Do you need a fancy illustration for your newsletter? Maybe an eye-catching drawing for your blog post?
Illustrations are great for catching the attention of your audience and act as excellent accompaniments to your physical or digital content. But most of us don’t have an illustrator on the payroll, and thus turn to freelance as a solution.
Finding the right illustrator is crucial for elevating your work. In this article, we’re giving you a step-by-step guide on how to source and hire a freelance illustrator.
While illustrators and graphic designers usually aren’t confused about each other, some of their duties overlap and it can be confusing knowing which one you need.
Illustrations are physical or digital artwork created to either elevate a piece of writing or help bring out a specific idea. Think about the cover art for the New Yorker or the illustrations that accompany a children’s book.
Graphic design is generally more pragmatic in its use, meaning a design usually has a very specific purpose. It’s often used to communicate a brand or company’s overall message. It incorporates things like text, fonts, colors, and overall structure to evoke a certain emotion. For a detailed guide on hiring freelance graphic designers, click here.
With those things in mind, a freelance illustrator and a graphic designer are built for very different roles.
A good illustration must be able to tell or complement a story, as well as to show emotions and moods by relying on images, shapes, and colors.
Nowadays, illustrations are everywhere. We see amazing illustrations in books, posters, flyers, and of course, in our digital world! Many websites and mobile applications rely on the power of illustrations to communicate and clarify users.
Yet, not all illustrations follow the same style. Fortunately, there are many styles to be inspired by, develop, and implement. Keep reading to find out our top illustration styles!
A minimalist illustration reflects the idea that less is more. It takes complex concepts and ideas and finds the simplest (yet, efficient) ways to transmit them visually.
Big and bold illustrations are a form of minimalism illustration. It is an illustration style that uses hyperbolic representations of all kinds of shapes, forms, figures, and even letters
3D illustration has achieved a fascinating popularity growth over recent years. Nowadays, 3D illustrations are being widely integrated into different design forms but have had a particularly surprising growth in web design.
Typography illustration contemplates and focuses on arranging the visual appearance of each letter, symbol, or number to create an appealing design.
This illustration style considers the selection of a particular typeface, its layout, colors, kerning, and many other design aspects to make a design stand out.
Retro illustration consists of recreating and bringing back styles from the recent past that are nostalgic. This illustration style typically uses strong and bold colors and patterns.
By considering the shapes and properties in space, geometry allows designers and artists to achieve impressive and unique illustrations. The geometric illustration style is able to combine - and maybe even overlap - geometric shapes, colors, sizes, and patterns. The outcome can be very creative and extremely versatile.
A caricature is an illustration style that considers the subject's characteristic traits and distorts or exaggerates those traits through pencil strokes, sketching, pen and ink drawing, charcoal drawing, or other types of drawing
Comics usually combine visual information with text, following a sequence of illustrated panels according to the narrative. Comics started appearing in the newspapers in the late 19th century as a satirical message toward politics.
Now that you know, your work is more illustrative than graphical, let us take a look at the general process that you might go through with an illustrator.
To become an illustrator it is recommended to take formal training in illustration. But it’s also not a hard and fast rule. There are many self-taught illustrators who excel at what they do. Here we have listed a few criteria you can consider before hiring an illustrator.
Needless to say, the illustrator needs innate affinities and sensibilities for the visual arts. They should have high-level drawing skills, as well as the ability to sketch, communicate visually and think in a highly imaginative way.
An eye for detail is also important, along with creative problem-solving skills. The work of an illustrator involves the constant refining of concepts and design to achieve a final look.
The basics of illustration begin with a sketch. Sketching can be used to quickly explore concepts (which can be done on paper before using your digital devices); to determine the basic layout or composition for the piece; or to develop ideas before investing hours of work into the polished piece.
Are they prepared to re-work concepts, respond to feedback, and exchange ideas through the creative process? Can they suggest alternatives and work effectively within the confines of a project?
Being able to articulate ideas, suggest alternatives and clear hurdles are all part of the creative process. The illustrator must be professional and easy to work with.
Whether working on a film, an advertisement, a video game, a television series or in print media, the job of an illustrator is to tell a story through pictures.
Understanding the basics of storytelling is a part of their toolkit. It may be as simple as evoking the emotion of a character through a facial expression, a gesture or a reaction. These are all mini-stories within a larger story that create engagement with the audience, keeping them entertained and immersed in the art form.
6.Experience with technical tools
Knowledge of design software is one of the qualifications they need as an illustrator. There are a range of industry-standard platforms, namely the Adobe suite including Photoshop and Illustrator. Graphics tablets are the preferred hardware, replicating the feel and precision of a pen/pencil.
The most important question is how equipped are they with these tools.
Dismissing the candidate straight away because the price they quoted doesn’t suit you, especially if they are a good fit for your project: everything can be negotiated.
Pushing the work without a contract to ‘speed things up’. This is unprofessional and a contract between you and the illustrator is as much to their benefit as it is to yours.
Not considering the illustrator's style: The illustrator's style should be a good match for your project. Make sure to look at the illustrator's portfolio and consider how their style aligns with the type of illustrations you need and the overall aesthetic of your project
The cost of a freelance illustrator can vary widely depending on a number of factors such as the level of experience, the type of illustration, the length of the project, and the location of the illustrator. However, on average, freelance illustrators usually charge between $50-$150 per hour. This can range from $50 for a junior illustrator to $150 for an experienced illustrator with a strong portfolio.
Rates typically charged by illustrators are:
An experienced illustrator may command higher fees but also work faster, have more-specialized areas of expertise, and deliver higher-quality work.
Which one is right for you will depend on the specifics of your project.
Also note that there is no right answer to this question as it depends on a number of factors including the complexity of the project, how much time it will take the illustrator to complete, and what type of illustration is being requested.
| Sample Illustrator Charges
|PROJECT TYPE||AVERAGE FEES RANGE|
|Children’s book||$500 - $5000+|
|Advertise & marketing||$300 - $1000+|
|Magazines & newspaper||$200 - $1000+|
|Product packaging||$300 - $1000+|
|Character designing||$1000 - $5000+|
|Graphic novels||$1000 - $20000+|
What is your availability?
An illustrator should be able to give you an idea of their availability and when they would be able to start work on your project.
How do you handle revisions?
An illustrator should have a clear process for revisions and how many rounds of revisions are included in their pricing.
What is your process for creating illustrations?
An illustrator should be able to give you an idea of their process for creating illustrations, from conceptualization to final delivery.