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 2021

  1. 1
    • Book cover
    • Illustration or graphics
    • Logo design
    • Poster
    • T-shirt
    • Postcard, flyer or print
    • Signage
    • Other book or magazine
    • Other art or illustration
    • Magazine cover
    • Other design
    • Merchandise
    • Logo & brand identity pack
    • Banner ad
    • Web page design
    • Stationery
    • Podcast
    • 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
  2. 2
    • Illustration or graphics
    • Product packaging
    • Postcard, flyer or print
    • Other business or advertising
    • Brochure
    • Infographic
    • Email
    • Product label
    • Logo design
    • Other packaging or label
    • Banner ad
    • Other design
    • Other art or illustration
    • Business card
    • Typesetting
    • Signage
    • Menu
    • Other book or magazine
    • Poster
    • Other web or app design
    • Typesetting with imagery
    • Card or invitation
    • PowerPoint template
    • Other clothing or merchandise
    • Book cover
    • Stationery
    • Web page design
    • Sticker
    • Social media page
    • Logo & business card
    • Icon or button
    • Logo & brand identity pack
    • Zoom background design
    • T-shirt
    • Merchandise
    • Clothing or apparel
    • Brand guide
  3. 3
    • T-shirt
    • Logo design
    • Illustration or graphics
    • Tattoo
    • Clothing or apparel
    • Other clothing or merchandise
    • Character or mascot
    • Other art or illustration
    • Merchandise
    • Car, truck or van wrap
    • Sticker
    • Product label
    • Cup or mug
    • Stationery
    • Logo & social media pack
    • Logo & brand identity pack
    • Signage
    • Product packaging
    • Poster
    • Other design
    • Logo & brand guide
  4. 4
    • Illustration or graphics
    • Other business or advertising
    • Brochure
    • PowerPoint template
    • Infographic
    • Postcard, flyer or print
    • Other design
    • Poster
    • Logo design
    • Signage
    • Product packaging
    • Product label
    • Email
    • Other art or illustration
    • T-shirt
    • Other book or magazine
    • Logo & brand identity pack
    • Web page design
    • Other web or app design
    • Car, truck or van wrap
    • Book cover
    • Banner ad
    • Magazine cover
    • Landing page design
    • Icon or button
  5. 5
    • Tattoo
    • Illustration or graphics
    • Other art or illustration
    • Other clothing or merchandise
    • Other design
    • T-shirt
    • Sticker
    • Poster
    • Logo design
    • Clothing or apparel
  6. 6
    • Logo design
    • Illustration or graphics
    • Logo & brand identity pack
    • Logo & social media pack
    • T-shirt
    • Logo & business card
    • Book cover
    • Other design
    • Other art or illustration
    • Card or invitation
    • Poster
    • Postcard, flyer or print
    • Merchandise
    • Business card
    • Product label
    • Clothing or apparel
    • Product packaging
    • Other packaging or label
    • Other Graphic Design
    • Other clothing or merchandise
    • Character or mascot
    • Web page design
    • Typesetting with imagery
    • Stationery
    • Social media page
    • Other web or app design
    • Other book or magazine
    • Infographic
    • Icon or button
    • Facebook cover
    • Cup or mug
    • Button or icon
  7. 7
    • 3D
    • Illustration or graphics
    • Other design
    • Other art or illustration
    • Icon or button
    • Poster
    • Other business or advertising
    • Infographic
    • Logo design
    • Card or invitation
    • Typesetting
    • Product packaging
    • Product label
    • Logo & brand identity pack
  8. 8
    • Illustration or graphics
    • Infographic
    • Other art or illustration
    • Other design
    • Icon or button
    • Postcard, flyer or print
    • Product packaging
    • Other web or app design
    • App design
    • Social media page
    • Product label
    • Other business or advertising
    • Brochure
    • Signage
    • Email
    • Web page 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
  9. 9
    • Illustration or graphics
    • Product label
    • T-shirt
    • Other clothing or merchandise
    • Logo design
    • Card or invitation
    • Clothing or apparel
    • Other art or illustration
    • Product packaging
    • Other web or app design
    • Book cover
    • Email
    • Logo & brand identity pack
    • Other packaging or label
    • Poster
    • Postcard, flyer or print
    • Other business or advertising
    • Web page design
    • Signage
    • Other design
    • Other book or magazine
    • Cup or mug
    • Social media page
    • Logo & social media pack
    • Podcast
    • Logo & business card
    • Character or mascot
    • Merchandise
    • Landing page design
    • Infographic
    • Business card
    • Brochure
    • Banner ad
  10. 10
    • 3D
    • Illustration or graphics
    • Other design
    • Other art or illustration
    • Other business or advertising
    • Postcard, flyer or print
    • Signage
    • Other web or app design
    • Other packaging or label
    • Logo design
    • 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.