Career options with an MA Illustration

Tue 1 Dec 2020

Are you a passionate illustrator looking to enjoy a successful career doing what you love, but not quite sure how or what you want to do?

With an MA in Illustration, these are just some of the career options available to you:

1.       Illustrator

A career as a professional illustrator – whether on a freelance basis or as part of an organisation – will give you the rewarding opportunity to use your creative skills to communicate visually with a range of audiences.

You’ll create impactful drawings and images to communicate a story, message or idea to your target audience. Your illustrative work can be featured in a variety of mediums, including:

·       Online/offline advertisements

·       Books

·       Magazines

·       Newspapers

·       Packaging

·       Greeting cards

Illustrators typically work on a freelance basis for a range of clients, covering areas including:

·       Advertising – posters, billboards, etc.

·       Publishing – books

·       Editorial – newspapers, magazines, comics, etc.

·       Corporate marketing collateral – catalogues, brochures, etc.

·       Merchandising – greeting cards, calendars, etc.

·       Multimedia – TV, films, websites, apps, computer games, animations

They also typically specialise in a specific medium, such as photography, drawing, or digital illustration.

As a professional illustrator, you’ll use the knowledge and skills gained from your MA Illustration to:

·       Liaise with clients to identify, discuss and interpret their needs

·       Apply illustrative styles and techniques appropriately and effectively

·       Think highly-creatively and imaginatively to produce innovative ideas

·       Create impactful images and designs using traditional drawing and painting techniques alongside other techniques to satisfy client briefs

·       Use computer-aided design (CAD) packages to effectively edit and transform images

·       Create your own portfolio of unique images for exhibition and self-promotion

What salary can you expect to earn in this role?

As most illustrators work on a freelance basis, how much you make depends on the client and your experience. As a guide, you can access the UK’s National Union of Journalists' Freelance Fees Guide to check suggested rates.


2.       Animator

There’s something magical about seeing your drawings come to life as moving images. As an animator, that’s exactly what you’ll be doing on a daily basis.

Animators create multiple images (frames), which are then sequenced together to create an illusion of movement (animation). These images can be made up of hand-drawn or digital pictures, models or puppets.

Animators can work in a variety of areas, including:

·       2D animation

·       3D model-making animation

·       Stop-motion animation

·       Computer-generated animation

While of course you need strong artistic skills to be able to succeed as an illustrator, there’s also an ever-increasing need to be familiar with relevant technical software.

As a professional animator, you’ll use the knowledge and skills gained from your MA Illustration to:

·       Confidently and effectively use illustration software packages and other technologies to create animations

·       Create storyboards that effectively reflect narratives and key messages

·       Draw in 2D to create sketches, artwork and illustrations

·       Design backgrounds, sets, characters, models and objects

·       Use a range of materials to convey your visual concepts, including plaster, modelling clay, oil paints, acrylics and watercolours

·       Work as part of a broader animation production team, including copywriters, printers, photographers, graphic designers, account managers, website designers and marketing specialists

What salary can you expect to earn in this role?

Experienced animators can expect to earn around £23,000 to £26,000 a year. Those with over 10 years’ experience can expect to earn over £36,000.

If you want to work as a freelance animator, you can check suggested rates at the Broadcasting Entertainment Cinematograph and Theatre Union (BECTU) website.


3.       Multimedia programmer

A career as a multimedia programmer will see you combining your creative and technical skills to create engaging and interactive products – such as websites and computer games – for a wide range of users.

You’ll work with different forms of media including:

·       Text

·       Audio

·       Graphics

·       Digital photography

·       2D/3D modelling

·       Video

·       Animation

You’ll also have the flexibility to work on a range of interesting products, including:

·       DVDs

·       Interactive television

·       Information kiosks

·       Computer games

·       Mobile phone apps

As a multimedia programmer, you’ll use the knowledge and skills gained from your MA Illustration to:

·       Work with designers and other creatives (e.g. animators, video producers, etc.) to understand design concepts and advise how they can be implemented on a technical level

·       Use your creative and technical skills to think of new engaging ways to bring your visual ideas and narratives to life through multimedia

What salary can you expect to earn in this role?

Experienced multimedia programmers working in niche areas can expect to earn over £55,000 a year.

Falmouth Flexible offer an MA Illustration that you can study flexibly online. The course is delivered by Falmouth University – a TEF gold-standard university – and designed to help you kickstart your career as a successful illustrator. 

Illustration, Blog

Get in touch today