How To Write an Illustrator Cover Letter in 8 Steps

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published March 25, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A cover letter is a tool you can use in your job search to explain your qualifications to a potential employer. If you're applying for a job as an illustrator, your cover letter could help you explain the contents of your portfolio and share relevant information about your artistic skills. Learning how to write a compelling cover letter might increase your chances of getting an interview. In this article, we explain how to write an illustrator cover letter, list some skills you can include and share a template and two examples that could inspire you when you write your own.

How to write an illustrator cover letter

Here are eight steps you can follow when writing your illustrator cover letter:

1. Add your contact information

It's vital that employers know who you are and how to contact you if they're interested in scheduling an interview. Add your name and contact information to the top of the page. Since you're applying for a creative role, it might be appropriate to use color or a unique font to showcase your style, but ensure the information is still easy to read.

2. Include a professional greeting

You might be able to distinguish yourself from other candidates by directly addressing the person who's hiring for the role. If you know the name of hiring manager, address the letter to their first and last name. When you know the recipient's gender, you could use a professional suffix. If you aren't able to learn who will be reviewing your application, you can use a general greeting, like "Dear Hiring Manager".

Read more: How To Address a Cover Letter (With Examples)

3. Explain your reason for writing

When you begin the body of your cover letter, it can beneficial to directly state why you're writing the letter. Include the title of the position you're applying for, and share why you're a suitable candidate for the job. Consider including a brief summary of your career history, explaining how long you've been an illustrator and what relevant degrees you hold. You might also mention how you learned about the position and how your qualifications align with the job posting or the company values.

4. Summarize your relevant experience

Next, you can write one or two paragraphs detailing your experience. If you've been in the industry for a long time, you might choose to discuss one or two positions that feel pertinent to the responsibilities of the role. Explain the responsibilities you handle on a regular basis, and remember to include any skills or tasks that the job description might stress. For example, if the job posting requests a candidate who's comfortable working in a fast-paced environment and managing a busy workload, you might share that you balance competing deadlines with ease in your current position.

Illustrators work in a variety of fields. If you have a specialization that's relevant to the job, this is a good time to mention it. You could explain your experience with a particular medium, like storyboards or advertisements, or you could share your history working in a sub-field, like medical illustration or fashion.

Related: 12 Types of Illustrators

5. Discuss your portfolio

Most illustration positions require candidates to submit a portfolio with their application. If any of the materials in your portfolio would benefit from clarification or context, you could discuss them in your cover letter. For example, you might explain the materials you used, the goals you and the client agreed upon or the unique parameters of the assignment. This gives you an opportunity to discuss your work style, draw attention to the work you're proud of and highlight specific skills that are relevant to the role.

6. Mention your hard and soft skills

Your cover letter is an opportunity to discuss your skills in a more in-depth fashion than a resume allows. Remember to reflect on most important parts of the job description and mention some of the skills the potential employer requests. It can also be helpful to balance hard skills and soft skills. In an illustrator cover letter, hard skills might include art techniques, design software and an understanding of principles like color theory and symmetry.

Soft skills are personality traits or abilities that help you perform the job successfully, like imagination, collaboration and communication. It can be vital for illustrators to be able to understand what clients visualize and set expectations accordingly, so communication skills can be valuable. Illustrators also often manage their own workload, so it can be helpful to explain how you establish priorities and build realistic timelines.

Related: Illustrator Resume Tips and Examples

7. Write a short closing paragraph

You can end your cover letter with a brief conclusion reiterating your interest in the role. It can be nice to thank the hiring manager to their time and remind them how they can contact you.

8. Add a professional signoff

Choose a professional signoff to close with, and include your first and last name. You can add your signature beneath your typed name to add formality. Here are some of the signoffs you could choose:

  • Respectfully,

  • Best regards,

  • Sincerely,

  • Thank you,

  • Cordially,

Read more: How To End a Letter to Make a Lasting Impression (With Examples)

Skills for an illustrator cover letter

When you're discussing skills on your resume, it's important to select relevant ones that might help the hiring manager visualize you excelling in the position. Illustrators typically have a mix of hard and soft skills that they use to create compelling artwork and build positive relationships with teammates and clients. Choosing a balanced list of skills to discuss in your cover letter can help you communicate your value.

Here are some of the skills you could mention in your illustrator cover letter:

  • Painting

  • Sketching

  • Drawing

  • Design programs

  • Photo editing

  • Layout

  • Problem-solving

  • Verbal and written communication

  • Collaborative design

  • Meeting deadlines

  • Multitasking

  • Active listening

  • Visual storytelling

  • Web content

  • Implementing feedback

  • Concepts

  • Patience

Template of an illustrator cover letter

Here's a template you could reference when writing your own illustrator cover letter:

[Your first and last name]
[Your location]
[Your phone number and email address]

[Date]

[Recipient's name]
[Recipient's title]
[Employer name]

Dear [Recipient's name],

[Your first paragraph is an introductory paragraph that introduces your interest in the position, summarizes your background and communicates your connection to the job or employer.]

