Illustration Careers

Do you love to draw or paint? Was art your favorite subject in school? Many students shy away from pursuing art in college in favor of more ‘practical’ majors such as business or management. The truth is, a degree in illustration can qualify you for jobs in many different industries. There are plenty of career opportunities for the illustration major from graphic illustration and design to marketing art director. A degree in illustration can lead to a fulfilling and rewarding career.

Here are a few examples of careers in illustration:

  • Medical Illustrator– Medical illustrators must have a talent for illustration as well as a detailed knowledge of anatomy and physiology. This career involves creating images for educational use in text books, pamphlets, digital reference materials and the like. Students who wish to pursue this career should major in illustration and some pre-med related field such as biology. There are master’s programs that specialize in medical illustration, but only a few, and the competition is very fierce. Successful medical illustrators will have superior artistic abilities, a detailed knowledge of anatomy and, as the career becomes increasingly digital, the aptitude to learn new technology.
  • Freelance Illustrator– Individuals may freelance to supplement their primary income, or pursue it as a full time career. Freelance illustrators may work for companies, newspapers, design firms or any other business that needs original images to be created. There are definite benefits and drawbacks to doing primarily freelance work; you get to be your own boss, but work may not always be steady. Talented illustrators will have no trouble finding clients, but it may take some time to build business connections and a professional reputation.
  • Advertising or Graphic Design Illustrator– Illustrators who work in the advertising or graphic design fields are generally employed by companies to create compelling and original ad content. They may work in print or digital media creating ads, posters, mail campaign material or any other graphic material the company requires. A background in advertising or marketing as well as illustration is a great way to become qualified for a career in this field.
  • Fashion Illustrator– If you’re interested in the fashion industry and love to draw, you may be perfect for a career as a fashion illustrator. Professionals in this field stay well-informed of the latest fashion trends and will create images and for fashion magazines, designers, newspapers and department stores. Professionals working in this career may freelance, or work for a company or small firm.