How To Find Freelance Illustration Jobs

The Freelance Illustration Job Market

Many illustrators start out with a simple interest in drawing and painting and they may specialize at an early age in what they may be interested in creating and early on in their artistic life, family members may have said, I know they've often said to me that you could sell some of your art and that to me was a mystical thing that I used to dream of and thought I had no real art qualifications, so I thought I would fail, but I had the talent and there are many who do have the talent and do nothing with it, which is a shame.

Suddenly dropping everything and saying you are going to start a career in art is quite risky, especially when a typical illustrator may have to supplement their income with a part time job for at least 5 to 10 years or maybe longer to enjoy the process of creating art for clients, so stick with your current job if you have one as a back up, but always gear yourself towards your illustration career goal and do everything you can to steer yourself in the right direction.

Degrees or good qualifications aren't important in this field as it's more about the work you can show based on your art portfolio or art samples, this is what makes you viable for the job and indeed in the running for a chance at further work if not at the present time but also in the future.

You may have thought about illustration as a career choice in the past, but dismissed the idea as you are really not sure how to approach it at this stage of your life, but it all comes down to making things happen in life and everyone's got to start somewhere..

A place online, a web page could be just the type of online portfolio you could use to show potential clients your work and all you could do is get a domain name with your name on it, that will be your brand and that will keep it focused on you, and you might consider getting a professional web designed web page that will stand out from the crowd of many other illustrators out there.

But you don't want to stop there, you want to create multiple pages online to promote your work, a Myspace profile, Facebook profile with a group and a few facebook pages, a few hubpages, a couple of Squidoo lenses and quite possibly an online journal or blog that will go through your daily artistic routine which could interest others in your art.

It's all about exposing yourself to different networks who combined will make up a larger network of contacts, most of these will be hobbyists in the illustration field, but that doesn't matter if they know something you don't, that's the power of networking within multiple sites.

The same can be said of online discussion boards or forums with which other illustrators chat and discuss art techniques and where to find illustration work, this is essential as you need to look around and find job boards that have this type of work listed and linked to, you never know what little job nugget you might find.

A word of warning about finding a job though on job boards, if anyone asks for a fee for obtaining a freelance illustrators job, just don't bother applying, as you shouldn't have to pay to get a job, think about it, if someone was desperate to hire, why would they ask you for money? They would want someone to do work for them and that's it!

People swear by Craigslist for job opportunities, although you do have to scan the craigslist jobs every single day for new freelance opportunities and this can become tedious, trust me I know, just give it a shot!

Illustration jobs are out there, but as illustration is very popular as there are lots of talented people out there you've got be quick with your application, always have a quick email template in draft saved on your computer that you can quickly edit to apply for any jobs that arise, as some you just have to email and probably provide links to any places online that hold your best artwork.

I myself haven't been actively looking for illustration work, but since I've started up in a few places on Youtube and with my many blogs, I have had people and some companies contact me for one off illustrations and concept drawings lately, which is good, especially as I didn't contact them first.

Freelance illustration is a job that requires motivation and determination to sift through the time wasters in the job boards and get to the illustration jobs that have your name in mind.

Some sites for freelancing work - This is perhaps one of the best out there for freelancing work of any kind, but you can pick up some freelance illustration work here too. - Elance is a very popular freelance site that you can bid on projects to be completed, such as writing and any design and illustration work. - Guru is sort of like elance and is very uaseful to find new job leads too.

Finding Freelance Illustration Jobs

Find a freelance illustration art job today.    image taken from copyright 2010.
Find a freelance illustration art job today. image taken from copyright 2010.

