How do I become an illustrator?

Dave Shelton

Illustrator from Cambridge

I became an illustrator because I loved drawing from a very young age. I drew comics because I love the medium. I became an author kind of by accident, but as with the comics work, behind it all is, I suppose, some kind of basic urge to tell stories.

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Faye Moorhouse

British Illustrator and maker of weird stuff

I’ve always liked to draw and make things, but I think I realised during my a-levels, we had really good art tutors at college and I remember making a little illustrated book/zine thing which was a bit shit but so fun and satisfying to make.

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Gabriel Alborozo

Illustrator from UK

The decision to become a children’s author / illustrator was a very natural one really, but in many ways via a path that perhaps isn’t open nowadays. Previously I worked for a long time as a gag cartoonist for various magazines such as Punch and Private Eye, and I had always been aware that many cartoonists, particularly the old Punch crowd, had almost seamlessly moved from the magazines to children’s books. It’s actually not a huge jump from small, stand alone drawings of funny looking characters, either telling a joke or illustrating an article, to thirty or so pages of funny looking characters. In many ways the jokes are the same as well.

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Drew Millward

Old fashioned illustrator

There was never a definite path, it's simply been a gradual journey over the past ten years. I started out making posters and flyers for gigs some friends and I were booking. As time went on, people saw my work and asked me to do other things. The early work was absolutely awful, but since so few people were working in that particular niche, at the time, I suppose there was a bit of a novelty factor about it. I'd like to think that I've improved over the years, and hopefully i will improve even more. I like to try new things and push things in different directions. I think that's important. It's keeps things fun. Never underestimate the power of having fun.

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Loulou & Tummie

Dutch illustration duo from Netherlands

We've been drawing and creating things and sewing stuff since we can remember. We both studied graphic design but after graduation felt the need for drawing, or, at least do more then graphic design. So, we ended up at an art academy to become illustrators and that's where we met. A few years after getting our degree there we joined forces and formed Loulou & Tummie.

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Andrew Groves

Illustrator / image maker from UK

I can’t think of one thing or moment where I made a decision to become an illustrator; it’s something that happened over time. Skateboard graphics turned me on to creating artwork for a specific purpose or product so maybe that’s it.

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Katherine Tromans

Illustrator and Creative Designer

For as long as I can remember I always wanted to be an illustrator. I really got a kick out of drawing, I'd sometimes spend hours and hours as a teen drawing and painting as I really wanted to get better at it. When I was 16 I won the Graphics prize at school and I was handed an annual called Romantik by Gestalten. Receiving this book I think was where it all started, it opened my eyes to all the diverse projects illustrators could work on.

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Oliver Lake

Children’s books Illustrator from Oxford

I’ve always been creative and thought long ago, that it would be good to be an illustrator. However, it took me a long time to finally make the commitment to do so. I worked in retail jobs that I was unhappy in for many years.

Then after a moment of inspiration, I just decided I couldn’t do those jobs any more and that illustration was exactly what I wanted to do. At that point, I finally made the commitment and decided that I would try and do the best work that I could.

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David Doran

Editorial Illustrator from UK | Newspapers and magazines & posters

Like a lot of illustrators, I’ve drawn my whole life and always enjoyed it. Through school and college I became very interested in Graphic Design, but always longed to involve drawing more. Illustration seemed like the perfect combination of the two and so I decided to study BA (Hons) Illustration at Falmouth University. The course sets it’s students up to confidently pursue a career in freelance illustration, and offered all the valuable resources and guidance that was necessary to develop unique work.

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Ollie Munden

Illustrator from Brighton (England)

For as long as I can remember I've drawn. The earliest memory of drawing I have was from about 6 years old, I think I still have a photocopy of the drawing I did laying around somewhere, it was a Ferrari and I had to get my Dad to help me draw the wheels, circles were hard back then!

I didn't really know until I'd graduated from university and worked in London for a while as a Graphic Designer that it was an illustrator that I wanted to be. I've just known for as long as I can remember that I wanted to make my living from Drawing or Designing - there's nothing I'd rather do.

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Andy Council

UK Illustrator and artist

I originally wanted to go into doing animation, but found my detailed style of drawing suited illustration more. I love drawing so it is an ideal field of work for me. I got into painting murals with spray paint via friends of mine who are Graff artists. I love painting pieces at a large scale that are full of colour.

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Matt Lyon

London-based illustrator and artist

I guess that my route to illustration has been slightly unconventional. My background is in Fine Art and after graduating from university I stayed in education, eventually becoming a tutor of Photography and Graphic Design. During this time I taught myself Photoshop, which fed into my teaching, and about 10-15 years ago I soon became more aware of artists and designers using computers to develop their work. This in turn inspired my own artwork that soon took on a life of its own. In 2003 I had my first experiments showcased in Computer Arts magazine, and five years later I quit my job to pursue illustration as a full time career.

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Michael Driver

Illustrator and animator from London

I've always been interested in illustration. I think I became really interested in it around my late teens, when I started to listen to a lot of alternative music. I'm not really into any of that music anymore or the illustration, that sort of went along with it, but i still feel my previous interests have sort of influenced how I make work.

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Grace Danico

Illustrator and designer from Los Angeles

I wrote for a mid-century modern design and illustration focused blog called Grain Edit from 2008-2014. Writing for the blog put my eyes through visual bootcamp: I researched the work of illustrators, designers and artists past and present. In conversation with and meeting artists, I became more fascinated with pursuing illustration as a career and figuring out the best ways to archive visual materials. I moved in Brooklyn, NY in 2011 to study Library & Information Science and formed a studio practice with some friends at the Pencil Factory.

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Scott Balmer

Freelance illustrator from UK

Drawing is one of those things that I’ve been doing pretty much all of my life though I didn’t really take it that seriously until doing a foundation course at a local college.

Back then I was just finishing high school and experienced the deterioration of my interest in Art & Design due to the collapse of my old school’s art department. It was getting really bad in the last year with a few key teachers leaving but also with the morale with fellow students falling by the wayside.

When it came to applying for college/university I opted to give art one last chance to see if I really want to go down such a path and so applied for a portfolio building course not realising that this course was developed as a more serious means to establish a high quality portfolio to gain entry into an Art School of their choice. Ultimately I failed the interview though if it wasn’t for the person who interviewed me suggesting to put me on the foundation course then I probably wouldn’t be here doing any form of art or design today.

I stayed at that college for a couple of years doing a few more courses before going to Duncan of Jordanstone which Helped cement my desire to enter the field of illustration as a career.

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