Illustrators are commissioned to produce still drawings for use in advertisements, books, magazines, packaging, greetings cards and newspapers.

    In this role you will use your creative skills in art and design to communicate a story, message or idea. You’ll work to commercial briefs to inform, persuade or entertain a client’s intended audience, adjusting the mood and style of images accordingly.

    Types of illustrator

    Work is predominantly freelance, and possible markets include:

    • advertising – advertising posters, storyboards, press
    • publishing– books
    • corporate work – brochures, catalogues
    • editorial – magazines, newspapers and comics
    • fashion – forecasting
    • merchandising – greetings cards, calendars, t-shirts, ceramics, etc
    • multimedia – TV, film, computer games, websites, apps, animation.

    Employers of illustrator

    Illustrators may be employed by design consultancies, advertising agencies or publishers. Most illustrators work as self-employed freelance artists.



    • liaising with clients, editors and authors in order to understand and interpret their business needs
    • gaining knowledge of appropriate styles
    • negotiating pricing and deadlines
    • analyzing a brief’s specification and the text to be illustrated, as well as researching sources
    • thinking creatively and using imagination to produce new ideas
    • creating images and designs by using the traditional hand skills of drawing and painting, alongside other techniques, to meet design briefs
    • using computer-aided design (CAD) packages to scan images and change size, colours and other elements
    • providing roughs for approval
    • redefining a brief through further consultation with the client to include new ideas or text as appropriate
    • running the business, when working freelance
    • speculatively approaching potential commissioners to seek new sources of work
    • working within a set timescale, often to tight deadlines
    • creating original pieces for self-promotion
    • researching appropriate galleries to find suitable venues to exhibit work.



    Although there are no formal academic requirements for entry into the profession, fine art, illustration and graphic design qualifications may be helpful.



    • the ability to market your skills
    • professionalism
    • imagination
    • knowledge of computer-aided design (CAD) techniques and printing processes, including computer graphics
    • research skills.