Editorial illustration encompasses creating pictures that represent articles and features in publications like magazines and newspapers. Individuals choosing to pursue a career in editorial illustration will find that they tend to have tighter deadlines than some other career options, however you will also get to work on a wide range of subject matter, ensuring that your challenges do not become stale.
Along the same vein, there are careers in publishing illustration. These are similar, but more geared toward things like children’s books, novels, and textbooks. When it comes to children’s books, you would be creating the artwork to go along with the story, where in the case of the novel, it might simply be the cover that you design. Textbooks tend to be a bit more technical, and you might be asked to illustrate graphs or diagrams. The deadlines for these jobs will likely be a bit longer, but you will generally stay within the same genre to illustrate, which can still be quite rewarding if you are drawing or painting for a topic or theme that you really enjoy.
Children’s books may also involve sequential illustration. This type of illustration is often also used for comic books and strips. Careers in sequential illustration involve creating a series of pictures and artwork that create the story. So in this case, you may also want to be a bit of a writer if this is an area you might wish to pursue. If you were the kid who grew up loving comic books, you may just turn out to be the next illustrator for your favorite comic book.
Institutional illustration is a bit more specialized. Corporations and businesses, as well as schools and other organizations, will often hire pieces of custom artwork for offices and even corporate headquarters. Think personalized motivational posters, or framed pieces incorporating brands, logos, and mascots. While this may be a bit of a niche market, there is certainly money to be had, especially if you enjoy the freedom of working a freelance type of schedule or being able to work for many different people at once.
One of the big areas artistic people gravitate toward when it comes to employment is advertising illustration. These are the illustrators who create the graphics and designs for various product and advertisement campaigns. Who wouldn’t love to work for one of their favorite brands and create the next big logo or marketing campaign?
Regardless of which artistic avenue you wish to pursue, there are plenty of illustration careers to choose from. It is just a matter of deciding what interests you and suits your particular style of painting or drawing. Often you won’t be limited to one type of illustration, especially if your skills allow you to draw many different types of artwork. That is one huge benefit over many careers: The flexibility of being able to adapt to whatever the next job brings and keep your options varied and exciting.