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Illustration Jobs 54 comments

girish Kumar 3 years ago

I am looking for freelance illustration and art works

kristy 4 years ago

Nice advice, but holy run-on sentences! Makes it very hatd to read

waynet profile image

waynet 4 years ago from Hull City United Kingdom Author

Cheers now! The price issue is about working out how many hours you put into a piece of work, cost of materials and yes how complex the illustration. I've had to think hard about the prices I charge for my work. One offs are just one off commissions or drawings that are usually quick to create.

thoughtfulgirl2 profile image

thoughtfulgirl2 4 years ago from East Coast

Hi there,

Illustration is what I have been trying to break into for awhile, Sounds like it's about the amount of chances you give yourself. I'm not really sure how to price my work though. Is it wise to go by size or complexity of the illustration? One final question, what does "one off" mean?

Ramesh kumar 4 years ago




louromano profile image

louromano 4 years ago

Great recipe. Thank you for sharing. Look forward to reading more.

iSomnia 4 years ago

I was looking for an article like this!

I must admit that, despite using many sites like those you mention in the end, I ended up using (because of the higher prices in the jobs posted).

Great work, thanks for sharing.!

waynet profile image

waynet 4 years ago from Hull City United Kingdom Author

And thank you!

shez 4 years ago

Thanks this is excellent advice.

waynet profile image

waynet 4 years ago from Hull City United Kingdom Author

Cheers now!

macpheek profile image

macpheek 5 years ago from Gloucestershire

thanks for this post, good tips for freelance illustration :o)

Zabbella profile image

Zabbella 5 years ago from NJ-USA

Thank you very much! These tips are awesome.

By the way, I found your hub while browsing outside of soon as the page loaded, I knew I found a fellow hubber!

melodyandes profile image

melodyandes 5 years ago

That's unique way to make money. Great hub.

John Slaughter 5 years ago

Yes, getting your name out there is the first part, but having a "deep" and "wide" portfolio is the second part. That is to say, you should have more than one style and more than a couple of works under each style.

Next, tip. Unless you're a flash artist, don't get too carried away with your web site. One of the reasons that I don't promote my own web site to clients is that it's more of a demo than a good method of showing my portfolio. A good Flickr page is better than a Flash page that is slow or hard to navigate.

My ideal illustrator should be able to handle at least half of any projects I throw at them, style-wise and concept-wise.

Last, enter contests and grant competitions. They teach you how to read and follow instructions, and if you win, you get your name out there.

PS looking for R.Crumb style illustrator.

John Slaughter,

Art Director, Instructor







dsmythe profile image

dsmythe 5 years ago

I really wish I had good hand drawing skills. I went The Art Institute and took some life drawing classes. I always hated having to present my projects to the class. Cheers to the all the talented drawers out there!

Silver Poet profile image

Silver Poet 5 years ago from the computer of a midwestern American writer

Interesting. Thanks for the links.

Jayelle profile image

Jayelle 5 years ago

I found this very useful! Thanks for the encouragement and for sharin' the links!

态万方 6 years ago

well I just mark this, useful info....thx

Gonzz profile image

Gonzz 6 years ago

This site, Escape from Illustration Island, is an excellent resource for freelance illustrators:

Do take a look as it's well worth it and packed full of good advice!

waynet profile image

waynet 6 years ago from Hull City United Kingdom Author

Funny you should mention this, as when I was at school and my careers adviser tried to steer me away from being an artist, even though my only interest was art, I wasn't interested in anything else, so for that to come from a careers advisor really put me in a stinking bad mood and I walked out and threw an egg at her later that day!!!

I don't know why they would do this, because like getting a regular job in an office is going to advance my career as an artist????!!

Cheers now!

DJTavares profile image

DJTavares 6 years ago from Dedham, Ma.

Thanks for all the helpful links! Many kids are steered away from a career in art. Hopefully with all of the resources these days there will be more working artists, and children will be encouraged to pursue this career path.

YenzDaSynthKiller profile image

YenzDaSynthKiller 6 years ago from North Carolina

Awesome Hub, very informative and inspiring.

raheel 6 years ago

hi good

waynet profile image

waynet 7 years ago from Hull City United Kingdom Author

Haha what's with career advisors, they must have a shit eye for success, I got told I would only be good for factory work and put me down slightly, but I still carried on with my art and then got a job in a factory and totally hated it, so I've been turning online to build a business slowly and here I am a part time internet entrepreneur!!

mandybeau1 profile image

mandybeau1 7 years ago from Out there

Yeah Great Hub, I always wonder why Artists are discouraged, all my Career Advisors, pushedme towards Medicine, as they believed that was where my future lied.

