Here are a few general answers to questions asked by school students
- Is the person who creates the drawings or paintings you see in picture books, on book covers, in magazines, on packaging and on greeting cards.
- Is a particular kind of artist who is asked to create pictures by a company, such as a publishing house or design studio.
- Can be male or female.
- Is usually self-employed (freelance), is therefore running their own business.
- Usually works in a studio, sometimes a studio in their own home.
- Either works alone or shares a studio with other people.
- Has to draw or paint what the client asks them for.
- Can make their pictures by hand or on a computer.
- Shouldn’t expect to become filthy, stinking rich.
- Needs to love illustrating.
- Needs to be prepared to work hard (and often for long hours) for their living.
- Needs to be able to concentrate on what they are doing.
- Can have a lot of fun while they are illustrating.
- Can live just about anywhere, from Norfolk to New York, as long as there’s a way to communicate with clients – who could be anywhere in the world.
A company or client:
- Will look for an illustrator when they have a job that needs illustrating.
- Gives an illustrator a task (a brief) to produce a picture/some pictures.
- Gives the illustrator a legal document (a contract) before the illustrator starts work.
- Allows the illustrator a certain amount of time (a deadline) by which to create the illustrations.
- Pays a certain amount of money (a fee) to the illustrator after they have completed the illustrations successfully.
If you want to become an illustrator:
- You should choose school subjects like art, design and media.
- It’s not essential to go to college, but it is highly recommended.
- Ask your school’s careers department about suitable types of training for when you leave school and later at higher education level.
- Always keep a sketch book going, and fill it up with drawings from life and from your imagination. When one is full, start another.
- Read and look at children’s books, look at how they are written, designed and illustrated and how many pages they have.
- Keep your eyes open and make a list of places where illustrations are used in your everyday life, write these examples in your sketchbook.
- Try using different materials to draw and paint with.
- Try drawing very large and very small pictures, and drawing and painting in different styles.
- Visit Seven Stories website – www.sevenstories.org.uk – the National Centre for Children’s Books. The centre is well worth a visit if you are in the area on holiday.
- Visit some illustration galleries if you are in central London . One that I strongly recommend is the Chris Beetles Gallery – www.chrisbeetles.com
- Find out much more by reading my other FAQ pages, there is a menu of fourteen headings to the left of this screen
- I wish you every success with your career! ~ Amanda