@Julia not sure about Europe.
I always wonder other illustrators are making a living.
I've got a few friends graduated from a prestigious illustration MFA program. One received several big awards immediately after her graduation, yet have to work as a baby sitter for a while to support her living. One year later, she decided to leave USA and go back to her home country, because not enough work for her in USA at that moment. She is starting to generate more income now -- roughly 3 years after graduation, which is pretty fast among recent graduates, I believe.
Another who is doing well actually went to fashion design industry and paint books occasionally. Both her publication and fashion clients are not in US though.