Freelance Illustrator vs Concept Artist. Who Should You Hire For Work?


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freelance illustrator vs concept artist hire for work

Freelance Illustrator vs Concept Artist. Who Should You Hire For Work?

A Freelance Illustrator vs Concept Artist portfolio website might look the same and you might think you can draw distinct differences between the two professionals, yet I’ve found that most of my clients, couldn’t really offer up a clear distinction between a freelance illustrator vs concept artist. I assure you that the purpose and intent behind the creation of an illustration vs. concept art work is very different, and these differences should be explored with me before you start commissioning an artist. So if you are an individual or company who is interested in hiring an illustrator or concept artist for your project, let’s discuss if it will be a freelance Illustrator vs concept artist who will be most appropriate for you to hire for your illustration and concept art work!

When should you hire a freelance illustrator for illustration work?

You should hire a freelance illustrator for illustration or graphic artwork when you are interested in visual storytelling or communication of a central message, story, or idea through an attractive drawing or painting. A professional illustrator sometimes referred to as a graphic artist, will have a solid understanding of human anatomy, animal anatomy, color theory, drawing, painting, composition principles, character design, lighting theory, shading, rendering, and visual communication.  With those visual tools, it is an freelance Illustrator’s job to produce illustrations as an end-product that is crafted to evoke an emotional response from the target audience. As a species, one of our strongest forms of sensory perception lies in visual recognition, and we need only to look to our personal experience to realize that a well-executed illustration with a strong message can grab our attention faster and elicit a more striking response than any other form of art.

Here are the types of freelancing illustrators you will want to consider hiring for your project.

  • Character Artist

    • Creates illustrations to showcase a character’s appearance, personality, and the world.
  • T-Shirt Designer

    • Crafts Illustrative graphic art work that is created and optimized for printing on t-shirts.
  • Movie Poster Illustrator

    • A graphic illustrator whose purpose is to promote the characters and look of a film, while hinting at the tone or narrative of a film using the illustration.
  • Architectural Renderings Artist

    • Produces drawings and paintings of an interior or exterior space of a house, building, or architectural structure to visualize how it will look in a three-dimensional space.
  • Advertising Illustrator

    • Promotes products or services through graphic work that commonly appears in books, magazines, posters, and all other forms of web and print ads.
  • Greeting Card Illustrator

    • Makes illustrations to represent a message, emotion, or sentiment in visual form
  • Children’s Book Illustrator

    • An illustrator who creates storybook artwork for the education and entertainment of children.
  • Book Cover Artist

    • A cover illustrator and artist who produces cover illustration art for books and novels.
  • Album Cover Artist

    • Cover artwork for musical albums, mixtape covers, or single covers.
  • Fashion Illustrator

    • Showcases their fashion design ideas through lovely fashion illustrations.
  • Medical Illustrator

    • An artist with a strong knowledge of anatomy, physiology, and life sciences who collaborates with medical professionals to communicate complex information through visual illustration.
  • Character & Mascot Logos

    • Illustrators and designers who design characters or mascots for use in the marketing and brand identity of a product, company, or service. (example: frosted flakes, Tony the Tiger; Geico, Gecko; Disney, Mickey Mouse; Camel Cigarettes, Joe Camel)
  • Comic Book Artist / Graphic Novel Artist

    • Produces sequential art in the form of penciling, inking, coloring, lettering, for use in comic books and graphic novels.
  • Cartoonist / Caricature Artist

    • Creates cartoons and caricatures of various subject matter for use in digital or traditional comics, magazines, newspapers, print, or animations.

*If you are looking to hire a freelance illustrator as a work for hire, visit my illustration portfolio and start your project by completing the contact form here.

When should you hire a freelance concept artist for concept art work?

You should hire a freelance concept artist when you are looking to specifically design or conceptualize characters, costumes, scenes, environments, architecture, products, or machines that do not yet exist. Although a successful freelance concept artist will have the skill-set of an illustrator in regards to their ability to draw, paint, render, and demonstrate an aptitude for storytelling – the storytelling, however, will be told through design. Illustration skills will also be a great asset to a concept artist, because often times the ability to create attractive drawings and paintings will help sell the design ideas to investors or the creative team.

