Don't Do It Yourself

The Best Freelance Websites for Hiring Illustrators

Best Freelance Websites Illustrators

Drawing isn’t something you can wing. Unless you already know how, but then you probably wouldn’t be here, would you?

In my experience, a freelance illustrator is the best way to go.

Here’s where you can find them.

Best Quality

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ManyPixels

  • One of the few providers to offer website and mobile design (in addition to graphics)
  • Great for agencies and digital marketing teams

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Best Output

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Kimp

  • Works on two tasks at once, doubling the output. Best return on investment
  • Great for small businesses, bloggers, and freelancers

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Most Popular

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Design Pickle

  • One of the most established and largest graphic design providers
  • Great for large businesses or enterprises

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11 Best Freelance Websites for Illustrators

1. Working Not Working

Best overall

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Working Not Working is a favorite across all industries looking for any type of creative freelancer.

The simple dashboard design makes it easy to immediately see illustrators’ work right from the homepage, so no more taking forever to post a job and wait for freelancing illustrators to find you.

One of the reasons we (and other companies) like Working Not Working is that they have a selective process. Illustrators that wish to have a profile on their site need to either go through a vetting process or get invited.

This freelance site does come with some stipulations. Users will need to pay a monthly fee to access freelance illustrators on the site.

2. Dribbble

Best overall runner-up

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With a focus on providing solely designing freelancers to clients, Dribbble is our second pick for specialized illustrators.

They provide businesses with stellar freelance illustrators, but they also have training materials for the designing freelancers that look for work on their site. You can be sure that the illustrator that you hire is committed to growth and learning new skills, and that sort of dedication is a great indicator of a reliable illustrator.

The tight-knit community at Dribbble also connects illustrators with mentors, meaning that no matter which illustrator you hire, they will have the resources to offer better services.

3. Fiverr

Best for small businesses

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If you’re looking for a cheap illustration, you’d be hard-pressed to find it cheaper than it is on Fiverr.

You can filter illustrators based on their specialty, level of experience, and technique or medium that the illustrator uses.

There are also filters for budget, service options, and delivery time, allowing you to find an illustrator that can get your project done within a 24-hour turnaround if necessary.

With Fiverr, similarly to Dribbble and Working Not Working, you reach out to the freelancer yourself based on their portfolio and work up an agreement. Once the terms have been finalized, you pay your illustrator upfront using Fiverr’s secure payment platform.

4. DesignCrowd

Freelance Websites for Graphic Design - DesignCrowd

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DesignCrowd is a crowdsourcing platform, meaning clients host contests for their projects and choose the best illustration from a variety of choices.

This one is a great option if you aren’t exactly sure what you’re looking for and want to check out your options.

Their support team is always ready to help from start to finish and the interface is pretty easy to use, making it ideal for folks who want multiple designs to choose from but no extra hoops to jump through.

5. Design Contest

Freelance Websites for Graphic Design - DesignContest

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Another great contest option for illustration is the aptly named Design Contest.

The process is simple. Clients set up a brief describing what they’re looking for, review illustrators’ concepts and provide feedback, then pick their dream illustration.

Design Contest has an average rating of 4.5 stars on Trustpilot among 82 reviews. The customer service is stellar and most importantly, the custom illustrations are always high-quality.

6. Minty

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Dedicated solely to placing talented illustration freelancers with clients, Minty has some of the best illustrators in the market.

This site takes care of everything from hiring to a completed project to payment. You just select the freelance illustrator you’re interested in based on their profile, craft a brief for them outlining what you want, and collaborate.

Minty has a platform that allows you to communicate with your illustrator through their in-app messaging system so you can check in on their progress, revise, and keep them updated if you change your mind on the details.

At the end, they make paying the artist’s invoice simple, accepting most major credit cards.

7. Etsy

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While you may think of it as a place to find handcrafted gifts, Etsy also has plenty of profiles with freelance artists offering custom illustrations.

Since this marketplace site is a bit different than other freelance platforms, you may have to do a bit more digging. The premise is generally the same; you can type in “custom illustration” in the search bar then browse through profiles and reach out to each seller to ask for custom illustrations.

The illustrations are often geared toward individuals looking for customized gifts for friends and family, but they do have illustrators willing to do all types of illustrations.

8. Hire an Illustrator

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As the name suggests, Hire an Illustrator is a great place to… well, hire an illustrator.

They have sections on the homepage that showcase new artists and featured portfolios as well as illustration news.

You can search based on location, newest members, random selection, or agencies and agents and collectives.

Looking at the portfolio page, you’ll see a screen full of different illustrators who put their best work as their profile picture so you can easily get a sense of their style. Click on a profile picture to view their portfolio and a short “about me” section, and reach out to collaborate if you’re interested.

9. Twine

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Twine has a global network of a variety of over 400,000 talented illustrators that specialize in all different styles of illustration.

They have a “success-based” pricing system so it’s free for clients to post a job. As soon as the job posting is approved by their team, clients will immediately begin receiving pitches from qualified artists.

Twine also takes diversity and inclusion into account. If you have a preference for hiring an illustrator from an underrepresented group for diversity, you can select that in your job posting process.

10. Behance

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Behance is a bit different from the other freelance sited on this list. It’s more of a social network for illustrators, but it’s also a great place to find the right illustrator for your project.

Illustrators can upload their portfolios featuring their custom illustration work for others to see.

They also have a job list feature that allows clients to post illustration jobs and have illustrators submit pitches.

This platform is a great place for companies in search of original artwork to find up-and-coming artists for their projects.

11. IllustrationX

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IllustrationX has probably some of the most specific filters that allow clients to narrow down their search based on style.

