Earnings for Illustrators in the United States come in at around $20.08 per hour on average. Geographic location is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by career length. Health benefits are not enjoyed by everyone in this line of work, and slightly more than half lack any coverage at all. Medical benefits are reported by just over two-fifths and dental coverage is claimed by nearly one-third. Job satisfaction for Illustrators is high. Women Illustrators who took the survey just slightly outnumber men. The data for this synopsis comes from respondents who took the PayScale salary survey.
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$23,177 - $77,379
(Median)
$23K
$43K
$77K
MEDIAN: $42,704
10%
50%
90%

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$10.01 - $50.31
(Median)
$10
$20
$50
MEDIAN: $20
10%
50%
90%

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National Salary Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$31K$62K$93K
Salary
$23,177 - $77,379  
   
Bonus
$51.06 - $10,067  
Commission
$1,000  
Total Pay (?
XTotal Pay combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable for this job. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or the value of other non-cash benefits (e.g. healthcare).
)
$21,279 - $92,861  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 28 Oct 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 135
National Hourly Rate Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$17$34$51
Hourly Rate
$10.01 - $50.31  
   
Hourly Tips
$0.46  
Overtime
$6.93 - $48.32  
National Annualized Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$50K$100K$150K
Bonus
$51.06 - $10,067  
   
Commission
$1,000  
Total Pay (?
XTotal Pay combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable for this job. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or the value of other non-cash benefits (e.g. healthcare).
)
$21,279 - $92,861  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 28 Oct 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 194
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Job Description for Illustrator

An illustrator creates drawings for physical and digital products and purposes. These drawings are often used in publications such as magazines and books, as well as products such as greeting cards, calendars, packaging, and digital illustrations. An illustrator often uses pen/pencil drawings or watercolors, but the use of digital illustration applications is now common as well.

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Illustrator Tasks

  • Deliver finished illustrations for a variety of projects, within deadlines and according to specifications.
  • Research and interpret design and retail market trends.
  • Develop artwork for specific projects that meets requirements.
  • Use design and artistic software to alter and improve artwork.

Common Career Paths for Illustrator


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At the upper end, Illustrators who move into an Art Director role can end up with a hefty increase in pay. The average income for Art Directors is a much higher $56K per year. Illustrators most frequently advance into Graphic Artist & Designer and Graphic Designer roles even though the median salaries are $6K lower and $3K lower, respectively.

Illustrator Job Listings

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Popular Skills for Illustrator


Illustrators report using a wide range of professional skills. Most notably, skills in Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Illustration, and Adobe InDesign are correlated to pay that is above average. Skills that seem to negatively impact pay include Graphic Design. Those proficient in Adobe Photoshop are, more often than not, also skilled in Adobe Illustrator.

Pay by Experience Level for Illustrator

Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.


For many Illustrators, experience and pay levels seem to be correlated; more years in the business generally lead to more money. Salaries for inexperienced workers average out to $43K, and those with five to 10 years' experience earn a higher median of $39K. For Illustrators, 10 to 20 years of experience on the job amounts to an average salary of $60K. Illustrators who have stuck around for more than two decades see earnings that are only slightly higher than those of folks who have worked for 10 to 20 years; the more senior group makes around $62K on average.

Pay Difference by Location

National Average: $41,985

Larger city markers indicate a job is popular in that location.

Home to some of the best pay for Illustrators, San Francisco offers exceptional salaries, 64 percent above the national average. Illustrators can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like Austin (+58 percent), San Diego (+57 percent), Cleveland (+57 percent), and Los Angeles (+39 percent). The smallest paychecks in the market, 11 percent south of the national average, can be found in Atlanta.

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Experience Affects Illustrator Salaries




National Average
$42,000


Skills That Affect Illustrator Salaries

Adobe Photoshop
0%

National Average
$42,000

Illustration
up arrow 1%

Adobe Illustrator
up arrow 1%

Adobe InDesign
up arrow 3%

Graphic Design
up arrow 4%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 29 votes.

Gender

Female
57 %
Male
43 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
4%
1-4 years
51%
5-9 years
20%
10-19 years
12%
20 years or more
12%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 45%
dental benefits
Dental: 33%
medical benefits
Vision: 27%
dental benefits
None: 53%
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