How I illustrate creative things by working remotely

March 5, 2024
5 min read
How I illustrate creative things by working remotely

Working remotely as an illustrator can be an incredibly rewarding career path. As technology advances, more companies are open to hiring remote talent, providing illustrators with opportunities to work from any where.

In this comprehensive guide, I'll share how I successfully work remotely as an illustrator, my illustration process, where to find remote illustration jobs, and tips for transitioning to remote work.

Why I Chose to Work Remotely as an Illustrator

I decided to work remotely as an illustrator for several key reasons:

Flexibility - Being location independent allows me to travel and live wherever I want. I can visit new places and experience new cultures while continuing to work and earn income.

Improved Work-Life Balance - Working from home eliminates commutes and allows me to work on a schedule that fits my lifestyle best. I have more time for hobbies, exercise, family, and friends.

Increased Productivity - I find I'm more productive when I work in a comfortable environment without office distractions. I can hyper focus on illustrating without interruptions.

Access to Global Opportunities - Remote work provides access to clients worldwide. No longer limited by geography, I can work with companies across the globe.

Cost Savings - Working remotely saves money spent on transportation, lunch, and other expenses associated with going into an office. I also save on childcare costs.

Health Benefits - The flexibility to work when I'm feeling productiveimproves my mental health. I experience less stress and burnout.

Overall, the benefits of working remotely significantlyoutweigh any downsides. The freedom and flexibility have allowed me to build my dream illustration career.

My Illustration Process from Start to Finish

Now that you understand why I chose to work remotely, let's look at my illustration process step-by-step:

1. Discuss Project Details with Client

Communication is key, so the first step is to have an in-depth discussion with the client about their needs and expectations. Some questions I always ask:

  • What is the overall goal and purpose of the illustration?
  • Who is the target audience?
  • What should be the style and mood? Realistic, cartoon, concept art?
  • Are there any examples or inspiration images to reference?
  • When is the deadline for the project?

By thoroughly understanding the client's vision upfront, it makes the entire process smoother. I can provide edits and options quickly rather than going back and forth.

2. Research and Gather References

After the initial client call, I conduct research to immerse myself in the topic and style. For example, if illustrating a jungle scene, I'll look at photos of jungles, animals, trees, etc.

I create a Pinterest board to collect visual references that inspire ideas and serve as a style guide. This helps me nail down colors, lighting, textures, shapes, and compositions.

3. Create Thumbnails and Sketches

I start ideating by making small rough thumbnails of potential compositions. This allows me to work through multiple options quickly.

Once I settle on the best 1-2 compositions, I create tighter sketches refining details like poses, facial expressions, perspective, and more.

During this phase, I may present sketches to the client for feedback before moving to the next step.

4. Line Work and Flat Colors

Now I start working digitally, using programs like Photoshop and Procreate. I finalize my line drawing, ensuring proper ana to my and proportions.

Next, I block in flat colors, which is applying a single solid color across areas. This gives me a sense for lighting, mood, and the color palette. I may test out a few variations.

5. Detailing and Rendering

Here is where the magic happens! I add details liketextures, lighting, shadows, highlights, backgrounds, and any other elementsneeded to complete the illustration.

This stage is often the most time intensive as I work pixelby pixel to bring the concept to life. I aim to tell a story through intricatedetails that immerse the viewer.

6. Deliver FinalIllustration and Source Files

For the final delivery, I provide high quality JPEG/PNGfiles optimized for digital use. I also share native source files in formatslike PSD so clients can edit later if needed.

Before sending the completed illustration, I triple checkfor any errors and that I have met the client's requirements. Theirsatisfaction is critical, so I'm always available for additional edits ifrequested.

And that concludes my remote illustration process! While every project is unique, following these steps helps me effectively communicate with clients and exceed their expectations.

Where to Find Remote Illustration Jobs

If working remotely appeals to you, where do you startsearching for illustration gigs? Here are the best sites to find legitimateremote illustration jobs:


RemoteHub is my #1 recommendation for finding remote illustration jobs. Their platform isdedicated specifically to remote work, providing you access to thousands offreelance, contract, and full-time opportunities worldwide.

You can easily filter by illustration to see all relevantopenings in one place rather than digging through generic job boards. Whetheryou're searching "illustration jobs remote", "illustratorjobs remote", or "remote illustration jobs", RemoteHubhas you covered.

Sign up for RemoteHub to create your profile and startapplying in just minutes. Best of all, there are no fees for job seekers. I'vepersonally used RemoteHub to land some of my best long-term clients.


Upwork is one of the largest online freelancing platforms,so it's a great place to offer your illustration services. You can bid onillustration jobs clients post or showcase your portfolio so companies canreach out to you directly.

When first getting started, consider applying for smaller,quick turnaround jobs to build your profile and reviews on the platform. Thiswill make you more competitive for larger, higher paying projects.


Similar to Upwork, Fiverr connects freelancers with clientsaround the world. Illustrators can create gigs based on their specialties likelogo design, book illustrations, web/app graphics, and more.

Keep in mind when pricing your gigs that Fiverr takes a cutof your earnings. Be strategic - you can always raise your rates afterestablishing some successful projects and reviews.


Adobe's Behance website allows you to make a visualportfolio to showcase your illustrations publicly or privately. It has anintegrated job board where companies can discover and contact you about openillustration gigs.

You can also browse the creative job board manually to findremote illustration opportunities that align with your skills.