A few of your options include 3d, jewelry, lifestyle, medical, watercolor, and book covers.

They have a worldwide network of curated artists from eight countries on four continents, each office with a team of local agents who can guide you through your journey and educate you on artists, styles, and trends.

The interface is easy to navigate and the customer service is great, which makes this a site worth checking out for your next illustration project.

Best Freelance Websites by Category

Looking for more of the best freelance websites but need to browse by category? Check out our below freelance website reviews to either expand your portfolio or hire a freelancer for your next project.

Where Can I Find Freelance Illustrator?

Where Can I Find Freelance Illustrator

There are a few different options that businesses can use to find a freelance illustrator.

A solid option for smaller businesses is to use a large marketplace site like Fiverr or Upwork. Larger companies can try something like Toptal.

If you’re looking for a site that has more specialized illustrators and is dedicated to vetting designers, check out Working Not Working or Dribbble.

It’s also always a good idea to ask colleagues and business partners if they have any recommendations.

What Do Freelance Illustrators Do?

What Do Freelance Illustrators Do

Freelance illustrators create original visual artwork like drawings and designs for marketing, product packaging, or original content like books or magazines.

These freelancers work on a contract and are self-employed, which many designers like because they get to set their own hours and choose what they do or do not work on.

Here are a few examples of what a freelance illustrator could illustrate include:

  • Book illustration and book jackets
  • Editorial/magazines/catalogues
  • Educational/textbook illustrations for children
  • Religious illustrations
  • Advertising
  • Tarot decks and New Age art
  • Medical illustration and animation
  • Architectural visualization
  • Packaging illustration
  • Postage stamp illustration
  • Newspaper illustrations
  • Political cartoons
  • Illustrated logos
  • Phone apps 
  • Courtroom sketch artist
  • Calligraphy/handlettering
  • Posters
  • Surface design for textiles, apparel, and home goods
  • Greeting cards
  • Comics
  • Training manuals
  • T-shirts
  • Storyboarding
  • Tabletop/card games
  • Murals
  • Websites

Is Hiring a Freelance Illustrator Worth It?

Is Hiring Freelance Illustrator Worth It

Hiring a freelance illustrator is a great option if you need original artwork for a marketing campaign or project, but don’t need, or want to, hire a team member full-time.

Freelance illustrators are a great resource to work on short-term projects for a reasonable rate. If you need illustration, a freelance illustrator is worth it.

How Much Does a Freelance Illustrator Charge?

How Much Do Freelance Illustrators Charge

Freelance illustrators charge differently depending on their level of experience, expertise, the duration and scope of the project, and how much work you need from them.

You can expect to pay a freelance illustrator to charge between $25 to $100 per hour.

A breakdown of how much freelance illustrators in different industries look like:

  • Motion picture and video: annual mean of $94,830 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics
  • In medical, scientific, and other technical fields: the annual mean wage is $80,250. ($61k-$250k) (source)
  • Engineering & architecture: average of $78,130 per year.
  • Here are A few highlights of Format's list of real illustration clients and pay:
    • Editorial illustrations for BuzzFeed: $350
    • Book cover illustration for HarperCollins: $3,000
    • Children’s book for self-publishing author: $5,000+
    • Cover illustration for Archie comics: $450

A breakdown by level of experience looks like this (source):

  • Per hour pay:
    • Total average: $24.93
    • Entry level: $18.21
    • Early career: $21.77
    • Mid-career: $27.79
    • Late career: $30.52
    • Experienced: $40

How to Hire a Freelance Illustrator

How to Hire Freelance Illustrator

Here’s a step-by-step guide to finding your perfect freelancer:

1. Define Your Project Needs

Clearly outline the specifics of your project in a project brief.

Determine what style of illustration you're looking for, how many illustrations you need, the intended use (e.g., book cover, website graphics, marketing materials), and any important deadlines.

Include inspiration or reference images that can give artists a sense of your vision.

2. Research and Identify Potential Illustrators

Start by browsing platforms like Behance, Dribbble, or freelance job boards like Upwork and Fiverr.

Look for illustrators whose style aligns with your vision, creating a shortlist of your favorites based on their portfolios.

Make sure that you take note of their past work, client reviews, and any specialties they might have.

3. Reach Out and Request Quotes

Contact the illustrators on your shortlist. Share your project brief and ask for a quote. This is also a good time to inquire about their availability, turnaround time, and any additional costs associated with hiring them.

4. Review Portfolios and Conduct Interviews

Take a deeper dive into the portfolios of your top candidates, looking for consistency in quality and a style that’s a good fit. If possible, set up interviews to discuss the project in detail and gauge the illustrator's enthusiasm and understanding.

Based on these reviews and interviews with your top picks, choose the illustrator who best fits your project's requirements and budget.

5. Finalize the Agreement and Begin Collaboration

Once you've chosen an illustrator, draft a clear contract that outlines the scope of work, payment terms, deadlines, and rights to the illustrations (e.g., who owns the final artwork).

You and your illustrator should then sign the contract, make any upfront payments you agreed upon, and begin the collaborative process.

Make sure to maintain open communication throughout the project to keep both parties aligned with the process.

Check out our full guide on how to hire a freelance illustrator for a deeper dive.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you freelance as an illustrator?

Yes, you can freelance as an illustrator.

When should I hire a freelance illustrator?

You should hire a freelance illustrator as soon as you recognize that you need original artwork for your project.

Where is the best place to find freelance illustrators for small businesses?

Fiverr is the best place to find freelance illustrators for small businesses.

How do I start freelance illustrating?

To start freelance illustrating, all you need to do is build a portfolio, create a free account on Fiverr or Upwork, and start making connections.