What does an illustrator do?
An illustrator creates original designs and illustrations for a range of media and industries including book covers, magazines, videogames, storyboards, and websites. Their specialty is in visual communication and representation, ensuring creative or accurate depictions of various subject matter. An effective illustrator creates work that has an impact – whether it is to inform, to entertain, or to persuade.
- Create original designs and illustrations
- Evaluate client requests to see if illustrations fit specifications
- Use software and tools to create compelling illustrations
- Liaise with clients regarding expected outcomes
- Combine images and symbols to represent information visually
What skills do I need to be an illustrator?
Illustrators need strong technical skills and an aptitude for creative work. They also need strong people skills as their work often involves constant communication with clients and stakeholders. Often illustrators will do freelance work, so you will need to be good at organising your own invoices, cash flow, and be flexible in your working arrangements.
- High creative aptitude and ability to illustrate
- Strong drive to succeed
- Listening skills and interpersonal skills
- Able to work independently and adhere to brief guidelines
- Willingness to experiment with different techniques
Illustrators can pursue a number of specialisations, including but not limited to 2D or 3D animation, scientific and technical work, and app development. Illustration will always be required across a range of industries, mediums, and formats, so there are plenty of ways for a budding illustrator to specialise.
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Study pathways for office managers
While there aren’t formal requirements for people who want to be illustrators, usually they will study at a fine arts university or design school to hone their skills and artistic sensibilities.
Choose a course to help you get started on your illustration career.
Develop your skills as an illustrator by undertaking these courses.
Build your skills further and enhance your reputation as a professional illustrator with these additional qualifications.
Joining a professional illustration or design association may help boost your networking opportunities and give your design career an edge.
Getting a job after graduation
Put your training to good use and get the best professional head start in your design career. Emphasise your personal strengths and achievements in your resume and target your cover letter to illustrator jobs.
Job Prospects and Salaries
The design industry is expected to grow very strongly, however the salary of an illustrator is below average.