What Does an Illustrator Do

An illustrator produces original creative visuals for publications like newspapers, children’s books, and of course, for advertisement. You can also be a fashion designer/illustrator if you are good at sketching clothing and accessories. 

I love Illustrations. I took a creative Illustration class in IED Barcelona in 2017. I got to explore a little bit of everything from fashion illustration to watercolor paintings. Today I always add a little bit of illustration to my design, because it really gives the more original and lively feels. 

Actually, it’s a pretty fun job if you love diverse creative work. You can work freelance for different companies designing children’s books, restaurant walls, product packaging, and other fun stuff. 

Like what? Keep reading to find out. 

What is an Illustrator? 

An illustrator is an artist who creates original designs for commercials using multiple mediums including traditional media such as pen, pencil, brushes, and digital program. Being an illustrator, you will be drawing and sketching a lot on both papers and computers. 

On a regular basis, you will be working with the marketing team, sometimes editors and designers to promote a business. 

What Does an Illustrator Do? 

We see illustrations on children’s books, comic books, newspapers, and magazines all the time, right? Some of you may think that an illustrator just sits there and draws all day. But the fact is, you can do so many things other than just drawing. 

Many of you will be working as a graphic designer specializing in illustration. Some of you might be working as a medical illustrator creating images of the human body, 3D modeling, and so on. Others could work in a more creative area like branding. 

Really, there are so many different things you can do as an illustrator. 

Job Options for an Illustrator 

You can work in several different industries as an illustrator such as advertising, graphic design, fashion, publishing, or the science and medical field. 

Advertising Illustrators 

You will be working on either product illustration, packaging, animation, storyboard, or other creative illustrations for advertising purposes. Most likely you will be working a lot with the digital programs in this field. 

Publishing Illustrators 

Working as a publishing illustrator, you will be creating art for books, editorial cartoons for newspapers and online news, magazines, and other publications. 

Fashion Illustrators 

Fashion Illustrators are like the graphic designers in the fashion industry. As a fashion illustrator, you will show your creative ideas of clothes, jewelry, and accessories through your sketches. You will work closely with fashion designers to produce fashion products.

Medical Illustrators 

This field requires knowledge of biology, and you will need to complete some training programs that combine medical studies and art training. After that, you are free to go. Jobs like creating illustrations for medical journals and books and help us improve our health. 

Are You a Good Illustrator? 

If you love drawing, you are already 50% there. For the rest, let’s do a checklist. 

1. Have an eye for colors 

You will need to be sensitive about colors because it’s one of the most important elements of art and design. 

2. Creative and love creating original art 

You have to love it to make it your career. The truth is, it’s hard to force creativity. When you don’t have passion for it, it’s even harder. And companies love original good ideas.

3. Good communication skill 

Being an illustrator, you are not working alone. Often time you have to communicate with your clients and negotiate. 

4. Show personality in your art (have your unique style)

In the illustration world, you don’t want to just be a copycat. Especially as an illustrator, it’s important to have your own style that distinguishes you from others. If not, why are you special?

5. Self-disciplined and deadline-driven

Many of you will probably work as freelance illustrators. I know how hard it is to stay focus sometimes when the couch and TV are just there. Well, I hope you can overcome the temptations. 

Other Questions You Might Have 

What skills do you need to be an illustrator? 

Sketching skill is a must for an illustrator. Digital program basic skills are important as well. To work with clients, you will need very good communication skills and time management skills. 

How can I learn Illustration? 

You can learn illustration in design schools or online. Most of the design schools provide online courses and there are many online resources. And most importantly, practice a lot on your own. 

How to start your career as an illustrator? 

Before becoming an illustrator, you should start practicing drawing. Get familiar with design programs on your computer, because eventually, you will need to work on a digital version. 

Whenever you feel good about your work, you should create a portfolio or a blog. Make friends with other illustrators, go to networking events, and make good connections. 

Step by step, that’s how you can get started. 

Is illustrator a good career? 

It is a good career if you love what you do, that is, creating. Illustrator is a competitive career but there is also a high need for it. Another good thing about being an illustrator is you can work freelance easily. For those of you who love freedom, it’s a perfect job for you. 

Final Words

An illustrator expresses ideas through art. It’s a great career if you love creating. In the beginning, you might work as a freelancer for many different industries to explore your style and what you’re good at. Well, eventually, you will find out what you are best at. 

Don’t give up.

About June Escalada
Graduated from Creative Advertising major, worked more than eight years as a graphic designer focusing in branding and Illustration. Yes, Adobe Illustrator is my best friend and I’m passionate about art and design.

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