Illustrators are one of the happiest careers in the United States.

At CareerExplorer, we conduct an ongoing survey with millions of people and ask them how satisfied they are with their careers. As it turns out, illustrators rate their career happiness 3.9 out of 5 stars which puts them in the top 12% of careers.

To put this into perspective, we compared how happy illustrators are to similar careers in the industry. Take a look at the results below:

Salaries and satisfaction ratings in similar careers

Career Satisfaction Avg Salary
Cinematographer
4.1
$40k
Craft artist
4.0
$36k
Cartoonist
4.0
$30k
Costume designer
4.0
$26k
Games artist
3.9
$90k
Illustrator
3.9
$61k
Sewer
3.9
$30k
Tattoo artist
3.8
$39k
Art director
3.8
$101k

So what does it mean to be happy in your career? Let’s break it down into different dimensions:

  • Salary: Are illustrators happy with their salary?
  • Meaning: Do illustrators find their jobs meaningful?
  • Personality fit: How well suited are people’s personalities to their everyday tasks as illustrators?
  • Work environment: How enjoyable are illustrator’s work environments?
  • Skills utilization: Are illustrators making the best use of their abilities?

Are illustrators happy with their salary?

Illustrators rated their satisfaction with their salaries 2.7/5. Illustrators tend to be quite unhappy with their salary, with very few reporting satisfaction with their pay.

We asked illustrators how fairly compensated they are for their work.
Their response was:

2.7 out of 5 stars

730 illustrators

5 Star
11%

11% of illustrators rated their compensation 5 stars

4 Star
16%

16% of illustrators rated their compensation 4 stars

3 Star
27%

27% of illustrators rated their compensation 3 stars

2 Star
27%

27% of illustrators rated their compensation 2 stars

1 Star
18%

18% of illustrators rated their compensation 1 stars

Do illustrators find their jobs meaningful?

On average, illustrators rate the meaningfulness of their work a 3.7/5. Unlike many careers, illustrators have little difficulty finding meaning in their work, and it likely constitutes one of the main reasons people become illustrators.

We asked illustrators how meaningful they found their work.
Their response was:

3.7 out of 5 stars

753 illustrators

5 Star
35%

35% of illustrators rated how meaningful they found their career 5 stars

4 Star
26%

26% of illustrators rated how meaningful they found their career 4 stars

3 Star
22%

22% of illustrators rated how meaningful they found their career 3 stars

2 Star
11%

11% of illustrators rated how meaningful they found their career 2 stars

1 Star
6%

6% of illustrators rated how meaningful they found their career 1 stars

How well are people’s personalities suited to everyday tasks as illustrators?

Illustrators rated their personality fit with their work an average of 4.1/5. The majority of illustrators find their personalities quite well suited to their work, with relatively few having complaints about their fit.

We asked illustrators how well their personalities fit into their careers.
Their response was:

4.1 out of 5 stars

807 illustrators

5 Star
43%

43% of illustrators rated their career fit 5 stars

4 Star
33%

33% of illustrators rated their career fit 4 stars

3 Star
17%

17% of illustrators rated their career fit 3 stars

2 Star
5%

5% of illustrators rated their career fit 2 stars

1 Star
2%

2% of illustrators rated their career fit 1 stars

How enjoyable is an illustrator’s work environment?

As a whole, illustrators rated their enjoyment of their work environment 3.9/5. A solid majority of illustrators enjoy their work environment, probably contributing to overall higher satisfaction with working as an illustrator.

We asked illustrators how much they enjoyed their work environment.
Their response was:

3.9 out of 5 stars

798 illustrators

5 Star
36%

36% of illustrators rated their work environment 5 stars

4 Star
34%

34% of illustrators rated their work environment 4 stars

3 Star
21%

21% of illustrators rated their work environment 3 stars

2 Star
6%

6% of illustrators rated their work environment 2 stars

1 Star
3%

3% of illustrators rated their work environment 1 stars

Are illustrators making the best use of their abilities?

Former illustrators on CareerExplorer have rated their skills utilization 3.9/5. Most illustrators surveyed find that they manage to use their abilities to their fullest as an illustrator, which helps contribute to higher career satisfaction in the long term.

We asked illustrators how well their abilities were used in their careers.
Their response was:

3.9 out of 5 stars

801 illustrators

5 Star
37%

37% of illustrators rated their how well their skills were utilized in their career 5 stars

4 Star
29%

29% of illustrators rated their how well their skills were utilized in their career 4 stars

3 Star
21%

21% of illustrators rated their how well their skills were utilized in their career 3 stars

2 Star
9%

9% of illustrators rated their how well their skills were utilized in their career 2 stars

1 Star
3%

3% of illustrators rated their how well their skills were utilized in their career 1 stars