Popping up from a mess of deadlines to share that The State of Illustration report is out, and it’s very informative. It’s a survey of mostly Hire and Illustrator artists (many of which are from this community) and organized into a nice pay-what-you-wish PDF download here.
It’s full of great info, which I don’t want to reproduce too much here because it’s a labor of love and you should toss some money in the tip jar to download it, but I can say it’s very well organized and talks a lot about rates, salaries, and pay, which is a hard topic to nail down. It’s also, as one would expect, nicely illustrated.
Here’s some info about the report directly from them:
The report uses data collected from 1506 respondents, which includes freelance illustrators, in-house illustrators, artists and other creative types. The State of Illustration survey was open from 31st October to 11th December 2020. Our respondents are a mix of genders and ages who are primarily social media users that are also fiercely independent as self-employed business owners. Due to the solitary nature of being an artist or freelance illustrator, most of them will likely be in isolation for a good portion of their working day, with their social interactions primarily being limited to social media or communication devices rather than in-person.
I will share the table of contents so you know what you’re getting:
Other resources like the Graphic Artists Guild Handbook are useful resources, but often too generally spread across different kinds of artists to be very specific. This is specifically for illustration, and mostly folks who are making their living freelancing or side-hustle freelancing. I will say that the pool is skewed towards the type of artist who is either on Hireanillustrator.com and/or spending a lot of time on social media to see their call for survey responses…which CAN mean that a lot of the top illustrators who are not actively looking for more work online and/or not spending a lot of time on social are left out. Seeing the numbers and knowing what I know about the industry, I would say this is a very solid survey of entry and middle-range illustrators out there. So don’t let the salary numbers discourage you, they’re definitely skewing to the middle/low end. That said, there’s also a lot of very encouraging info as well. I feel like social media (like any form of gossip) tends to overemphasize the negative stories and minimize the positive ones, so it’s good to take a step back and see more of the industry than you can doomscrolling twitter and instagram — especially for the duration of this pandemic!
While they are definitely collecting responses from illustrators worldwide, the lion’s share of the responses and numbers apply mostly to US/UK/EUR.
It’s definitely worth tossing some money in the tip jar and getting a copy of the report for yourself (or feel free to not pay if you are currently strapped for income, you may need it the most).
Thanks to Darren Di Lieto and the HireanIllustrator.com crew for putting this together! I love a site/group that tries to share as much info as possible for the betterment of the artist community. Definitely check out their Advice section for lots of helpful articles and guides.
Was just reviewing this report with my classes, with similar notes on the demographic.
Great, thanks for the take. I don’t want people to get too panicky! I know plenty of illustrators making a living wage or better.
This is terrific! Thanks for sharing this, and thanks to Darren for creating it. Interesting to see how one lines up with this data. Which I think is encouraging?