Illustrator Resume Examples + Pro Tips

As an illustrator, you should be petting your pen and the tablet thinking that’s all you need to get a higher salary. But, there’s one more thing an illustrator needs to land well-paid jobs: a perfect illustrator resume.

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Forbes states the average raise an employee receives for leaving a job is between 10% to 20% while those who stay in the same job get an average increment of 3% (forbes.com).

If you’re an illustrator looking for changing job, this article will guide you to aim for the highest increment possible.

Here you’ll find everything you need to write your perfect resume as an illustrator, including:

  • Picking the right resume format, layout, and template for your resume.
  • Writing each section perfectly with tons of examples.
  • Illustrator resume mistakes to avoid.
  • Including your achievements and accomplishments for a job winning illustrator resume.

We’ve also given Pro Resume Tips to write a professional resume that will help you get more interview requests.

If time is your constraint, try out our resume builder to create a professional illustrator resume in just 10 minutes.

Illustrator Resume Example for Experienced Candidates

Carl Logon
illustrator
me@carllogon.com
+1 224 55 76 87
https://www.carllogon.com/

Professional summary
An award-winning illustrator with over 7 years of experience in 2D and 3D animation studios seeks to continue my excellence at ZeaLab. In my previous job at Animate Vortex, I won the best illustrator award in two consecutive years: awarded the most innovative designer at the 2019 Global Design Awards ceremony.

Aug 2016 to Present
Illustrator
Animate Vortex

  • Designed a 10 book comic series collaborating with a team of 4 that went on to earn $20 million in sales in 12 countries
  • Worked on a $60 million animation project for Pixar and handed over the designs on time with 100% client satisfaction
  • Expert in illustrations for children’s books: completed 12+ children’s books from character conceptualization to design

Jan 2014 to July 2016
Graphic designer
DP Graphics

  • Involved in over 300 graphic design projects of different sizes achieving a customer satisfaction rating of 97%
  • Children’s book 2D character named “Marie” designed by me became an iconic character among children which was later featured in a cartoon earning $70 million in royalty income to the company
  • Designed content for 30+ websites including e-commerce, portfolio, and tech: working with web developers and graphic artists

Education
Bachelor’s degree in illustration and graphic design, 2010-2013
University of Houston

  • Design conceptualization
  • Adobe creative suite
  • CAD software

Skills

  • Adobe illustrator and CS
  • Maya
  • ZBrush
  • Effective communication
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Teamwork

Skills Certifications

  • Adobe certified expert

Awards

  • Sony Graphic Design Award winner, 2020
  • Disney 2D illustrator of the year, 2018: 2nd runner up

Illustrator Resume Example for a Freelancer

Jennifer Smith
Freelance illustrator
contact@jennifers.com
+1 232 65 78 37
https://www.jennifers.com/

Professional summary
A passionate illustrator with 5+ years of freelance experience serving over 500 clients through Upwork, Freelancer, LinkedIn, and Instagram, interested in joining VR Studios to find the next challenge in my career . Collaborated for a $200 million animation project of Disney as a freelancer in 2019.

Adobe Illustrator and After Effects specialist

  • Completed over 150 illustration projects on Upwork with 5-start ratings
  • Worked on a medical illustrator project creating 100+ 2D illustrations
  • Carried out character design for a comic book in 2020: 2 million copies sold so far

Adobe photoshop specialist

  • Created 200 pages of catalogs and brochures for a newly started supermarket chain Mini-Mart
  • Developed the logo and brand messaging for a Japanese Cuisine restaurant in New York City
  • Created social media posts and themes for a startup SaaS platform with over 200,000 users

Work collaboratively

  • Provided my illustrator expertise in 3D designs for an animation project at Disney with a team of 7 designers and partners
  • Worked with other freelancers on the platforms to take up large projects. For instance, a project for developing 50+ design output for a cross-platform advertising campaign for a designer wear brand

Time Management

  • 98% on-time delivery score on Upwork
  • Designed characters for a 3D animation video of a Starbucks product launch in 7 days: shortlisted for the best commercial advertisement award at ICT Business Awards 2019
  • Adhered to strict deadlines of the clients maintaining the quality

