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 2020

  1. 1
    Top Level
    5.0
    ( 123 )
    • Infographic
    • Illustration or graphics
    • Postcard, flyer or print
    • Logo design
    • Other business or advertising
    • Other art or illustration
    • Other design
    • Poster
    • Card or invitation
    • Brochure
    • Logo & brand identity pack
    • Book cover
    • PowerPoint template
    • Other packaging or label
    • Landing page design
    • Business card
    • Brand guide
  2. 2
    Top Level
    5.0
    ( 146 )
    • Book cover
    • Illustration or graphics
    • Poster
    • Character or mascot
    • Banner ad
    • Other art or illustration
    • Other design
    • Other book or magazine
    • Logo design
    • Icon or button
    • Product packaging
    • Social media page
    • Other clothing or merchandise
    • Facebook cover
    • Logo & brand identity pack
    • T-shirt
    • Sticker
    • Logo & social media pack
    • Merchandise
    • Infographic
    • Card or invitation
    • 3D
    • Other web or app design
    • Product label
    • Other packaging or label
  3. 3
    Top Level
    5.0
    ( 89 )
    • Illustration or graphics
    • Infographic
    • Other design
    • Icon or button
    • Other art or illustration
    • Postcard, flyer or print
    • App design
    • Social media page
    • Product packaging
    • Other business or advertising
    • Product label
    • Brochure
    • Signage
    • Email
    • Web page design
    • Other web or app design
    • Character or mascot
    • Other packaging or label
    • T-shirt
    • Menu
    • Landing page design
    • Card or invitation
    • Poster
    • Other Graphic Design
    • Logo design
    • Flash banner
    • Button or icon
    • Business card
    • Logo & brand identity pack
    • Book cover
  4. 4
    Top Level
    5.0
    ( 156 )
    • Illustration or graphics
    • Other art or illustration
    • Web page design
    • Character or mascot
    • Logo design
    • Infographic
    • Icon or button
    • Card or invitation
    • Postcard, flyer or print
    • Other web or app design
    • Poster
    • Other design
    • Logo & business card
    • Sticker
    • Logo & brand identity pack
    • Other business or advertising
    • Banner ad
    • Other packaging or label
    • Tattoo
    • T-shirt
    • Social media page
    • Product packaging
    • Product label
    • PowerPoint template
    • Logo & brand guide
    • Facebook cover
  5. 5
    Top Level
    5.0
    ( 104 )
    • Illustration or graphics
    • T-shirt
    • Character or mascot
    • Logo design
    • Other art or illustration
    • Poster
    • Logo & social media pack
    • Product label
    • Clothing or apparel
    • Sticker
    • Other clothing or merchandise
    • Merchandise
    • Cup or mug
    • Book cover
    • Social media page
    • Product packaging
    • Other business or advertising
    • Logo & brand identity pack
    • Tattoo
  6. 6
    Top Level
    4.9
    ( 88 )
    • Infographic
    • Illustration or graphics
    • Postcard, flyer or print
    • Other business or advertising
    • Logo design
    • Other art or illustration
    • Brochure
    • Poster
    • Web page design
    • Signage
    • PowerPoint template
    • Other web or app design
    • Business card
    • WordPress theme design
    • Social media page
    • Product packaging
    • Other packaging or label
    • Other design
    • Email
    • Card or invitation
    • Logo & brand identity pack
    • Banner ad
    • 3D
  7. 7
    Top Level
    4.9
    ( 89 )
    • Illustration or graphics
    • 3D
    • Other design
    • Other art or illustration
    • Other business or advertising
    • Postcard, flyer or print
    • Signage
    • Other packaging or label
    • Logo design
    • Brochure
    • Product label
  8. 8
    Top Level
    5.0
    ( 51 )
    • Illustration or graphics
    • Postcard, flyer or print
    • Icon or button
    • Other art or illustration
    • Other business or advertising
    • Card or invitation
    • Infographic
    • Email
    • Banner ad
    • Logo design
    • Web page design
    • Signage
    • Other web or app design
    • Flash banner
    • Brochure
    • Logo & brand identity pack
    • Book cover
  9. 9
    Top Level
    5.0
    ( 16 )
    • Logo design
    • Illustration or graphics
    • T-shirt
    • Other design
    • Other clothing or merchandise
    • Other art or illustration
    • Merchandise
    • Tattoo
    • Icon or button
    • Clothing or apparel
    • Sticker
    • Product label
    • Other Graphic Design
    • Other business or advertising
    • Other book or magazine
    • Logo & business card
    • Book cover
  10. 10
    Top Level
    5.0
    ( 110 )
    • Book cover
    • Illustration or graphics
    • Logo design
    • Poster
    • T-shirt
    • Postcard, flyer or print
    • Signage
    • Other art or illustration
    • Magazine cover
    • Other book or magazine
    • Other design
    • Merchandise
    • Logo & brand identity pack
    • Banner ad
    • Web page design
    • Stationery
    • Other web or app design
    • Other clothing or merchandise
    • Other business or advertising
    • Logo & business card
    • Icon or button
    • Card or invitation
    • Car, truck or van wrap
    • Brochure

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.