Wrote a new children’s book and need some visuals to accompany the text? Looking to add a hand-drawn feel to your next branding initiative? Need a custom illustrated cover for your new album?

There are more opportunities where you’ll want an artist on hand than you might think—and when those opportunities arise, you want to make sure you have the best illustrator possible in your corner. Let’s take a look at our picks for the top freelance illustrators:

The 10 best freelance illustrators to hire in 2018

Top Level
5.0
( 41 )
  • Illustration or graphics
  • Other art or illustration
  • Book cover
  • Sticker
  • Poster
  • Logo design
  • Character or mascot
  • Product label
  • Other business or advertising
  • Icon or button
  • Card or invitation
Top Level
5.0
( 60 )
  • Illustration or graphics
  • Book cover
  • Other design
  • Poster
  • Other art or illustration
  • Logo design
  • Character or mascot
  • Tattoo
  • Product label
  • Banner ad
  • Other book or magazine
  • Icon or button
  • Web page design
  • T-shirt
  • Product packaging
  • Other web or app design
  • Other packaging or label
  • Other clothing or merchandise
  • App design
  • Infographic
  • Facebook cover
  • Email
  • Clothing or apparel
  • Card or invitation
  • Logo & brand identity pack
Top Level
5.0
( 76 )
  • Book cover
  • Illustration or graphics
  • Character or mascot
  • Banner ad
  • Poster
  • Other design
  • Icon or button
  • Product packaging
  • Social media page
  • Logo design
  • Facebook cover
  • Logo & brand identity pack
  • T-shirt
  • Logo & social media pack
  • Other clothing or merchandise
  • Other book or magazine
  • Other art or illustration
  • Infographic
  • Card or invitation
Top Level
5.0
( 40 )
  • Illustration or graphics
  • T-shirt
  • Character or mascot
  • Book cover
  • Logo design
  • Other art or illustration
  • Product packaging
  • Other design
  • Product label
  • Poster
  • Other clothing or merchandise
  • Clothing or apparel
  • Other web or app design
  • Other book or magazine
  • Merchandise
  • Logo & business card
  • Logo & brand identity pack
Top Level
5.0
( 39 )
  • Illustration or graphics
  • Book cover
  • App design
  • Icon or button
  • Product packaging
  • Other art or illustration
  • Landing page design
  • Character or mascot
  • Logo design
  • Banner ad
  • Other web or app design
  • Logo & brand identity pack
  • 3D
Top Level
5.0
( 75 )
  • Book cover
  • Illustration or graphics
  • Logo design
  • Other Graphic Design
  • Print or packaging design
  • T-shirt
  • Social media page
  • Other art or illustration
  • Icon or button
  • Product label
Top Level
5.0
( 37 )
  • Illustration or graphics
  • Character or mascot
  • Logo & brand identity pack
  • T-shirt
  • Logo design
  • Other art or illustration
  • Infographic
  • Logo & business card
  • Card or invitation
  • Book cover
Top Level
5.0
( 182 )
  • Logo design
  • Illustration or graphics
  • Character or mascot
  • Logo & brand identity pack
  • Other design
  • Logo & social media pack
  • Logo & business card
  • Other art or illustration
  • T-shirt
  • Web page design
  • Clothing or apparel
  • Product label
  • Postcard, flyer or print
  • Merchandise
  • Icon or button
  • Signage
  • Business card
  • Other web or app design
  • Other business or advertising
  • Sticker
  • Social media page
  • Product packaging
  • Other clothing or merchandise
  • App design
  • Logo & hosted website
  • Infographic
  • Brochure
  • Brand guide
  • Banner ad
Top Level
5.0
( 57 )
  • Illustration or graphics
  • Character or mascot
  • T-shirt
  • Other art or illustration
  • Logo design
  • Tattoo
  • Sticker
  • Other clothing or merchandise
  • Icon or button
  • Merchandise
  • Card or invitation
  • 3D
  • Illustration or graphics
  • Other design
  • Other art or illustration
  • Icon or button
  • Card or invitation
  • Product packaging
  • Product label
  • Other business or advertising
  • Logo design
  • Logo & brand identity pack

How did we choose these as the top illustrators?

At 99designs, we’re committed to connecting you with the top design talent in the world. And to make sure we deliver, we use a strict set of criteria for evaluating our designers to ensure the talent we feature is truly the best of the best:

Skill

illustration
By Cyntrix

When you work with a designer, you want to know they have the chops to get the job done—and to get it done well. Every designer on the 99designs platform goes through a portfolio review, where our team of in-house design experts carefully reviews their work to make sure they have a firm grasp on:

  • Conceptual thought
  • Creativity
  • Technical execution
  • Knowledge and application of design principles

Once our team has gone through a designer’s portfolio, we assign them to one of three levels:

  • Top Level: expert illustrators that bring the highest level of skill, expertise and creativity to the table
  • Mid Level: designers with a strong portfolio of impressive samples who are on their way to expert level, but still have some experience to get under their belt
  • Entry Level: the next generation of up-and-coming designers—what they lack in experience, they make up for in promise

You’ll have access to every designer’s level before you make a decision—which will help you choose the best designer based on your project needs and budget.

Experience

Illustration is a very specific style of design—and just because someone can whip up an amazing logo or a business card doesn’t mean they have the know-how for custom illustration.

All of the designers we recommend here have significant experience as illustrators.

Professionalism

Someone who can bring your illustration ideas to life is, of course, essential. But someone who can manage the project like a professional is, in our opinion, just as important. Because who wants to work with a designer who doesn’t respond to emails or has a bad attitude—no matter how talented they may be?

When evaluating design talent, we look at a wide range of professional characteristics (like the ability to adhere to deadlines and communication skills) to make sure you’re going to have a positive experience throughout the course of your design project—from ideation straight through to the final design.

What to think about when hiring an illustrator

Hiring an illustrator is a big job—who you choose will have a huge impact on the look and feel of your final design (and the success of your project). Because it’s such an important decision, you want to make sure you hire the right illustrator for the job. Here are a few things to keep in mind during the hiring process to make sure you’re happy with the end result:

by BATHI
  • Look for someone with the right style. There are countless illustration styles—and if you want to come up with a design that feels like the right fit, you need to hire an illustrator whose style aligns with yours, whether you’re into a soft, watercolor look, or a modern line-art piece.
  • Look for a designer with experience illustrating what you need. In the same vein, there are countless things you could illustrate, so look for a designer with experience bringing what you need to life. If you need an album cover illustration, look for someone with experience in the music industry. If you need a map for your book, look for someone with experience drawing maps.
  • Keep budget and timeline in mind! Custom illustration can be a time-consuming process—and the more involved your illustration, the more time (and money) it’ll take to make it happen. When reviewing designers, don’t forget to keep budget and timeline in mind.

Are you ready to hire an artful freelance illustrator?

Illustration is an art form that takes a lot of skill, passion and hard work—which is why hiring the right freelance illustrator is so important.

Didn’t find the illustrator you were looking for on this list?
Not to worry—we’ve got thousands more.