Education
Advanced Diploma in illustration and graphic design, 2011-2012
Institution for illustration and graphic arts- CA

  • Visual storytelling
  • Art direction
  • Optimization of digital images
  • 2D and the 3D animation character design

Other Skills

  • Adobe illustrator and CS
  • Maya
  • Motion builder
  • HTML/CSS
  • Vector art design
  • Medical illustration
  • Technical illustrations
  • Handling multiple projects at the same time
  • Effective communication
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Teamwork

Skill Certifications

  • Adobe Certified Associate (ACA)

Key Achievements

  • Top-rated illustrator on Upwork
This freelancer resume is a functional-style resume. When you are a freelancer, it is easy to relate your work history to important skills instead of describing your experience by the client. However, you can still write a conventional reverse chronological resume for your freelance career describing your major project involvements.

Read more about writing a functional (skilled-based) resume.

Salary & Employment Rates for illustrators

The average annual pay for an illustrator is $51,000💰 (Payscale.com).

However, the most experienced illustrators in the market earn above $100,000.

Freelance illustrators on the other hand earn unlimited based on their skill and experience. In a world where creativity is often recognized, illustrators enjoy great career opportunities and pay.

An Illustrator Resume that Gets the Job Done?

How to make an illustrator’s resume? 

We have seen good, bad, and great resumes. Just like you’re experienced with the brush, your hiring manager is well experienced in picking a great resume from the list – it will take only around 5 seconds for them to know whether you fit the role.

How do they read your resume without actually reading the content?

Your resume layout, format, and template have a lot to do with the overall completeness of your resume.

You know how to create a strong first impression in artwork–for a resume, you can use layouts, formats, and templates to do the same thing.

The Layout of an Illustrator Resume

In writing your resume, the layout is your plan. It organizes your writing and defines the order of the information on your resume.

Writing a resume is made ten times easier with the right resume layout.

The following is a resume layout optimized for an illustrator:

  • Header with name and contact information
  • Professional summary
  • Experience
  • Education
  • Skills
  • Additional sections
📌 Pro Tip: One page is the standard size for the resume in many regions

The Format of an Illustrator Resume

The format defines how you structure the content in each section: especially in experience and education sections. There’re three standard formats mostly used in resume writing:

  • Functional: experience section is written based on the skills acquired in each work
  • Reverse chronological: most recent experience and education are listed first
  • Hybrid: functional and reverse chronological formats are used together
Find out more about different resume formats here.

For an experienced illustrator, we recommend using the reverse-chronological format, whereas, for a freelance illustrator, a functional or a hybrid format would be most appropriate.

The Template of an Illustrator Resume

The resume template is accountable for the overall look and feel of the resume.

Consider the following points while creating your own template:

  • Use a readable font (eg: Times New Roman, Arial).
  • Define the font sizes for headings, subheadings, and body text
  • Maintain consistent margins
  • Save your resume in both PDF and MS Word formats

Most illustrators spend hours creating a resume template when our design experts have created hundreds of templates best suited for illustrators, graphic designers, and many other professionals. Best of all, they’re editable.

Forget all that hassle dealing with MS Word page formatting and start your resume off on the right foot with our ready-to-fill resume templates.

Start with the Header of the illustrator Resume

This is the first section of your resume where you introduce yourself to the recruiter. Start with your name and provide the most important contact information in the header.

The following examples of CORRECT and INCORRECT resume headers will show you what exactly you should include and what you should avoid in this section.

A good header and a bad one

💡 CORRECT
Jimmy Cook
illustrator
info@jimmycook.com
+1 224 98 62 83
https://www.jimmycook.com/
🛑 INCORRECT
illustrator
Jimmy Cook
jimmycook@pixar.com
+1 224 98 62 83
11, main street, apt 13,
Washington DC
USA

The following points distinguish a good header from a bad one:

  • Name: The header should start with your name and not with your job title. The name should be the first name and the last name. If you’re popular in a pseudonym in the industry, you may include it in parentheses.
  • Email: Use your personal email
  • Residential Address: Your mailing address is not required in your resume
  • Portfolio: Put the link to your portfolio. It could be your own website, social media, Behance, Dribble, or PortfolioBox

Does the illustrator’s resume need a photo?

