10 Skills Every Illustrator Should Have

Who is an illustrator? Illustrator is someone who creates still drawings for different venues ranging fro magazines, books, newspapers, greeting cards, and even for online ads. Now, illustrators can be either working full-time for an agency or can work as a freelancer, where each one has its perks and flaws. 

So, if you dream of becoming an illustrator in upcoming years, then here I am giving you a list of 10 skills you must have to become one, other than being a good artist. 

1. Creative and Imaginative: 

Being a freelance illustrator means a profession of art, and art is incomplete without creativity and imagination. You need to be excellent in painting, drawing, and sketching skills. Along with this, you must also have an eye for balance, layout, and color. Moreover, if your work can express a concept or an idea, it would be like an icing on the cake. So, if you master this skill, it will bring you closer to your dream. 

2. Should be familiar with IT and design software: 

You might feel like this is not necessary. But, it holds a lot of importance in today’s digital world. If you are familiar with IT and design software, it might help you get great unexpected opportunities. Moreover, if you master using design software, it will eventually help you enhance your illustration skills because of various available features. There are different design software that you can use, like Freehand, Adobe Photoshop, and Illustrator.

3. Have to be great negotiators: 

Just like in any other business, freelance illustrators also have to be great negotiators while dealing with different clients, because we all know how the world works. Everyone wants excellence, but nobody wants to pay. So, you need to be able to negotiate the proper amount which you deserve. You can always decline if they do not pay you as suited and wait for better opportunities to pave your way. 

4. Fluent with verbal and written communication skills: 

Do you think that a client would be able to trust you as a reliable freelance illustrator if you do not communicate properly and seem confusing or not to the point? Of course, not right? So being fluent with verbal and written communication skills is a necessary skill that you need to master if you plan to take illustration as a profession or the only source of income or want to turn it into a business. 

5. Should be able to understand a concept and turn it into a graphic: 

Among all the skills, this is one of the most important ones. If you master this, you will be the client’s favorite and will also acquire more projects at a faster rate. The sole reason for its necessity is because many freelance illustrators are unable to make a carrier out of it, as they fail to understand the concept or interpret it in an unsatisfactory way. 

6. Must have patience and emotional stability: 

As a freelance illustrator, there will be times when you would have to work for late hours and might not be able to socialize, which could make you lose patience and get cranky. Therefore, you have to be emotionally stable to face all kinds of ups and downs.

7. Should be able to complete things within deadline: 

A freelance illustrator is a kind of artist, and sometimes artists are unable to produce something good in a given period. But, if you want to grow this into a business, then keeping track of deadlines is something you need to learn for sure. Imagine a client waiting for your work, and you submit it later than that. Will this give a good impression? It would not.  

8. Self-motivated: 

In the illustration business, you have a deadline, time limits, and it is a constant process where you might get exhausted after a specific time. This can often lead to poor work performance, so if you can keep yourself motivated, it will help you grow exponentially. Motivational books, podcasts, videos, and sessions, can be of great help. 

9. Your work should be unique: 

I have seen many people copying other artist’s work and don’t have a unique style. But this doesn’t help. If you want to stand out and want to start as a freelance illustrator, then this needs to be considered. You can begin the process by creating something new every day that relates to your daily life, which will surely be of help. 

10. Intensely focused: 

There are not many people who can stay focused for a long time because of many distractions. But, as an illustrator, you need to be intensely focused, because that determines your success. The more you are focused, the better you become. You can include meditation in your schedule to have a better concentration. 

Other than that, many other things have to be considered. Like you should be great at problem-solving skills, must be able to adapt to changes in concept without getting frustrated, should be visionary, have good artistic skills, and must be able to see close details, and so on. 

So these are the top 10 skills that you should have to be an illustrator. Other than that, all you need is lots of practice, experimentation, and direction. Illustrate anything with an open heart and share it with others. It will lead you to a style of your own and help you know who you are as an illustrator. 

When you do this, you will be able to see the patterns and a path to lead on. This will then shines through your work and help you attain attention. Also, keep reading and working on your art and skills, no matter how close you are to perfection. All these things, when considered, can take you a long way. Lastly, don’t forget to keep a balance between your work life and personal life, make sure to have some fun. A happy soul is a creative soul. 



Bhanu Garg: