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What Is A Digital Illustrator and How To Hire The Best

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  • September 25, 2023
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  • 8 min read


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A digital illustrator creates a story picture that tells a story, shows emotion or mood, or sells an idea or product, usually based on a creative brief from a client or organization.

A digital illustrator’s work can include paintings and high-quality computer graphics for movies, video game elements, classified ads, picture layouts, book cover art, etc. 

Digital Illustrator job description

Digital illustrators create unique pics for both commissioned paintings and private initiatives.

As the period implies, they use computer software programs on PCs or graphics pills. Each artist has their unique process, and each challenge requires extraordinary strategies.

Initial sketches for a chunk may also begin as hand drawings, but the finished product is brought digitally for digital media, which includes film and TV consequences, publishing, internet design, commercials, instructional assets, book video trailers, and so on.

The digital illustrator is briefed on the assignment, and they produce paintings that greatly communicate the idea, individual, visuals, situation, collection, icon, and many others. The creative process works on growing those illustrations, refining, and remodeling drafts until the final artwork is signed off. 

Most illustrators work as freelancers, but a few best children’s book illustration services, publishing houses, and huge groups may have in-residence illustrator roles.

Role and responsibilities of a digital  illustrator in movies and games:

  • Liaising with the manufacturer, publisher, patron, and so forth concerning the brief for the challenge
  • Illustrating with the audience in thoughts, locating the handiest manner to speak a story
  • Presenting a chain of drafts of the illustrations for approval
  • Employing pix in bitmap or vector codecs as required
  • Collaborating with crew members regarding designs and workflows
  • Working to a timetable
  • Keeping venture on finances
  • Ensuring illustrations meet quality coloration requirements
  • Advising on intricacies of layout style, style, coloration palette, and so on
  • Delivering to patron’s expectation
  • Supplying final artwork to set specifications

The digital instance method is just like other styles of illustrations, with initial hard sketches drawn using a picture tablet and then subtle usage of bitmap (Adobe Photoshop) and vector (Adobe Illustrator) packages.

The essential distinction between the 2 sorts is that bitmap, or portray, software creates photorealistic photos and permits computer graphics; even vector or drawing tools create pics through anchor points to assemble shapes and clean lines. A completed digital photo may include embedded layers of each form of pics.

Steps to Hire the Best Digital Illustrator

What Is A Digital Illustrator

  • Research Potential Candidates

Scour systems like Behance, ArtStation, and Dribbble. These systems show off diverse expertise and permit you to gauge the style and functionality of numerous illustrators.

  • Review Portfolios

A sturdy portfolio reflects an illustrator’s range, fashion, and experience. Look for consistency, versatility, and pieces that resonate with your imagination and are prescient.

  • Conduct Interviews

Face-to-face or virtual interviews assist you in assessing the illustrator’s communication talents, professionalism, and passion. It’s also an opportunity to gauge if they align with your emblem’s vision.

  • Discuss Budget and Timeline

Transparent conversations about price range and delivery timelines make certain each event has clean expectations, heading off future disagreements or misunderstandings.

  • Ask for Recommendations

Reputable illustrators can have a list of satisfied clients. Reach out to them for feedback to ensure you make a knowledgeable decision.

How To Hire The Best

1- Freelance Marketplaces

  • Toptal

Overview: Toptal stands for “Top Talent,” it prides itself on connecting clients with the top 3% of freelance talent worldwide, including illustrators.


  • High-quality clients.
  • A rigorous vetting process ensures only top-tier illustrators get in, meaning less competition.
  • Competitive compensation due to its elite positioning.


  • Difficult to get approved, as the vetting process is rigorous.
  • It might not be suitable for entry-level or intermediate illustrators.


Overview: Originally started as a platform where services started at $5, Fiverr has grown to include higher-paying gigs and a wide range of categories.


  • Easy to get started.
  • Allows for building a portfolio and client reviews quickly.
  • Gig packages allow illustrators to offer varied pricing structures.


  • High competition due to a large number of users.
  • Fiverr takes a 20% commission.


Overview: Guru offers a platform for professionals to showcase their portfolios and bid on projects. They’ve been around for years and have a reliable reputation.


