In this article, I show you 5 ways to earn money with Illustrator. Of course, there are much more ways, but let’s start easy.
When you just start out making your own designs it is better to start making and selling than wait till you can make the perfect designs.
You will learn more skills along the way while you already make some money. By starting with some simple things you gain confidence and experience.
Experience is what leads you to be a very good Designer/Illustrator, so don’t make it too hard in the beginning. Start with something you like and isn’t too hard to do in Illustrator. If your skills grow you can add other things to your portfolio.
Let’s see which ways are not too difficult and help you be the most creative person you can be while helping others that excel in other areas.
1. Make and Sell Logo’s
Almost every business has or needs a logo. To be able to use this logo in every thinkable and scalable way, it’s a good idea to make a vector logo in Illustrator. A lot of businesses that start out need a logo or want an existing logo to be vectorized. Even existing businesses change their logo from time to time.
These days the most famous logos are built out of simple shapes and even only text. This is a great way to learn Illustrator without having to learn the whole program at once. Being able to draw some basic shapes with the build-in tools and use the Type Tool to make some text will allow you to produce a beautiful logo in no-time.
Affiliate link to SkillShare Logo lessons
2. Make Designs into SVG files for cutting machines like the Cricut or Silhouette
The cutting machine for the home user or small business (Cricut, Silhouette, Scan N Cut) is growing rapidly. Almost anyone can start their own creative business from home and sell on Etsy for example.
If you are not the creative that wants to make creative stuff that you need to send by mail or you want to expand your mail-based business, then making SVG cutting files is a great way to start or to expand.
People buy SVG cutting files online to use with their Cutting machines to make little presents, personalized products for weddings, babies, birthdays, Holidays, and Home Decor. Some of these niches are pretty big and there is a lot of demand for pretty SVG files.
To make SVG files you can use the build-in Tools in Illustrator to start out quickly and start selling in no time.
3. Become a Surface Pattern Designer and sell your Designs on POD websites
Maybe you never heard of Surface Pattern Designer, I didn’t hear about it till about two years ago. When I learned what it was I was amazed.
Look around you right now and count how many patterns you see around you. In the curtains, your clothes, the floor, the walls, etc. I think you can find at least 5 patterns in a few seconds. All those patterns are made by Surface Pattern Designers. If you look at the words it will make sense. Almost every surface (counter, wallpaper, curtain, clothes, I can go on forever 😉 ) has a design. From very basic (just a little line) to very complex (multiple shapes layered on top of each other).
Walk around your house or office (or both as working at home mom) and notice how many products in hour home/office have a design or pattern on them. Your bedding, kitchen (tea) towels, pillows, and other home decors.
I think you get the picture and I didn’t even start talking about the holiday season when a whole new decor comes into our homes and offices.
Making designs and/or patterns to put on all of these products is easier than ever before. With all the Print-On-Demand (POD) website these days you have more options than ever without breaking the bank to start your own business.
There are some neat tools in Illustrator that can help you create beautiful designs and patterns in no-time without having to learn the whole program before you can start. You just need some basic tools in Illustrator to get you started!
4. Make and sell Social Media Templates
In the first, option I talked about logos. Every business needs one and updates its logo now and then. Every business has some sort of Social Media one way or the other or wants/needs to have one.
To be successful on Social Media one of the lessons is that you need to be recognizable without always putting your logo on every image. You need branding with colors, logos, and fonts.
With just some basic tools it is very easy to make images or overlays for images to use on your Social Media in different sizes for every platform. Make a few different styles to sell online or change the colors, fonts, and logo for a client to sell them to.
5. Make and Sell Fonts
Fonts are widely used in almost any sort of business. Isn’t it for branding then it is to make beautiful phrases or SVG’s to put on a t-shirt.
If you like making your own alphabet, this is something you can do with Illustrator. There is a great plugin that isn’t very expensive that helps you with converting the letters to a font so you can sell them online.
These are just 5 easy ways to use Illustrator to start your own business from home or scale your business online.
With all of these options, you don’t need to know everything to get started. Getting started and just put your work out there is most of the time harder for a lot of women than the skills you need to learn in Illustrator.
So what are you waiting for….!
Need any help with how to get started?
In my FREE FB group Illustrator Artists, I help women that want to learn Illustrator and earn their money from home. In this group, you will find like-minded women that love to learn Illustrator. I will share tutorials and answer as many questions as I can.
If you want to get started as soon as possible I offer a course where I teach you how to get started quickly with some neat build-in tools that Illustrator offers.
If you’re new to Illustrator then you need these 5 tools to get started quickly in Illustrator.
When I started out 20+ years ago there was no YouTube. I had to figure it out from books from the library and just try. It took me years to get the hang of it.
