What does an Illustrator do?

Artists work in various mediums including fine arts, crafts, desktop publishing, or animation. They work as multimedia artists, animators, graphic designers, or fine artists and might work on teams throughout the creative process to complete a project or create a product. Artists review project proposals to determine if they can produce a specific idea. They design original concepts or evaluate concepts submitted by team members, including a project manager or copywriter, and make creative suggestions while offering up solutions to any perceived issues.

Artists typically manage the entire design and production of the images, which could involve designing the original concept, meeting with team members to finalize the concept, and managing the art’s quality throughout the production process. They maintain a project schedule, evaluate progress, and debrief the team, keeping them apprised of progress and concerns. Artists sometimes work closely with art directors, copywriters, and project managers to ensure the artwork is of high quality and delivered on time. There is no required degree for an artist, but some have a bachelor's or associate's degree in art for their particular expertise, and they must have a demonstrable portfolio.

EducationBachelor's Degree
Work/Life Balance
3.5 ★
Salary Range--
Career Opportunity
3.4 ★
Avg. Experience2-4 years

Illustrator Salaries

Average Base Pay

$55,234 /yr
Same as national average
Not including cash compensation
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$31K
Median: $55K
$98K
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Glassdoor Estimated Salary

Illustrator Career Path

Learn how to become an Illustrator, what skills and education you need to succeed, and what level of pay to expect at each step on your career path.

L2
Artist
$63,254/yr
L3
Senior Artist
$98,327/yr
L4
Lead Artist
$92,966/yr
See Career Path

Illustrator Insights

Read what Illustrator professionals have to say about their job experiences and view top companies for this career.
MPCMPC
3D Layout Artist
Apr 19, 2021

“workers were fun to work with and I am still good friends with some of them to this day”

Bobbi Brown CosmeticsBobbi Brown Cosmetics
Retail Artist
Aug 25, 2021

“Pay is poor even with commission but I enjoy what I do enough to stay and I can live comfortably.”

HELMHELM
Illustrator
Jan 20, 2020

“I received all I needed to do my job and the communication was always on point.”

MPCMPC
Techanim Key Artist
Feb 28, 2020

“I personally had many opportunities to progress within my department and got a promotion fairly early in my career.”

ArnottsArnotts
Retail Artist
Feb 13, 2021

“The counter I was on the pay wasn’t great compared to other counters who were doing the same job”

Tapps GamesTapps Games
Illustrator
Oct 7, 2019

“CEO distante da força de trabalho e faz decisões que não retrata a realidade dos empregados ou do mercado.”

RocksteadyRocksteady
Senior Artist
Apr 28, 2021

“The pay is probably the best for a AAA studio in this part of the UK.”

Painting with a TwistPainting with a Twist
Artist
Nov 23, 2020

“No one is bringing up issues because they know that you won't listen to them.”

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Illustrator Interviews

Related Careers

Photographer
$46,922
No skills overlap
Design Manager
$106,028
Art Manager
$82,904
Creative Manager
$83,219
No skills overlap

Illustrator Jobs

Frequently asked questions about the roles and responsibilities of an illustrator

When working as an illustrator, the most common skills you will need to perform your job and for career success are VFX, Maya, Adobe Creative Suite, Photoshop, and Excellent Communication.

The most similar professions to illustrator are:
  • Photographer
  • Design Manager
  • Art Manager
  • Creative Manager

The most common qualifications to become an illustrator include a minimum of a Bachelor's Degree and an average of 0 - 1 years of experience not including years spent in education and/or training.