It was not my bag though so I decided to ignore them and my High Science Physics and Biology Grades, and explore my Greater Artistic talents. I am a designer and Graphic Designer, working with Computergraphics. I have launched an Art Career that I believe will surpass anything I could have done with Medicine, if I had hung out for 7 years more School eeew.

waynet profile image

waynet 7 years ago from Hull City United Kingdom Author

Cheers there Chris!

Will check them out soon.


Chris Friend 7 years ago

Here are some sites for you.

waynet profile image

waynet 7 years ago from Hull City United Kingdom Author

Thanks for your kind words!

There are other hubpages, if you use the search function which will help you to find really informative hubpages with help on creating really excellent hubpages you might want to check out Darksides hubpages they are full of great information.

Hope that helps!

nohappiness11179 7 years ago from ponchatoula,LA

Hello how are you doing today,? hopefully good. I loved your hub and the information you put in it, I am new to HUB PAGES and not really sure how to get started like you, so if you could give me a few pointers I would greatly appreciate it.HAVE A BLESSED DAY

waynet profile image

waynet 7 years ago from Hull City United Kingdom Author

Cheers ben!

Yep, getting some requests each week now, god knows what I'd do if they all suddenly came flooding in each day, suppose I'd have to timetable the work in or something, I'd hate to refuse paid work, just because there isn't much time in the day!

@madtown Jeremy

Thanks for your insight there, I do agree that drawing lots of stuff and creating new stuff will certainly increase potentially interested clients, I'm trying to create a marketing funnel that trickles new clients into my web so they can see what I can draw, just need to expand my own portfolio!

madtown_jeremy profile image

madtown_jeremy 7 years ago from Madison, WI

I wholeheartedly second waynet regarding Back in 2001 or 02, was just starting but before that there was I set myself up on that and probably made a bit over $10,000 that first year, fresh out of art school with very little portfolio quality work to show.

The secret for me was to always be working on something different that I could show; to continue evolving through different mediums and styles (all with markets, of course)...that way when a job came up I always had a sample or two to send along.

Being a "Jack of all trades" used to be seen as a cop-out in the design it's a necessity...and is a good place to cut your teeth.

Ben Zoltak profile image

Ben Zoltak 7 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

Cool article waynet, rubbing it in with your "many blogs", just kidding, I am jealous. Pretty cool to get one-up requests for work, that's huge, but it sounds like you know that already. Cool work, makes me wonder if I should go back to more quill and ink work...

Chris Friend 7 years ago

Feel absolutely free to E-mail at my address at and I'll be happy to recommend some potential places you might try.

Best Chris

waynet profile image

waynet 7 years ago from Hull City United Kingdom Author

Ok Chris!

Will do!

Cheers now.

Chris Friend 7 years ago

i love to see such talent, and I always want to encourage such gifted artists. you would have such an easy time publishing your work. You might want to check out my hubs about small press horror zines. I mention a few.


waynet profile image

waynet 7 years ago from Hull City United Kingdom Author

The main idea I've had is to try to create buzz on other sites that are all connected to a network and then release a graphic novel later on and hopefully my first one will be the end of march to the beginning of april.

Chris Friend 7 years ago

It can certainly create a following for an amateur artist such as myself. And it is fun. But so little money Im afraid. Anyway, on my other hub response I meant to say pretty darned good, not drane good.

Best Chris

waynet profile image

waynet 7 years ago from Hull City United Kingdom Author

I reckon Chris that if we put more effort into our own comic books to sell, then there might be more chance of some money with our art.

I used to do small press fanzines and other such stuff which is supposed to be the good route for professional work later on down the road as you can show your small press work as samples.

