How to Become a Technical Illustrator


Technical Illustrator Job Description

Technical illustrators help people understand complex scientific or technical information by creating detailed drawings.


Their illustrations are often prepared for use in reference books, textbooks, instructions manuals, and technical sales brochures. They may also be involved in producing images for multimedia software, websites, film and television programs. 


Technical illustrators are typically employed with design studios, multimedia and web publishers, manufacturers, film and television companies as well as computer games producers.



Typical Job Duties

• Meet with client or managers to discuss project requirements and contract details

• Liaise with engineers, designers and technical authors to gain a better understanding of the project

• May visit manufacturing sites to view first-hand how the item is assembled or produced

• Create illustration ideas that suit the brief

• Use traditional drawing methods as well as computer aided design programs to create product illustrations

• Consult with the client to seek approval through all stages of the project

• Make any changes to the illustrations that are required

• Ultimately gain final approval for illustrations





How to Become a Technical Illustrator

In order to become a technical illustrator, you will need to develop a portfolio. Your portfolio should include your best work, and should demonstrate a variety of your skills. Ensure that works showing your use of both CAD tools for three-dimensional designs and simple pencil line drawings are contained in your portfolio.


Creating a website or other form of online portfolio is highly recommended, as this allows prospective employers to easily access and evaluate your work.


An effective way to find work as a technical illustrator is to directly contact aerospace, automotive, construction and other companies that use technical illustrators. You may also want to consider contacting placement agencies that specialize in placing technical employees. These agencies often have both permanent and contract positions available.


Accepting contract positions can be useful because you can learn about different industries and areas without making a more permanent commitment. It can also be a great way to get your foot in the door with an organization; if a permanent position becomes available, you will have an advantage over outside applicants.


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