8. Marvel Entertainment
9. Disney
10. Yahoo

Also know about – How to become a Creative Director- A Complete Educational Guide

More about illustrators

If you’ve arrived at this point in the blog, it can only mean one thing: you like illustrators and may one day become one yourself! As a bonus, a few Instagram accounts of popular illustrators are included here. Check them out and have fun exploring more!

NameInstagram handle
Bodil Janebodiljane
Catalina Estradacatalinaestrada
Luke Pearsonthatlukeperson
Mia Charromiacharro
Berta Vallóbertavallo
Dinara Mirtalipovamirdinara
Sonia Lazosonialazo
Alissa Levylevysfriends
Justin Mallerjustinmaller
Daniel Frostdanielfrostillustration

The creative and entertainment industries are constantly on the lookout for new illustrators with innovative ideas for their art departments. You simply need to identify your illustration style and work hard to perfect it. Make those words and ideas into magical illustrations! Best wishes on your illustrator journey!

Careers for creative poeple

Frequently Asked Questions

What qualifications do you need to be an illustrator?

Ans: Specialized illustration frequently necessitates specialised education. However, you do not need a degree to become an illustrator. Indeed, some successful illustrators claim that hard work, a strong portfolio, and connections have aided them more than art education.

Is it hard to become an illustrator?

Ans: While it may take a few years to land one of those jobs, it’s not too difficult to find low-paying jobs that don’t require a lot of experience. Of course, taking a few less-than-ideal paying gigs when you’re just starting out isn’t a bad thing. But it’s also critical at this point to make time to draw things that will help build your portfolio so that when those ideal clients do come along, you’ll be ready to impress them.

How much does an illustrator get paid?

Ans: In India, the average salary for an Illustrator is ₹373,706.

How long does it take to be an illustrator?

Ans: Individuals can become illustrators after 4 to 6 years of education and training. Individuals do not need a formal education to pursue this profession, but it will be difficult for them to gain knowledge and train their skills without one. Those who want to work as illustrators in a specific field may need to pursue additional education. For example, medical illustrators.

Is an illustrator a good career?

Ans: It is a good career if you enjoy what you do, which is creating. Illustrator is a competitive field, but there is a high demand for it. Another advantage of being an illustrator is that you can easily work freelance. It’s an ideal job for those who value independence.

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Top 10 colleges to become a Product Designer Abroad Top 10 colleges to become a Fashion Designer Abroad How to become a Graphic Designer? Top 10 colleges to study Illustration in India
Top 10 colleges to become a Product Designer Abroad Top 10 colleges to become a Fashion Designer Abroad How to become a Graphic Designer? Top 10 colleges to study Illustration in India