Studying illustration at University of Plymouth will open a wide range of career choices. You could look at channelling your artist talents by pursuing a career as a professional illustrator. If considering this you could take a more traditional path and create storyboards, animations, comic strips or content for video games and films, or produce drawings and designs for advertisements, commercials, website content or publications. Many illustrators are self-employed and look for freelance work, whilst others are employed by publishing companies or creative design/advertising agencies. To find out more about going freelance or running your own business check out our self-employment and freelancing page.
A less traditional path is working as a medical or science illustrator. Medical illustrators draw medical and surgical renderings, often for textbooks, medical journals, scientific exhibitions or medical advertising. This is a steadily growing area and there is an increasing emphasis on the use of animation. Since this is a specialist role, illustrators must have a full understanding of medical procedures and the mechanics of living organisms and anatomy.
You could also use your creative skills to inspire others and work as a teacher (primary, secondary, further education) or higher education lecturer. Teaching opportunities are also available outside of a traditional classroom setting and you could consider using your artist flair to engage with people as a Community Arts Worker.
Creative roles also include working as an animator, concept artist, graphic designer, multi-media programmer, printmaker, production designer, fine artist, special effects technician or fashion designer. Other roles include arts administration or managing client relationships as an advertising account executive.
When considering your options, remember that your physical and digital portfolio are essential to presenting your work to potential employers and evidencing your skills.
Many illustration graduates take the skills they have learnt elsewhere and find their way into less directly related graduate professions including marketing, the civil service and the charitable sector.
Researching your career options
With such a wide range of careers open to you as an illustration graduate, it is important to make sure you explore and research your options thoroughly so that you can make informed decisions about your future.
Take a look at Prospects, TargetJobs and the art association websites for inspiration:
Guild Society of Artists
Royal Society of British Artists
The Arts Society
Prospects – What can I do with my Illustration degree?
Below is a snapshot of what some of University of Plymouth illustration graduates told us they were doing six months after graduation. For some graduates, these jobs serve as ‘stepping stones’ to other roles by providing relevant working experience:
- Editorial intern
- Freelance Illustrator
- Graphic Assistant
- Graphic Designer
- Junior Designer
- Marketing Assistant
- Marketing Designer
- Marketing Manager
- Marketing Team Administrator
- Story Artist
- Trainee Teacher