Illustrator Image

Illustrators produce drawings, paintings or diagrams for a wide range of products to communicate information, facts or emotions, depending on the needs of their clients. These can include book jackets, computer games and animation, educational materials, brochures, magazines, comics, posters, greeting cards, adverts and packaging. They may specialise in one type of illustration, such as fashion, games design, scientific or technical, or children’s books.

The Work

You could be:


Pay rates vary, depending on:

Most illustrators work freelance. They charge a fee, which varies depending on the work. The better known they are, the more they can charge. The Association of Illustrators gives guidelines for calculating fees on its website.

The a-n (The Artists Information Company) website has an interactive artist's toolkit which helps artists calculate how to price their work (you need to be a member to access this). Suggested sample rates of pay from the London Freelance Fees Guide:

If you sell your work through an agent, you need to pay the agent a fee. This could be as much as a third of the selling price. In an employed job, an illustrator could earn a starting salary of around £18,000 to £20,000 a year. With experience this can rise to £30,000 a year, or more if very well established.


Workforce Employment Status

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Getting In

For art school courses you need to apply through UCAS. 

Entry to this work is very competitive. You may be able to get work from publishers, advertising agencies, broadcasting agencies or the fashion industry. You would take your work, or send copies, to agencies to try to find work. You will need to be persistent, as first time illustrators have a low rate of acceptance.

Some illustrators find work through an agent or submit their work to ‘stock houses’, but both of these would take a commission.

Workforce Education Levels (UK)

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Job Outlook Scotland


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Job Outlook Scotland and UK

0.7 %
  United Kingdom
1 %

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What Does it Take?

You need to be:


Getting On

More Information

Young Scot and Creative Scotland operate the 'Nurturing Talent - Time to Shine Fund', which aims to support young people aged 11-25 and interested in developing creative or artistic skills. Both individuals and groups can apply for funding up to £1,000. For more information see the Young Scot website.


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The following organisations may be able to provide further information.

a-n The Artists Information Company
Tel: 0300 330 0706

This site includes useful information on employment and self-employment in this area of work.

Scottish Illustrators

A website which gives illustrators a free opportunity to showcase their work.

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