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Rates for Illustrator freelancers

The average daily rate of experienced freelancers is €291.

The daily rate varies based on a freelancer's location. For example, the average daily rate of a Illustrator in London is €325, whereas in Manchester it's €309 and in326 it's €Birmingham.

Illustrator: What this profession is all about

In this comprehensive guide, we will take you through all the essential information regarding freelance illustrators.

What is a freelance illustrator?

Illustrators are, as the name suggests, responsible for the illustration of a piece of artwork (eg. websites, books, posters, charts, infographics). They can draw directly on a physical medium or use DTP software. On Malt, you can search for freelance illustrators by area of expertise or business sector.

What jobs do freelance illustrators do?

Unlike graphic designers who will be very focused on branding, web designers on the design of website pages and UX designers on designing user experiences freelance illustrators undertake a diverse range of creative projects. They create visual content, often using hand-drawn or digital techniques, to convey ideas, concepts, and stories. This can include book illustrations, editorial illustrations for magazines, concept art for video games and films, product design, advertising visuals, and more.

Freelance Fashion Illustrator

A freelance fashion illustrator specializes in creating artistic representation of clothing, accessories, and fashion concepts. They collaborate with fashion designers, brands, and publications to visually communicate fashion ideas, often through hand-drawn or digitally rendered sketches and illustrations. Fashion illustrators play a crucial role in bringing fashion visions to life, whether it's for runway designs, clothing catalogs, advertising campaigns, or fashion editorials.

Freelance Technical Illustrator

Freelance technical illustrators focus on creating detailed and accurate visual representations of complex technical subjects. They are often hired by engineering firms, manufacturers, and educational institutions to produce diagrams, schematics, assembly instructions, and technical manuals. These illustrators use their artistic skills to simplify and clarify technical information, making it more accessible and comprehensible to a broad audience.

Freelance Children's Book Illustrator

Freelance children's book illustrators specialize in creating captivating and imaginative illustrations that complement children's stories and literature. They work closely with authors and publishers to bring characters, settings, and narratives to life in a visually engaging and child-friendly manner. These illustrators often use a range of artistic techniques to capture the essence of children's stories and make them visually appealing to young readers.

How does a freelance illustrator work?

Freelance illustrators can work at the client’s premises if necessary, but in general they prefer to work from home. This can increase their efficiency as they have easy access to all their material and can better adhere to a routine.

Before getting started, illustrators begin by doing some research (about illustration style, type of publication, etc.). This allows them to create a moodboard. This collage helps them gather inspiration for the work requested. It can contain a wide variety of images, ranging from color palettes and a collection of textures to more creative visuals.

Thanks to this work upstream, they can begin their first drafts. It usually takes several tries to find the right style!

Once they’re satisfied and the client has approved the preparatory sketches, they can begin. Most of the time, freelance illustrators start from scratch, but sometimes they may start from an existing design, either by completing an unfinished series or by reworking an old image.

During the creative process they may use several tools. Adobe Suite software, such as Illustrator and Photoshop, is widely used. However, it’s still common for illustrators to begin working on paper and then scan or photograph their work and retouch it on the computer. The equipment used may vary. Common mediums are: pencil, paint, colored pencil, collage, pastel, etc. A graphic tablet is also an important tool. It allows you to draw with a digital pen and capture your drawing movements on a computer.

2D illustrators use a variety of techniques to create their work, such as drawing, painting, and digital illustration. They may also use collage, mixed media, and other techniques. 2D illustrations can be used for a variety of purposes, such as book illustrations, magazine covers, and advertising. The softwares used are Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, Procreate, etc.

3D illustrators use specialized software to create and manipulate 3D models. They can then apply textures, colors, and lighting to make their models look realistic. 3D illustrations can be used for a variety of purposes, such as product design, video games, and movies. The softwares used are Blender, Maya, 3ds Max, etc

What is a freelance illustrator’s salary in the UK?

