Find the best sites to hire Illustration designers

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Top 11 platforms to hire an Illustrator:

1

Toptal.

To help you figure out which hiring platforms make the most sense for your needs, we’ve aggregated the best sites to find professional illustrators. For each site, we’ve listed the pro’s and con’s to help you navigate the best fit. If you’d rather skip the reading and evaluation, take our 60-second questionnaire to receive tailored recommendations and the pro’s and con’s for the best sites for you.

Toptal

Pros

  • With the money-back guarantee, Toptal lets you work with different illustrators until you find the one that works for you.
  • Toptal offers the guarantee in part because most clients find the perfect match in the first freelancer recommended by the platform.

Cons

  • Because Toptal works with the very best, many of their freelancers charge more than freelancers on some other platforms.
  • It’s important to have a clear idea and plan of what you want before you get started since you’ll be working with top quality experienced hires.
Visit Toptal
2

Association of Medical Illustrators.

The Association of Medical Illustrators (AMI) is the place to go if you’re looking for an illustrator for a medical journal or a similar technical piece. There are specialized sites for other disciplines as well, such as the Guild for Natural Science Illustrators. AMI in particular has a large database of members which you can review by business, subject, or technical specialty. While you have access to search the database, you’ll have to click through to illustrators’ websites in order to review their work and portfolios. The database only lists their contact and basic information.

Association of Medical Illustrators

Pros

  • You can find someone that specializes in the discipline that you’re working in.
  • Reach out for free directly to illustrators without paying overhead or administrative fees.

Cons

  • Without portfolios hosted on the AMI website, evaluating the skills of the illustrators listed is extremely time consuming.
  • Because AMI doesn't provide portfolios or past client reviews, it’s challenging to evaluate past client experience and work.
  • AMI doesn't offer project management or payment processing, so you have to take on the risks involved in that area.
Visit Association of Medical Illustrators
3

Minty.

Minty is dedicated exclusively to helping clients find illustrators. The platform offers four different ways to go about hiring an illustrator. You can work with Minty’s agency to have a professional match you directly with an illustrator. Alternatively, you can post a job or view profiles to reach out directly. If you’re under a time crunch or just need a stock illustration, you can purchase ready-made illustrations. For each option, you can choose either to pay a monthly fee or pay to purchase a particular piece.

Minty

Pros

  • Minty is dedicated to working exclusively with illustrators, and so has provided tools such as pre-written contracts around licensing rights.
  • The platform provides different mechanisms to hire including the option to hire an agent to source the illustrations for you.
  • Memberships are paid monthly so can be cancelled at any time.

Cons

  • There is limited interaction with your freelance illustrator designer. Minty is not structured for a high level of feedback and collaboration.
  • You have to pay upfront to post a job even if you don't end up hiring someone.
Visit Minty
4

Etsy.

Etsy is the go-to platform for artisan handicrafts of all kinds. While focused more on tangible crafts and creations, you can find illustrators online here as well. Some illustrators offer a demo that you can purchase directly, and then you can decide whether to proceed and negotiate a full project. Others let you directly purchase the project by size and color and you can work with them from there. It’s important to read each profile carefully before purchasing to be sure you know what you’re signing up for.

Etsy

Pros

  • Choose from a wide variety of illustrators and review their past work and reactions from past clients.
  • Find a setup that works for you, and reach out directly to illustrators to negotiate your own terms.
  • Search by a variety of terms and categories.

Cons

  • There isn’t consistency across offerings, so hiring here requires a lot of leg work.
  • Work here tends to be focused on portraits and children’s books.
  • Work here tends to be focused on portraits and children’s books.
Visit Etsy
5

Upwork.

Upwork is probably the most well-known of the freelance platforms. With roots in oDesk and eLance, Upwork has witnessed the growth of freelance offerings over the years. Included on the platform are freelance digital illustrators for hire. The platform offers tools to assist interactions with freelancers and hires as well as management payment processing. For hiring, you can post a job and review portfolios and ratings from past clients. Alternatively, Upwork has several different subscription options for curated experiences.

Upwork

Pros

  • Upwork manages payments, so you and your freelancer hire are protected from risks around payment.
  • The review system helps you anticipate performance by any freelancer you’re interested in hiring.
  • With a subscription service, save time and receive recommendations for Upwork’s highly qualified and reliable freelance illustrators.

Cons

  • Upwork is not focused primarily on illustrators, so issues such as licensing of work will need to be determined between you and the freelancer.
  • There are not built in structures or guarantees if something does go wrong.
Visit Upwork
6

Twine.

Twine is a freelance platform that focuses on visual design. As such, freelance illustrators are one of the categories of talent that they have. The site has a straightforward system: answer a series of questions to post a job or contact illustrators directly through their profiles. Once you’ve agreed to terms with your freelancer, you can communicate through the platform and receive files. Pricing is simple as well: Twine charges 20% commission upon project completion. Twine’s value proposition is that they provide a high level of customer service and customized recommendations of illustrators.

