For School Students

Here are a few general answers to questions asked by school students


An Illustrator:

  • 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 – – 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 –
  • 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


Young Readers Page