Illustration artists work in commercial, entertainment, educational, non-profit, and scientific research fields, preparing everything from designs for animated cartoons to skeletal illustrations for a medical abstract. If you have a creative imagination and love to draw, there are illustration training and degree programs with courses in the illustration specialty that calls to you. Perhaps you prefer to work in painting or fine arts, or illustrate books or greeting cards, or design landscapes for a video game. You might want to do sketches of suspects for law enforcement agencies or work for an advertising agency. The field is diverse and your talents are in demand.
How to Prepare for a Career in Illustration
According to The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), illustration and fine arts programs at two and four-year colleges and universities can prepare you for the profession. Many professionals return to illustration programs to learn new, emerging techniques required for their specialty field. Medical illustrators combine courses in pre-med with art training. Those who want to teach illustration classes in colleges and schools may go on to earn their graduate degree.
Illustration Career Wages
The BLS reports that 60 percent of artists and illustrators are self-employed professionals. In 2008, the median annual wage for artists and illustrators was $42,650, with top salaries averaging $83,410. The high end of the salary scale is typically paid to illustrators in the motion picture or video industries.
Outlook for Careers in Illustration
The BLS predicts a 12 percent increase in jobs for artists and illustrators between 2008 and 2018.