Work balance

This year 48.3% felt they successfully balanced client work and personal work. This is only narrowly up from 48.2% in 2018.


94% of respondents felt motivated to be a better artist. The least motivated was Asia at 87%. Motivation is a very powerful force.


66% felt motivated to be a better business person, while 30% sometimes felt motivated. Africa was the most motivated.

Life balance

We asked the respondents whether they felt they had a good work/life balance, 55% said they did, which is up 7% since the 2018 survey. As of 2019 the number who feel they have a good work/life balance outnumbers the ones who don’t. The following bar chart shows the activities our respondents felt would benefit them and their work.


We also asked if they would benefit from part-time and/or full-time help. 2% said it would be beneficial to have full-time help, while 26% ticked the box for part-time help. Overall Asia had the largest percentage of those wanting assistance.

39% of our respondents regularly met up with other illustrators or creatives as part of an organised event or purely as friends. 18% of them didn’t feel that meet-ups were of any great importance to them. Of the 61% who didn’t go to regular meet-ups, 89% wished they did. In 2018 it was 34% attending against 66% not attending with 91% of the non-attending wishing they did have regular meet-ups. Not much has changed, but that’s still an additional 5% (178) attending events in 2019 over 2018 based on the number of survey respondents we had this year. The chart below shows what our respondents would like read more about online.



The chart below shows whether our respondents felt that social media had a positive or negative effect on them and the percentage that shared this view. We didn’t ask for specifics as to which social networks they used or how they used them.

Overall in 2019 social media has had a marginally more negative effect on our respondents, although a higher percentage (0.9% more) said it had a 100% positive effect on them over the previous year.

Mental health

In total, 20% of respondents said they had mental health issues of some description and had shared or talked about their issues online. Australia and New Zealand had the highest number of respondents with mental health issues (31%) and were the most likely to talk about them. North and South America followed at 22%. Mental health is serious and talking online can help, but isn’t a substitute for seeing a professional.


66% (down from 74% in 2018) of respondents have anxiety or confidence issues that affect their careers. However, there is no way to know from our data how many have a diagnosable anxiety disorder. According to No Panic, anxiety & depression are the most common mental disorders in Britain. There were 8.2 million (12.8%) cases of anxiety in the UK in 2013 with women twice as likely to experience anxiety as men. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America anxiety disorders affect 18.1% of United States residents every year.

If you are in crisis with your mental health and have suicidal thoughts or think you might self-harm or harm others, call (or get someone else to call) the emergency services or go to your nearest hospital A&E/Emergency department. In the UK, you can call NHS 111 for advice at any time, and there are also a number of mental health and emotional support services available, many of which offer telephone, text and email support. In the UK, this includes Shout (text 85258) and Samaritans (phone 116 123). The MIND website offers advice on getting support when you are in crisis as well as valuable information about all aspects of mental health.

Outside the UK, Crisis Text Line is available in the US (text HOME to 741741) and Canada (text HOME to 686868). For people in different countries, here is a list that may be helpful, please note that we have not checked the resources on the linked page, but it should point you in the right direction.


Overall, 11% of our respondents said they had lost out on jobs because of their identity or beliefs. Those based in Asia faced the highest percentage of discrimination at 26.1%, while those based in the United Kingdom faced 7.8%, North America came in at 12.8%. The following chart is a breakdown of discrimination by identity.

An article written by Haroon Siddique and published by The Guardian in January 2019 states that discrimination for ethnic minorities in Britain hasn’t changed since the 1960s. Read: Minority ethnic Britons face ‘shocking’ job discrimination

Sexual harassment

8.1% of our total respondents had faced sexual harassment during their work as an illustrator or freelance creative. This was highest in Australia and New Zealand at 13.8%, while it was 6.9% and 6.5% in the United Kingdom and Asia respectively. The following chart is a breakdown of sexual harassment by identity.

Illustration © 2019 Pete Underhill