Being able to work with Adobe Illustrator is one example of a marketable skill that can be used to earn you money online. If all you have is just a basic level understanding of the program, it is possible to build upon that foundation using readily available resources such as free or paid courses online. With time you can build enough know-how required to accomplish the most demanding and complex tasks you will encounter online.
1. Sell Icons
Custom icons do well on marketplaces like Iconfinder or Flaticon. When it comes to icons, quantity and quality means everything. You earn more by creating a large number of icons that fit within multiple categories.
People who buy icons mostly use them in mobile and web applications. Icons are an important part of many user interfaces and help convey ideas and actions to the user. When buyers like a particular design style, there is a high chance they will want to buy more of the same in a set ranging from as low as ten up to a hundred icons. Since most web and mobile apps consist of multiple pages, It helps to provide a consistent design language to your icons as it will ensure a neat look across the board.
2. Become a Content Creator
Becoming a successful Youtuber certainly used to be easier a decade ago. Nowadays competition is pretty stiff, with every possible category having hundreds of videos being uploaded daily, but not all is lost. Consider Youtube has 2 billion active users monthly, which is 20% of the world’s population. If you create relevant high-quality content, it is still possible to gain traction over time.
One way to stand out on Youtube is to create niche content targeting a specific audience. People not only use Youtube for entertainment, but also for learning. Creating video tutorials using Illustrator and Photoshop can be a great way to attract viewers looking to learn and sharpen their knowledge. Once you build a solid subscriber base you can earn money through monetization of your channel.
3. Enter and Win Graphic Design Contests
This is probably the most controversial method to make money for artists out there. Some designers feel entering competitions diminishes and cheapens the value of design work. Design competitions also referred to as crowdsourcing works by having a client post a design brief which is then open to multiple designers who participate by submitting their completed work. The client through a process of leaving feedback and reviews narrows it all down to a single favorite design of which the designer will be awarded the prize money. Since there can only be one winner, the majority of designers not picked will in essence work for free.
Getting picked as a winner will take numerous attempts at entering competitions, therefore I would only recommend competitions to those who are really starting out as beginners. Entering completions can be a way to hone one’s illustrator skills and possibly earn a bit of spare change along the way.
Popular design crowdsource sites include:
4. Teach With an Online Course
The need for educational information has morphed a whole teaching industry online. The internet has made it possible for people to learn from instructors from around the world straight from the comfort of their homes.
Most people feel they don’t know enough to teach. However, being the all-knowing expert in your field isn’t a requirement; you just need to know more than your students. So, someone with intermediate skills can easily teach beginners. Alternatively, an expert can teach both beginners and intermediate students.
Online learning platforms such as Udemy and Skillshare have made course creation simple, all you need to create courses is a desire to teach, laptop with Illustrator, recording software and an account to one of the numerous online course platforms.
5. Show off Your Artistic Flair With Hand-Lettering
Lettering or hand lettering has become popular in the past couple of years and it’s a skillset most vector artists can quickly learn and add to their design toolkit. Hand lettering is the process of drawing letters and it’s mostly done by hand and then digitized using vector software. It differs from typography or type design, whereby lettering is focused on illustrating letters, while typography is all about creating a complete alphabet which can then be used in multiple forms.
Lettering artists can monetize their work by creating lettering art for packaging, t-shirts, greeting cards, posters, websites, and applications. The uses of lettering are numerous and only limited by your imagination.
6. Earn Commissions on Custom Vector Artwork
Proficiency in Illustrator opens up a whole world of commission work online. From designing logos, business cards, illustrations, the sky is the limit to what you can do. Freelance marketplaces like Upwork and Fiverr make it easy for artists to connect with businesses and professionals looking for creative solutions to their problems.
The good thing about freelancing is that you can work as much or as little as you wish. This control over the workflow provides freedom and flexibility that a normal desk job can’t. In essence, you become your own boss, freely able to forge the type of work relationship you feel most comfortable with.
7. Create How-To Blogs Focusing on Illustrator Tips and Tricks
Perhaps the slowest way to earn money with Illustrator is to create a blog focused on tutorials and tips. It takes a lot of time and patience to build up credibility and a substantial audience. By offering quality content it is possible to gain an audience that you can monetize to earn a substantial income in the long run…
Besides having knowledge in Illustrator, it would be also beneficial to have knowledge in other areas of graphic design so you can fill your blog with richer content. You could even add a design centric podcast to your blog too and reach an even bigger audience. To be a successful blogger, having the love of writing is a must.