Let’s find out how to make money as an artist. It will be a great way to turn your passion into a paid job.
Making money as an artist is not easy! It is a very competitive marketplace. You will have to create exquisite work, hustle a lot, and do a lot of marketing!!. However, pursuing your dream job and getting successful at the same time is totally worth that struggle.
First, you can go through the below list, and then we’ll discuss each step in detail.
Heads up 👋
I am not an artist! (Yes, I do a bit of graphic designing to make money, but that doesn’t qualify me to be an artist) So, this blog post is written as a marketer’s or an online businessman’s point of view.
How to make money as an artist?
Here are the seven most practical ways to make money as an artist.
- Selling your original artworks on online marketplaces
If you are truly creative, selling your original pieces on an online marketplace is the easiest and quickest way to get started.
- Selling t-shirts with your designs printed on them
Rather than selling the originals and prints of your artworks directly, you can print them on t-shirts and start selling those t-shirts online. This is a great way to make money if you have a solid fanbase. We’ll discuss how to do this towards the end of this article.
- Building an online audience around your niche
This is the most sustainable way to make money as an artist. Building an online audience is not easy. However, it is totally doable. You can build your audience on Facebook, Instagram, or even on your own blog.
- Creating painting tutorials
Teaching is another great way to make an income from your skills. You can create online webinars, create tutorials, and even give one-on-one lessons for the other aspiring artists.
- Freelancing to make money as an artist
Many organizations and individuals use freelancing marketplaces to find talent. So, by listing a gig on suitable freelancing marketplaces will help you to find jobs as an artist.
- Licensing your artworks to stock websites
If you are creating digital artworks, licensing your artworks to stock websites will help you to make money while getting your name and brand out there.
- Working for magazines as illustrators
Getting some sort of permanent job helps in many different ways. In most cases, you will get medical covers, and other fringe benefits by working for an established organization. So, you can make money as an artist by working for magazines as illustrators.
Wait a minute 😏
Before we discuss the above steps in details, let’s find out a few more things that you should consider before start living as an artist.
Be known for something special. Find your niche!
I am not a marketing guru. However, I am using online marketing strategies for more than 8 years now. So, if I tell you one thing about online marketing, it will be:
“If you try to be known for everything, you will be known for nothing!”
That is why you must have to find your speciality and select the best niche for your art. Think about it. I am not an artist my self, but I know that almost every world-renowned artists are known for some special style. When you see any of their work, you will know that this piece if from that guy.
So, you have to do the same. Find, define, and create your own style. Be unique, and that is the easiest way to find a special audience for your work.
Branding and pricing your work
Similar to defining a niche, it is extremely important to brand your work and choose the right price to sell your talent.
When I say branding, that doesn’t mean that you have to sign your work or add a logo on the packaging. Branding is how your audience feels about your work. And, it is about how they remember you.
For example, you should create a visual connection or a continuation between your blog, social media channels, and other marketplaces. Use a consistent colour palette, typography, and mockups. Do not just add everything you got onto your portfolios. Choose only your best work.
Since you came to read this blog post about how to make money as an artist, I am guessing that you are not going to be an artist just only for your pleasure. You need to make money. That is why choosing the right price for your talent is so important.
The art market is extremely complicated. People do not buy art. They buy the artist! So, underselling or overselling won’t work. That is why you need to be a good marketer to make money as an artist. Don’t worry, we’ll talk more about this little later (when we talk about audience building).
When you publish your work on stock websites, the prices will be low and fixed at the beginning. Then you can increase your prices as your name gets more popular.
Do you want to make money as an artist? Then, here is how to do that…
Selling your original artworks on online marketplaces
It is easy to sell stuff online. There are plenty of online marketplaces to list your artworks for sale. Also, you can even add an eCommerce (a shop) section to your own blog to sell your art and make money.
Here are the 10 best places to sell your art to make money as an artist
- ArtPal – ArtPal is a popular online art gallery and a marketplace to buy and sell art. So, you can list your artworks for FREE, and make money by selling your works. Also, you can use their print-on-demand service to sell the prints of your works.
