Illustrators’ Survey 2018

We’re happy to share with you the results of this year’s Annual Illustrators’ survey. We’ve previously done surveys in 2011/12 and 15 and we’re excited to revive this public service.

Share: #WeAreIllustrators
Illustrators’ Survey 2018/19

There were lots of really interesting results, some good, some discouraging, and some that’ll encourage conversation about specific subjects for the long term. We didn’t address the open questions and answers that we were sent as part of the survey results, but we hope to put those to good use in the near future to give additional insight into our cherished community. A word of warning before you view the results: be careful not to jump to conclusions. Although just under 1500 illustrators took part in the survey, that’s still a very small percentage of our industry as a whole. If we’re able to do a survey each year, we hope that number will grow exponentially, allowing us to build on the results each year to give them more legitimacy and context. As with all surveys there’ll be user bias in play and results can be twisted and manipulated to work in favour of opposing views and opinions, so be careful of the connections people may make between the results and state as facts. Remember, correlation is not causation.

One thing we will need to address if we do more surveys in the future is the way we handle mental health questions. What we realised after receiving feedback from various sources is that having self-confidence issues and sometimes feeling anxious about things is not the same as having a diagnosable mental health problem like an anxiety disorder or depression. We did not make a distinction between the two in the survey, which was a mistake that would need to be updated with the correct terminology and wording in the next survey. Also, while talking about mental health, a lot of people have made a connection between mental health issues and low incomes – there was no defined connection between these two factors and the data was completely anonymised for the sake of our contributors privacy. This means that even if we wanted to, we can’t make a connection between the two as we don’t know who did or didn’t say that they were affected by both mental health and had a low income. GDPR advocates would be proud.

We were able to correlate some of the data we collected and it would be great to use that to make some really interesting infographics, as some people have suggested. What would be great though is if we’re able to collect a few years’ worth of data so that we’re able to show how the industry is changing from year to year. Even better is to be able to use the survey results to encourage change for the betterment and health of our colleges and friends. We all want a decent wage and a good life, and as a community making that happen is in our own hands.

Share: #WeAreIllustrators
Illustrators’ Survey 2018/19

For pricing advice, promotion and support – become part of our community and join Hire an Illustrator.


  1. You seem interested in mental health concerns, enough to regret how you phrased a question. Are you also concerned with physical health, healthcare, and disabilities?

    As an artist with a disability, I think both mental and physical health are important to consider. And, maybe this is only a concern for US-based artists, but it would be interesting to know how many artists have no health coverage and where those who do have it get it. And, for everyone with physical or mental health issues, whether or not they’re getting adequate care for it.

    Thank you.

    1. All very good points and definitely something we’re interested in and would want to properly address in future surveys. We just need to check with the ICO guidelines first to find out what we can and can’t ask people.

  2. It’s great to be able to access this information so many thanks for sorting and sharing. Some interesting data, of which some is as expected, some is reassuring and some raises concerns. As an industry it would be great if we could all be more confident with estimating fees and that our income allowed us a more balanced lifestyle. The mental health answers are a concern and I’m hoping that access to this data can help in some way. We all seem motivated to make things better which can only be a good thing!

Leave a comment... It's your destiny. :)