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8 in-demand creative skills for freelancers―many can pay more than $100 per hour

Source: Envato Elements

Freelancing continues to be a popular way to make money in the U.S., whether full-time or on the side. A majority of U.S. workers, 73%, say they will either start freelancing or continue doing so in 2023, according to a December 2022 survey of 2,000 U.S. workers by freelancer platform Fiverr.

There are many in-demand skills for freelancers, including ones in tech and marketing. But there's no shortage of employers looking for creative skills, too. Demand for 3D animation grew 44% year over year on freelancer platform Upwork, for example, according to a recent report.

The platform recently published its predictions for the most in-demand creative skills for 2023. Here are eight of them, including how much freelancers are currently charging. Many gigs hiring for these skills do not require a bachelor's degree to be considered.

Graphic design

Graphic designers work on visuals for client brochures, websites, social media posts and so on. With so many companies leaning heavily on digital marketing, there's "lots of opportunities for [designers] to flex their muscles," says Yolanda Owens, career expert at The Muse.

Graphic designers on Upwork charge as much as $125 per hour.

Video editing

Video editors take raw footage and edit it together to create cohesive clips for the internet, TV and film. "Video is being used more and more as a tool for communication," says Margaret Lilani, vice president of talent solutions at Upwork. Companies are using it to market and explain their missions and activities.

Freelancers charge as much as $100 per hour.


Illustrators come into play in various business activities including book creation, websites and ads. Their tools can be digital, using graphic design software, or physical, such as a canvas and paints or colored pencils.

They charge as much as $75 per hour on Upwork.

3D animation

These animators create three-dimensional art for TV, film or video. Some storyboard their work to give themselves a general direction and all ultimately use animation technology to make it come alive.

3D animators on Upwork charge as much as $110 per hour.

Presentation design

These designers work on programs like PowerPoint, Google Slides and Keynote to build presentations like pitch decks, sales presentations and company presentations. They take a set of ideas, stories, words, images, etc. and arrange them so that "they tell a story," says Lilani. "They persuade an audience."

These designers charge as much as $125 per hour.

Image editing

Image editors improve the quality of photographs using software like Adobe Photoshop and PhotoDirector 365. In an office setting, they might work on touching up company headshots, for example.

They charge as much as $180 per hour on Upwork.

Cartoons and comics

These artists create cartoons or comic strips by hand or digitally on programs like Adobe Animate and Animaker. Some companies may want to incorporate cartoons in their marketing and advertising materials, in their various online profiles or even in their internal documents. "It depends on the culture of the company," says Lilani.

Cartoonists on Upwork charge as much as $70 per hour.

Product and industrial design

Experts in this artform conceive of and design products for use and mass production. They design digital products like apps and software and physical objects like furniture and electronics, considering elements like user experience and appearance.

They charge as much as $175 per hour on Upwork.

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