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What Is a Freelance Illustrator and How to Become One

Freelance Illustrator

What Is the Job of Freelance Illustrators?

Freelance illustrators work in many different industries; they create commercial designs and images for a variety of uses. Instead of working on the staff of a company, freelance illustrators are independent contractors who can be hired to work on a short- or long-term basis. One of the most common types of freelance illustrators is a publication illustrator. They create images for books and articles that complement the text or highlight subjects in a magazine or newspaper. Other freelance illustrators develop accessories for toys, apparel, or interior design sketches. While many use traditional artistic mediums, such as pencil or watercolors, others utilize graphic design programs to create product packaging or marketing materials.

What Skills Do You Need to Become a Freelance Book Illustrator?

Freelance book illustrators need to be able to bring text to life through images. They work with authors and publishing houses to visualize concepts that reflect the entire book. As a freelance book illustrator, you may design the book cover and inside flap, or draw images that appear throughout the book. For children’s books, the images are often more literal; the pictures show what is said in the text to help children understand the meaning and plot through pictures. Each artist has their own style and may utilize different mediums to develop their craft, such as pencil, watercolors, or even computer programs. Most book illustrators attend art school to learn what styles work for them. Freelance book illustrators may secure short- or long-term contracts with editors or publishers, or work directly with authors.