I want to become an illustrator: where to begin?

I want to become an illustrator: where to begin?

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I want to become an illustrator where to begin
I want to become an illustrator: where to begin?

I want to become an illustrator: where to begin?. What skills and tools do you need to become a sought-after illustrator?
Today we are posting an adaptation of a useful article from Creative Market on where to start if you want to become an illustrator.

What is the job of an illustrator?

Illustrators are needed in a universal variety of enterprises from advertising to book publishing. The profession has become very competitive in recent years. But there is always the possibility that you will be able to offer something completely new and unique.

To better understand what the profession of an illustrator is, explore various job offers to understand the expectations of your future clients. Job sites or portals like Dribbble and Linkedin can help you with this

It all starts with finding focus – what interests you the most. Explore different types of illustrations, try yourself in different directions:

  • Drawing with living materials.
  • Digital graphics.
    The concept of plants in the style of agricultural illustration.
    stylized fashion illustration.
  • The creation and animation of vector images.

Asia rule, illustrators work alone: ​​often there will be no one to motivate you, and you will have to cultivate self-confidence and self-confidence, grow and move forward on your own. Therefore, it is important to choose exactly the direction that attracts you most so that there are no problems with motivation.

Get an education

The next important step in getting started is to acquire specialized knowledge. To become a successful illustrator, you need the following skillset:

  • ability to think and express creative ideas;
  • drawing skills, both in traditional and digital environments;
  • familiarity with colour palettes, patterns and visual textures;
  • awareness of modern trends in illustration and layout;
  • the ability to understand the needs of customers and work under tight deadlines.

Online Courses That May Be Helpful

  • Sketching for the designer
  • Photoshop 0 to PRO
  • Fundamentals of illustration and drawing
  • How to paint in Photoshop
  • Illustration for beginners. Immersion in book illustration
  • Botanical illustration
  • Lettering basics
  • Drawing Vector Graphics Laboratory

Books Every Illustrator Should Read

  • Life in pictures. Sven Nordqvist
  • Profession. Illustrator. Darrell Reese
  • Visual thinking. Dan Roham
  • Let yourself be creative. Natalie Ratkowski
  • Profession – illustrator. Natalie Ratkowski
  • Muse, where are your wings? Yana Frank
  • Muse and the Beast. Yana Frank
  • Show your work! 10 ways to get noticed. Austin Cleon
  • Visual notes. An illustrated guide to sketching. Mike Rhodey
  • I refuse to choose! Barbara Sher

Digital illustration toolbox

The right set of tools will not only optimize your workflow but will also play an important role in your progress. The set of tools for digital illustration can be divided into hardware and software.

Technical means

You can equip a creative studio right at home: you just need a comfortable table, an armchair and your computer. Better yet, set aside a separate room for this to better focus, or look for a coworking space. Most coworking spaces allow you to rent a desk in a shared space, allowing you to socialize and connect with like-minded people.

The ideal tools for digital illustration are a tablet and a reliable computer. A popular manufacturer of graphic tablets is Wacom. You can use them for both digital drawing and hand-drawn processing.


There are many software tools for digital illustrators, and the list grows every day.

Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, and FreeHand are a few programs you should be familiar with. Most graphic tablets and stylus will work well with these programs, replacing your computer’s mouse with a digital drawing tool. The most popular Adobe counterparts are Krita, Paint.NET, GIMPShop, Inkscape, Gravit, Vectr, Vecteezy Editor.

Add-ons and plugins. If you are representing to become an acknowledged illustrator, you should determine the art of blending third-party add-ons into your designs. This not only saves time but also improves the quality of your work. You can find many options on the internet, both paid and free. For example. The Creative Market site has many of these add-ons.

  • The plugin “ Gold Rush For Illustrator ”: This intuitive plugin lets you add metallic sheen and foil effects to your designs. It includes 218 templates for Adobe Illustrator in gold, rose gold, copper, black and silver.


Your portfolio is a showcase of your skills and potential. It is not difficult to create it: there are many platforms for this. For example, Behance, as well as any freelance exchanges. It is more difficult to collect work for him. In the course of training, you will create a certain number of illustrations. But do not rush to add all of them to your portfolio. Choose those that you recognise the most successful. The most communicating your professional level.

If there are too less of them. Then you can go the conventional way. Open any freelance replacement and see what illustrations clients need, what their expectations and obligations are.

Or you can create several projects yourself: illustrate your favourite book or movie, create fan art, draw several comics. This will help you not only create a portfolio but also bring additional attention to it.

Websites with work for illustrators

You can search for work as on traditional freelance exchanges:

  1. Upwork
  2. freelancer
  3. Fiverr
  4. guru
  5. PeoplePerHour

and on specialized sites:

  1. Behance
  2. 99designs
  3. illustrators

Monitor them regularly and catch orders.

Can I Become an Illustrator?

If you think that:

  • Creative enough to draw out of your head,
  • Tell a story or idea with your illustration,
  • Know how to promote yourself,
  • Calm about criticism,

You can make a career as an illustrator.

The illustration is a fantastic career path for people who love to tell stories through drawing. Revealing a unique style takes time and effort. It will be worth it. If you think you have talent then roll up your sleeves and start now.

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