How Much Do Illustrators Make: 20 Salaries in the U.S


How Much Do Illustrators Make: 20 Salaries in the U.S  

Almost all tangible artifacts require the services of an illustrator somewhere in the chain of production. An illustrator simply comes up with relevant images given particular text, explanations, or ideas. Often an underrated career option, it is as important as other typical occupation alternatives, and it offers attractive salaries. The sector has many genres and below are some of the salaries relating to 20 common illustrator career options.

Fine artist

Fine artistry is at the apex of the art industry as it calls for unparalleled talent, diligence, and patience to scale up to the higher echelons which often pay over $100,000 annually. On average, however, fine art has a median income of $44,000 and job growth in the sector is estimated to be at 2%.

Graphic designer

A general term covering all the various computerized art occupation options including web design, graphic design offers a median salary of $45,900 and job growth is estimated at 1% according to the Bureau of Labor.

Industrial illustrator

Industries dealing with goods need an industrial artist to illustrate project and product concepts. The median salary stands at $67,130 and hourly wages are roughly $32.28. One’s salary increases with prowess and experience.

Art director

Art directorship is another broad category that involves various industries such as advertising, marketing, theater and the like. The median salary is $85,610, and the job often includes managerial duties over art and design groups.

Digital illustrator

The rise of digital media consumption means that firms are ever in search of skilled digital artists who can offer something unique and outstanding. The salary range is between 38,750 and 90,000 based on one’s portfolio and experience.

Desktop publisher

As a desktop publisher, the job description involves designing appealing brochures, postcards, business cards, and the like. Most illustrators take it up as a side gig, but full-time practitioners earn a median salary of 39,840.


Though many to not consider architects to be in the art business, the fact that they translate building ideas into exact diagrams on paper puts them squarely in the illustration industry. The median salary is $76,100.

Fashion illustrator

A fashion illustrator makes sketches of fashion accessories and apparel, and the skilled ones are in high demand in the cutthroat industry which offers a median salary of $63,670.

Interior design illustrator

An interior illustrator depicts interior beautification and development ideas. Practice of the same is generally referred to interior designing, and the median salary is $48,840.


A drafter is in the business of depicting technical drawings such as those involving machinery, electronics and buildings. The median salary is $52,870.


Photography is all about skill and the ability to capture moments that perfectly fit a given theme which is why it is arguably part of the illustrating industry. Median income stands at 31,750, and one only needs a high school diploma and a good camera to get started.

Multimedia Artist/Animator

The rise in popularity of animated films and games from renowned studios has brought with it increased demand for animators. Consequently, growth in the sector is pegged at 6%, and the median salary is $63,670.

Caricature illustrator/cartoonist

Cartoon artistry has been around for quite a while, and many fine artists take up cartoon related gigs to supplement their income. Employers include comic book companies, newspapers, and magazines, and the income ranges between $30,000-$60,000.

Editorial Illustrator

It is one of the purest illustrating professions which involves finding images that fit particular texts. Employers are mainly print media companies dealing with magazines, newspapers, etc. The median salary stands at $44,708.

Advertising Illustrator

An advertising illustrator requires sound marketing skills because job description involves coming up with or finding appropriate images to facilitate advertising campaigns and product packaging. The median salary is $53,000.

Book Illustrator

As a book illustrator, one is mandated to come up with images befitting particular books such as children’s books, novels, self-help books and the like. The median salary is $53,080.


A printmaker is more of a jack of all trades regarding print illustration and deals with banners, billboards, brochures, t-shirt and other promotional artifacts. The median income in this line of work is $61,042.

Medical Illustrator

One of the oldest art occupations, medical illustration requires anatomical knowledge since it involves depicting medical related images such as parts of the body, body systems and the like. Room for creative expression is minimal, and the median salary is $62,000.

Textile Illustrator

A textile illustrator comes up with beautiful fabric designs that add an element of vibrancy and uniqueness to apparel. The median salary is $50,405, and skilled artists in this field are in high demand.

Forensic Illustrator

Forensic illustrators get the opportunity to help solve cases by working in tandem with victims to sketch probable perpetrator faces. This line of artwork has a median salary of $44,000.

Income in all art genres is subject to experience and a well-developed portfolio. To get to the very top in the industry, passion concerning art is a staple but once there, the income is satisfactory if not excellent.