The Business of Illustration

Have you ever considered becoming an illustrator? What inspires them to create, and how do they sell?

Illustrators are a diverse group. Their subject matter may range from fantasy to children’s stories, surface design to scientific illustration, and more. Each artist has a unique approach and style.

They may sell their work to the public in any number of formats, such as wall decor, self-published books or products created through print on demand providers. They may sell or license to business customers, who use their talents to produce images on manufactured products, in animation, or for advertising purposes. Illustration is everywhere, and limited only by the imagination.

We asked a half dozen illustrators to share their portfolio, and tell us what they do and why. Click each artist’s name to visit their website and view more of their portfolio.


Illustrations by Jan Fagan

Illustrations by Jan Fagan


Jan Fagan 

I love to use my art to illustrate stories and ideas. As children, we saw our universe through the lens of newness and wonder. Those feelings are what I hope to awaken in the viewer. Through my art, I invite everyone to make up their own stories and hopefully re-experience some of that forgotten wonder of childhood.


Illustration by Sandra Pena

Illustrations by Sandra Pena


Sandra Pena

I specialize in fashion and beauty illustration. I research trends, then create illustrations and surface designs based on what is popular in the beauty and fashion industries.

I begin with a pencil sketch. Then I use a mix of watercolor, colored pencils, and ink along with Photoshop and Illustrator to create all of my work. My designs add a unique feminine touch to products like stationery, packaging designs, apparel, cell phone cases, coffee mugs, as well as fine art prints.


Illustrations by Joe Grice

Illustrations by Joe Grice


Joe Grice

My watercolor bird illustrations bridge the gap between ornithological studies and fine art. These highly detailed renderings and are used as fine art in buyers’ homes. Many people find that they have a favorite type of bird, or have a room that fits a specific color scheme. Birds come in many varieties of color, so it isn’t hard to find a type bird to fit that purpose.


Illustrations by Melissa Benson

Illustrations by Melissa Benson


Melissa Benson

My fantasy illustration is colorful and realistic. I gravitate towards natural and organic forms with an emphasis on creature design. This affinity served me well in the gaming industry, where I created some iconic creatures used in the Magic the Gathering card game. These images, along with Pagan and decorative art, are sold across several online print-on-demand platforms.


Illustrations by Chris Perry

Illustrations by Chris Perry


Chris Perry

I specialize in children’s books and editorials. I love filling narrative illustrations with historic references, humor, and life. Influenced by animation my drawings tend to be cartoon-like. My work emphasizes color, shape, and sculptural values. I have helped publishers of books, magazines, and newspapers transport kids to wonderful places with imagination. I am building children’s worlds, one drawing at a time.


Illustrations by Christine Jaksy

Illustrations by Christine Jaksy


Christine Jaksy

The types of illustration I do are traditional and modern. Traditionally I use acrylics, watercolors, and markers for paintings and pre-digital. In the modern type, I use digital drawing in Photoshop and Illustrator, sometimes using my graphics tablet. My illustrations can be used for fine art, graphic design, and art licensing (art prints, fabric, and home goods).



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