What does an illustrator do?
Illustrators are a type of artist that specializes in complementing written material by providing a visual image that corresponds to the written content. They typically create images for books, magazines, journals, periodicals, newspapers, and other publications. They also create pictures for commercial products such as greeting cards, textiles, calendars, wrapping paper, stationary, promotional posters, and other products. The images often clarify complicated ideas or objects that are hard to describe in written text. Many illustrators create pictures for children’s books to make the story come to life.
Illustrators use a variety of material including pen and pencil, watercolor, pastels, chalk, oil painting, linoleum cuts, wood engraving, and other materials. With increasing advanced technology, many illustrators are working in digital format and creating images on computers. This opens a new world of illustration and provides written publication with a variety of new images.
What kind of training does an illustrator need?
There is no formal training required for illustrators, but many complete some type of training. Many colleges, universities, and art schools offer bachelor and master degree programs in fine arts, illustration, visual communications, and animation. Fine arts programs typically provide education to become proficient in visual elements such as sketching, drawing, and composition. Aspiring illustrators must also create an excellent portfolio to showcase their talent in a wide variety of styles. Hand-drawn and computer-generated illustrations are recommended to be included in the portfolio. Many bachelor degree programs assist students in creating portfolios. Many future illustrators also complete internships for hands-on experience and help with developing a portfolio.
What are the prospects for a career as an illustrator?
Employment of illustrators is projected to grow faster than average for all professions, increasing 16% from 2006 to 2016 (1). As Web sites use more detailed images and backgrounds, the demand for computer illustrators will increase.
Job prospects are expected to be good with keen competition because there are more qualified applicants than job openings. Prospects will be the best for illustrators with extensive experience in a wide range of areas especially computer imaging.
How much do illustrators make?
As of August 2009, the middle 50% of illustrators earned annual salaries between $30,396 and $44,083. The top 10% earned annual salaries of more than $51,004 (2).
A career as an illustrator is an excellent choice for individuals who have excellent drawing talent and ability. Creativity, detail orientation, a “good eye”, abstract thinking, perseverance, and ability to work as part of a team and independently are all essential characteristics.