  • Workrooms allow for easy collaboration with clients.
  • Provides an all-in-one platform for invoices and work agreements.
  • Less saturated than some other platforms.


  • Fees range from 5% to 9% based on membership type.


Overview: A lesser-known platform, PeoplePerHire focuses on quality over quantity, connecting businesses with skilled freelancers.


  • Lower competition than larger platforms.
  • Opportunity to establish long-term client relationships.


  • Fewer job listings than bigger platforms.
  • It might take time to build a strong profile.


Overview: 99designs is a unique platform where designers and illustrators compete in contests to win a client’s project.


  • Potential for high payouts.
  • Direct feedback from clients during contests.
  • Clients might approach you directly for 1-to-1 projects if you consistently produce quality work.


  • Highly competitive as multiple designers work on a project, but only one gets paid.
  • Some consider the model exploitative as many designers work for free.


Overview: Freelancer is one of the biggest global freelancing and crowdsourcing platforms, encompassing various job categories.


  • Massive user base and numerous job listings.
  • Option to participate in contests.


  • High competition.
  • Platform fees and potential for hidden charges.


Overview: Indeed is a general job board but has many listings for illustrators, especially for full-time or in-house positions.


  • Good for those seeking traditional employment rather than freelance gigs.
  • Can set up job alerts to be notified of new listings.


  • A broader scope means it’s not tailored exclusively for illustrators.
  • Competitive, as it’s a popular platform for job seekers.

Google for Jobs

Overview: Google for Jobs is an aggregated job board. By just searching for “illustrator jobs,” Google will display relevant listings from various platforms.


  • Utilizes the power of Google’s algorithm to fetch relevant jobs.
  • Aggregates listings from multiple job boards.


  • Not specialized for illustrators.
  • Some jobs might be outdated.


Overview: Upwork, previously Elance-oDesk, is one of the most well-known freelancing platforms, with millions of jobs posted annually.


  • A broad range of job categories and listings.
  • Payment protection for freelancers.
  • Option to become a “Top Rated ” freelancer, giving more visibility.


  • It can be highly competitive, especially for new users.
  • Service fees start at 20% but decrease as you earn more with a client.

2- Art & Design Schools

Moreover, contacting art and design schools can be a fantastic strategy. Many students and recent graduates are eager to showcase their talents and build their portfolios. Institutions often have job boards or career services that can connect you to budding illustrators.

3- Social Media Platforms

Undoubtedly, platforms like Instagram and Twitter have become modern-day portfolios for many artists. You can discover emerging talents by using specific hashtags such as #digitalillustration or #digitalartist. Engaging with artists on these platforms can give you a more personal sense of their style and work ethic.

Moreover, social media platforms can help you with your hunt for “how to become an illustrator.” Many beginners build their portfolio here to get in the customer’s eyes. Social media is easier to use than other platforms.  

4- Industry Events and Conferences

Events like Comic-Con, Design Week, or Illustration Conferences gather artists, fans, and industry professionals. Indeed, attending these events or browsing their directories can lead you to renowned illustrators.

5- Word of Mouth

Sometimes, the best recommendations come from trusted colleagues, friends, or industry professionals. If you admire a particular digital illustration piece, ask about the artist behind it.

6- Online Artist Communities

Websites like DeviantArt and ArtStation have vast communities of artists, including digital illustrators. These platforms allow for direct communication with artists and provide insights into their engagement with the larger community.


How do I get an illustrator for my book?
  • List the key responsibilities of the illustrator.
  • Write a great job description.
  • Post your job ad on one of the top sites for getting a book illustration and book cover design service.
Is it better to hire a freelance artist for hire or a permanent employee?

Most businesses hire freelance artists for their projects because they don’t need daily illustration work. However, some creative areas may need illustrators who do it full-time. If that’s the case, hiring someone as a full-time worker instead of a contract would make more sense.


To get around inside the global of virtual drawing, you want to understand what the artist is chargeable for and in which to find first-rate artists. By using excellent job boards and staying in contact, you may ensure that your collaboration brings your thoughts to lifestyles in a converting digital scene.

Related Resources:

Things to Consider When Hiring A Book Cover Illustrator

How To Find Illustrators For Children’s Books?

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