Concept art is often referred to as visual development or conceptual design, the visual design will be used as a vehicle to represent and communicate the idea (concept), mood, and style of the brand or I.P. (intellectual property) to the viewer. Concept artists or concept designers are hired in a wide range of industries including, but not limited to, film & movie production, animation, publishing, advertising, video game, real estate, or mobile app, theme parks, live events, etc. Below are the types of concept artists you might be interested in hiring.

  • Character & Creature designer

    • Creatively designs the anatomy, wardrobe, and accessories of a character or creature with clear form and believable functionality.
  • Transportation & Vehicle Designer

    • A designer of vehicles using principles of engineering design that will be utilized for transport in a real or fictional world.
  • Weapon Designer

    • Focused on designing and functionality of weaponry whether reality based or imaginary.
  • Storyboarding Artist

    • A concept artist who draws or illustrates a visual itinerary depicting each scene of an entire script or story. Storyboard artists are normally used in pre-production for films, games, animations, commercials, tv shows, music videos, pitch decks, and even in product instruction manuals.
  • Production designer

    • Designs the style, mood, and mood of an environment for film, game, music video, theme park, live event, or animation productions.
  • Mech Designer

    • A designer of a vehicle or machine occupied by a life-form that is commonly designed using the principles of mechanical engineering for use in the real-world environment or non-fiction story.
  • Architectural Visualization (Interior Elevation or Exterior Elevation)

    • Helps a licensed architect, interior designer, or real estate developer to visualize and design the interior and exterior elevation through architectural visualization which is done with concept sketches or renderings.
  • Character Logo Designer

    • Designs a character or mascot as part of company’s brand identity, or the marketing of a particular product or service.
  • IP Development

    • Combines the work and skills of a character designer, environment/architecture designer, production designer, weapons designer, and presentation designer to design an entire world for the branding of an original intellectual property.
  • Product designer

    • Helps an inventor visualize, conceptualize, or design a new product or invention for a patent.
  • Toy Designer

    • A character/creature designer who understand engineering design to create functional and attractive toy designs for real world use.

*If you need to hire a freelance concept artist for any of the jobs above, check out my concept art portfolio and get in touch with me and start your project here.

A concept artist’s purpose is to visually engineer or design functional structures, materials, and forms; that will be commonly used for reference purposes in the pre-production stage of a project and not presented outside the creative development team. In terms of job responsibility, concept artists must be more design oriented than illustrators, because they must craft original and believable things that are not yet in existence.

However, we can draw a parallel between the freelance illustrator vs concept artist by understanding that sometimes, a concept artist turns their conceptual design into beautiful illustrations with intent to present as an end-product to an audience. These concept art drawings or paintings can come in the form of key art, production art, or character artwork which can later appear in art books, bonus DVD featurettes, or social media content after the production or IP is released.

A practical example of how to use a Freelance Illustrator vs Concept Artist.

As an example, let’s say you wanted to create a game or movie about the last stand of a group of brave soldiers. By now you should be able to draw a clear contrast between a freelance Illustrator vs concept artist. So then you would know to hire a concept artist during the pre-production stage to design and conceptualize the physical features, mood, color palette, and style of each character, costume, environment, building, weapon, vehicle, and accessory item that exist within the world of your game or movie.

As for the illustration work, you would hire an illustrator typically in post-production for promotional purposes to illustrate the advertising content, movie poster artwork, or game packaging/cover, and maybe you would commission the illustrator to create an illustration of a brigade of soldiers charging dramatically toward their enemy on a bleak battlefield.

And Wallah! You’ve hired a freelance illustrator and outsourced a concept artist using their strongest abilities to help you create an awesome game or movie experience for your audience and illustrate some gorgeous content for your marketing campaign.

Don’t forget, after your product or production is launched (still using our game or movie example) you may wish to use brand extension items such as toys, board games, t-shirts, comics, and other forms of merchandising art about your characters and the world you created…

So how would the freelance illustrator vs concept artist come into play for merchandising? Well, you will need to hire the concept artist to create efficient designs, and then hire an illustrator to get your audience emotionally invested in your brand with stunning illustrations.

Are you are searching to find and hire a professional concept artist and illustrator, then let’s talk about your ideas and project goals! Contact me here:

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A professional graphic artist, designer, illustrator, and concept artist for hire who serves as the art outsourcing solution for a variety of industries. He also shares his expert knowledge through his blog, by delivering his brand of rich content in graphic design, concept art, illustration, logo design, storyboards, architectural renderings, book cover, drawing, painting, and much more. Learn More >

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