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Illustrator

Alternative titles for this job include

Illustrators produce drawings, paintings or diagrams for use in products like books and greetings cards, or on packaging.

Average salary (a year)

£18,000 Starter

to

£40,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

39 to 41 variable

You could work

freelance / self-employed managing your own hours

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How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

How to become an illustrator

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • applying directly

University

You'll need a higher national diploma or degree in illustration or a related subject like fine art or graphic design.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • between 1 and 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a higher national diploma or degree

More Information

College

College courses that may help you get into this role include:

  • Level 2 Diploma in Art and Design
  • A Level in Art and Design
  • Level 3 Extended Diploma in Art and Design

Entry requirements

You may need:

  • 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course

More Information

Direct Application

You could market your work by contacting companies directly. You can find advice about getting started as a freelance illustrator, how to prepare a portfolio, lists of publishers, and other useful information in The Writers' & Artists' Yearbook.

More Information

Career tips

As a freelance illustrator you'll need to think of creative ways to get your work noticed. You'll also need a portfolio of your work to show prospective clients or for entry onto courses.

Building a website or starting a blog where you can showcase your work is one way to get noticed.

Having a presence on social media sites like Instagram is a great way of connecting with the public and potential customers.

If you work as a freelance illustrator you may decide to sell your work through an agent, who could put you in touch with more buyers. An agent will take a percentage of your sales as commission. The Society of Artists Agents has details of agents as well as examples of artists' work.

Further information

You can get more details about working in illustration from the Association of Illustrators.

You can get information on working in creative careers from Discover Creative Careers.

What it takes

Find out what skills you’ll use in this role.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • design skills and knowledge
  • knowledge of computer operating systems, hardware and software
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • active listening skills
  • the ability to work well with your hands
  • to be flexible and open to change
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

What you’ll do

Discover the day to day tasks you’ll do in this role.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

Day-to-day you may:

  • discuss requirements, or a 'brief', with authors, editors or designers
  • negotiate prices and timescales
  • research your creative ideas
  • decide on the right style for illustrations
  • create rough, hand drawn sketches
  • create final illustrations using hand drawing, painting or computer design packages
  • if you're self-employed, promote your business and manage your finances

Working environment

You could work in a creative studio, from home or at a client's business.

Career path and progression

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

Career path and progression

With experience and graphic design skills you could work for a design agency, publishing company or magazine. You could also move into specialist work, for example architectural or archaeological illustration.

Current opportunities

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Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

We can't find any apprenticeship vacancies in England for an illustrator right now.

The Find an apprenticeship service can help you with your search, send alerts when new apprenticeships become available and has advice on how to apply.

Courses In England

Animation & Illustration

  • Provider: CHICHESTER COLLEGE GROUP
  • Start date: 13 September 2022
  • Location: Chichester

BA (Hons) Visual Communication: Illustration Year 1

  • Provider: EAST SUSSEX COLLEGE GROUP
  • Start date: 28 September 2021
  • Location: Hastings

Jobs In the United Kingdom

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