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How Much Do Illustrators Charge per Image?

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Illustrators can add a much-needed visual impact to many projects: online content creation, marketing materials, and printed books, to name just a few. 

Anyone managing a project that requires visuals should try to get the best illustrator possible to bring it to life. However, hiring an illustrator requires money, so knowing how much they will charge for a project is crucial. 

Illustrators can charge for their work in a couple of ways, by the hour or per image. Here, we delve into the average hourly rate for an illustrator, how much an image costs by illustrators for hire, and a few other bits of information you should be aware of before hiring a freelancer. 

Average Cost per Image by an Illustrator

Many illustrators can charge per image, which makes getting an exact figure or even range difficult to pinpoint, as the differences in rates will come down to the varying techniques, styles, and expertise an illustrator may have. It will also depend on how long they believe an illustration will take them to create. The more complex they believe a picture to be, the more likely an illustrator will charge a higher price for its creation.

Another variable that makes it impossible to provide an average cost per image is that illustrators may vary their average price per image if they create many images within one project. Often, if they know a project requires many pictures in advance, they will lower their cost per image. 

Artists will do this for a couple of reasons. First, it may attract more clients and entice them to order more in a single request. That is a more efficient way of working for freelance illustrators who have to spend time pitching for work where they may not receive compensation.  

If you hire a freelance illustrator who charges per image, be sure to know how they approach setting prices for edits and revisions. Some may include it within their flat fee; others will charge extra, adding to the difficulty of averaging out the cost of an image by an illustrator. 

Average Hourly Rate for an Illustrator

The average hourly rate for an illustrator is easier to establish. Across the industry, you can expect to pay an illustrator twenty-one dollars for an hour of their time. The average hourly range is closer to seventeen to twenty-five dollars. You may pay more for an illustrator who has a high level of expertise or who specializes in a particularly unique style. 

Finding a more affordable illustrator may sometimes be a necessity, and cheaper illustrators who charge a lower rate per hour may not be any less capable of producing work suitable for your needs. Instead, they are an excellent way to keep project costs down and product standards high, but only if they are talented, which is why it’s important to ask for their previous project portfolio before hiring them. 

Hiring an illustrator per hour requires asking pertinent questions while providing them with a thorough brief before formally commissioning them. Giving such a brief will allow them to estimate how long a project will take to complete, so you have a better idea of the final costs. 

Why Do Illustrators Charge per Image Versus Hour?

Illustrators may charge per hour or image for different reasons. When it comes down to it, a freelance illustrator will choose the pricing structure that they believe most fairly compensates them for their time and efforts. 

Many illustrators like to charge per hour because if a project is far more complicated than they initially thought, they will still get paid for the extra, unforeseen time they spend on an image. Additionally, charging per hour means that they are paid for the time it takes to research image creation or any other administrative tasks they have to complete to draw a picture. 

Illustrators who like to charge per image may do so as they prefer the flat fee structure, and they may also find that they attract more work as a result. Offering flat fees is a pricing structure that many project developers like as it means they can be more confident of the final budget for a task. It helps rule out unforeseen costs that can materially drive up the project’s final price. 

Illustrators may also charge per image if they create many similar pictures. They may have a style or process that can quickly and efficiently reproduce the images with the necessary modifications, thus making charging per image a more profitable way of invoicing clients. 

The Costs of Hiring Freelance Illustrators

Knowing and understanding the potential costs of hiring freelance illustrators is beneficial for anyone who needs image production for a possible project. It is far easier to price a project accurately and keep it within budget by fully grasping how, why, and what illustrators charge. 

It also supports potential employers with a means for evaluating whether a potential freelance illustrator is offering value for the money and worthwhile commissioning for a project. While it can be challenging to compare illustrators who structure their prices differently in terms of an hour or image, understanding their pricing rationale allows employers to make the best decision for them.

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