An illustrator is someone who produces drawings, paintings or diagrams that help explain or deepen the understanding of something. They can often be used along with words, for instance in the case of illustrations found in a book, or they can stand on their own.
Illustrations are used widely in the case of advertisements, books, packaging, newspapers and technical diagrams. They are especially prevalent in books and are often highly sought after as they can add untold layers of goodness to the narrative. In kids books, Quentin Blake's drawings for Roald Dahl have become synonymous with our image of his work while Ralph Steadman's drawings for Hunter S Thompson provided a very different, yet still iconic, kind of drawing for the Gonzo journalist.
An illustrator often has quite a bit of freedom in how they choose to approach a project; however, they will still have to work with a client to ensure they are going in the right direction. An illustrator must discuss briefs with authors or editors. They must then change these as appropriate and be able to seek out and take constructive criticism of their work
Deadlines are also important and an illustrator must submit the work on time and to a professional standard. Another key part of the job is to be able to illustrate in a number of different mediums, be it hand drawing, painting or using computer software.