Do you love using your fine-tuned artistic skills to make something wonderful? A position as a full-time Illustrator might be the creative, fulfilling role perfect for you.
Illustrators use their fine art and technical skills to draw still images that tell a story or convey important information to the viewer. Illustrators’ work can be found in magazines, on product packaging, in print and digital ads, on out-of-home signage, in textbooks, and more.
Professional Illustrators work closely with creative teams and clients to produce engaging content together. They are great communicators, listening to the clients’ needs, and incorporating feedback during the revision process. An Illustrator may have his or her own visual style. Still, a great Illustrator is versatile enough to meet the aesthetic needs and business objectives outlined in the project’s creative brief.
Above all, Illustrators must be imaginative and innovative artists, experts in using traditional and digital tools of the trade to bring ideas to life.
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 Background
This position requires a high school diploma, a GED, or an associate degree from a college or university; a bachelor’s degree is preferred.
Skills and Competencies
- 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
According to Payscale the median annual salary of an Illustrator with
1 Year of Experience:
- Orlando, Florida: $42,000
- Tampa, Florida: $40,000
- Jacksonville, Florida: $40,000
- Miami, Florida: $40,000
- Atlanta, Georgia: $45,000
- Chicago, Illinois: $50,000
- Houston, Texas: $46,000
- Los Angeles, California: $52,000
- New York City, New York: $51,000
- Seattle, Washington: $54,000
- Overall: $45,000
5 Years of Experience:
- Orlando, Florida: $52,000
- Tampa, Florida: $52,000
- Jacksonville, Florida: $53,000
- Miami, Florida: $54,000
- Atlanta, Georgia: $56,000
- Chicago, Illinois: $52,000
- Houston, Texas: $50,000
- Los Angeles, California: $60,000
- New York City, New York: $60,000
- Seattle, Washington: $60,000
- Overall: $54,000
- Editorial Illustrator
- Fine Arts Illustrator
- Technical Illustrator
- Forensic Artist
- Medical Illustrator
- Digital Illustrator
Becoming a full-time Illustrator can take many different paths, but each direction is dependent on building a solid, proven skillset.
Your creative portfolio is key to getting hired as a professional Illustrator. Many candidates do pursue a bachelor’s degree in fine art or visual media to expand their skillsets and grow their expertise. Still, a substantial body of work will offset a lack of formal education. Between full-time positions, Illustrators often market themselves as freelancers to continue building their portfolios and experience. Many employers look for candidates who have earned an Adobe Certified Associate certification in Graphic Design and Illustration or its equivalent.
Despite the rise of the internet and digital media, traditional trades like printmaking are seeing a comeback. As interactive video continues to dominate SEO strategy, Illustrators are also creating content that combines still drawings with animation. Illustrative lettering has emerged as an excellent tool for increasing brand engagement on social media. Staying on top of new (and resurgent) trends will keep Illustrators versatile in an ever-evolving industry.
Landing a full-time role as an Illustrator will continue to be competitive for the next eight years. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment opportunities for fine artists such as professional Illustrators will rise one percent through 2028.
The work hours for a full-time Illustrator are typically from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday in an office setting. However, longer or different hours may, at times, be necessary.
Where You Can Find Jobs
- 4 Corner Resources
- Career Builder
Are You Interested in Becoming an Illustrator?
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