What Is Illustration Design?

Unlike designers who develop logos and similar images, illustration designers are frequently expected to create lively, character-driven illustrations with personality and often a touch of humor. Read on to learn more. Schools offering Children`s Book Illustration degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Field Overview

With many companies today using clip art and other downloadable images, illustration designers often work as independent contractors or freelancers, rather than corporate employees. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), nearly two-thirds of all artists work as freelancers. Finding work depends on the illustrator's talent, contacts, and networking abilities. Artists who are skilled in digital illustration design are especially in demand. Once hired, illustration designers use their skills to create images that represent specific concepts.

Education and Training

Artists who gravitate toward illustration design usually have academic training in art, though they may not have a college degree. Some types of illustration design, such as medical illustration, require a minimum of a bachelor's degree in art, with some positions requiring a master's degree. Colleges, universities, art academies, and technical schools typically offer coursework in illustration, sketching, drawing, digital art, animation, and design. For artists without a degree, a portfolio containing their best work is critical to getting a job as an employee or a contract as a freelancer.

Career Opportunities

Illustration design can be thought of as commercial art created for specific industries. Many illustration designers specialize and find consistent work in such fields as:

  • Book design and illustration
  • Television, cinema, and other multimedia endeavors
  • Comic books and graphic novels
  • Textbook illustration
  • Web design
  • Scientific and other specialized illustration
  • Storyboarding
  • Caricature
  • Fashion and costume design
  • Cartooning

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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  • Rocky Mountain College of Art & Design

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  • Penn Foster Career School

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