First of all the State of Illustration wouldn’t exist without our generous 3564 respondents who gave us their valuable time to answer our questionnaire and everyone who shared the survey with their peers, so I want to say a big thank you to you all. This year the State of Illustration report was the most in-depth analysis of the illustration and creative industry I’ve ever done. It was a mammoth task to conduct the survey, promote it, sieve through the data and write this report, it took over 200 hours to create, while holding down my full-time job as creative director and client relationship manager at Hire an Illustrator. As well as the hours invested, I’ve spent a significant amount of money to make this report a reality and even enlisted the help of a graduate space systems engineer and physicist from the University of Leicester to help us analyse the data, along with deciding on the best ways to visualise it. It might not be quite up to their usual scientific standard, but it does an excellent job of turning the raw data into an easy to understand report.

Key points to takeaway

  • The average income for a full-time illustrator is £30,042.11 (GBP).
  • Roughly only a third of those who are represented got most of their commissions from their agent.
  • 61% of those with more than 21 years experience were men, although only 41% of the total survey respondents were male.
  • The average age of an illustrator is 37 years old.
  • We have a higher portion of people who identify as LGBQT+ in the the creative industry than the national averages.
  • Pricing is a real struggle for most and there needs to be more courses and advice available in relation to this. This also goes hand-in-hand with understanding and writing contracts.
  • Just over one fifth of the respondents have mental health issues of some description.

As a group we are all part of the creative industry, which is responsible for contributing over £100 billion per year to the UK economy alone. We need to take care of each other and make sure we all have a good work/life balance. Our future is in our own hands, so we need to embrace it – we can’t just sit idly by and wait for things to happen. It’s not rocket science!

The State of Illustration report was brought to you by:

We love illustration and that’s why we do what we do! HAI is just Darren & Jane Di Lieto and we’re both illustrators. We advise our members, promote them and help them find commissions. It’s a passion and we can’t imagine doing anything else. We’re never going to sell-out or work with companies we don’t trust. We’re independent, we do what is right for our members and that’s the way we like it. No pressure, no ulterior motive, and the freedom to do what is best for freelancers and the illustration industry we represent.


Thank you for taking the time to read the State of Illustration report. If you wish to take part next year, sign up to be notified or follow one of our social accounts. If you’re looking for advice on pricing, contracts or promotion and would like to kick off or further your freelance career, please consider joining Hire an Illustrator. We’re a group of over 500 professional illustrators and we’d love to have you as part of our community.

Creative Commons Licence
State of Illustration ’19 by Darren Di Lieto is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. This means the licensor permits others to copy, distribute, display, and perform the work, as well as make and distribute derivative works based on it, including for commercial purposes.

Layman’s terms: If sharing the data or report, please credit Darren Di Lieto as the author of the source material and reference the original report with the following URL, in the form of a link online or written in full in print.

Illustration © 2019 Pete Underhill