How To Become An Illustrator?

7 minute read
How to Become an Illustrator

Do you like painting images and want to make it a career? Do you like telling stories through images? Then being an illustrator might be a good path to the future of your dreams. But becoming an illustrator is not a straightforward path and so many paths branch out from a single one that it might be difficult to choose one. One can become an illustrator by getting a formal education and do not worry if you are not into studying a lot you can become an illustrator without getting enrolled in an art school as well but you would still need the basic knowledge, skills and talent to be successful in this field. Therefore, we will be discussing how to become an illustrator in this blog today.

Must Read: Fine arts courses

How To Become an Illustrator? 

To become a professional in art fields like becoming an illustrator you have a choice to go with conventional or unconventional ways of reaching your goal. Conventional ways would take you through an art school, internships and into jobs. In unconventional ways, you can choose not to go to art schools and rather start with your career straight away. But in both cases, you do need skills and basic knowledge of your field to be able to become successful. So here are some steps that will help you understand the journey of being an illustrator better – 

Step 1: Gather knowledge and skills

Yes, the first step is to get the basic knowledge of arts, styles, software needed and where you get that knowledge is your choice. You can either enrol in one of the art and design schools that we have mentioned below or you can choose to pursue a diploma or even choose to gather this knowledge by practice. No matter what you choose, the first step is always going to be learning about your field.

Step 2:  Internships

The next step takes you to practice what you have learned before and widening your horizon by doing internships. Through internships, you will gather the finer skills and you will also get to hone these skills. Learning the ins and outs of your trade and maybe gathering some money while being at it will come in handy as you move forward. Internships not only improve your resume and portfolio but give valuable experience in your field as well which is important. 

Step 3: Choose a specialization

By the time you have done a few internships and honed your skills, you would have gotten some idea of where your interests lay. You will know which particular field or job is suited to you, your needs and your talents. Once you have chosen that you can jump in and get a job, become a freelancer or whatever else you want to be. 

Step 4: Practice and experimentation

As we all know practice makes a person perfect. Practising your art gives you more experience and makes you better at what you do. More experienced and expert illustrators are always in demand. But do not get stuck with a single type or style. Just like stagnant water gets stale, stagnant skills get redundant and unvalued. We should keep experimenting with new styles, genres and software which would keep expanding your knowledge and portfolio along with giving you an edge over other people.

Following these steps, you can become the illustrator you want to be and fulfil your dreams. But always remember never to give up because making your dreams a reality take courage and hard work. Constructive criticism and feedback also go a long way in motivating and improving you. If you persevere and believe in your skills then you will no longer be dreaming but living in your dream. 

Skills Of An Illustrator

In order to know how to become an illustrator, Let us first identify the core needed skills an illustrator must need. Some of the skills that would come in handy when choosing to become an illustrator as a career are –

  • Good hand-eye coordination
  • Good eye for colour, balance, layout
  • Excellent at drawing, sketching and painting skills
  • Familiarity with IT and design software
  • Good at using concepts and turning them into graphics
  • Creativity and great imagination is another requirement
  • Visionary with an eye for detail
  • Deadline driven and savvy with solid artistic skills
  • Good negotiation and people skills

How To Become an Illustrator: Types Of Projects

Let us now find out the types of projects that an illustrator might work on in this blog on how to become an illustrator. An illustrator works with various things and in various styles throughout their career. You can choose which you prefer and give it a try. Some of the projects illustrators undertake are given below:

  • Websites
  • T-shirts
  • Training manuals
  • Storyboards
  • Posters
  • Phone apps
  • Packaging
  • Newspapers
  • Magazines
  • Greeting cards
  • Giftware
  • Film animation
  • Diagrams for instruction manuals
  • Computer games
  • Catalogues
  • Book jackets and book illustrations

Design Software Knowledge

Nowadays everything is online not just books but illustrations too so the illustrators also have to go with the times and learn to use their artistic creations not just on paper but on tablets too. They can choose which software suits their art style and stick with it. Some of the software which the illustrators could use are given below –

  • Moleskine Smart Writing Set
  • Inkscape 0.92
  • CorelDRAW 2017
  • Corel Painter 2018
  • Autodesk SketchBook 8.4
  • ArtRage 5
  • Affinity Photo for iPad
  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Adobe Illustrator

Must Read: How to Become a Shoe Designer?