Social Media

Promote yourself on sites like Instagram, Twitter, andLinkedIn to connect with potential clients. Use relevant hashtags like#illustration, #illustratorforhire, #freelanceillustrator, etc. so people caneasily find and contact you.

I've successfully collaborated with companies whodiscovered me through my Instagram portfolio and were fans of my style. Don'tunderestimate the power of social media for networking.

Freelancing Websites

There are a variety of websites dedicated specifically to freelance work where businesses can post remote illustration jobs:

  • FlexJobs - Remote illustration and graphic design jobs screened for legitimacy.
  • SolidGigs - Remote gigs with verified companies. Categories for art and design.
  • Working Nomads - Vetted remote jobs filtered by the creative industry.
  • We Work Remotely - Popular remote job board with an illustration category.
  • - Job board for "work from anywhere" tech and creative jobs.

I recommend browsing these sites daily and applying to any interesting illustration opportunities. With persistence and a strong portfolio, you can land exciting remote gigs.

Pro Tip: Google"remote illustration jobs" or related keywords to discover new websites and listings.

Tips for Transitioning to Remote Illustration Work

If you currently work in-house and want to switch to working remotely, it requires some strategic planning and preparation. Here are my top tips to help you make a smooth transition:

Set Up a Dedicated Home Workspace

To stay productive at home, invest in a comfortable chair, desk, and the necessary tech and equipment for your tasks. Minimal noise and distractionsare ideal. Make sure you have reliable high-speed internet access.

Improve Your Time Management

When working remotely, you must be very self-disciplined with your schedule. Set daily and weekly goals and use productivity methodslike the Pomodoro technique to minimize distractions. Apps like Trello, Asana,and Todoist can help you stay organized.

Define Your Service Offerings

Identify the specific illustration services you want tooffer clients. This might include:

  • Logo Design
  • Book & Magazine Illustration
  • Character Design
  • Concept Art
  • Textures & Patterns
  • Cartoons & Comics
  • Infographics & Charts
  • Promotional Illustration
  • Motion Graphics & Animation

By defining your niche skills, you can better market yourself and target relevant job opportunities.

Build Your Online Portfolio

Your portfolio is critical for attracting clients remotely. Curate 15-20 high-quality samples that showcase your illustration expertise and visual style.

Optimize your portfolio for each platform - Behance, Instagram, your personal website, etc. Make it easy for potential clients to learn about you and connect.

Network and Promote Yourself

Work your existing connections and relationships with colleagues in your industry. Let them know you're now working remotely as an illustrator and open for commissions.

Actively participate in illustration communities on social media. Share your work and engage with others regularly. Great networking can lead to referrals and collaborations.

By taking these necessary steps to set yourself up for remote success, you'll transition smoothly from in-house work to location independent illustration. Enjoy the freedom and fulfillment of doing what you love from anywhere!

Frequently Asked Questions About Remote Illustration Work

If you're considering a remote illustration career, youlikely still have some questions. Here I'll address some of the most common FAQs:

Do I need a degree to work remotely as an illustrator?

While an art or design degree looks great on your resume,it's not necessarily required to work remotely as an illustrator. What trulymatters most is your portfolio showcasing strong technical skills and creativestyle.

Many successful illustrators are self-taught or wentthrough certificate programs and apprenticeships. Focus on developing a solidbody of work and constantly improving your craft.

What technical skills arerequired?

You should be highly proficient in illustration and designprograms like Adobe Creative Cloud (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign),Procreate, and Clip Studio. Ensure you have the necessary hardware like adrawing tablet.

Knowledge of animation, 3D, or UX/UI design tools is alsouseful. Maintain up-to-date skills as technology evolves. Willingness to learnand adapt is key.

How much can remoteillustrators earn?

Income potential depends largely on your skills and experience. Entry level illustrators can earn around $20/hour, while seniorillustrators can command $100/hour or much higher.

Many factors like project complexity, turnaround time, andclient budget determine your rates. Set competitive yet fair pricing alignedwith the value you provide.

Can I work for a company remotely or must I freelance?

You have the option to work as a remote freelancer managing your own clients. Alternatively, many companies hire remoteillustrators as part-time or full-time employees.

Search job boards like RemoteHub to find reputablecompanies hiring for remote illustration roles. Ensure to ask about how theysupport remote work culture.

What are the biggest challenges of remote illustration work?

Working independently can be isolating at times. Stayconnected through online communities. Avoiding distractions at home and beingself-motivated are also common challenges.

Practicing strong communication, time management, self-promotion, and organization will help you thrive as a remote illustrator. Passion for your craft is key to overcoming obstacles.

Ready to Start Your Remote Illustration Career?

I hope this comprehensive guide provided you with valuableinsights into successfully working as a remote illustrator. It's an incrediblyrewarding career path that allows you to make an income while expressing yourcreativity from anywhere in the world.

Here aresome key takeaways:

  • Communicate closely with clients to understand their vision and expectations.
  • Research references to inspire your illustration style and concepts.
  • Quickly iterate on thumbnails and sketches before final line work and coloring.
  • Constantly refine details to create stunning, vivid illustrations that tell a story.
  • Leverage sites like RemoteHub, Upwork, and Behance to access illustration job opportunities.
  • Build a professional portfolio and promote yourself across social media.
  • Set up a productive home workspace and refine your time management abilities.

If you're ready to start working remotely as anillustrator, I highly recommend joining RemoteHub. Create your profile and apply for open illustrationroles that excite you. Wishing you the best of luck in your remote career journey!

March 5, 2024
5 min read
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