How to become an illustrator
You can get into this job through:
- a university course
- a college course
- an apprenticeship
- applying directly
You could do a higher national diploma or degree in illustration or a related subject like fine art or graphic design.
You'll usually need:
- between 1 and 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a higher national diploma or degree
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
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
You may be able to gain some of the skills to work as an illustrator in specific industries, through an apprenticeship. Relevant higher apprenticeships include:
- Junior VFX artist
- Junior animator
- Junior 2D artist
You'll usually need:
- 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a higher or degree apprenticeship
If you do not have art and design qualifications, but can show that you have the talent to illustrate, you could contact companies directly with examples of your work.
The Writers' & Artists' Yearbook gives advice on how to:
- get started as a freelance illustrator
- prepare a portfolio
- find a publisher
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.
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.