One of the things that still surprise me is that a lot of people tell you to start with the pen tool. In my opinion, the pen tool is one of the hardest tools the get familiar with and results in a lot of frustration. A lot of people stopped using and learning Illustrator because of the Pen Tool.
These days there are a lot of tools in Illustrator that help you to get the results you want without even touching the pen tool.
When you just start out quick results are vital keeping motivated and confident that you can do it. I know you can, but we have the tendency to think less of ourselves when something isn’t working out as we wanted.
So to stay motivated and seeing quick results I recommend starting with the following tools:
The Selection Tool
This is a tool you can’t do without. This is the first and last tool you will use when working with Illustrator.
While it does what it says, select the object(s) your working with it has a few extra functions that are great to start with and are easy to learn.
With the selection tool, you can select one or multiple random objects. You can rotate and scale the object(s) you select(ed) keeping proportions or not just by using an extra key on your keyboard.
The Rectangle/ellipse/star Tool
I combined these tools because they work similarly and these hold the basic shapes you need to get started.
Maybe you remember being in nursery/kindergarten or that your children were. When they learned how to draw a car, a bus, or an animal the teacher used the basic shapes they had learned before like a square, rectangle, triangle, and a circle or ellipse.
By combining those basic shapes, children were thought to draw more difficult shapes like a car or a duck.
The same applies to Illustrator. With those basic shapes, you can draw almost anything. Combine a few circles to make a cloud. Make a car out of squares, rectangles, and circles.
Start simple and make your shapes more and more complex by using some of the other tools below.
While these tools also do what they say they also have some extra options. Making the corners of the rectangle or square round is very easy. Adjust the star points to being round is a breeze.
The Shape Builder Tool
This is a pretty awesome tool. While you started making shapes with combining shapes with the previous tools, this tool allows you to combine them into one shape and distract parts that you don’t need.
For example, combining two circles and by distracting you can make a crescent moon. Combine two rounded rectangles and by distracting you have a heart.
By combining AND distracting your options have been multiplied.
The extra feature in this tool is that you can combine/distract and color in one go, as easy as that.
The Curvature Tool
The name of this tool is probably not self-explanatory, so I will explain what it does.
While playing around with the basic shapes, combining and distracting gives you a lot of options to make beautiful things. Some shapes need some extra adjustment.
In the old days, this wouldn’t be possible without using the Direct Selection tool, which I mention below. Because you could only draw and adjust complicated lines and curves with the Pen Tool and adjust them with the Direct Selection Tool.
In October 2014 Adobe released a new tool. In my opinion, this changed the learning curve of Illustrator significantly, because it made the Pen Tool less needed in the beginning.
The curvature tool has 2 drawing modes straight lines and curves. Just by double-clicking, you can switch between them.
It has some limitations if you already know the pen tool you need to get used to, but when you are just starting out in Illustrator it makes the learning process much easier.
While you are drawing and after drawing you can adjust the lines, curves, and anchor points you made with the same tool, which makes it easier to work with.
The Direct Selection Tool
This tool is for even more flexibility in adjusting your lines and curves. I wasn’t sure if I even wanted to add it, because with the tools above you can do almost anything.
But I decided to leave it in here because if you get stuck on a specific shape and the above are just not getting the results you like, this would be your next step.
With the direct selecting tool you are getting closer to the pen tool. Because when you select your object with it, it will give you anchor points as with the curvature tool, but those anchor points will be square instead of round and you will have two handles for every anchor point that you can move together, but also independently. These handles give you more control over the curves and while working with them needs a little practice it gives you much more flexibility for adjusting your shape.
When you start working with the pen tool after using this tool to adjust shapes, the learning curve is much lower, because you know already what the handles and anchor points do so drawing with the pen tool is much easier to understand and it just needs some practice.
Procrastinating learning Illustrator? I get it! Live is busy and there is much to do and so little time.
And learning a new skill takes time and effort, right?
What if it is something everybody says is quite hard to learn!
Hi, my name is Saskia and I am happily married, have two daughters and own my own business.
So I know live is busy and we only have 24 hours in a day. Time is the only thing we are not able to earn back. If it’s gone it’s gone!
So why are you procrastinating learning Illustrator?
I could name a lot of reasons why, but maybe the first question you should ask yourself is:
Why do I want to learn Illustrator in the first place?
I think if you really want it and you have the right reasons, you can make the time to learn it.
A lot of years I said to everybody that asked for my time, I am busy, I have to check my schedule, but I am not sure if I am available.
Becoming older I learned that I am a busy person and sitting still and doing nothing is not my thing. So no matter when people ask me, I always am busy.
I learned that being busy is more and more about priorities. Especially when people ask something that is no priority for me. Other factors come in place for the decision if I want to MAKE time!
