How much do freelance illustrators charge?

Like many freelance creatives, professional illustrators benefit from understanding the average rates within their field before approaching clients about work.

It’s equally useful for clients to research rates before taking on freelancers, and to look whether your freelancer has an illustration price list. 


It shows that they respect a freelancer and acknowledge the skills and experience they've acquired to date, and how much illustrators charge per image may vary greatly.

So, here's what you need to know about freelance illustrator rates.

According to a range of reputable sites, the average hourly rate for a freelance illustrator in the UK stands at £30.


If you're a freelance Illustrator here looking for advice on rates, click here to browse all freelance design jobs on the Jobs Board. 

If you're a company looking to learn more about setting the right price for your job, click below to post a job for free using our 'Budget Projector' tool or read on. 

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Variables and add on costs

How much do illustrators charge per image? 

There are numerous variables which can increase or decrease the average rate above. 

These variables include the size of an illustration, the prestige of a publication, licensing and a freelancer’s experience. 


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Location of Illustration

It’s important to note that freelance illustrator rates vary depending on where an illustration is used.

For example, illustrations are commonly used in books, magazines, national and regional papers, advertisements etc. 


Size of Illustrations

The rates above vary depending on the size of the illustration required. For example a full page illustration in a magazine will be more expensive than half page or quarter page illustrations. This may sound obvious but clients tend not to consider the size when setting a budget. Factors like these need to be taken into account when thinking of how it might cost to hire an illustrator. More than most other freelance sectors, illustration requires a lot of explanation and clear communication to educate the client on the workload. 


Prestige of publication

The more prestigious a publication is the more a freelance illustrator can generally expect to be paid. 

Example? An illustration in the Financial Times would be worth more than one of the same size, detail etc. in a local paper. 



Licensing can affect freelance illustration rates. If an illustration is used in a publication which is marketed in multiple countries, a freelance illustrator can oftentimes expect to be paid more for their work. 

Percentage rates are usually 5 -10% of the retail price or 15 - 20% of the wholesale price but are subject to agreement by the artist. An estimated price will be quoted on application, and confirmed once the artist(s) in question has agreed to the use.


If you intend to hire a freelance illustrator, assume to pay more (depending on the project) for those who have years of experience and extensive training in the area. 

If you take on an illustrator who is relatively new to the game however, know that they too deserve to be paid a fair rate. 

Don’t take advantage of illustrators looking to build up experience by offering them work and exposure in a publication in exchange for a low rate. Just like you, they have rent and bills to pay, so show them the respect they deserve by offering them an appropriate rate. 


Project by project pay

Asking someone to conceptualise and illustrate something within a set amount of hours can be quite challenging and somewhat impractical for professional illustrators.

Many freelance illustrators instead opt to structure their rates on a project by project basis with clients. 

How much do freelance illustrators charge?

Whether you’re a freelance illustrator or a client, I hope you’ve gained some useful insights and guidance from this article. 

Last piece of advice for both parties?

Freelance illustrators, remember to know your worth (based on your experience and training) before you negotiate rates for a job. 

Clients hoping to hire a freelance illustrator, consider taking the freelance illustration rates above as guidance when figuring out a rate for a job. Furthermore, remember that making the time to chat with a prospective freelancer and taking a few minutes to look over their CV and portfolio will go a long way in helping you to understand why they charge certain rates for their services.  

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Enjoyed this article? Check out our articles on freelance graphic design rates and freelance photography rates.