Most Illustration graduates go on to have a career as an artist, but this applied art form also opens up other opportunities across a range of media and visual communication platforms

Job options

Jobs directly related to your degree include:

Jobs where your degree would be useful include:

Remember that many employers accept applications from graduates with any degree subject, so don't restrict your thinking to the jobs listed here.

Work experience

Undertaking a short placement in a graphic design or animation studio will help deepen your understanding of the skills required in the art and design field. You'll also gain an insight into the challenges and triumphs of the creative process.

As well as developing your creative skill set, improving your business skills is also useful. For example, creating and selling your own products demonstrates your entrepreneurial capability, as well as your ability to produce them.

You'll need a portfolio of work to present to potential employers, evidencing your skills. You can then add to this every time you complete more work experience.

Search for placements and find out more about work experience and internships.

Typical employers

Graduates can work in many different areas, particularly within the creative arts and design sector. Employers include advertising and marketing agencies, publishers, and graphic design, web design or animation companies.

Most illustrators are self-employed and generate their own work based on client needs. Paid vacancies are rarely advertised.

Potential clients include advertising agencies, design consultancies, publishers, print (newspapers and magazines) and events management companies. Other projects you may work on as a freelance illustrator include:

  • film posters
  • billboards
  • greetings cards
  • packaging
  • fine art posters
  • animated commercials, television shows, short films or government information services (including health and education materials).

Find information on employers in creative arts and design, marketing, advertising and PR, media and internet and other job sectors.

Skills for your CV

An illustration degree allows you to develop a mix of subject-specific and technical skills, which can be used across many careers. You'll be able to demonstrate:

  • creativity - learning to find your own style while being flexible to new ideas and client needs
  • the capacity to work independently - in order to produce your own work and build your portfolio
  • design skills and methods - drawing and sketching, moving image and digital media
  • IT skills - using specific creative software
  • entrepreneurial skills - your portfolio must be creative, imaginative and commercial
  • interpersonal skills - to collaborate with others
  • effective networking - using social media to brand and promote yourself and your creative products
  • business management capability - knowing how to deal with tax, copyright and licences.

Further study

Although there are few postgraduate courses in illustration, a Masters in the subject will be suitable for you if you're hoping to pursue a career in teaching at further education (FE) or higher education (HE) level.

Postgraduate courses that allow you to specialise in other areas, such as graphic design, marketing, animation or advertising, are available. For example, a Masters in design management can lead to roles in the Design Council or within the field of communication management.

Completing a postgraduate course shows employers you are committed to personal growth and gives you the opportunity to develop your portfolio and expand a network of contacts in the industry.

You can also undertake short courses to learn and develop IT skills related to your area of interest.

For more information on further study and to find a course that interests you, see Masters degrees and search postgraduate courses in illustration.

What do illustration graduates do?

13% of illustration graduates in employment are artists - the top job held by graduates, with 12% working as graphic designers and 3% working in design occupations. 

DestinationPercentage
Employed76.3
Further study3.4
Working and studying7.8
Unemployed8
Other4.5
Graduate destinations for illustration
Type of workPercentage
Arts, design and media30
Retail, catering and customer service26.3
Clerical, secretarial and administrative11.7
Skilled trades, crafts and vocational work5.3
Other26.7
Types of work entered in the UK

Find out what other graduates are doing after finishing their degrees in What do graduates do?

Graduate destinations data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency.

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