While there are some staff positions available, most illustrators work as freelancers or independent contractors. Career possibilities include children's books and magazines, book covers, graphic design, botanical illustration, maps, murals, theatrical work, comic books, cartoons, editorial cartoons, medical and scientific illustration, greeting cards, toys, puzzles and games, surface design (wallpaper, wrapping paper, fabric), advertising, and fashion illustration.

Illustrators can work for magazine and newspaper editors, publishers, television companies, game companies, advertising agencies and design groups. You may also consider pursuing a career in games, animation, multimedia or special effects design for film and television. Related fields include work as a web designer, photographer, graphic designer, art director, editor, or publisher. All fields require a professional portfolio of work directly related to the field. If you scroll down this page you will find links to information and resources on many different fields of illustration.

Freelance work can be very part-time to more than full-time employment, but there are no benefits, retirement or insurance. Staff positions are rare these days. Even the most successful illustrator can find that their current style is suddenly unemployable. Many illustrators work full or part-time in another field to have a reliable income and insurance benefits.

Diversity is the key to surviving as an illustrator, so keep your options open to all possibilities. You may need to market yourself under different "pen" names and websites to keep your illustration identities separate. If you are interested in working in the field of children's illustration you will have a better chance of getting published if you can both write and illustrate at a professional level.

Don't forget to develop your own personal work  - you will find inspiration there that will spill over into your paid work and you may find that your personal work is marketable, too.
Explore new media, materials and ideas on your own to keep the joy in creativity.

While traditional drawing and painting skills never go out of style, it is wise of you to keep abreast of new technologies and trends. Re-inventing your style and techniques over time will keep your work lively and  vibrant. Be true to your inner vision while adapting to the ever changing entertainment and publishing.



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