Build a Freelance Illustration Business to Share your
Creative Skills

Freelance illustration is a rewarding career, but it also requires flexibility, good management, and planning.

As you develop your business, you will want to explore areas that interest you, market your product effectively, and create a fee structure that provides sufficient compensation for your talent and time.

freelance illustration

Finding Your Niche as a Freelance Illustrator

As a freelance illustrator, one of the best ways to build your client base is to develop a particular niche. When you build expertise in one or two specific areas, you’ll gain credibility among potential clients in the industry. An illustration career can take many different forms:

  • Advertising campaigns 
  • Technical diagrams 
  • Company logos 
  • Graphics for print media 
  • Book cover illustrations 
  • CD/DVD cover art

When you’re first starting out, you’ll be tempted to take every illustration job offer, because work equals money. However, it’s important to evaluate the job before taking it. Will this job get you closer to your goal? Will it be a helpful addition to your portfolio?  

Tools for Marketing Your Products

Once you’ve found your special niche, it’s time to create your portfolio and start showing it off to potential clients using the following tools and strategies:

  • Attend and participate in local art shows
  • Email potential contacts
  • Cold call potential clients
  • Create a website
  • Display your work on commercial portfolios
  • Network with other artists

One of the most important things you can do to demonstrate your skill to clients is to build a website with an online portfolio. Be sure to include contact information as well as representative examples of your work. You may also want to consider adding a blog where you write about your area of expertise and interact with others in the field.

Tips for Setting Freelance Illustration Job Rates

Setting rates for artistic work isn’t always straightforward and should take into account both the nature and scope of the project:

  • How big will it be?
  • Where will it be displayed?
  • How much time will it take?
  • Is it black and white or color?
  • How many copies will the client need?
  • Who is the client?
  • Does it need to be rushed?

With so many different criteria, it can be hard for a freelance illustrator to find a good price point. Talk with other illustrators and research the project before the initial meeting. You don’t want to overprice and lose the client, but you also don’t want to underprice and bring down the value of your work.

Freelance illustration can be a wonderfully rewarding and flexible career. Once you’ve found your niche and honed your business-owner skills, you’ll enjoy the freedom and pride that owning your own successful business brings!

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