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.

Tasks:

  • 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.

Skills/attributes
  • 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

Specialisations

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.

Human resources officer

HR specialists work closely with all staff within a company, providing a range of administrative and support services focused toward the smooth running of operations and the wellbeing of all staff. From monitoring wage rates to assisting with work place disputes, HR specialists have the ability to interact with other people – balancing the needs of the staff with the goals of the company.

Executive assistant

Working as an executive assistant is the ideal specialisation for those who possess impeccable organisational skills and have the ability to foresee the needs of executives. EAs typically oversee the schedule and diary of executives, a job that may involve a range of administrative tasks from overseeing budgets through to organising meetings and scheduling travel arrangements.

Operations manager

Operation managers see to the daily operations of a business, and will troubleshoot any arising issues and implement new protocols and strategies to ensure business processes are as efficient and sustainable as possible. Operation managers also need to keep abreast of industry changes, changes to legislations and any updates to WHS laws to ensure their company is responsive to the changing legal landscape.

Medical office manager

If you’re passionate about ensuring patients receive the best quality care and services available, working as a medical office manager might be the ideal career specialisation for you. Medical office managers oversee the daily operations and administrative tasks involved in the running of a hospital department, healthcare clinic or GP’s office.

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.

Getting Started

Choose a course to help you get started on your illustration career.

Skill Building

Develop your skills as an illustrator by undertaking these courses.

Professional Development

Build your skills further and enhance your reputation as a professional illustrator with these additional qualifications.

Industry Recognition

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.