Illustration is booming
There’s never been a better time to be an illustrator, but there are tonnes of illustrators out there. There’s so much appreciation for illustration right now. Ten years ago the scene was very digital. It was all vector-based, and digital photography was a huge thing. But those things actually sometimes don’t really connect with customers very well. For packaging or for advertising, illustration can usually do that much better than a piece of cold graphic design or a piece of photography.
The illustrators that are doing well are the ones that are educating themselves to the kind of fees that they should be getting and they’re pushing the client for those fees. They’re setting the tone of voice for everything; they’re not just a service provider for the company. They negotiate their contracts properly. They understand that they are a business, so they’re pushing themselves on social media. They have a self-promotional strategy.
Designers are becoming illustrators
In the last year, we’ve seen a huge increase in people who’ve had a career in graphic design becoming illustrators. Perhaps when they graduated they didn’t see illustration as a viable career. But the shape of the industry now – how it’s contributing to the design industry, the kind of jobs that people are doing, the kind of clients people are getting – it’s really come on in the last three years. So much so that designers who in their hearts were really illustrators are coming back.
New arenas for illustrators
Editorial illustration has changed. Where newspapers used to send photographers out to document Afghani women freedom fighters for a couple of weeks or months, now they’re sending illustrators to do that reportage. That wasn’t really happening before. Another whole industry that’s popped up in the last two years is wellness and veganism. Because it’s about health, it works perfectly with illustration. We’re seeing a whole new wave of commissioners that weren’t really there before.