Arts & crafts

Illustrator

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

Annual Salary

£14,000 to £40,000

Average UK salary in 2018 was £29,588 (source Office for Statistics)

Working hours

Variable

What's it all about?

You may specialise in one area of illustration, like technical, childrens books or advertising.

You day-to-day tasks may include:

  • discussing requirements, or ‘briefs’, with authors, editors or designers
  • negotiating prices and timescales
  • deciding on the right style for illustrations
  • creating illustrations using hand drawing, painting or computer design packages

If you work for yourself, you’ll also need to promote your business and manage your own finances.

Creative Choices has more information about being an illustrator.

There are no set requirements, but many illustrators have a degree in illustration or other arts-related subject like graphic design.

Even without a degree you can still be successful if you have artistic flair and a strong collection of work (portfolio).

£14,000 to £40,000

Starter salary: £14,000 to £19,000

Experienced salary: £20,000 to £30,000

If you work for yourself you’ll negotiate your fee with your client. Fees are often based on the amount of time it takes to complete work.

These figures are a guide.

Variable

If freelance, you’ll usually arrange your own hours depending on your workload and the deadlines you have to meet. 

You could be based at home or in a studio, and may spend time visiting clients to market your work and discuss briefs.

With experience and graphic design skills you could work for a design agency, publishing company or magazine.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You’ll need:

  • excellent time management
  • attention to detail
  • the ability to work to a brief
  • creativity and imagination
My top 5 skills from the skills bank
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