Resources for freelance illustrators

craft market illustration by katy streeter

Katy is a Freelance Illustrator based in the Kent countryside. Her illustrations have found their place within editorial, publishing and marketing campaigns and she also works in art departments, developing visuals, graphics and props for shows on Sky, the BBC and ITV.

We recently hosted a one-hour Zoom workshop, to hear more about how Katy has used her illustration degree and to understand what roles might be open to illustrators within the creative industry.

In the webinar Katy spoke about: 

·      Her career journey so far

·      Tips to grow your network & client base as a freelance illustrator

·      Her role working in TV Art Departments

·      Transferring her illustration skills into TV work

·      Juggling multiple creative freelance roles

·      The importance of building professional relationships

katy's timeline of experience in the illustration industry

Jobs for illustrators

Katy graduated from University during the pandemic and had to grow her network and creative portfolio quickly in order to secure paid work. During this time, she got herself a retail job to pay the bills (as most creatives do at the start of their career journeys) and set about researching the kind of companies and people she could approach for opportunities.

Katy kept her network growth organized by inputting all relevant details into an Excel spreadsheet. This included timelines, names, email addresses, and more.

Having all this information at her fingertips enabled her to stay on top of her communication with potential leads and track her progress. Her spreadsheet also provided a visual representation of her networking success.

Katy has kindly listed some of her publishing contacts below to add to your own:


a selection of drawings by katy streeter

Pricing your work as a freelance illustrator

Quoting for projects is always a learning curve for creatives and is something that you get better at over time. However, as Katy was establishing herself in the editorial and publishing space, she came across these helpful guides:

  1. Lisa Maltby: Illustration Pricing Guide (£5)
  2. WorkNotes.co.uk: Freelance Guide
  3. AOI: Pricing basics and pricing calculator
  4. Taaryn Brench: Everything I know so far about running a freelance illustration business (£10)

Illustration jobs in the TV industry

After a chance opportunity arose threw a freelance art director, Katy soon found herself working in the art department of a popular kids show.

As she developed her skillset, she started to contact some of the production companies that she noted down during the credits of her favourite shows and found more job listings and contacts via TV and Film Facebook groups, networking sites, and industry events.

We have listed some of Katy’s contacts and suggestions below but if you know of any others, please list them in the comments section below:


Option 1 – Email leads

Email production companies / Art directors and offer yourself as an art runner or trainee. Watch a show that you like and take note of the production company in the credits – look them up and contact them.


Option 2 – Network at your university

Don’t forget that most of your tutors had amazing careers in the industry before they started teaching. Tap into their connections and backgrounds and events attend any industry events happening on campus.


Option 3 – Training & networking sites

  • The TriForce Creative Network (The TCN): Have a Talent Pool so production companies can see your work and post jobs.
  • FilmBuddy – offers film and television training nationwide
  • Screen Skills – offer Trainee Finder (Jobs) and Open Doors (networking events)


Option 4 – Join Facebook Groups:

  • Art Department UK
  • Art Dept Crew UK – Job Noticeboard
  • People in TV: Runners
  • Film & TV Production Crew UK
  • Art Department – Film & TV Industry


Getting in to book illustration

To grow your network in book illustration, try contacting creative directors at publishing houses, freelance art directors, or illustration agents.

Illustration agencies often have their own style or niche group of creatives whom they represent, however, you might want to try contacting them for extra help with bookings if you are struggling to do this manually.

Here is a list of Katy’s recommendations:

Folio – https://folioart.co.uk

The Plum Agency – https://theplumagency.com

Bright – https://thebrightagency.com/uk

Lemonade – https://www.lemonadeillustration.com

Central – https://centralillustration.com

Anna Goodson – https://www.agoodson.com

Roar – https://www.roarartists.com

The Artworks – https://www.theartworksinc.com

Handsome Frank – https://www.handsomefrank.com

Jelly – https://www.thisisjelly.com/uk

Meiklejohn – https://www.meiklejohn.co.uk

Agency Rush – https://agencyrush.com

NB Illustration – https://www.nbillustration.co.uk

How Do You Do – https://www.howdoyoudoagency.com

Multiple streams of income as a freelance illustrator

Understanding, communicating, and evidencing the skills you have to offer is really important as a freelance creative (or any creative at that!). 

Being able to diversify across different sectors, client types, and media will help you to establish a steady income with a mixture of loyal customers and contractors.

However, one of the final points noted by Katy in her workshop was to make sure to take time out for yourself and keep a work/life balance when it comes to time management.

Working from home and freelancing, in general, can be a lonely place, so make sure to reach out and connect regularly with peers, friends, and family.

NOTE: Don’t forget that the Tern Heads forum is here for you any time and that you can post anonymously should you wish to do so. 

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