Being an illustrator is not like being a doctor or lawyer, where you can make a living doing nothing but your career for years before it happens. It takes time to reach that level of excellence as an artist.

That is why most artists have to work many different types of jobs in addition to creating art. Some manage restaurants, some design websites, some do product illustrations, and so on.

But how much money they earn per hour depends on what kind of artwork they are producing and what market their artistic style targets.

There are several ways to make additional income as an illustrator, which this article will discuss. These include freelancing, publishing, business startups, and more.


This is probably one of the best ways to make extra money as an illustrator. Many creatives start out freelance working part-time or even full-time while also developing their craft.

The thing about starting a freelance career though is figuring out how to advertise yourself and gain clients. This can be done through social media, word of mouth, flyers, etc.

Some people begin by making and offering specific services (such as designing logos) and then branch off from there. Others brand themselves and promote their skills online using sites like Fiverr and Behance.

Either way, you will need to find yourself some steady, consistent clients who only use you for your services and pay top dollar for them.

Start a business and sell products

how do illustrators make money

Being an illustrator is not enough these days. You need to know how to run a business, or at least have a plan B in place for when your artistic career does not work out. Most people do not consider being an artist as a good way to make money so there are not too many examples of artists who thrive solely off their art.

However, it is possible to make a living selling illustration-related services or merchandise. Or even both!

By offering your service as an illustrator, you can start making some extra income. Many creative professionals offer their skills free of cost but then demand payment for other things like website design, logos, etc.

There are also those that create illustrations and then market them as their own product. For example, someone might make a picture book and sell it or use it as their web page header or cover. Such covers and headers are called infographics and they are very popular. People hire professional infographic designers to help convey messages more effectively.

There are several ways to make money as an illustrator though none of them are guaranteed to succeed. It will depend on your marketing strategies and what kind of designs you are known for.

Become a cartoonist and create funny images

how do illustrators make money

As mentioned before, being an illustrator is not like being a photographer or a graphic designer. You do not need to have any formal training as an artist to be considered professional! That being said, however, there are ways to make money as an illustrator.

The first way to earn extra income as an illustrator is by creating your own illustrations and offering them for sale. This can easily be done through online shopping sites such as Amazon, Etsy, or The Shopify Network.

By selling your own designs you get control over the content and timing of when they go up for purchase. Also, you will gain inspiration from looking at other designers’ work and studying their styles.

Another way to make money as an illustrator is to start producing your own cartoons or comics. There are many websites that offer free tools to create your own comic strips or cartoons. Some of these even allow you to add in your own pictures and voiceovers which gives you more freedom to express yourself.

Become a photographer and take pictures of your art

how do illustrators make money

As mentioned before, being an illustrator is like being a musician. You must be able to play the instrument well to make any money. People will pay you for your artistic skills!

Photographers are paid handsomely because they’re skilled at taking pictures. It is similar for artists who specialize in creating illustrations and cartoons.

You can start by practicing drawing and painting techniques or choosing a medium that you already have experience with (like watercolor). Then, invest in some good photography equipment (lenses, lights, etc.)

After all, you will need to prove to people that you know how to use these tools effectively before getting hired as an artist. Becoming certified as a professional photographer or becoming accredited as an illustrator would help you get many job opportunities.

Start a website and sell products

how do illustrators make money

Being an illustrator does not require having a large budget or expensive production equipment. In fact, many successful artists do not have any of these things!

It is totally acceptable to start out your career as an artist online. You can create your own channel on YouTube, Vlogger accounts, or you can choose to develop your artistic skills by creating web art, logo design, or graphic illustration projects.

The best way to make money as an illustrator is to understand the importance of branding and logos. Developing creative logos and designing websites that people will want to visit are great ways to earn income.

Another way to make money as an illustrator is to begin offering your services as freelance designer or artist. Most companies need their employees to look professional so they will hire freelancers to help them meet this goal.

By offering your services through various social media sites like Facebook and Instagram, you will be able to reach more potential clients.

Become a teacher and teach people to paint or draw

how do illustrators make money

As we know, being an illustrator is not easy! You do not just wake up one day and say “I want to be an artist” and then you are hired as such. Rather, it takes years of practicing your craft and educating yourself more about art.

But what most artists don’t understand is that teaching is a very lucrative career path. And while some teachers get paid well for their skills, there are also individuals who make far less than they deserve because of how much money they ask for in tuition fees.

So, how can you become a successful art instructor? Here are five tips for doing so.

1.) Be passionate about art

Artists earn a good living due to two things; passion and knowledge. If you are not passionate about painting, starting off as an art student isn’t going to help you too much.

Likewise, if you don’t have enough knowledge of different styles and techniques of drawing and painting, then chances are you won’t be charging appropriate prices for your lessons.

Luckily, both of these qualities are something you were probably taught at school, which is great initial groundwork. Now, either through self-study or by taking online courses, you can hone your artistic skills and knowledge.


Start a crafting business and make homemade products

how do illustrators make money

A very popular way to make money as an illustrator is to start your own design company or studio. You can pick any field you are passionate about and that market will grow hungry for your services!

Design companies typically offer low-cost, web-based software such as Adobe Photoshop, InDesign, and Muse to create designs.

Some of these programs even have free versions which many people use to experiment with their styles before investing in paid accounts.

By offering these apps through your company’s website, you get to take advantage of all of the profits generated from them while also adding onto your portfolio. Many designers begin doing this when they are just starting out.

These designing skills can be learned anywhere so if you ever want to go pro, you don’t need a degree to do it! It is totally possible to earn enough income to live off of being a designer.

Another way to run a successful business as an artist is to produce your own art. People have been making and selling their own artwork since time began!

If you are creative and know how to put together something beautiful, then you should give it a try. Creating your own style is a great way to gain inspiration and recognize good craftsmanship.

Heck, some famous artists got into art by creating their own pieces and putting them up online for everyone to see and admire.

Start a baking business and sell homemade products

how do illustrators make money

Being an illustrator does not require having a large budget or expensive equipment, which can be limiting. There are many ways you can make money as an artist who creates illustrations and graphic design projects. You do not need to be trained in art to start!

The easiest way to begin is by creating your own designs or developing recipes for new dishes that people will want to buy.

You can create these designs yourself or search online sites where you can get free information or tutorials on how to cook certain foods or find easy recipes to make them more interesting.

By making your own food or designing your own dishes, you will know what ingredients are needed and what proportions they should have before selling them. This will help ensure that your customers are happy with their purchase.

Your creative skills will also increase because you will be using different materials and techniques to complete the project.

Start a jewelry business and sell homemade products

how do illustrators make money

As we mentioned before, creating your own jewelry is one of the best ways to make money as an illustrator! In fact, there are many creative ways to do it. Some create their own materials and put them into jewelry, some use cheap metals to add glam to their designs, and some design for expensive pieces that people can afford to buy.

But what about those who don’t have access to these resources? People who want to enjoy the art form but cannot produce our own materials or invest in the most professional looking ones may be able to start their very own jewelry line!

There are several online stores that offer you the chance to begin offering your handmade jewelry as goods. You pick your colors and styles, and then you upload your pictures and it gets printed onto whatever material you choose.

This can easily be done at home using just stock photography and computer software.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here