Illustrators are artists equipped with the creative design skills required to communicate through traditional hand drawing/digital illustrations. Illustrators are hired to produce drawings that help visualize and communicate a story/concept for use in books, magazines, advertisements, packaging, and newspapers. Most illustrators are self-employed and work as freelancers in diverse industries including advertising, publishing, merchandizing, fashion, education, and media and entertainment. Specialized areas include medical illustration and scientific/technical illustrations Illustrators are required to analyze the brief, conduct research, visualize imaginatively, and produce drawing in line with the vision of the project.
Illustrators typically pursue a course in fine arts/visual arts or graphic design before commencing their careers. Most illustrators work on a freelance basis and are usually paid per illustration which is far more remunerative than working full time for a salary at a studio. It is common to find illustrators taking up graphic designer jobs in the initial stage of their career to gather experience before moving on to a more pure illustrator role. Typically, advertising agencies and design studios provide lucrative work. Working long hours and weekends when project deadlines are nearing is common in the industry and occasional travel may be required to meet clients. Most illustrators take about 4 to 5 years before they build a good reputation and get established in the industry after starting off as a graphic designer or in a similar job.
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