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Illustration: about the profession of illustrator

By 19 January 2021February 13th, 2021Post8 min read


Illustrator job description

There are different types of illustrators. If you are a future customer or a student, and you would like to understand more about this out-of-the-ordinary job, here are the different topics I’d like to talk about.

– How to become an illustrator, training. 

– The different types of illustrator.

– How to choose your illustrator.

– How to work with a freelance illustrator 

– An illustrator’s rate

– Why choose an illustrator for communication purposes.

– Conclusion


Training as an illustrator

You just graduated from high school and you would like to live of your passion . You have several options. Public schools versus private schools. Personally, I strongly recommend public schools (although I trained in the private sector). Why do I recommend them? The price, the private schools are simply exorbitantly expensive while the training in the public schools is truly excellent. When I say public school I think directly of the Art Deco of Paris / Strasbourg.

As far as the private sector is concerned, be wary of scams, you should only choose the best of the best, the schools that really have an excellent reputation. I advise you to go attend the open houses or even talk to former students. Another advice I’d give is to avoid second cycles (master), which I believe is a real waste of time and money to me. You should apply directly to an agency and find a job or, better still, if you have the opportunity, go abroad to work 2 or 3 years to have a great background. Personally, I did LISAA (Institute of Applied Arts) in Paris, then Intuit Lab still in Paris.


The different types of illustrator

Is there really such a thing as “categories” of illustrators ? Yes there are different types and categories of illustrator. 

– Illustrators for communication and advertising.

– Children’s illustrators

– Medical illustrators

– 3D illustrators

– Comic artists

– Event illustrators

I personally do illustrations for the communication and advertising field. Such a job requires being really attentive to the needs and desires of the client, a lot of creativity in order to propose unique ideas but also great flexibility, because sometimes the deadlines are really short, and finally to have strong bases of marketing. I am also a children’s illustrator, which requires me to be creative, to have a playful style, know how to “talk” to children, know the issues of pedagogy, especially if communicating to children. Being a children’s illustrator isn’t all about making books and working for the publishing or the press. Indeed, more and more brands and agencies are targeting children in their communication and advertising campaigns. It goes from using simple print posters to advertising spots but also decoration of stands, comics  and medical illustrations. The most concrete example is the advertising for the pharmacists’ association.


How to choose the illustrator you are going to work with

There are several ways to look for an illustrator, for example by typing “ freelance illustrator” on  Google , Bing or Qwant, you will quickly realize that there are numerous illustrators. However, you make your choice wisely and take into account their graphic style. In fact, you can’t ask an illustrator who is specialized in digital/vectorial drawing to do watercolor illustration, unless you’ve seen him doing it in his portfolio. Be careful to also consult his references, his professional experience, if he has already been published in specialized magazines. As a general rule these points above are guarantees of quality and will allow you to work peacefully. Be also careful with low rates quotes. I know it may seem tempting, but often it hides a wolf, like forgetting about the price of the right transfer, forgetting about the price of the customer round trips… Or simply a big lack of know-how and a really average style.

Another way to work with an illustrator is through an illustrator’s agent. Illustration agencies are mainly called upon by large communication and advertising agencies. The advantage is that the agent will be able to direct you to the right illustrator according to your needs. There will never be any problems with quotes, invoicing, transfer of rights, client comings and goings… The disadvantage is that the agent takes an average of 30%, so you should expect to pay a little more.


How to work with a freelancer

It is not too complicated. First, contact by email / phone is mandatory. Then the sending of a brief indicating the details of the order is necessary: number of characters, backgrounds, are there any typographic elements, what will be the exact use of the illustration, for how long is it going to be used for, the deadline, what’s your budget … Thanks to a detailed brief, the illustrator will be able to best suit your needs. Once the estimate is established, the order form signed, you will soon receive the first sketches, then the colored version of the illustrator and finally the HD file. Some illustrators are reluctant to give their source files. Ask beforehand whether or not the source files will be delivered and ask for this to be specified in the purchase order. As far as customer modifications are concerned, the maximum average is 3, after that the illustrator may charge you for any more touch-ups/


The rates of an illustration

Some of us work on a fixed price basis, others on a daily basis. Daily rates are about 350 euros before tax (for a junior illustrator) to 1000 euros before tax (for a star illustrator). What determines the daily price: experience, charges, technique used…

Don’t forget the assignment of rights. You buy an illustration, not quite, you are in fact buying what use is going to be made of it. Just like music, photography… illustration is subject to transfer of rights, so prices vary according to the use. Will be taken into account: the medium, the territory, and number of months or years of use. (it is not rare to see the price of the transfer more important than the price of the creation).

Conclusion: daily price + assignment of rights = the rate of an illustration.


Why call upon an illustrator for your communication

An illustrator will necessarily give an added value to your communication. So why choose an illustrator? Because you will have a unique style, a style that will represent your company, your agency or your organisation. It will also build the message you want to convey to your future customers, your employees (for internal communication). The illustrator will put more color to your communication, in short using an illustrator designer is going to give more strength to the message you want to convey.


Some advice to choose your freelance illustrator

– Making contact. It must be fluid, you must feel at ease, the illustrator must be receptive and understand what you are asking for.

– The illustrator’s portfolio must be regularly updated, but above all the style must “speak” to you. Indeed, when you choose to use illustration for your communication, the illustrator’s graphic style must be one of the main criteria of choice.

– The quote, it must be clear, with the various basic mentions (name, first name, siren number ect…).

– The working method. Do not hesitate to ask what is the illustrator’s working method. I always advise to make a sketch with a round trip to the customer before going to the coloring. A good working method allows us to obtain a quality rendering.

– The price, it must be proportional to your request (beware of the price too low).

Read the full article on the work method of an illustrator



– Working with an illustrator brings strength to your communication.

– You can work with any illustrator, but be careful of prices that are too low, write detailed briefs, keep in mind the assignment of rights.

– If you are a student and you want to become an illustrator or a graphic designer, choose your school carefully. No need to study for a long time but rather do internships. Have some knowledge in marketing, be passionate, patient, mindful, reactive and creative. For any questions, request for additional information, quotation… Do not hesitate to contact me in the contact section by mail or phone.

– Mail:

–  Phone: 06 70 38 31 46


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