Freelance Illustrator Search Made Simple

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February 17, 2024

Table of Contents

A freelance illustrator is a freelance artist who works on a self-employed basis, offering their services to clients on a project-by-project basis. Looking to hire one? We’ll help you do it in this easy guide.

Illustrators create visual representations and images for a wide range of purposes, including editorial illustrations in books, magazines, as well as advertisements, websites, packaging, and more. They use their artistic skills to convey ideas, tell stories, or enhance the visual appeal of various media.

With 94% of website visitors rejecting a website based on design, the need to hire an illustrator is more than ever. Hiring a full-time graphic designer to create different types of illustrations, can cost you approximately $58,000 annually. (US Bureau of Labor Statistics)

A more cost-effective solution to this is to find an illustrator who does freelance work.

But the question remains, how to find freelance illustrators?

In this quick but comprehensive guide, I will share some of the best freelance sites to browse when looking for an illustrator, how much freelance illustrators charge, and a better alternative to hiring freelance illustrators.

How to hire a freelance illustrator?

Before we move forward, one thing you must remember before hiring a freelance illustrator is that illustrators are different from graphic designers

Business owners often fret about the process of hiring freelancers. It can be time-consuming, costs a lot to submit job postings, and the risk of the hire not working out is there too – all of these can be translated to dollars potentially lost. 

But all this can be avoided by keeping a sharp eye on several factors:

  • Portfolio: Let the work speak for itself. Designers will often make outlandish claims about their skill sets, but there’s only one way to be sure whether that’s true. By looking at a designer’s portfolio, you can be sure if they can walk the walk.
  • Reputation: Reputation is everything when hiring online. If you see the freelancer has solely positive reviews, it means that the services they provided in the past were of good quality. People may lie, but ratings don’t.
  • Presentation: First impressions matter in real life, and it’s no different on the internet. If the freelance illustrator doesn’t have the dedication and attention to create a fully polished freelance profile, they probably won’t have these traits when working on your illustration projects.
  • Personality: Along with the designing skillsets, you must also assess if the freelancer can fit into your team. Think of what type of character you’re looking for and how important this is for your project. For example, bad English can be overlooked if they are amazing at designing.

If you feel that your freelancer checks out 3 of 4 traits, you can proceed to take the recruitment process to the next step.

Where to hire freelance illustrators?

A good design always helps in making more sales, so it is crucial that you have your design needs sorted before you even ask the question - how to find freelance illustrators?

First, understand  what kind of and how many illustrations you need - is it a promising beginner or someone who can step in as an art director? Next, be sure to have selected the color palette for your brand and include that in your design brief. This will help ensure consistency in your digital illustrations.

Once you’ve narrowed down your exact needs, the next step is to put out the job ad in all of the relevant places.

Freelancing sites 

Upwork is a widely used platform connecting freelancers and clients across various industries. So, no wonder it’s also one of the best freelance sites for illustrators. You can post your project and browse through a diverse pool of illustrators with different styles and expertise. 

Similar to Upwork, Freelancer is a global platform where you can find freelance illustrators. You can post your project, review proposals, and choose the illustrator that best fits your needs.

Fiverr is a platform known for its gig-based services, offering a variety of creative freelancers, including illustrators. You can browse through profiles, check portfolios, and hire illustrators based on your project requirements.

Design-specific websites

99designs is a platform that connects businesses with graphic designers, including freelance illustrators, for various creative projects. The platform operates on a contest-based model, where clients submit a design brief, and designers compete to create the best design. The client then selects the winning design and pays the chosen designer.

Behance is a platform by Adobe that showcases the work of creative professionals, including illustrators. You can directly contact illustrators whose work resonates with you and discuss potential collaborations.

Dribbble is yet another platform where designers and illustrators showcase their portfolios. You can find skilled illustrators, review their work, and connect with them for potential projects.

Forums and discussion groups

Utilize online discussion groups and forums to hire a freelance illustrator by joining relevant platforms. You can join Reddit’s subreddit for hire and look for artists for hire.

Just remember to post clear job requirements and engage with interested illustrators before you hire them - check their reviews, browse their design portfolios, negotiate the hourly rates, and more.

Job websites

There are various job websites on the internet that can help you find various freelance illustrators according to your needs. Some of the most popular ones are LinkedIn, Glassdoor, Indeed, and more.

LinkedIn is a professional networking platform, but also one of the best freelance sites for freelance illustrators. You can post your job description on LinkedIn, and wait for freelancers looking for potential clients to approach you.

Or search for a freelance illustrator and message them asking if they’re interested in taking up some freelance work.  

The downside is that LinkedIn sometimes doesn’t offer a good insight into a freelance career. So, you might need to do some more digging and ask for examples of work, be it editorial illustrations or hand-drawn icons.

Finally, you can even use other popular job websites like Glassdoor, Indeed, AngelList, Hired, ZipRecruiter, and more.

How much do freelance illustrators charge?

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics,  there were more than 270,000 graphic designers in 2022, out of which 19% were self-employed i.e. freelancers.

Graphic designers typically work in studios, equipped with drafting tables, computers, and specialized software - for example, Adobe Illustrator. While some operate independently, those employed by graphic design firms often collaborate within design teams. 

Self-employed designers may adapt their workdays to accommodate client meetings during evenings or weekends. They also allocate time to seek new projects and compete for contracts in a dynamic industry.

Most graphic designers charge, on average, $31 per hour, which is also the average cost to hire a freelance illustrator. This rate may differ according to the design needs, the freelancer’s expertise and ratings, and the deadline for the illustrator’s work.

Another factor that determines how much the freelance illustrator will charge you is the industry of your business. For management, scientific, and technical consulting services, the hourly rate can go as high as $34.26. (Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics)

A better alternative to hiring freelancers

Finding the right freelancer will take time, and going back and forth to get the perfect illustration will take even more time. But, the biggest loss is when you choose the wrong illustrator who does not get your vision and is not able to execute it in their work.

This is where an unlimited creative agency like ManyPixels can help you out. We charge you a flat fee according to your design needs, so no recurring expense for you!

Not just illustrations, we can do social media design for you as well.

We have a team of highly talented illustrators who can understand your vision and deliver results within 48 hours. All of our plans come with unlimited requests, unlimited revisions, and source files.

So, what are you waiting for? Book a demo call with ManyPixels and get your illustrations done in 48 hours.

Rohit is a novelist (not a NY Times Bestseller!), an avid reader, a passionate content writer, and does YouTube on the side as a hobby! When he is not researching and writing content, he loves to read books and watch movies, TV shows, and anime. You can reach him at:  

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