For most companies in the USA, UK, Australia, and regions where the discrimination laws are tight, employers prefer resumes without pictures of the candidate.

Pro Tip📌: You may include one of your digital arts in place of your picture to gain more attention to your work. This is a brilliant strategy as it allows you to create a good first impression of your creative work even before they open your portfolio.

Resume Summary for an illustrator: Sales pitch

A resume summary is a two-sentence statement about the candidate’s greatest achievements and key skills.

This couple of sentences also describe why the candidate will be a good fit for the position by describing how their work affected the previous employers.

A good resume summary would hook the recruiter to read further.

A resume summary that is written for an experienced candidate is called Professional Summary.

INCORRECT
Illustrator with five years experience in graphic design and 3D animation character design seeking to join Skript Motion to further my career
CORRECT
Creative illustrator with over 5 years of experience in digital arts and 3D animation character design seeking to join Skript Motion to continue my design excellence. At Magenta Pictures, created 200+ digital arts for a comic book that generated over $2 million in sales

A resume summary that is written for an entry-level candidate or someone in a career transition is called an Objective Summary.

INCORRECT
I am an illustrator with a degree in illustration and graphic design from the University of Pennsylvania, would like to join TED Studios as a junior illustrator
CORRECT
Passionate illustrator with over a year of hands-on experience in Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, and After Effects, seeking to join TED Studios to expand my creative capabilities. One of my digital arts was awarded the best visual art of the year in 2019 at the university art exhibition

Do you see the difference?

A good professional summary or an objective summary consists of specific information about your achievements – it makes you the best choice for the job.

Remember, your employer doesn’t know you. They always face the risk of recruiting or shortlisting the wrong candidate. Therefore, you should help them find out that you’re a risk-free option for them to have.

Here is a simple format to write your next resume summary:

  • The summary should be about two sentences.
  • In the first sentence, describe your key skills and experience – make sure these are relevant to the job you apply for.
  • In the second sentence, describe your greatest achievements – use numbers whenever possible – your achievements should provide instant answers to the employer’s problems.

Work Experience in the illustrator Resume

They need an illustrator with hands-on experience – someone who has worked on real-world projects – who has designed arts for commercial clients.

Where do they find this exact information?

Your experience section.

This section of your resume would be the most important indicator of how well you’d fit the new position, regardless of whether you’re in a job or a freelancer.

Spend most of your resume writing time planning, writing, and optimizing this section – you’ll notice a significant increase in the number of interviews you get.

Keep the following points in mind while writing your experience:

  • Pick the relevant keywords mentioned in the job description or the advertisement – place them naturally in your writing.
  • Use power words to start the sentences. Eg: Developed, Created, Achieved.
  • Be specific about your experience – include your achievements and accomplishments – use numbers as much as possible.
  • Keep each position/ project description to 4-6 bullet points.

Example Experience Section for a Senior Illustrator

INCORRECT
Aug 2016 to Present
Illustrator
Mango Movies & Graphics
  • Developed character arts for animation short films
  • Created illustrations for a children’s book series
  • Produced high-quality animations using Motion Builder
  • Digital arts creation
  • Created rough sketches before working on final illustrations
  • Create images and print materials
CORRECT
Aug 2016 to Present
Illustrator
Mango Movies & Graphics
  • Headed an illustration team of 5 to work on an animated short film to produce character animations and backgrounds – project value $20M
  • Co-created a children’s book series with a team of writers and illustrators from conceptualization of characters to the final product – project value $200,000
  • Worked with a creative team of artists, audio engineers, and producers to create high-quality animation output using Motion Builder and Adobe Illustrator
  • Communicated with the client marketing team to design a TV advertisement campaign
  • Created 100+ digital arts and graphics using Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop for a youth magazine named WECom

