What Are the Skills Required To Become an Editorial Illustrator?

The First Art Newspaper on the Net    Established in 1996 Monday, May 27, 2024

What Are the Skills Required To Become an Editorial Illustrator?

Editorial illustration is a dynamic and exciting field that combines creative skills with an ability to communicate complex ideas and concepts.

Editorial illustrators work with newspapers, magazines, and online publications to create images that complement written content and engage readers. If you are interested in pursuing a career as an editorial illustrator, you will need a range of skills and qualities to succeed.

In this article, we will explore the essential skills required to become an editorial illustrator and provide tips and advice on how to develop and hone these skills.

What is Editorial Illustrator?

An editorial illustrator is a professional artist who creates images to accompany written content in newspapers, magazines, books, and online publications. The role of an editorial illustrator is to visually communicate complex ideas and concepts in a way that is engaging and informative for the reader.

Editorial illustrators work closely with editors, writers, and designers to create visual interpretations of the written content. They may be asked to illustrate news stories, feature articles, opinion pieces, or advertising campaigns.

The illustrations can be created using a variety of media, including digital tools, watercolours, pen and ink, or mixed media. Editorial illustrators must have a deep understanding of the editorial process and the ability to work to tight deadlines. They must be able to interpret briefs accurately, communicate effectively with clients, and produce high-quality illustrations that meet the needs of the publication and the target audience.

Editorial illustration is a challenging and rewarding field that requires a combination of artistic talent, creativity, and communication skills. With the growth of digital media, there are now more opportunities than ever before for editorial illustrators to showcase their work and reach a wider audience.

Types of Editorial Illustrations

Editorial illustrations come in many different forms, each serving a specific purpose and designed to communicate a particular message. Here are some common types of editorial illustrations:

● Spot Illustrations: These are small, standalone images used to highlight a specific point or detail within a larger article or piece of text.

● Infographics: Infographics are visual representations of data and information, used to make complex ideas and statistics more accessible and understandable to readers.

● Cover Illustrations: These are the large images that appear on the front of a magazine or book, designed to catch the reader's attention and give them a sense of what the publication is about.

● Character Illustrations: These are illustrations of people or characters that are used to convey a mood or emotion, or to add interest to a story.

● Editorial Cartoons: Editorial cartoons are a form of political satire, using humour and caricature to comment on current events and social issues.

Skills Required To Become an Editorial Illustrator

Most people believe that to be a great editorial illustrator, you must first be a great artist and storyteller, which is correct.

Here are the top skills required to become an editorial illustrator:

● Drawing and illustration skills: As an editorial illustrator, your primary skill is your ability to create compelling and engaging illustrations. This requires strong drawing and illustration skills, including a solid understanding of composition, perspective, color theory, and visual storytelling.

● Creative thinking: Editorial illustration often involves interpreting complex ideas and concepts and finding creative ways to visually communicate them. You will need to be able to think outside the box, generate new ideas, and come up with innovative solutions to visual challenges.

● Technical skills: In addition to traditional drawing and illustration skills, editorial illustrators also need to be proficient in using digital tools such as Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, or Procreate. You will need to be able to create digital illustrations that can be easily integrated into the publication's workflow.

● Time management and organisation: Editorial illustrators often work under tight deadlines, so strong time management and organisational skills are essential. You will need to be able to manage multiple projects simultaneously, prioritise tasks effectively, and meet deadlines consistently.

● Communication skills: As an editorial illustrator, you will need to be able to communicate effectively with editors, writers, and designers to ensure that your illustrations meet the needs of the publication and the target audience. You will need to be able to take feedback constructively and incorporate it into your work.

● Flexibility and adaptability: The editorial landscape is constantly evolving, so editorial illustrators need to be able to adapt to new technologies, styles, and trends. You will need to be able to work across different genres and styles, and to be able to adapt your work to the needs of the publication and the target audience.

● Business skills: Finally, editorial illustrators need to have a solid understanding of the business side of the industry. This includes negotiating contracts and fees, managing finances, and marketing your work effectively. By developing these skills, you can position yourself for a successful career as an editorial illustrator.


Combining artistic skill with knowledge of societal and cultural issues, editorial illustrators work for newspapers, magazines, and other print publications and increasingly find work in digital media.

We hope this article helps you learn the skills related to editorial illustrators.

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What Are the Skills Required To Become an Editorial Illustrator?

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