Career as Illustrator

Stream : Arts, Design & Fashion
Sub Stream : Graphic Design,Fine Arts

Seen it? Smiled? And shared it? Well, you’re not alone. Web comics and graphic memes are a permanent fixture on social media; even communication! Tagging each other, sharing posts across all social media channels, everyone loves a laugh. Most of us even had the curisority to know how these illustrations are made and even googled questions like how to become an illustrator, job opportunities and scope of a career as an illustrator. We are here to answer all your questions and introduce the world of illustrations to one unaware of it. 


Illustrator is a job that requires creativity and artistic skills. It is a job that requires the ability to draw, paint, or design.

An illustrator is someone who creates illustrations for various purposes such as books, magazines, newspapers, posters, and advertisements. The work of an illustrator can be found in many forms of media including digital media like websites and apps.

The scope of an illustrator can be determined by their degree of specialization in the field. An illustration may require only a few lines or it may span across many pages. The work of an illustrator may also be done digitally with the use of computer software such as Adobe Illustrator CC .

Illustrators are employed in different fields such as advertising agencies, publishing companies, and educational institutions among others. They are

Illustrators are creative professionals who create images and illustrations for various purposes. They are also responsible for the final output of their work.

The scope of an illustrator is wide and they can be employed in a variety of fields, such as advertising, publishing, design, marketing, and education.

Illustrators are expected to have a good understanding of color theory and design principles. They must also have strong artistic skills in order to create eye-catching visuals that will appeal to their audience.

Illustrators are responsible for creating images and illustrations for various purposes. They work with various mediums like digital, print, web, and motion graphics to create the desired output.

Illustrators in India can be broadly divided into two categories- freelance or full-time illustrators. The first category is considered to be more prestigious and the second category is considered to be less prestigious.

Freelance illustrators work on a project-to-project basis while full-time illustrators work on a long-term basis. Freelance artists are paid per project while full time artists earn a fixed monthly salary with benefits such as medical insurance, pension, etc.


The defination of an illustration goes like this, An illustration is a drawing, painting or printed work of art which explains, clarifies, illuminates, visually represents, or merely decorates a written text, which may be of a literary or commercial nature.


 This is one the most googled question, because most of us have this misconception that illustation and animation are the same thing- 

Illustration is a term used to describe still visuals such as drawings in a book, or paintings on a poster. 

Animation is visuals that move, this could be drawn or computer generated. Animation is running frames of [digitally] illustrated images in sequence to create the illusion of motion.


Illustrators are commissioned to produce still drawings for use in advertisements, books, magazines, packaging, greetings cards and newspapers. It is essential to prepare a sound portfolio of work that can be used to demonstrate abilities. The job profile of an illustrator includes- 

  • discussing client needs and identifying a target audience for the work
  • agreeing the brief and contract with the client
  • developing visual ideas that suit the brief
  • seeking client approval for ideas with rough visuals - this stage may involve going back to the drawing board several times to rework sketches
  • using drawing, sketching, painting and photographic skills to produce discussed illustrations


Illustration today has multifarious avenues and applications because print, web and other media are increasingly focusing on visual appeal to woo more subscribers. So yes, it can become a full-time career. The illustrator has a very important role to play in today image-driven society. The first thing, that makes an impression in case of an illustrated book, is the artwork and is often the factor that sways a potential reader towards or away from it. Hence, illustrators play a crucial role and have now started to get the recognition they have long deserved. The ability to sketch out an idea would be an asset almost anywhere and facilitate the design process. Basically, an illustrator mirrors his world on paper or the computer screen and hence, develops inquisitiveness and an eye for detail that would serve him well in most visual art forms.


-Unfortunately, we don’t yet have courses concentrating solely on illustration. However, students have the option of taking up either applied art or fine art and then specialising in illustration.

-Like most forms of art, illustration is an individual pursuit and it’s the individual’s time, effort and practice that will make him / her a good illustrator.

-There certificate and diploma courses available for the one wanting to make a career in illustration.  


While looking for a job, we search about the responsibilities, scope, qualification etc required for a particular. But we often forget the most important factors  i.e career interest, Aptitude and personality, needed to be considered, while applying for a job. 

Some of the basic aptitude, personality and interest required to succeed in this career are-





 Of course, interest in visual   arts, artistic and creative   works  is primary factor  for   aspiring illustrator to enter   this field.


        Formation skills                  (a sense of shape and form)

 A aptitude in this area means   one has-

  •  a knowledge of colour, pattern and visual texture.
  • An eye for detail and design.





 Imaginative personality means       someone who has-

  • The ability to express creative ideas.
  • To be able to work to a brief and solve problems creatively
  • An understanding of the creative process.





 Illustration is a competitive field,   success won’t immediately come to   you, no matter how good you are, so   in order to survive you need to be   someone-


  •  who is patient in waiting for things to take their time.
  • Someone who is composed and unflustered by events. Take things as they come.





  • This is a field where being an illustrator might get a little solitary. You have to have a new understanding of the field and constantly look out for more.
  • Talking to fellow illustrators, getting fresh perspectives about your work and honing your skills is something an illustrator should keep doing.




Illustration itself consists of various mediums and types and you should be specific about your objectives. Drawing pretty pictures might be the goal but illustrations are beyond that. You have to pick what you believe can do the best. You have to be consistent about your style and focus on what you want to do in the field of illustration.

Few examples of Illustration genres:

  • Concept Art (includes Fantasy, Gaming, Animation, and One-Pager Fine Illustrations)
  • Children’s
  • Comics/Graphic Novels
  • Books/Publications
  • Editorials
  • Advertising
  • Packaging
  • Branding/Logo
  • Infographic
  • Technical
  • Fashion etc.


As illutrator you can work as freelancer for one or multiple companies, full time or part- time.

Be an entrepreneur,  showcase your work on social media platform, blogging sites etc and earn money through display and affiliate advertising.

You can also work for a company or organisation, you most likelyto get a job in following sectors-

  • Advertising
  • Digital agencies
  • Fashion companies
  • Event management organisations
  • Book and comics publication houses 
  • Web developer companies
  • Photography studos etc. 


In publishing- illustrators will usually provide accompaniments to an author’s text in books, magazines, graphic novels, comics and online;

In fashion- they will provide illustrations for garment designs; in merchandising they create designs for greeting cards, t-shirts, mugs, etc.;

In corporate- they provide illustrations that meet the wide ranging needs of a company, for example, a pictorial display of fire evacuation procedures and

In medical- illustration, illustrators provide accurate illustrations of anatomy, equipment and experiments.

To keep exploring, head on to our page on career banks and blogs on different careers, entrance exams, coursescollegesjobs, etc.

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