What Does an Illustrator Do?
Illustrators are artists that use their imagination to create images for various types of companies. They have excellent drawing, sketching, and painting skills, as well as strong concept design skills to succeed in this role.
Illustrators are responsible for creating intrinsic images that tell a story or express an idea or feeling to their clients. People in this field typically use digital media to complete their work, requiring illustrators to understand and utilize CAD and editing software. Illustrators typically work with others on their team to help turn concepts into clever marketable images.
This position gives individuals the creative freedom to make high-quality designs for their clients. The longer a person works with their clients, the easier it will be to get their name out there and demonstrate their talent to others. Illustrators that are able to meet strict deadlines and are precise in the work they accomplish will be rewarded with new clients and greater compensation.
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National Average Salary
Illustrator salaries vary by experience, industry, organization size, and geography. To explore salary ranges by local market, please visit our sister site zengig.com.
The average U.S. salary for an Illustrator is:
Illustrator Job Descriptions
It’s important to include the right content in your job description when hiring an illustrator. The following examples can serve as templates for attracting the best available talent for your team.
[Your Company Name] is in search of an illustrator with a passion for the art of bringing ideas to life. An outstanding illustrator has the ability to work closely with our clients and marketing team to create artwork for our digital and print media publications. Experience with drawing, painting, and digital artwork across a variety of styles is a plus. If you are easily inspired to create from written words, models, sketches, and your own imagination even under set deadlines, you are the kind of person we are looking for.
Typical duties and responsibilities
- Collaborate with fellow creatives to brainstorm image packages
- Prepare budgets and production schedules
- Design rough drafts for client approval
- Create illustrations using hand-drawn and digital tools
- Edit and refine designs using illustration programs and platforms
- Format and share final files with the creative team for review
- Deliver final files to the client for review
Education and experience
This position requires a high school diploma, a GED, or an associate degree from a college or university; a bachelor’s degree is preferred.
Required skills and qualifications
- Proficiency using computer-aided design programs
- Excellent drawing, painting, and digital design skills
- Proficiency using image editing and design tools like Adobe Creative Cloud
- Ability to follow a creative brief and incorporate client feedback
- Strong creative and conceptual skills
- Ability to work under tight deadlines
- Bachelor’s degree in Illustration or related field, or equivalent experience
- Exceptional proficiency with Adobe Creative Suite
- Responsible for producing:
- Quick Idea Sketches
- Concept Drawings
- Final Product Drawings
- Full Color Product Renderings
- All Control/Industrial Drawings
- Contributes to the creation of new product concepts & market segment suggestions for the organization
- Responsible for inspiration boards based on projects requesting design
- Performs the 3D model printing tasks that include converting .stp files to .stl files, setting up 3D printer communication, model tray layout, cleaning support from models, ordering supplies, etc.
- Paint 3D models to accurately represent future products in both color and detail for customer presentation purposes
- Responsible for constructing thorough R&D packages, which include industrial control drawings, product measurements, texture references, product functions, and more
- Assists in determining color specifications for products in development
- Create clay models based on Illustrations/Drawings to help communicate concept
- Examine CAD drawings, clays, 3D models, and product samples by providing feedback and required revisions
- Aid team in gathering competitive research, online consumer’s inputs and more
- Responsible for research on the pet industry, human marketplace online, and in-store
- Gather consumer reviews on existing products in the marketplace
- Organizes the information in a logical and clear format to aid in current & future product concepts
- Assists in the compilation of research into meaningful and thorough documents for the team as well as the CEO, Marketing, and R&D departments
This role will provide illustrative and graphic design support to several of our internal departments, as well as external stakeholders and clients. Our ideal candidate should be able to perform well under tight deadlines and be able to manage several long-term projects concurrently with short-term ones as well. These projects may include making high-impact key art for gaming brands, creating digital assets for digital advertising, advertising decks, websites, and social media.
