Commercial Illustration

by | Artwork, Commercial Art


Becoming a commercial illustrator is a rewarding career choice, but it takes time and effort. You’ll need to work on your drawing skills, attend school or take classes, start a portfolio and gain experience, build up your body of work and promote yourself

Here are some steps you can take to become a commercial illustrator:

  • Develop your artistic skills: Take courses or classes to improve your skills in drawing, painting, and other art forms. Practice consistently to hone your abilities and experiment with different mediums and styles.
  • Build a portfolio: Create a portfolio of your best work that showcases your range and versatility as an illustrator. Your portfolio should demonstrate your ability to work in different styles and mediums, as well as your ability to effectively communicate ideas through visual storytelling.
  • Network: Attend events and connect with other illustrators and professionals in the industry to build your network. Join online communities and engage with others in your field to gain exposure and potential job opportunities.
  • Promote yourself: Create a website or social media presence to showcase your work and make it accessible to potential clients. Make sure your branding and marketing materials are professional and visually appealing.
  • Gain experience: Look for opportunities to gain experience and build your reputation as an illustrator. Consider internships or freelance work to build your portfolio and gain exposure to different types of projects.
  • Be business savvy: Familiarize yourself with the business side of illustration, including pricing, contracts, and copyright laws. Knowing how to negotiate contracts and manage your finances will be crucial to your success as a commercial illustrator.

Find your style.

To get started, you’ll need to find your style. Look at the work of other illustrators and artists who are successful in your field. See if there are any commonalities between them–do they all use a certain style or technique? Try mimicking that style until you find one that fits with your interests and personality.

Use this exercise as an opportunity to discover what kind of work makes you happy, even if it’s not what everyone else finds attractive or marketable (yet).

Work on your drawing skills.

Drawing is a skill that can be learned. It’s not just about copying things, it’s about seeing things in a new way.

Drawing from life and photos is essential for learning to draw the human figure (which most commercial illustrators do). As you practice drawing with pencils or pens, you will develop the ability to see subtle differences between objects, like the difference between skin tones and hair color or textures. You’ll also learn how light affects objects as well as how shadows cast by objects affect each other visually on paper.

Attend school or take classes.

Attending school or taking classes is one of the best ways to learn how to become a commercial illustrator. You can take classes at a local art school or community college, or you can opt for online courses if you’re not in a position to attend regular classes due to your schedule or location. Classes will help you improve your skills and learn new techniques, as well as being an excellent way for you to meet other artists who may become future colleagues in your field.

Start a portfolio and gain experience.

  • Start a portfolio and gain experience.
  • Get as much work as you can.
  • Start a blog to showcase your work, or join an online community like Behance or DeviantArt.
  • Get involved with advertising or design, even if it’s just for some freelance gigs here and there (or even on Fiverr).

Build up your body of work and promote yourself.

  • Get a website.
  • Use social media to promote yourself and your work, especially on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest (you can start with just one of these).
  • Start a blog – this is more than just an online gallery; it’s also useful for writing down your thoughts as they come to you so that they don’t get lost in the chaos of life! And if you’re stuck for ideas then check out my list here:
  • Build up your body of work by practicing as much as possible until everything feels natural enough not only so that clients will want hire someone like YOU but also so that YOU feel confident in what YOU do too.

You can become a commercial illustrator with hard work and persistence

Becoming a commercial illustrator is a difficult process, but it’s not impossible. You will need to have a clear idea of what you want to achieve and be prepared to work hard towards that goal. Your persistence will pay off in the end!

To become successful as a commercial illustrator, you must be able to solve problems and think creatively. You should also have good communication skills so that clients can understand what type of illustration they need from you before hiring you as an artist.

Your portfolio is very important because it shows potential employers what kind of work style and quality level they can expect from you if hired for their project(s).

“To become successful as a commercial illustrator, you must be able to solve problems and think creatively. You should also have good communication skills so that clients can understand what type of illustration they need from you before hiring you as an artist..”

Michael Apice

College Professor of Art, Graphic Design, & Web


There are many different paths to becoming a commercial illustrator. You can go to school, take classes or even just work on your own. The most important thing is that you keep drawing and finding ways to improve your skills until they’re good enough for clients who want them!.

Rejection is a natural part of the process, so don’t get discouraged and keep putting your work out there. With patience and perseverance, getting your art into galleries can lead to increased exposure, recognition, and opportunities for your career.

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"Thanks for reading and keep exploring!"

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