What does a Illustrator do?

how to become an illustrator

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Illustrators take a concept and design an image that best represents that concept. They may work for a business, the government, or work on a freelance basis for clients. Illustrators can design their illustrations using the computer most of the time or they may produce art by hand using traditional art methods such as paint, charcoal, or pencils.

How to Become an Illustrator

how to become an illustrator

Though a degree is not mandatory, education and experience is important to employers looking to hire an illustrator. You may look at earning a bachelor’s degree in the fine arts and start developing your work portfolio while in college. Portfolios are important tools for illustrators to show future customers or employers their skill and artistic style. Attending a program in the fine arts will teach you a variety of art methods that will benefit your illustrations.

Along with being an artist, you may be expected to produce a physical illustration or an electronic one. If you are mainly hired for electronic illustrations, you will spend a great deal of time on the computer. Because of this, illustrators should also take graphic design courses to learn the computer software used to create art electronically. Some illustrators prefer to start off a project by working free-hand and then digitally converting their art to the computer to finish.

Job Description of an Illustrator

Illustrators create original artwork using a variety of different mediums such as pens, colored pencils, pencils and also a variety of different paint such as watercolor, acrylic, or oil. Though they may use traditional methods to create art by hand, some illustrators work to create art solely on a computer using graphic or illustration software. They generally also send their draft to their employer or customer for review and make any revisions if necessary.

Illustrates design art for a variety of purposes such as children’s book, logos, t-shirts, product packaging, and more. Some illustrators specialize in a particular type of illustration, such as those illustrators that work in the sciences. For instance, they could focus on human anatomy, marine wildlife, plants and trees, or birds for example. These artists normally work under strict deadlines and open communication with their customer is vital.

Free Teacher and Student Resources

Accessibility Best Practices: You can check out the free U.S. Web Design System resource by the U.S. government for more information on how to meet 508 compliance standards. You can also learn more about Section 508 Compliance at Section508.gov.

Article Citations

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Fine Artists, Including Painters, Sculptors, and Illustrators.

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