- Displate – You can upload your designs to Displate, and they print-on-demand your designs on metal posters (to mount on walls) and sell them on their marketplace. Then, you can make a commission for every sale they make. Also, you can post affiliate links on your social media channels to drive sales and get an extra 25% of the sales value.
- Artfinder – Artfinder is another great place to sell your art. They also feature different artists on their network giving you an amazing chance to get popular.
- Singulart – Singulart is a curated gallery, which provides an amazing opportunity for emerging artists to make money and build their network.
- Saatchi – Saatchi is one of the largest art marketplaces out there. It has a massive audience for you to get in touch with. Also, they run a curated gallery, which can help you to get featured and get a boost for your carrier.
- Art Please – You can upload your artworks on Art Please to sell them online. Also, the collectors can request specific artwork for you to do and get paid.
- Artquid – Artquid is another great place to sell your works and make money as an artist. You can upload your designs to their gallery and sell.
- U Gallery – U Gallery is one of the oldest platforms to sell and buy artworks. It has a massive audience for you to reach, sell, and even to build a good fanbase.
- Etsy – Etsy is a well-known online marketplace for arts and crafts. When you sell on Etsy, you can reach a wider audience by creating some sort of products with your works. For example, you can make wall hangers or posters with your artworks and sell them under different categories.
- eBay – eBay is unarguably one of the biggest marketplaces out there. It is not particularly a marketplace to sell art. However, similar to Etsy, if you can make some products with your artworks, you can sell them on eBay to reach a massive audience.
Related: How to start selling on eBay
Make money as an artist by selling t-shirts with your designs printed on them
Starting a t-shirt business as an artist? What is that?? Don’t get overwhelmed! It is not as hard as it sounds.
Heads up 👋
If you need to make a considerable amount of money as an artist, by selling t-shirts, you will need a good fanbase for you. So, if you are not that much popular, you will need to work on building an audience first. Please read the next section for audience-building strategies for artists.
If you have a good fanbase, they would love to wear a t-shirt with your designs on it. Actually this is a great way to make money with the support of a loyal fanbase.
Related: How to sell t-shirts online
You don’t have to break the bank to start a t-shirt business
Services like Printful let the designers like you sell print-on-demand t-shirts with a zero effort! It works in a pretty simple way.
All you have to do is, upload your design onto their app and get automatically generated pictures of the mockups to post on your online store. So, when someone makes a purchase, you can forward that order to Printful. Then, they will print, pack, and ship that t-shirt to your customer.
See… It is so simple. You don’t have to worry about a thing. Isn’t that a great way to make money as an artist?
Make money as an artist by building an online audience around your niche
As we have have been telling over and over again, if you have an audience for your work, there are plenty of ways to make money. That is why audience-building is an important part of marketing.
As an artist, you have all the ingredients to build an audience for your work. Well, the most important ingredient that you need to build an audience is some sort of engaging content. So, as an artist, you can use your artworks as the content to build an audience.
How to build an audience as an artist?
It is simple! All you have to do is, choose the easiest social media channel that you are comfortable with. For example, you can select Facebook or Instagram to get started. Then, you can simply create an account to reflect your brand and start posting your best work.
When you do so, make sure to follow the best practices of building a powerful social media strategy.
Also, remember that you have to use your social media channels to build conversations. Do not just post something and disappear. You have to build an engagement with your audience. As an artist, this will be a lot easier for you.
How to make money as an artist with a fanbase?
Making a strong fanbase is the hardest part. Once you have a strong fanbase, making money is just a piece of cake.
For example, as we have discussed, you can sell t-shirts with your designs to make money as an artist. Also, you can make money from the donations. If you have a blog, you can start publishing ads from services like Google Adsense or promote affiliate links to make money from the traffic too. Also, you can start an eCommerce section on your blog to sell other merchandise too.
