Welcome to the 2019 State of Illustration. My name is Darren Di Lieto and this is the fifth survey of illustrators I’ve run since 2011. Originally, the survey was called the Illustrators’ Survey (2011-2018, RIP), but as of 2020 we’re renaming it the State of Illustration. I was a full-time freelance illustrator from 2003-2006, during which time I created Hire an Illustrator as a way to stay connected with my fellow illustrators and to give them a platform to further their careers and connect with clients. Although I no longer have time to create illustrations or art myself as Hire an Illustrator is my full-time job, with my 17 years experience in this industry I’m able to offer advice on promotion, pricing and contracts while staying close to what I love. As far as I’m concerned I’m still an illustrator (without a pencil) and always will be. I also get to do a lot of art direction and have curated several exhibitions over the years, so I’m actively involved in multiple aspects of the industry alongside my main work at Hire an Illustrator. All this aside, I believe that with the passion I have for illustration and the creative industry as a whole I’m in the perfect position to bring the annual State of Illustration to you.
About the report
This report uses data collected from 3564 respondents, which includes freelance illustrators, in-house illustrators, artists and other creatives. The online State of Illustration survey was fielded from 12th October to 22nd November, 2019. The respondents to our survey are a mix of genders and ages who are mostly social media users that are also fiercely independent as self-employed business owners. Due to the solitary nature of being an artist or freelance illustrator most of them will likely be in isolation a good portion of their working day with their social interactions primarily being limited to social media or communication devices rather than in-person. So while our sample is representative of the creative industry, it may not offer a complete insight into the general working population, but that isn’t the purpose of our survey.
This year, like previous years, the State of Illustration is split into four sections. The first section will give you an overview of who we are and the groups that make up our industry. The second section is about the work we do and the tools we use. Section three is all about income, money and how we make a living. The fourth section is about what makes us tick and the challenges we face, which is then follow by the conclusion. Where appropriate, we have made comparisons between our 2019 and 2018 survey results, along with other publicly available survey data.
Please note that depending on the number of respondents from each geographical area, the dataset has been divided for analysis into continents in some cases and individual countries in others.
We hired artist Pete Underhill to create the illustrations that accompany the State of Illustration survey and report. You can find him on Hire an Illustrator and at peteunderhillart.com. We also retrospectively apologise to him for the very short deadline we gave him for this work.
Illustration © 2019 Pete Underhill