Freelance Illustrator’s Experience

INCORRECT
Aug 2016 to Present
Illustrator
  • Used Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, and InDesign for designing work
  • Delivered the best value for money to the clients
  • Communicated well with the client team to achieve the output
  • Developed design concepts for client work
  • Designed technical diagrams
  • Worked with the client design team and the art director
CORRECT
Aug 2016 to Present
Technical illustrator
  • Delivered 400+ individual design projects for small and medium businesses having a 4.8/5.0 rating for client satisfaction
  • A cover animation video created for a song of EMINEM with a team of freelancers reached 40 million views on YouTube
  • Completed successful projects worth $80,000 in 2021
  • Communicated with the cross-functional teams of the client to achieve the desired outcome: 5-star rating for communication

Writing your experience section in reverse chronological order makes it easy for the hiring manager to pick the right information faster – they’re looking for your most recent experience. If your most recent experience is the most relevant experience to the new position, there’s no other reason for them not to meet you in an interview.

Education of an illustrator

How important is education for an illustrator?

The answer is not straightforward. There’re instances where companies hire illustrators without any academic education background while some recruiters specify a degree in illustration or graphic design and further qualifications in specific fields such as animation.

In such cases, it is advisable to possess a Bachelor’s degree in arts or graphic designing and a Master’s degree in Animation, fine arts, or any relevant field to the job.

However, the job markets in many regions in the world including the USA are stepping towards talent-based recruitment – providing more flexibility to candidates to apply for jobs that they are skilled and passionate about.

Having basic academic qualifications would still be valuable for any job as an academic program build soft skills that are required for the candidate to work collaboratively with other stakeholders.

In listing down your relevant education, use a consistent format such as the following:

  • Degree name and the major.
  • Year of commencement and graduation.
  • University or institution name and the location.
  • Achievements, honors, or awards.

Example education section for an illustrator Resume

Education

Master’s in Illustration and 3D animations
2014-2016
Columbia University, NY

  • 6 months industrial placement
  • Advanced movie animations

Bachelor’s in graphic design
2010-2014
Columbia University, NY

  • Design tools including Adobe Illustrator, InDesign, CAD
  • Industrial design project
  • Brand designing

Draw Your Skills in Your Illustration Resume

Illustrators should possess a specific set of skills and some of them have high demand in the industry.

Anyone can write a list of skills on their resume, but living up to it is the difficult part. Therefore, make sure the experience section of your resume provides examples of incidents where you showcased those skills.

Illustrator resumes should focus on two types of skills:

Soft Skills: These are generic personal traits of the candidate – highlights how they would deal with other stakeholders and the work

  • Timely delivery of work
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Creativity
  • Teamwork
  • Clear communication
  • Listening
  • Artistic vision

Hard Skills/ technical skills: Specific skills that are related to the illustrator’s job duties – the tools, techniques, and the know-how to carry out the tasks effectively.

  • Adobe illustrator
  • Adobe photoshop
  • CAD
  • Autodesk Maya
  • Clip Studio Paint
  • ProCreate

Additional Headings for your illustrator Resume

Why do you need additional headings on your illustrator resume?

Additional headings are a great way to demonstrate your accomplishments. Rather than including your key accomplishments in the experience section or education, you can gain ten times more visibility to that information by putting it in an additional section.

Use small sections and headings to catch the attention of the hiring manager – make it a pleasant surprise with the right information.

Here are some of the additional sections you could add to your illustrator resume:

  • Computer skills & certifications
  • Clients served
  • Awards & Recognitions
  • Interests

Computer Skills & Certifications on an Illustrator Resume

Illustrators are often identified as tech-savvy: they use the latest hardware, design software, and tools. Your hiring manager would like to hear from you. Let them know how comfortable you’re with technology – especially software.

If you’ve completed or read for any certification course related to computer science or programming, you may list it here. Though the certification is not directly relevant to illustrator jobs, the hiring manager might find it important.

If you possess any skill certifications in illustration, it should come to the top of this section – these skill certifications are highly employable credentials.