Likewise, if you have a strong audience, there are endless opportunities to make money as an artist. However, it is not easy to build an audience. You need to produce exquisite and engaging works to become successful. So, in the end, everything depends on your talent.
Creating painting tutorials is another great way to make money as an artist
As an artist, you can make money by tutoring other aspiring artists too. For example, you can start a YouTube channel, or start an online course in any of the online tutoring platforms. Sometimes, you may even find opportunities to make money by giving one-on-one lessons for the kids.
Conducting classes in your neighboorhood is pretty much straightforward. So, in this post, we’ll talk more on how to make money by running a YouTube channel or by working on online tutoring platforms.
Make money as an artist by creating painting tutorials on YouTube
YouTube is a gold mine for the content creators. Well, I know that I don’t have to explain how YouTube works to you. So, let’s get straight to the idea.
Artists like Katie Jobling do pretty well on YouTube. Browse for such videos and see how they are doing it. Check this sample video to get an idea.
There are two basic ways to make money by creating YouTube videos.
- Once you get more than 1000 subscribers and 4000 watch hours, you can enable monetization by linking a Google Adsense account to your channel. So, it will show ads on your videos and let you make money.
- Also, you can promote certain products and create sponsored videos to make money on YouTube. Finding sponsors is not that hard. Once you become popular they will contact you.
However, to make money from any of these options, first, you need to have a successful YouTube channel. So, we are back at audience building. We discussed about audience building and shared some useful links in the previous section (if you have missed that).
Make money by teaching art on online tutoring platforms
Teaching online is a straightforward way to make money from your skills. If you are already thinking of starting a YouTube channel to make money as an artist, you can extend your gig by creating some exclusive video tutorials to publish on tutoring platforms.
By creating painting courses on Udemy and LinkedIn learning platforms (there are many other platforms too), you can make money as someone watches your tutorials.
Visit those sites and see their guidelines to get more details about how to create video tutorials. Also, don’t forget to watch a few videos from the artists who are making money off this gig. It will help you to get good inspiration. BTW, don’t just copy what they do. Nobody wants to see some duplicated content. Use a little bit of humour to increase the audience engagement, and create some unique and compelling tutorials.
Freelancing to make money as an Artist
If someone asks me what is the best way to make money online for free, I would say “Start freelancing”.
So, I am giving you the same advice. If you want to make money as an artist, without having to spend a lot of money, start freelancing.
Getting freelancing jobs is not that hard. All you have to do is list a compelling gig on a freelancing marketplace like Fiverr, Upwork, or Freelancer. Well, getting your first job might be a little hard. However, there are some tricks to get a kickstart! Just Google and you will find the answers 😉
Heads up 👋
I don’t recommend using the fake reviews to get a boost for your freelancing gigs. If they find that you are getting fake reviews, they will ban you forever!
When you post a freelancing gig, you need to consider a bit about SEO too. For example, when you select a topic for your gig, make sure that you are using the words, which people actually search for. Also, don’t just post everything you got to the portfolios. Include only your best work.
Working for magazines as illustrators
Sometimes, having a permanent (or a running) job is much safer than being a full-time freelancer.
For example, when you make your financial plans, you know that there will be a permanent amount of income every month. Also, having a permanent job gives you some other perks like getting sponsored health insurance, sometimes the free meals, and even it helps to get bank loans too.
So, depending on your financial status, sometimes, you will need to consider getting a permanent job as an artist. Therefore, getting a job at a magazine is the most straightforward way to make a living as an artist.
Create a compelling web portfolio to increase your chances of getting hired. Showcase your best work, and start applying for the vacancies published on job sites.
Making money as an artist is not that easy!
As I told you earlier, it will not be easy to make money as an artist. It is a competitive marketplace. However, if you have the passion and talent, you can start hustling without getting tired. Then, success will be inevitable.
Also, make sure to keep learning. Network with other artists by joining Facebook groups. There you will find more ways to make money as an artist and the new trends in the business.
If we have answered your question, please share this post and help another aspiring artist. 🙂