Eventually everything is about wanting to make time for it. That doesn’t sound really nice, but if you think about it, it is true! Doesn’t make it any easier, though!
So ask yourself the question, why have you been procrastinating learning Illustrator?
There can be so many reasons.
You might find out that you procrastinate because it won’t give anything back.
If it doesn’t bring you anything after taking time to learn, practice and remember, maybe even costing you money. Then you might decide it’s not worth it!
But if it will bring you something in return:
Being able to make your own personalized Cricut projects
Being able to scale your business
It gives you satisfaction
Helping people near you
Being able to build a business from it
Making a promotion at work
Why wait any longer…..?
If you need any help with your journey or your negative believes?
I can help you!
On my Instagram IGTV channel, I made over 20 Illustrator Snippets that you can watch (FREE of course)
Ask your questions and share your progress with like-minded people in the Facebook group I just opened where I want to HELP people like you. I made the group private and I made providing an email-address mandatory to make sure that the group is filled with serious, respectful people that join to learn and to help others.
Several times a year I host a series of masterclasses you can join to get started with Illustrator. I will be guiding you through the LIVE masterclasses in very small groups, I will give you step by step exercises and homework to practice the skills you where taught in the masterclass. There is plenty of room for questions. You will even be able to track your progress in the FB group
If you already have some basic skills or entered my LIVE Masterclasses mentioned above. I have a 3-month program where I will give LIVE masterclasses more in-depth and I will guide you through the process.
You admire all those creative people making their own personalized projects in Illustrator. You feel like you never could learn that! But is learning Illustrator hard?
Is this you?
Then I have some good news for you!
First of all, I believe people can do anything regardless of their intelligence. Because even intelligent people have things they are not good at!
Second I believe that if you want something really bad. Or you have a passion for something, you can learn that.
How do I know this and why do I believe this?
Mostly from experience and a little from people around me. For almost 14 years I have a business, but I wasn’t always successful. Not success in the way that it brought me enough income to provide for my family.
When it didn’t work out I wasn’t doing where I am passionate about.
At the time I was excited and worked my bud off to get the results I wanted. But I choose a lot of projects thinking I good earn money.
I didn’t really do what I love most.
Helping people in a way I am good at was not what I did. I tried, but it just didn’t fit.
In the last decade, a few coaches and pieces of training where I learned business skills further. Mostly I learned who I am and what to bring to make the world a better place.
Passionate about something
When you are passionate about something then you have no problem giving it your all. You want to learn because you love to do it.
Having some patience with yourself can be hard. But I promise you that if you only have a little patience with yourself, you can learn much more. You will even learn more difficult things than you think.
Why I love to teach Illustrator!
Last year I finally had the guts to follow my dream and completely start my business in a new niche.
I used illustrator, photoshop, and Indesign to make websites, business cards, and a lot more promotional designs for business owners.
It just wasn’t it, but I love working with the Adobe programs and use them daily.
So I started using my knowledge of Illustrator to make art. During the last year, I have been working on my drawing skills and I can say I can draw now!
I love drawing and I am getting really good at it. There are also still things I am learning.
Teaching other people has always been something I love. I did some workshops with elderly people a few years back. The feedback is that I am so patient and make the steps so easy and manageable.
So this year I gave private lessons and I noticed that it gives me so much energy. I love it when a student works hard and it finally makes sense. The expression of succeeding on their face is worth more than money.
Is learning Illustrator hard?
The million dollar question: Is learning Illustrator hard?
On the internet, I see a lot of websites and forums state that learning Illustrator is hard to learn. Some say it has a steep learning curve.
Although I get what they mean, I don’t necessarily agree.
I believe when someone is passionate about something they can learn anything.
Maybe you tried learning Illustrator in a classroom or online and you didn’t know where to start. Or you felt dumb because all the other students got it much quicker.
This can cause the feeling of being too dumb to be able to learn it, may even feeling stupid!
If you read it so far I assume you really like to learn Illustrator. You might just have too many bad experiences or maybe even people who told you that it is too difficult.
I think that if you really want it, you can!
How can I help you?
With over 20 Illustrator Snippets on my Instagram IGTV channel that you can watch (FREE of course)
A Facebook group where I want to HELP people like you. To ask your questions and share your progress with like-minded people. I made the group private and providing an email-address mandatory. To make sure that the group is filled with serious, respectful people that join to learn and to help others.
Several times a year I host a series of masterclasses you can join to get started with Illustrator. I will be guiding you LIVE through the masterclasses in very small groups. And give you step-by-step exercises and homework to practice the skills you where taught in the masterclass. There is plenty of room for questions. You will even be able to track your progress in the FB group
If you already have some basic skills or entered my LIVE Masterclasses mentioned above. I have a 3-month program where I will give LIVE masterclasses more in-depth and guide you through the process.