- Manage all steps of the illustration process starting with rough sketches to communicate your ideas and ending with delivering high-quality photorealistic or stylized key art
- High attention to detail and work within diverse and established brand guidelines
- Brainstorm and pitch ideas to appeal to a US gaming audience in addition articulating your concepts and decisions
- Create and deliver character concept art to internal and external clients
- Develop illustrative work for our Video Team
- Provide support to the Graphic Design team as needed
- Creating logos for our websites including but not limited to Fanbyte and Wowhead
- Collaborate with various departments including marketing, sales, and website production
- Ability to work on creative concepts on a team and individually
- Receive, understand, and apply constructive criticism
- 3-5 years of professional illustration experience
- Ability to work in different styles, such as photorealistic and stylized
- Fluency with Photoshop and Illustrator
- understanding of visual storytelling
- good understanding of anatomy
- strong drawing/linework ability
- Strong typography, illustration, and conceptual skills
- Strong communication skills and familiarity with task assignment through Asana
- Passionate gamer with knowledge of various properties, communities, and trends
Nice to have experience and skills
- Experience with social media marketing and/or games marketing
This position is for someone who wants to learn new things, get their hands dirty, and dive into a fast-paced environment. Applicants should have a proven track record of an impeccable work ethic, ability to meet deadlines, and self-motivation.
- Visualize core concepts to make scientific, abstract, or complex topics understandable, relatable, and engaging
- Research existing styles and collaborate to develop differentiated approaches.
- Create in various transmedia formats from websites to social, from video (short narrative and documentary) to original illustrations, animation, pop-art, print, and or experiential
- Draft storyboards for animations that visualize voice over scripts
- Work in Adobe Creative Suite to create animation assets such as vector graphics, gifs, and artwork
- Highly creative, collaborative, and organized
- Proven excellence creating in multiple formats and styles for multiple end user groups
- Comfortable acting with a sense of urgency and purpose while being able to manage multiple projects simultaneously
- Collaborative in the revision and approval process until the final design is approved
- 5+ years of experience in a design capacity
- Creative Agency or equivalent experience preferred
- Samples of creative briefs or case study samples required
Candidate Certifications to Look For
- Adobe Certified Professional. Adobe is the biggest name in artistic software in the world. By gaining certification as an expert in one or more of their programs shows that candidates know what they’re doing in their field. To become an Adobe Certified Professional, candidates have to take a test for their software of choice that includes both questions and practical tasks. For illustrators, the best programs to become certified in are Photoshop and Illustrator.
- Specialized Illustration Certification. Depending on the field candidates want to work in, there are certifications available for specific types of illustration. For example, a Certificate of Completion in Natural Science Illustration, a Certificate of Completion in Children’s Book Illustration, or an Associate of Arts in Fashion Illustration. These certificates all have their own requirements and allow candidates to deepen their skills in a form of illustration that suits them best.
How to Hire an Illustrator
When hiring an illustrator, first consider the following:
- Recruiting: Do you have the knowledge, tools, and resources to attract and screen candidates?
- Complexity: Do you need a senior professional, or will mid or junior-level skills and experience suffice?
- Duration: Is this a one-time project or an ongoing need?
- Management: Do you have the time and expertise to direct the work effectively?
- Urgency: How soon does the work need to be completed?
- Headcount: Do you have the budget and approval for an internal employee, or should you consider alternate options?
Answering these questions will help determine the best course of action for your current hiring need. Fortunately, great options exist for every scenario. These are our recommendations:
1. Use 4 Corner Resources (or another professional recruiting firm)
The heavy lifting is done for you when working with a top-tier staffing company like 4 Corner Resources. We source, screen, recruit, and deliver only the most qualified candidate(s), saving you significant time and effort throughout the hiring process while you remain focused on your core business. Understanding your needs and ensuring the right candidate for the position is the key to our success.
