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How much does an illustrator cost?

National average: $220


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The average cost for an illustrator is $220. You are likely to spend between $80 and $600 total. Exact price may vary depending on your area and project details.

Updated August 1st, 2017

Next Step: Find out exactly how much your project will cost.

Professional illustrators offer traditional (pen to paper) or digital illustration services. Many digital illustrators aso offer graphic design services for individuals, companies and nonprofit organizations that seek logo design or visual branding services. Some illustrators charge by the hour, but most estimate project fees, which are based on how long it takes to complete a particular job. Other variables that go into project fees include the level of difficulty of the illustration, number of anticipated revisions and what usage rights a client requires. (Usage rights govern the artist’s and client’s ability to use the finished work in creative collateral beyond what is specified in the initial scope of work.) Hourly rates for illustrators range from $25 to $100. Nationwide, the average total cost for an illustration project is $90–$465, but larger projects can cost into the thousands, and every project is different.

Traditional vs. digital

In general, traditional hand illustration using art media is not necessarily more expensive than digital illustration work. Digital projects can cost more because the medium makes revisions easier, and more revisions increase the illustrator’s time commitment. Overall costs of drawings, murals and paintings depend on the size and medium of the finished piece. Muralist and illustrator Vincent Witcher’s rates for murals depend on the mural’s diameter and visual complexity:

  • 6 feet: $850–$1,200

  • 7–10 feet: $3,000

  • Larger than 10 feet: $6,500

Project size

Illustrators with a variety of experience creating commercial graphics can often provide a ballpark estimate for certain types of common projects. Here are some sample ranges:

  • Logo design: $200–$1000

  • Corporate identity package (letterhead, business cards, etc.): $250 and up

  • Newsletter design: $1,000 and up

  • Promotional collateral (brochures, etc.): $1500 and up

Project timeline

Projects with short timelines typically cost more—especially if it’s a rush job of two weeks or less.

Usage rights

Some illustrations typically specify a few common types of usage rights, and others give clients a choice that is reflected in the total project cost. Here are some examples:

  • Rights managed: The illustrator gives the client permission to use the illustrations in a specific way. Typically this choice restricts the length of time, the medium, the size, the format and the location of use. This usage option is typically less expensive because the client does not have exclusive use of the illustrations.

  • Royalty-free: The illustrator charges the client a single standard fee for repeated reuse of the illustration (usually by that client only). The artist typically retains the rights to the images. Exclusive use typically costs 20 percent to 50 percent more.


In marketing and advertising, most illustrators specify two revision cycles in a creative project scope of work. Costs increase when clients think they may require more than two revision cycles.

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Recent reviews

David Pfendler Design Inc.

My project went very well. David is easy to work with. Very professional and his experience was much appreciated. He gave excellent suggestions for which almist all were implemented. When I wanted to make a change to the project's illustrations, we were always able to work out the most cost effective way. When I needed to see the flow he was forthcoming with a way to meet my needs. He made publishing suggestions which were beneficial to us both. David is a pleasure to work with. I highly recommend David Pfendler and when I need any type of illustrations for future projects I will certainly contact David. I'm not posting illustrations only because this is a surprise but some illustrations may be posted in the future.

Tamera Haney

She did an amazing job, exactly what I was hoping for and worked hard to keep cost within budget.

Alexander T. Lee, LLC.

Pleasure to work with. Professional and one great illustrator. Beautiful work at a reasonable cost. I will use Alexander every time going forward.