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Illustrator

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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

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 £17,000 to £20,000 a year. With experience this can rise to £30,000 a year, or more if very well established.

Conditions

Workforce Employment Status

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Getting In

For art school courses you need to apply through UCAS. Some courses have a closing date of 15th January and others have the closing date of 24th March.

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

Employment

Unemployment

Percentage of workforce registered as unemployed (Scotland)

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Job Outlook Scotland and UK

  Scotland
2017
345
5.5 %
FALL
2022
327
  United Kingdom
2017
11361
3.6 %
FALL
2022
10971

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What Does it Take?

You need to be:

Training

Getting On

More Information

Young Scot and Creative Scotland operate the 'Nurturing Talent - Time to Shine Fund', which aims to support young people aged 14-20 and interested in developing skills in: Drama, Dance, Music, Film, Visual Arts, Literature or Digital Arts. Both individuals and groups can apply for funding ranging from £50 to £600. For more information see the Young Scot website.

Video

Courtesy of Creative Choices

Contacts

The following organisations may be able to provide further information.

a-n The Artists Information Company
Tel: 0300 330 0706
Website: http://www.a-n.co.uk/

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

Association of Illustrators
Tel: 020 7759 1010
E-mail: info@theaoi.com
Website: http://www.theaoi.com/
Twitter: @theaoi
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/theaoi

Creative and Cultural Skills
E-mail: edinburgh@ccskills.org.uk
Website: http://www.ccskills.org.uk/
Website (2): https://ccskills.org.uk/careers
Twitter: @CCskills
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ccskills

Creative and Cultural Skills is the Sector Skills Council for advertising, crafts, cultural heritage, design, music, performing, literary and visual arts. Creative Choices is their career information website.

Scottish Illustrators
E-mail: info@scottishillustrators.com
Website: http://www.scottishillustrators.com/

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

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Career Area

Art and Design

Career Sectors

3 Dimensional Design

Fashion or Textile Design

Fine Art or Graphic Design

Interior Design or Display

Photography