Chris Friend 7 years ago

I still publish a lot of my drawings in small press horror magazines which I have done for about 25 years. But there's very little money and often the most you'll get is a contributers copy.

waynet profile image

waynet 7 years ago from Hull City United Kingdom Author

Cheers HC!

Yes the job market is rather dire at the moment, I've got a handful of qualifications, but that doesn't mean nothing if there are no jobs to get a job with them.

H.C Porter profile image

H.C Porter 7 years ago from Lone Star State

Good Advice, and well written. With the job market the way it is-we all need as much help as we can get. Thanks for sharing... :)

HC Porter

waynet profile image

waynet 7 years ago from Hull City United Kingdom Author

Cheers Mike and Chris!

Since I've been there too with looking for freelance work, I do think it's best to promote yourself online as best as possible and contact any jobs you see, as well as advertise your services at the same time.

I get small bits of work here and there, but I haven't actively promoted for over a year, so I know if I did then I could earn a bit more I suppose, it's a time consuming thing as well as the other things I've got going on.

Chris Friend 7 years ago

You might want to check out my hubs. I mention a couple of horror fanzines and they're always looking for talent.

Best Chris

Mike Lickteig profile image

Mike Lickteig 7 years ago from Lawrence KS USA

It is definitely a bear trying to make it as a freelancer, and you are absolutely correct in warning folks not to give up their day job--even if some work starts to roll in. Any type of commissioned work will be sporadic at best until the point is reached where a lot of folks know your name. Hence, your advice on posting to multiple sites is very sound in this day and age.

Thanks again, Wayne--haven't been to your posts for a little while--it's good to catch up.

waynet profile image

waynet 7 years ago from Hull City United Kingdom Author

Cheers there Nancy

Again, looking for freelance illustration jobs is something that I've been there and done that!

Nancy's Niche profile image

Nancy's Niche 7 years ago from USA

Great information waynet...Thanks for sharing all the impressive links with us too...Cheers!

waynet profile image

waynet 7 years ago from Hull City United Kingdom Author

Thanks Jyoti!

I've always been a fan of seeing something through and this should not be overlooked by people looking for illustration jobs in the freelance markets, work takes time to create and time makes creating work easier!

JYOTI KOTHARI profile image

JYOTI KOTHARI 7 years ago from Jaipur

Hi Waynet,

You have rightly informed about opportunities and also warned to be patient. Lot of people jump to a career hoping overnight success. They normally blame the job instead of their impatience.

Thanks for sharing. Thumbs up!

Jyoti Kothari

waynet profile image

waynet 7 years ago from Hull City United Kingdom Author

Cheers Ethel!

Same here, I've bidded on a few projects, but no success yet, will have to focus a week or two on it, to see how to attract a paying job offer, Julie Amos who is on here at hubpages, makes a few thousand at it, because she hires writers and all that writing business stuff, so maybe asking her about it will be a good idea.

ethel smith profile image

ethel smith 7 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

I joined Elance for writing assignments sometime ago. However as yet I have not actively participated. Might have to give it a further look

waynet profile image

waynet 7 years ago from Hull City United Kingdom Author

That would be great!

Let me know when you want to do the interview?

Cheers now Sweets!

SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 7 years ago from Southern California, USA

I would definitely like it if you want to interview me too. I was thinking about interviewing you on the LA Examiner if that is okay, because they especially like to hear about different people in our topic. I also interviewed C.S. Alexis before.

waynet profile image

waynet 7 years ago from Hull City United Kingdom Author

Oh dear, I never got your email, but if you would still like to interview me then that would be cool, a few people have tried to contact me through my email, but it doesn't go through for some reason I wonder why that is?

Thanks for the comments, hey since you may interview me I'll interview you, it could be a two way thing on artistic stuff!

SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 7 years ago from Southern California, USA

This is a great hub waynet with wonderful tips on how to become a freelance artist. I had wanted to interview for the examiner because I think you are a great artist, but you never got back to my email :).

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