Artists and illustrators create beautiful artwork for all kinds of industries and purposes.

According to Camille Bourdier, who’s a lecturer in prehistoric art at the TRACES laboratory, the term artist “refers to a socio-professional category of specialists whose social identity stems from the production of graphic or visual art.” As a concept, artists as we know today (“creative genius” comes to mind) began around the time of the Renaissance, although artists who created as a profession didn’t start appearing until the 1800s.

An illustrator is “an artist who creates two-dimensional images for various companies and industries, such as fashion design, children's books, magazines, medical manuals, web sites, technical designs, and advertising.” Illustration as a profession began in the early 1800s, as well. These artists were able to make a full-time living selling their art out of bookstalls and in print shops which acted similarly to art galleries.

Art and illustration have been around since the time of cave painting. People connect to and relate with images, and they always have, so it makes sense that art has been part of our long human history.

What Roles are Included in the Art & Illustration Industry?

Artists and illustrators are creative and unique. There are many specializations they can work within, especially in the digital world where new types of art and creation are always emerging.

According to ZipRecruiter, some of the most common forms of artist include:

  • Illustrators
  • Graphic Designers
  • Sculptors
  • Painters
  • Calligraphers
  • Printmakers
  • Photographers

Although these are common, there are always opportunities for artists outside of these jobs, too.

How Do Artists & Illustrators Use Illustrator?

Clearly, the artists and illustrators are multi-talented creatives with a number of different professions. Regardless of what they’re working on, these artists need tools to bring their ideas to life.

One of the most common and well-loved tools is Adobe Illustrator. Some common tasks Artists & Illustrators complete in Illustrator are magazine/editorial illustrations, medical illustrations, comic book lettering & layout, and webtoons & webcomics.

Magazine/Editorial Illustration

If you’ve picked up a magazine or newspaper recently (or looked at one on the web), you’ll probably notice illustrations and maybe even comic strips. These types of drawings are often completed in Illustrator because of the level of detail you can add to designs, as well as of the number of artboards you can have in one file—up to 1,000. This means that artists can design each illustration on a separate artboard and see how they look as a set.

Artists also have the ability to sketch on paper and digitize through Illustrator, which is handy for creatives who prefer a pencil or pen and paper. When the graphics are entered into Illustrator, they become sharp, clear representations of the hand-drawn artwork because the program is vector-based.

Medical Illustration

Medical illustrations are those that convey medical or biological information, especially information that would be too complicated to explain without a visual. Some common examples are found in textbooks and the posters on the wall in a doctor’s office.

The major goals for a Medical Illustrator are to break down complicated information and make it understandable, often for people outside of the medical field. Some common places medical illustrations are used include patient education, museums, courtroom exhibits, advertising, and dental markets.

Artists create these illustrations in Illustrator because of the ability to work with minute details and easily manipulate lines that remain clear even when they’re scaled up or down. It’s important to be able to create accurate representations for these detailed illustrations.

Comic Book Lettering & Layout

Many people enjoy comic books and the seemingly tight-knit community surrounding them. Comic book illustrators are like other artists in the respect that they create a visual story. They’re a little different from other stories because of the boxy layout and often exaggerated nature of the text.

One of the most pronounced characteristics of comic books is the ability to visually tell a story. The art and illustration are as important, if not more, than the words themselves. After all, comics are often short. They don’t tell a story in hundreds of pages like a novel does. They tell a visual story, typically in less than 50 pages.

Illustrator is a powerhouse in both the typography and illustration elements. It’s the “king” of fonts not simply because you can use any Adobe font, but because you can draw your own by hand—Illustrator will vectorize it for you. In terms of illustration, the program has more than 90 tools designed specifically for creating illustrated artwork. The artboard feature is also particularly useful for creating comic frames.

Webcomics & Webtoons

Webcomics are simply comics created for digital format. Webtoons are similar in format, although rather than reading from left to right, they’re read from the top down.

Artists use Illustrator for similar tasks in webcomic creation as in print comic creation: typography, visual & character illustration, and artboards for viewing the frames as a whole to see the story progressing.

Where to Learn Illustrator for the Art & Illustration Industry

If you want to be an artist, whatever path that might mean for you, Illustrator will be a key skill to learn. The good news is that there are many ways to begin learning and continue to advance your skills.

Noble Desktop offers several options for in-person, live online, and certificate learning options. Popular Illustrator courses include Illustrator in a Day and Adobe Illustrator Bootcamp. If you’re looking to grow your skills quickly, Illustrator in a Day could be ideal. For a longer, more foundational look at the program, Adobe Illustrator Bootcamp may be a better option.

If you’re interested in graphic design courses and certifications, Noble has those, too. The 78-hour Graphic Design Certificate, which includes training on Adobe Photoshop, InDesign, and Illustrator, is a great place to begin getting a baseline knowledge of the programs you’ll need in an artistic career. In addition, there’s a Graphic Design Portfolio Bootcamp that focuses on providing projects you can use to showcase your skills to potential employers and/or clients.

If you’d rather learn from the comfort of your own home or office, no problem. The courses are offered both in-person and live online so you can learn wherever and however best fits your needs.