Here are some of the important skill certifications you can consider acquiring if you haven’t yet:

  • Certified Medical Illustrator (CMI)
  • Adobe Certified Associate (ACA)
  • American Graphics Institution Certification for Illustrators

Also, there are many skill certifications for illustrators conducted by different institutions. The good news is that most of these institutions are providing distance learning opportunities – meaning you can complete the certificate online.

Interests in an illustrator Resume

List your interests on your illustrator resume only if they add value to your profile.

For instance, your interests should either showcase your soft skills or complement your creative spirit.

This section is a great way to inject some personality into your resume.

Clients Served

If you’re a freelancer, you can include the clients and the companies you served (of course if you’re allowed to do so). This is a great strategy to establish credibility for your previous work.

Consider your illustrator’s resume as a creative piece of paper. Additionally, you can add a testimonial by one of your clients if that demonstrates a key strength the employer is looking for.

Awards and Recognitions

Awards and recognitions are a great way to distinguish yourself from the crowd. There are many award ceremonies and competitions conducted online and offline by different institutions.

If you haven’t got one, consider participating in such competitions. You don’t have to win the prize to put it on your resume – sometimes participation or getting shortlisted to the final rounds would be enough to impress the hiring manager.

In addition, these events are great opportunities for you to network with industry experts and recruiters. Make sure you have your resume ready when they ask for it. You can create an awesome illustrator resume with our ready-to-fill resume templates in 10 minutes.

Pro Tips for Your Illustrator Resume

If you followed the article right up to here, you already have an awesome resume that would probably stand in the top 5%. Further, optimize it with the following tips:

  • Avoid spelling and grammar mistakes – use a tool like Grammarly.
  • Pick the right resume format based on your experience – freelancers could consider using functional or hybrid formats.
  • Optimize your portfolio, social media, and website before including the link in the resume header. Without sending them to the home page, send them directly to the web page with the most relevant designs.
  • Tailor your resume summary for the position – use the most relevant achievements with numbers.
  • Make a list of skills you possess and match them with the list of skills mentioned in the job advertisement – include them naturally in the professional summary, experience, and skills sections

Summary:

  • Write the resume header with your name and the contact information
  • Keep the professional summary to two sentences
  • Spend more time writing the experience section – including achievements – use numbers whenever possible
  • Write your education section starting with your highest qualifications
  • Write a mix of soft and hard skills
  • Use a couple of additional sections to impress the recruiter

Complement Your Resume with a Matching Cover Letter

Cover letters play a major role in securing a high-paid job as an illustrator. Though we tailor the resume to fit the job description, it documents our overall experience and skills. In comparison, in the cover letter, we write it targeting the specific position.

A good cover letter talks about the following:

  • The most troubling problems employer faces and solutions to them.
  • How you have taken on similar projects/ work and the results you achieved.
  • Your key skills that the potential employer will value.
  • Why you’re particularly interested in the company/ position.

Keep your cover letter to about half a page with 2-4 paragraphs. Keep it short – to the point. Use Bold and italic to emphasize important words and phrases.

Frequently Asked Questions for an illustrator Resume

Graphic designer vs illustrator: difference?

The main difference between a graphic designer and an illustrator is that the illustrator uses more of his skill in the art while the graphic designer does not necessarily have an art background. A graphic designer’s work typically involves creating commercial pieces of content for advertising, branding, or marketing purposes. Illustrators are often involved in bigger projects that involve the development of characters and arts from scratch.

Can one person become both a graphic designer and an illustrator?

The simple answer is YES. However, depending on the type of work, graphic designers and illustrators require different skills.

Apart from having the skills of a graphic designer, the candidate should also possess a natural level of artistic talent to become an illustrator – most illustrator work involves free-hand sketching.

How to become an illustrator?

The easiest way to become an illustrator is to pursue a bachelor’s degree in illustration from a recognized institution or a university. By the end of the program, you will be exposed to the tools, techniques, and software they use together with practical experience.

There’re also non-conventional ways to become an illustrator. You can self-learn illustration from the beginning – take up a beginner online course from Udemy. Create an online portfolio of work on a platform such as Behance, Dribble, PortfolioBox, or on your own website. Start a freelancing business on social media, Fiverr, and Upwork.

 

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