A freelance illustrator's salary in the UK can vary widely depending on factors such as experience, specialization, client base, and the complexity of projects. On average, freelance illustrators can earn anywhere from £20,000 to £50,000 or more annually. However, it's important to note that freelancers' income can fluctuate significantly from year to year, as it depends on the volume and types of projects they secure.

How to brief a freelance illustrator?

Clients should do some research before getting in touch with a freelance illustrator. First, they should identify their needs and desires by drawing up a set of specifications. This must contain details of the work to be carried out, its constraints, the scope of use of the illustration, the quantity to be produced, deadlines, etc.

They should also think about what they hope to convey with the visual and their preferred art style.

Preferably, the client should provide the freelancer with the following information: logos, a graphic charter, any key things to include, color references, etc. Of course, all of this must be supplied in a quality sufficient to produce high caliber work.

By doing this work beforehand, misunderstandings between the client and the freelance illustrator are mitigated, allowing them to begin the project with peace of mind.

With these specifications in mind, the freelance illustrator begins by doing some research. They then start the first drafts that show the direction they want to take. They’ll propose one to three different approaches to the project to their client, who will approve one of them. After that, the final rendering can begin.

Last but not least, there is the delivery. There are almost always revisions, so this should be factored into the illustrator’s working time and quote.

What deliverables can freelance illustrators provide?

The deliverable will take the form of what is specified in the quote. This may be in the form of a PDF, JPEG or PNG, a source file or scan, or a basic photo.

It’s important to establish this when agreeing on a quote. Any additional formats may incur an additional cost.

It’s also important to agree on the transfer of copyright at the quotation stage. Its cost will depend on several factors: the country or countries of distribution, the duration of use, etc.

How to choose a freelance illustrator?

Freelance illustrators will help you create the visuals you need but will also provide expertise on the project. They will bring their own style and their own world, which will make the illustrations more personal and lively. They will also provide unique visuals that cannot be found elsewhere.

The experience a freelance illustrator has is important, but it’s not the only thing to take into account. Their style can also be a key factor. For children’s illustrations, a freelance illustrator whose work is medically oriented might not be a good fit. Nevertheless, it is common for illustrators to work in several styles and areas.

The best way to find out if a freelance illustrator is right for you is to get in touch and discuss your project.

How to hire a freelance illustrator?

To hire a freelance illustrator, you can follow these steps:

  • Define your needs. What kind of illustration do you need? What is the purpose of the illustration? What is your budget? Once you have a good understanding of your needs, you can start to look for illustrators who are a good fit.
  • Find illustrators. There are a number of ways to find freelance illustrators. You can search online job boards, social media, or specialized websites like Behance or Dribbble. You can also ask for recommendations from friends, colleagues, or other businesses you know.
  • Review portfolios. Once you have a list of potential illustrators, take the time to review their portfolios. This will give you a good sense of their style, skills, and experience. Pay attention to illustrations that are similar to the type of illustration you need.
  • Contact illustrators. Once you have found a few illustrators whose work you like, contact them to inquire about their availability and rates. Be sure to provide them with a detailed description of your project, including your budget and deadline.
  • Interview illustrators. Once you have received responses from illustrators, schedule interviews to learn more about them and their process. Ask them about their experience working on similar projects, their availability, and their rates.
  • Hire an illustrator. Once you have interviewed a few illustrators, choose the one who you think is the best fit for your project. Be sure to sign a contract before you start working with them.
  • Be clear about your expectations. Make sure to communicate your needs and expectations to the illustrator clearly and concisely. This includes providing them with a detailed description of the illustration you need, as well as your budget and deadline.
  • Be flexible. Things don't always go according to plan, so it's important to be flexible and willing to work with the illustrator if there are any unforeseen challenges.
  • Provide feedback. Don't be afraid to provide feedback to the illustrator throughout the project. This will help to ensure that the final illustration meets your expectations.
  • Pay on time. Once the illustration is complete, be sure to pay the illustrator on time. This is important for maintaining a good relationship with the illustrator and for encouraging them to do their best work.

Hiring a freelance illustrator can be a great way to get high-quality illustrations for your project. By following the tips above, you can increase your chances of finding the right illustrator for your needs and having a positive experience.