How to find illustration jobs

Illustration jobs are everywhere.

Illustration jobs are abundant now more than ever. Especially if you're a freelance artist.

Yes, there are high-value clients out there who are more than happy to pay you for your illustrations.

The typical approach most illustrators take for getting illustration jobs revolves around waiting to “get discovered”. Such as creating an Instagram account and waiting for illustration jobs to find them.

Alternatively, a lot of illustrators pursue:

  • sending out postcards
  • listing their portfolio all over the internet
  • paying for ads in illustration directories

I know how it feels to put money and time into these marketing activities and not see results.

Know this, in a crowded marketplace without differentiation, your marketing efforts are useless.

What if your illustration business could be in a league of its own?

You don't have to compete with other illustrators for the most common types of illustration jobs.

You know the ones:

  • children's books
  • editorial
  • one of the top 5 major animation studios

The problem with these common illustration jobs is competition. There are literally thousands of illustrators competing for these jobs.

So what should you do?

Where should you look for illustration jobs?

Alternatively, you can discover new spaces to fine illustration jobs.

What if you were carving your own path by creating unique offerings.

Generating that kind of illustration work should be your goal. As an illustrator, you're better off searching for ways to gain “uncontested market space” than engaging in crowded competition.

A popular analogy for this is comparing your illustration business to sharks in the ocean. This was made popular in the book Blue Ocean Strategy

Rather than swim to where all the other sharks are eating (“red ocean”), you’re instead going to swim away and find your own fish in uncharted territories (“blue ocean”).

Most illustrators find themselves in “red ocean” conditions. In constant competition against each other for a share of the same marketplace.

When you look for new, uncompetitive spaces, you’re going to adventure into a “blue ocean”.

In order to get more high-value clients who are happy to pay you for your creative vision and style, it’s essential for you to find a way to find illustration jobs free of competitors.

One GIANT example of artists who are awesome at differentiating themselves is Cirque du Soleil.

By completely reinventing the circus, Cirque du Soleil has grown its revenues in a fraction of the time compared to that of their competitors. (Which took their competitors, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey, more than a century to attain.)

Cirque du Soleil wouldn’t have been successful by competing within the confines of the existing industry or by stealing customers from the other circuses. Instead, they created a unique market space that made their competition completely irrelevant. They created an entirely new audience who’ve never set foot in a circus before.

Targeting adults and corporate clients who are interested in theater, opera or ballet – an audience who is prepared to pay several times more than the price of a conventional circus ticket.


Because they knew they were going to get a truly unique entertainment experience.

What value does your unique illustration style and vision have for others?

Don’t worry, you don’t have to completely reinvent the wheel, change your style, or do something that doesn't align with your original creative vision or process.

But one thing is for sure – you have to hone in on a specific aspect of your work (market, style, etc.) and OWN it!

To get more illustration clients based on your style and vision, it’s essential you define and who your clients are, and GO OUT THERE AND GET THEM.

I've synthesized and broke down how to do this inside my Illustration Essentials program (more on this later). Once you enroll in the course, and you hit the ground running, you'll be well on your ways towards more illustration clients.

I don’t want you to get discouraged when it comes to getting more illustration clients. So let’s avoid getting stuck in a “red ocean”.

Which means avoiding things that put in you a “blue ocean”, such as:

  1. listing your site all over the internet
  2. spending too much time on social media
  3. paying for ads
  4. sending postcards to a million different art directors is a NON-ESSENTIAL right now.

Are they nice to have?

Yes, but there are more effective and natural ways of getting new clients.

Afterthought on illustration jobs

I believe in learning the rules before I break them.

With your illustration business, learn the essentials of illustration pricing, do high-value work and pick unique, high-value clients you know would benefit from your illustrations and creative work.