Illustration, while often closely related to graphic design, is for many a separate profession. It is common for a graphic designer to do illustrative work and for illustrators to incorporate their work into graphic design, but there are also those who work solely in illustration, often being commissioned to create works for larger projects. An illustrator may be called on to create an image for a magazine cover, and that image will be passed on to a design to complete the layout. Similarly, an illustrator may create a logo, but not develop the business cards or other materials featuring that logo. Most commonly, illustrators work in software such Adobe Illustrator or Corel Painter, and often incorporate hand-drawn elements into their work.
Type of Work
When working in illustration one can expect to create:
- Images for books and magazines
- Icon sets
- Packaging graphics
Getting Illustration Work
Illustrators will often work with an agent or representative that helps get them jobs. An agent allows the illustrator to focus on the creative side of their work, and collects a percentage of the fee earned in return. Agents will often have a focus on a particular type of work or industry, and greatly increase the potential workload of an illustrator.
Protecting Illustration Work
Illustrators should always attempt to retain the rights to their work. The details of an illustration job should be clearly spelled out in a contract, as the illustrator should own the copyright and be compensated for use beyond the original agreement. An understanding of copyright law, work-for-hire and other legal issues are important in any design career, and especially in illustration.