How to Do Editorial Illustration

Whether you’re a professional artist or someone who likes to dabble in art for fun, editorial illustration is a great way to use your talent and showcase your work. Editorial illustration is the art of creating images to accompany editorial content in print or online publications.

The best editorial illustrations are those that visually interpret the story being told, adding intrigue, dimension and emotion while still staying true to the facts. A successful editorial illustration will have a strong concept that is executed with precision and skill.

If you’re interested in pursuing editorial illustration, here are some tips to get you started:

1. Understand the Audience of the Publication You’re Illustrating For

The first step to creating great editorial illustrations is to understand the publication you’re creating it for. What kind of audience does the publication target? What is the overall tone of the content?

You need to take these factors into consideration when coming up with your concept so that your illustration is appropriate for both the subject matter and the audience it will be reaching.

For example, if you’re creating illustrations for a scientific journal, your illustrations need to be accurate and informative, while still being visually interesting. On the other hand, if you’re illustrating for a children’s magazine, your illustrations need to be fun and engaging, while still conveying the information in the article.

2. Have a Strong Concept

As with any piece of art, a successful editorial illustration starts with a strong concept. A great way to come up with concepts is to read the article or editor’s letter. You’ll be illustrating and brainstorming ideas that visually represent the main points.

Your concept should be something that is visually interesting and eye-catching, while still staying true to the story being told. It should be able to stand on its own, without the need for explanation or caption

Remember, your illustration should add another layer of depth and meaning to the story, not take away from it. A strong concept will make your editorials more memorable and impactful.

3. Pay Attention to Details

Once you have your concept, it’s time to start fleshing it out. Pay close attention to the details in your illustration so that everything is executed flawlessly. Every line, every color, and every detail should be carefully considered.

Your editorial illustrations need to look polished and professional in order to be successful. They should be easy to understand at a glance. The last thing you want is for your readers to be confused about what they’re looking at.

Take the time to plan out your illustration and think about the best way to execute your concept. If you need to, sketch out a rough draft before you start drawing or painting.

Once you start working on your final piece, take your time and make sure each detail is perfect. Don’t be afraid to make changes along the way. The more effort you put into your editorial illustrations, the better they will be.

4. Choose the Right Medium

The medium you use for your editorial illustrations is just as important as the concept and execution. The type of medium you use will depend on the publication you’re illustrating for, as well as your own personal preferences and strengths.

Some popular mediums for editorial illustrations include pen and ink, watercolor, gouache, and digital. Each has its own unique benefits and drawbacks, so it’s important to choose the one that will work best for your particular project.

For example, pen and ink is a great choice if you need to create detailed illustrations or if you want your illustrations to have a more vintage feel. Watercolor is perfect for creating softer, more ethereal images. Gouache is ideal for creating bold and striking illustrations. And digital is a good choice if you need to create multiple versions of your illustrations or make changes quickly.

No matter what medium you choose, make sure you’re comfortable working with it and that it’s the best choice for the project at hand.

Once perfected, you can get in touch with illustration companies who can help you get some work to further your illustration career.


The best illustrators started somewhere. And while there’s no one right way to become a successful editorial illustrator, there are some things you can do to increase your chances of success. By following the tips in this article, you’ll be well on your way to creating stunning editorial illustrations that will impress both editors and readers alike. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and start illustrating!

Ellen Hollington

Ellen Hollington is a freelance writer who offers to ghostwrite, copywriting, and blogging services. She works closely with B2C and B2B businesses providing digital marketing content that gains social media attention and increases their search engine visibility.