Top Universities In The World

The top art and design schools according to QS rankings 2021 across the world are given below:

Universities Location QS University Rankings fort Art & Design2021
Royal College of Art London, UK 1
University of Arts London London, UK 2
Parsons School of Design New York City, US 3
Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) Providence, US 3
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Cambridge, US 4
Politecnico di Milano Milan, Italy 5
Aalto University Espoo, Finland 6
School of Art Institute of Chicago Chicago, US 7
The Glasgow School of Art Glasgow, UK 8
Pratt University New York City, US 8
Art Center College of Design Pasadena, USA 10

Top Universities In India

The universities and colleges that are famous for their art and design courses are given below in the list –

  1. Aligarh Muslim University, Department of Fine Arts
  2. Amity School of Fine Arts, Amity University    
  3. Banaras Hindu University, Faculty of Visual Arts
  4. Bhartiya Kala Mahavidyalaya, Pune
  5. Delhi University- College of Arts
  6. Jamia Millia Islamia, Faculty of Fine Arts
  7. Kurukshetra University, Department of Fine Arts
  8. National Institute of Design (NID)
  9. Rabindra Bharati University
  10. Visva Bharati University, Kala Bhawan (Institute of Fine Arts)

Top Recruiters 

The top recruiters who hire illustrators are given in a list below: 

  • Big health
  • Brafton inc.
  • Design Garden
  • DKNG
  • GraphicMama
  • Kaplan
  • Kenny Kiernan Illustration Studio
  • Lightboard
  • Mojo Digital Studio
  • StudioMH
  • Truly Design Studio
  • Valistika
  • Waldo Photo
  • Axios                

Scope And Salary

Our blog on how to become an illustrator is incomplete without knowing about the scope and salary of this field of study. Illustrators create art and still drawings commercially for various platforms like magazines, newspapers, books, ads, packaging even greeting cards, medical art and graphic designs. Their field is diverse and their scope wide as long as they know about where their skills lie and what they want to do. These were only some of the areas where an illustrator can work. Working as an illustrator may not be easy but it is satisfying and rewarding if illustrating is something you enjoy and cherish. It can be a dream come true for a passionate artist. The salary of illustrators is not bad either. An illustrator with less than a year of experience can earn up to Rs. 2 Lakhs in about a year and as your experience increases to 1-4 years can earn up to almost Rs. 3 lakhs and it just keeps on increasing as your experience increases every year. If you are that passionate about this job then it is perfect for you and you don’t even have to ask how to become an artist, your spirit and passion will guide you ahead.    

FAQs on How To Become An Illustrator?

What qualifications do you need to be an illustrator?

For being an illustrator you mostly need talent, drive and persistence, but a degree in art and design won’t hurt much either. You will need to build a good portfolio and connection to get successful as an illustrator. You can read above how to become an illustrator.

Do illustrators get paid well?

The average salary of an illustrator is about Rs. 3 lakhs per year, so the payment is not bad

Is Illustration a good career? Is there a demand for illustrators?

There is demand for illustrators in almost all kinds of industries from newspapers, magazines, books to ads, packaging, even greeting cards, medical art and graphic designs. So there is no question of demand, but if it is a good career or not for you is a decision one must make themselves. If you are passionate about drawing, painting and images, then it might be a very good career for you.

Is it too late to become an illustrator?

It is never too late to be an illustrator. There is no age or limit to when and how you achieve your dreams so if being an illustrator is a dream for you then it is never too late and you should go for it.

So this was all about how to become an illustrator and what all you might need to achieve this goal. You can also read about other careers in our how-to guides. Foe more such amazing and interesting reads, stay tuned with Leverage Edu and connect with us on Instagram, Facebook,Twitter and LinkedIn for more updates.

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