Skills An Illustrator Needs

Most people think that being an illustrator is just about being a good artist and storyteller. Granted, they’re not entirely wrong, but there’s more to it.

If you’re looking to become a Commercial Illustrator or the like, here are the skills that illustrators need. You’ll notice that they require a bit of well-roundedness.

A love of creating art

Naturally, since you’ll be making a lot of art as a Commercial Illustrator, you need to have a passion for it. It’s not just for art, but any profession; if you don’t have the passion for it, then you won’t have the motivation to excel and improve.

You have to love art for it to be a career, as making art a career means working on it for 40-odd hours every week, way more than just doing it as a hobby.

Unique style

It’s sadly common to have artists just settle on copying someone else’s style, without developing their style.

That’s a shame, as unique styles help an artist stand out. An artist’s style helps people identify their work easily, as well as get them published.

Artists need to stick long enough to make their style, as it’s better for them and the art industry, in general.


An artist needs to be good at talking and communicating.

Sometimes, an artist might need help with a piece, or something might be unclear, or a problem has popped up that’s forcing them to put things on hold or delaying the work. If that happens, an artist needs to be able to open and communicate the issues they’re dealing with and how it affects their work.

On another note, they also need to be good at persuading people, as they need to negotiate and haggle with clients for their pay.

Personal Projects

Every successful illustrator starts with their own personal projects. While getting paid for commission and the like are great, an artist is still human and has limits. They can be burnt out, same as with other professionals.

This is where personal projects matter. It gives the artists something to do that’s just for themselves, something that reaffirms their passion and love for the work. It’s still art, all the same, and can lead to further employment or profit down the line, of course.