This is the best route to take when:
- You need to fill the position quickly
- You want access to a vast talent pool of high-quality, prescreened candidates
- Your position is suited for temporary hiring services, contract staffing, or contract-to-hire recruiting, and you intend to direct the work activity.
- You are hiring an employee as a direct placement but aren’t able to recruit effectively or efficiently with your internal staff.
- You aren’t familiar with current salary rates, market trends, and available skill sets
2. Hire an experienced freelancer
The freelance, or gig, economy continues to grow, with more talent available daily. Freelancers provide high-quality work without a long-term commitment. They can offer you a fresh perspective, more flexibility, and increase efficiency. While the freelance market isn’t ideal for every position, illustrators are often a great fit.
We recommend this option when:
- Your need is project-based
- The work can be performed remotely
- You do not intend to direct the daily work activity
- You are hiring for expertise your internal team does not possess
- You do not require an employee to work onsite or follow a specific schedule
We recommend using either Upwork, Fiverr, or both.
Upwork is a freelance talent network that helps individuals connect with experts in a variety of fields to accomplish project-based needs. When you have a specific, well-defined goal in mind, this can be a great path to hiring an experienced illustrator. If you are satisfied with the outcome you can continue to book the same freelancer through Upwork’s easy-to-use project interface.
The freelance platform Fiverr can be a great place to find someone to do illustrations for you. Their easy-to-use platform helps you connect with vetted experts, execute every project, and expand your team capabilities. Their freelancers cover a wide range of areas your business can take advantage of.
3. Advertise your opening on a top job board
Your best option may be to advertise your opening on a proven job board. There are many widely used job sites out there that draw visits from qualified candidates. If you have someone internally who can dedicate the time and energy to sort through applications and screen individuals effectively, this can be a great choice.
We recommend using a job board when:
- Your internal recruiting team has the knowledge and experience to assess candidate qualifications
- You are hiring a direct employee and have time to manage the entire recruiting effort
- You have a process for receiving, screening, and tracking all resumes and applications
- You are prepared to respond to all applicants
We recommend using CareerBuilder for illustrator openings:
CareerBuilder has been a trusted source for hiring since 1995. Reach 80+ million unique, diverse U.S. job seekers annually by posting your jobs through their talent acquisition channels. Through CareerBuilder, you can engage candidates and drive them into your sourcing pipeline. We recommend using CareerBuilder for hiring when you have the internal resources and processes to review, screen, and reply to all applicants.
4. Leverage your internal resources
You can utilize your own website, social media, and employees to assist in your search for top candidates.
A company website posting should be the first step in notifying prospective candidates that you are hiring. Social media can also be a powerful tool for spreading the word about your new opening. As far as exposure is concerned, this option can be as good as some job boards when you have a large enough following across various platforms, like LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and Twitter.
Current employees are every organization’s greatest asset. Encourage your internal team to promote job openings to their network by offering cash and other incentives.
We recommend these options when:
- Your brand has great name recognition
- You can consistently monitor and respond to candidate activity through your website and social media accounts
- You have a process in place to quickly and broadly communicate job openings and requirements
- You have an effective employee referral program in place
If you aren’t sure which path is best, schedule a discovery call today with our seasoned recruiting professionals. The 4 Corner team is on standby to help you find the best option for your unique hiring need.
Sample Interview Questions
- What resources and techniques did you use to design your most recent pieces?
- What kind of design software do you have experience using?
- How do you keep up with new techniques and tools?
- How do you find inspiration for an illustration?
- How do you overcome creative block?
- What would you do if a client rejected all of your presented drafts?
- How do you work with a client that doesn’t know what they want?
- Tell me about a time you had to work under pressure to meet a tight deadline.
- Do you have experience working in a creative team?
- How do you decide which pieces to add to your portfolio?
- How do you start a new project and how do you know when a project is complete?
- If you need more time on a project, would you ask the client for an extension or turn in what you have completed by the deadline?
- What would you do if a printed design looks different than how you designed it digitally?
- How much time did you have to complete [X] piece?