With options ranging from children's picture books to web development and advertising, anyone with a love of art can find his ideal career as a professional illustrator. The amount of money an illustrator gets paid depends on his level of experience, the industry in which he works, and where he is employed.
Mean Annual Wage
Illustrators, along with painters and sculptors, are classified in the "fine artists" category of occupational employment, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The mean annual wage for this category overall is £32,909, or £15.80 an hour.
As illustrators hone their craft and add more published works to their portfolios, they are in a position to negotiate a higher salary from companies or charge a higher rate if they are freelance illustrators. According to PayScale, a beginning illustrator starts out making between £6.50 to £13.30 an hour, but with over five years experience that rate goes up to between £10.30 and £23.8 an hour. An illustrator with over 20 years of experience can make up to £53.4 an hour.
Several industries regularly employ illustrators with a variety of skills and artistic preferences. The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the highest paying industry for illustrators is scientific research and development services at £52,026 a year, closely followed by the motion picture and video industry at £51,376. While not as high paying, the newspaper, periodical, book and directory publishing industry is popular among illustrators, paying an annual mean wage of £37,310.
The highest paying state in the United States for illustrators and those in the fine arts is Delaware, with an annual mean wage of £86,632. Delaware is followed by California, Connecticut, Michigan and Indiana, which offer salaries ranging from £39,650 to £44,785. The highest paying city in the United States is Wilmington, Delaware, at £89,537, followed by Detroit, San Jose, San Francisco and Los Angeles, which range from £47,326 to £56,836.