Twine

Pros

  • Twine is straightforward on pricing, so that you know exactly what you owe for each project and only pay upon project completion.
  • With its matching regimen, Twine promises to only provide recommendations of illustrators that are a good fit.
  • If you have any issues you can reach out to Twine’s customer service for assistance.

Cons

  • It’s unclear how personalized the matching system for job posts actually is.
  • The “Pro Badge” can be a little misleading. Rather than a sign of quality, it only acknowledges that the illustrator paid for their profile.
Visit Twine
7

Dribbble.

Dribbble is a community of designers that has evolved to include supports for hiring. You can search for designers by skill, keyword, and even location. Designers host portfolios on the site and can post, evaluate, and provide feedback on each other’s work. Dribbble allows you to post jobs or use their hiring services to get matched with candidates that are a strong fit. The platform has every kind of designer imaginable including illustrators.

Dribbble

Pros

  • The portfolios on Dribbble let you explore the illustrator’s style and technique.
  • Using Dribble Talent can save you time by receiving recommendations of candidates that have already been vetted.
  • Using Dribble Talent can save you time by receiving recommendations of candidates that have already been vetted.

Cons

  • Project management and payment takes place independently of Dribbble which means that you take on associated risk yourself.
  • If you don't use Dribbble Talent, the process of sorting through profiles can be tedious.
  • If you don't use Dribbble Talent, the process of sorting through profiles can be tedious.
Visit Dribbble
8

Working Not Working.

Working Not Working is a job board for creatives that has worked to infuse creativity into the job board itself. The board asks job seekers unique questions to give you insight into a different side of their inspiration, and asks that job posters highlight the benefits and most interesting aspects of the jobs. Working Not Working lets you sign up either through monthly packages or through their curated matching service, Human. Originally the platform was by invitation-only for designers, but is now open to anyone that would like to have a profile.

Working Not Working

Pros

  • Working Not Working has illustrators looking for both one-off and longer term gigs.
  • Because Working Not Working doesn’t charge commission, it’s a more affordable route to hire long term talent than some other platforms.
  • Using Human to receive selected talent matching can save you time in the process of finding the right person.

Cons

  • Because Working Not Working is now open to anyone, vetting for quality has become more time consuming.
  • The platform doesn't provide project or payment management tools, so you take on all associated risk when hiring here.
Visit Working Not Working
9

Behance.

If you would like to hire an illustrator who uses Adobe Illustrator, Behance is the place to go. Adobe acquired Behance as place for creatives using the Adobe Creative Suite to display their work. Behance is driven by portfolios. Designers and artists display their work. Anyone can view the portfolios, but Behance requires a membership to reach out to the artists. Monthly memberships also allow you to post jobs.

Behance

Pros

  • Because illustrators pay a fee to host their portfolios on the site, they are likely committed to keeping their portfolios up-to-date and remaining active on the site.
  • Behance has a straightforward structure. Choose the package that works for you, and then post your job to receive applications.

Cons

  • Behance has a straightforward structure. Choose the package that works for you, and then post your job to receive applications.
  • There is not a clear way to evaluate skill on the site.
  • Projects are managed off the site, so you will need to provide all project and payment management.
Visit Behance
10

99designs.

99designs is known for its designs contests. You can post a description of what needs to be completed and then designers will submit a sample illustration for you to choose from. You can also explore portfolios and select a designer directly. There are set prices, and you can add different options according to your budget and needs. Options include book and magazine cover designs through interior illustrations. 99designs has a 100% money back guarantee. If you like the designs, you will receive full copyrights to the files.

99designs

Pros

  • There is a money back guarantee, so if you do not find any options you like, you won’t lose out.
  • There are some impressive portfolio pieces, so you will have lots of people to choose from if you decide to work directly with a single designer from the beginning.
  • The price menu keeps the cost clear, so that you know what you are signing up for.

Cons

  • The design contests require the illustrators to complete work with very unlikely payout. As such, many quality illustrators look elsewhere.
  • There are limited types of illustrations that you can hire for. The site is really focused on book and magazine illustrations.
Visit 99designs
honorable mention

Krop.

Krop is a portfolio-based marketplace. You can pay a minimal fee by the job post or pay for a monthly membership that allows you to search the database. Without a membership you can still explore some of the portfolios, but cannot contact the designers. The platform allows you to search by location, so you can hire an illustrator online that you then work with in person. The search function allows you to search by several different features.

Krop

Pros

  • Krop is a very affordable way to post a job for illustrators.
  • Designers also pay to use Krop, which suggests that they are committed to using and finding work on the platform.

Cons

  • Issues with functionality and upgrades on the portfolio side have sent illustrators to other more reliable platforms.
  • You will need to manage the project separately from the platform.
  • Krop doesn't manage payments for the jobs.
Visit Krop
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