[Your second paragraph details your relevant experience by sharing tasks and responsibilities you performed at your current or previous positions and explaining how they relate to the requirements of the position. You can include accomplishments or numerical data to support your claims. Explain any materials in your portfolio that might benefit from additional context.]

[Your third paragraph communicates your value by explaining your hard and soft skills. Aim to mention both technical qualifications and personal attributes that contribute to your candidacy. You might also show how you apply these skills by using an anecdote.]

[Your final paragraph is a conclusion reiterating your interest and summarizing some of the reasons you're a good fit for the position. Thank the reader for spending time considering you for the position. Remind them how they can contact you.]

[Professional signoff],

[Your first and last name]
[Your signature]

Examples of an illustrator cover letter

Here are two examples of illustrator cover letters that you can use to guide your writing:

Entry level example

Below is an example of an illustrator cover letter for a recent graduate with minimal experience:

Francisco Lampen
Bloomington, Indiana
555-123-4567, francisco.p.lampen@email.com

March 29, 2022

Lisa Chadway
Creative Director
Prairie Dog Production Studios

Dear Lisa Chadway,

I'm writing you to express my interest in the Junior Illustrator position at Prairie Dog Production Studios. I'm a recent graduate with an MFA in Animation, and previously, I earned a BFA in Illustration. I have three years of experience as an assistant illustrator for an educational animation studio, and I'm confident my playful style is a match for the kid-friendly films Prarie Dog Production Studios creates.

At my current position as an assistant illustrator at Weeping Willow Animations, I create detailed character sketches for 2D and 3D productions. I create my original sketches on paper using pencil, then I create digital drawings using popular design programs. You can find my designs for our recent program, "Lexi Lizard and Luther the Lemon", on the third page of my portfolio. At Weeping Willow Animations, I regularly balance multiple projects at once and meet deadlines effectively alongside my teammates.

I'm highly competent in drawing, painting and photography, and I'm familiar with most common design and layout programs. My colleagues and classmates note that I'm an excellent listener. I believe active listening is a vital part of design, because it helps me understand exactly what the people I'm working with are picturing. I'm also a clever problem solver. In my MFA program, I worked on assignment with a group that frequently disagreed about color. We all had different styles. I suggested we create a brand guide for use on our group projects, so no person's personal style led our work.

I'm confident I would thrive as the Junior Illustrator at Prairie Dog Production Studios because of my vast arsenal of artistic skills and personable approach to group work. Thank you for taking the time to read my application and review my portfolio. Please contact me by email to schedule an interview at your convenience.

Respectfully,

Francisco Lampen

Mid-career example

Kandice Brady
Portland, Oregon
555-123-4567, kbrady14@email.com

April 9, 2022

Zoey McNath
Publications Manager
Arch-Pandry Publications

Dear Ms. McNath,

I'm composing this letter to inform you of my interest in the Senior Illustrator position at Arch-Pandry Publications. I spoke with you briefly about the role at the Platitude Job Fair in Portland last week. I feel my six years of experience in medical illustration have readied me for a senior-level position at a prestigious publication like Arch-Pandry, and I am eager about the opportunity.

I've worked as a medical illustrator at Hillmarch Tools, a manufacturer of medical devices for six years. In my time at Hillmarch Tools, I've created highly accurate sketches, gaining a thorough understanding of human anatomy and advanced medical concepts. I create diagrams, presentations, illustrations for brochures and web content. I recently won the Medical Illustrator of the Year award, recognizing me for my contributions within our global organizations. The design I submitted, the diagram of a human stomach after weight loss surgery, is available in my supplementary portfolio.

I'm proficient in drawing, painting, digital art, 3D printing, and biomedical research. During my time at Hillmarch Tools, I've found it essential to collaborate effectively with medical writers. I employ my excellent verbal and written communication skills to achieve alignment across teams and ensure our materials are accurate and thorough. I also possess leadership skills that I'm eager to use in my next role. I'm excellent at motivating teams, creating educational resources and mentoring newer illustrators.

I appreciate the opportunity to apply for the Senior Illustrator position, and I feel my interpersonal skills and expert medical illustration capabilities make me a suitable candidate. Thank you for considering me. If you'd like to speak more about my qualifications, please contact me by phone at the phone number above.

Best regards,

Kandice Brady

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