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.Read More...
Employment opportunities can be found with advertising firms, publishing houses, media companies, fashion houses, and medical and government organizations, among others. Illustrators are often self-employed. There are a variety of training options available for illustrators, including associate's, bachelor's, and master's degrees.These programs offer training in various elements of the visual arts (including digital illustration technology), as well as build a portfolio of illustrations for prospective clients or employers.
The illustrator's main duties include visualizing and producing artwork and line drawings based on concepts provided by clients or colleagues. They normally determine the type of medium and technique that is best suited to create the desired artwork and then employ the needed techniques to create it. The illustrator communicates with their clients throughout production and incorporates their feedback; they must produce a final product that meets all of their clients' needs.
- 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
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
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.