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The demand for freelance illustration jobs continues to grow at a very nice speed (just take a look at the chart below of “illustration”-related terms searched in Google from 2004-Present.)
That’s really good news for freelance illustrators who rely on freelance illustration jobs to make a living and keep their business afloat.
But not all freelance illustration jobs are created equally.
Clients of all calibers are using freelancing job boards to hire out their next illustration projects which makes it your job to sort out the best freelance illustration jobs from all the rest.
So today, I’d like to share some of the best sites with freelance illustration jobs to build your portfolio and grow your freelance illustration business.
Freelance Illustration Work Continues to Rise in Popularity and Demand
Here are some of the best freelance illustration jobs sites for finding clients quickly:
Perhaps one of the greatest communities to help you find freelance illustration jobs is Hire An Illustrator.
The site was started in 2007 with the goal of helping illustrators get connected with one another, send each other illustration jobs and grow their network to get more illustration clients.
For a small monthly fee, you get access to exclusive illustrator jobs and a large community of fellow illustrators.
Another site with a wide variety of fresh freelance illustration jobs is FlexJobs.
The site focuses primarily on jobs with flexible terms including remote illustration jobs, freelance jobs, and part-time job opportunities.
With FlexJobs’ robust filtering, you can set important criteria (like location independence or part-time/full-time hours) and FlexJobs will show you illustration jobs matching your needs.
3. Behance Jobs
Built with creative professionals in mind, the Behance job board is a potential gold mine of freelance illustration jobs.
What is Behance, you ask? It’s a creative social media site owned and moderated by Adobe—a leading creative software company.
The job board provides creative part-time, full-time, and freelance opportunities for illustrators as well as creatives of all kinds.
While Dribbble was originally built for designers to show off “snapshots” of their work, a large community of illustrators quickly gathered to show off their talent.
At some point, Dribbble added a job board and has recently added a “freelance projects” job board for Pro members (only $3/mo).
Dribbble was also recently acquired by CreativeMarket, which serves as a great way for creatives to make passive income selling and re-selling their creative assets.
Perhaps the biggest freelance marketplace in the world, Upwork not only has a large number of freelance illustration jobs, but also has great full-time, part-time, or independent contractor jobs for creatives of all kinds.
With Upwork, you create a profile and respond to client requests for jobs to be done. While some clients can be pretty tight on budgets, Upwork is a legit way to start a nice foundation as a freelancer.
If you find success on Upwork, you may want to explore other sites like Upwork where you can create a profile and get new freelance jobs.
If you’re searching for freelance illustration jobs, why not try the world’s largest social media site for professionals—Linkedin. Linkedin has a job board with a wide variety of jobs in just about any industry.
Additionally, with some jobs, you can quickly submit a resumé generated from your Linkedin profile which can make it quick and easy to apply to lots of freelance illustration jobs in a short amount of time.
While not exactly a place to just browse freelance illustration jobs, Fiverr remains a good alternative to other freelance job sites.
The difference is, you create a profile and set up gigs which are for sale. Getting traction on Fiverr can be tough, but if you’re able to get some traction, it can lead to a stream of regular work as an illustrator.
If you find success on Fiverr, you may want to explore this list of other sites like Fiverr for getting clients.
One Process for Getting Freelance Illustration Jobs
Once you’ve found a few sites with freelance illustration jobs that you like, you’ve only just begun the process of actually getting a freelance illustration client.
Here’s one process I recommend you follow when trying to get a freelance illustration job:
1. Find an illustration job you want to land
First, take time searching through all the sites above and noting any freelance illustration jobs that are particularly interesting to you in a spreadsheet of some kind.
For starters, just copy/paste the URL of the job posting. That’s all you need for now.
2. Collect important details and deadlines
Once you’ve found 10-20 freelance illustration jobs you want to apply for and collect the URLs in a central location, collect any other important details about the job.
These might include:
- Basic Information: Company name, Project Name, Long-term or Short-term Project, etc.
- Location Requirements: Can you do this job remotely or does the client require physical presence?
- Pay Scale: What’s the estimated pay scale? Will this job be worth your time and effort?
- Important Deadlines: When is the application due? When will the project need to be completed?
3. Make progress by priority
Focus first on the jobs you want the most and whose deadlines are closest. You may want to focus on the highest-paying or the projects you’re most excited about for other reasons.
Start by filling out the basic applications if there is one. If there’s just an email available, craft a nice cover letter (keep it brief) and a resumé of previous freelance work.
4. Go above and beyond
If you only fill out the basic application or send a standard email, you’ll be competing head-to-head with every other freelancer who wants the same freelance illustration jobs as you.
Instead, take the initiative to reach out to your potential new client in other ways. Connect with them on Linkedin, reach out on Twitter, or (maybe the best) give them a phone call.
You might be tempted to think that following up with a potential client is annoying or unnecessary.
The truth is, savvy freelancers who have been doing this a while know that most deals are won during the follow-up.
Following up on freelance illustration jobs shows you’re extremely interested and dedicated to working with your client. In addition, it shows you’re organized and responsible—two traits clients will appreciate as they debate who to hire for their next illustration project.
6. Stick with it
Getting freelance clients has a lot to do with basic math. The more prospects and projects you reach out to, the more chance you have of getting more freelance illustration jobs.
Don’t give up too early. This takes time. As you stick with it, you’ll get better at identifying quality freelance illustration jobs and selling yourself to clients once you actually get in contact with them.
The Key to Getting Freelance Illustration Jobs
If you’re fairly new to being a freelance illustrator, here’s the formula you’ll most likely need to employ when trying to get new freelance illustration jobs:
Talent + Hard Work + Patience
Put those three elements together, and you’ll have no problem landing freelance illustration jobs—perhaps even enough to take your freelance illustration business full-time.
Talent as an Illustrator
While talent certainly isn’t everything (there are plenty of people who struggle to make money as an artist despite being very talented), it plays a major role in your ability to find new and long-term work.
Talent is multi-faceted as well. Not only should you strive to understand illustration tricks and tips but you should learn how to pitch, negotiate, close a deal, upsell a client, and lots more.
To get started, you may want to take a basic freelancing course to understand the business side of taking on freelance illustration jobs.
Talent may come naturally. Or it may come after lots of hard work and practice. Hopefully, it’s a healthy mixture of both.
Consistent Hard Work
I’ve never met a successful freelancer who didn’t come by all their success without a lot of hard work.
Hard work is an inherent part of running your own creative business—and being an illustrator is no exception.
Not only is it a ton of work to consistently get quality freelance illustration jobs, but it’s a lot of work to consistently satisfy current customers while finding new ones.
Consistency is key when growing your freelance illustration business.
Lots of Patience
Finally, you’ll need lots of patience. While there are services and sites that can help you speed up your success, the truth is becoming a successful freelancer rarely happens overnight.
As you work to find new freelance illustration jobs, be patient.
As you work with new clients who can be demanding at times, be patient.
As you battle the feast or famine cycle of freelancing in your early days, be patient.
In all things, be as patient as possible while still working hard and staying positive. You’ll come out on top.
You’ve got this
There’s no better feeling than doing work you actually enjoy every day. And while freelancing isn’t all sunshine and rainbows all the time, it provides a level of job satisfaction and flexibility that not many other jobs can offer.
If you’re determined to find freelance jobs and make a living as an illustrator, you can do it. Stick to it, stay positive, and work hard. You’ve got this!
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