Updated January 24, 2020

How To Make Money As An Artist: The Ultimate Online Guide

Small Business Ideas

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If you’re an artist, you’ve probably become used to hearing people say how impossible it is for you to make a viable career out of your passion and earn good money. Contrary to those outdated beliefs, it is possible to turn your creativity into a lucrative occupation and earn more than what you’d get from gallery representations. However, while monetizing your art is possible, it’ll take some effort on your part to actualize this goal.

So, without further ado, here’s the ultimate guide to show you how to make money as an artist online.

1. Start An Art Blog Or A YouTube Channel

Although artists are generally known to prefer visuals and images rather than writing, they can still put their ideas into words thanks to available online courses and guides.

You can use your blog to show your audience some of your works, help them learn a particular painting style, share with them some of the products you use, and so on.

As an artist, no one would expect to see full blocks of text on your blog – your posts should be image-heavy instead. However, ensure that your blog post images are of high quality.

Here are some blog post ideas for you:

  • Reviews of new art supplies
  • Drawing or painting tutorials
  • Tips for framing art
  • Product recommendations
  • Reports on new exhibitions and galleries
  • Create videos showing how you paint, and then share written tips about it
  • Interviews with local artists
  • Tips about freelancing as an illustrator
  • Your top favorite art and design website or blogs

How You Can Make Money As An Art Blogger

You might be wondering: How can I make money off this?

Apart from the fact that having a blog or a YouTube channel allows potential clients to find your work easily, there are many other ways you can make extra income through blogging.

Some of the popular, lucrative revenue streams include affiliate marketing, paid advertising, sponsored posts, product reviews, and promoting your products (either physical or digital products like eBooks.)

With your blog, you can earn commission from recommending your favorite products and equipment.

And even without millions of views, you can still make money as an artist by monetizing your videos on YouTube.

Pro Tip:The purpose of your art blog is different compared to that of your portfolio.

Your portfolio gives people an idea of your style or method of work as well as your contact information.

But the purpose of your blog is to produce useful, captivating, and engaging content for your audience.

Nevertheless, you can include your portfolio inside your blog, albeit in a separate section.

2. Start Teaching Online Classes

If you enjoy sharing ideas and teaching other people, you should consider teaching art online.

By teaching online, you have the opportunity of reaching a wider target audience, unlike face-to-face teaching.

Besides, you only need to prepare your teaching material once, and it can be a source of passive income for you for several years to come.

You can design your teaching content in the form of video tutorials, workbooks, exercises, step-by-step guides with images, and any other thing that can give people value for their money.

Now, more than ever, people are seeking out experts who can help them improve in their creative work.

As an artist, graphic designer, or painter, there are many people out there who are ready to pay you to learn a particular skill that you have.

You can make more money by specializing in a field (and being an expert in it) rather than dabbling in different areas.

When your students learn a new skill, you not only get paid, you’ll also establish your authority as a leading figure in your niche.

Good to Know: Teaching others your techniques or sharing your creative process with them doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be better than you or put you out of business.

Once you have established your visual brand and style, your work will be considered original, and anyone who tries to imitate your style would just be a “copy” of you.

Your teaching is to help them find their own style and incorporate it into something that’ll be unique to them.

By teaching other people the technical skills required to create art, you’ll also be improving in your creative, intellectual, and professional capacities.

How To Make Money Online As An Art Teacher

  • Find your niche: Choose a course you’re comfortable teaching.
  • Know your students: This helps you create and market your course content easier and also allows you to set an ideal price for your video content or subscription fee.
  • Create content: Provide valuable, well detailed content that fits your students’ needs, and sell your courses online on platforms like Udemy and Skillshare.
  • Advertise on social media: Use social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube to market your online courses and reach thousands of people that might be interested in your services.

3. Sell Art On Instagram

Recently, Instagram has become the top social media platform for artists to showcase their work to their teeming fans.

Vogue Magazine has called it the “World’s Most Talked-About New Art Dealer,” and it’s easy to see why, considering how art dealers and auction houses are using the social media platform to sell art.

According to Forbes, 22.7% of art buyers find designs and artwork through social media, while only 15.9% use galleries when buying art.

Creatives don’t have to go through the arduous task of climbing up the social media and waiting for influencers to call the shots.

Now you can connect with potential buyers from all parts of the world willing to pay for your work.

However, it’s not all smooth sailing.

Before you can begin to enjoy these benefits, you need to have a large follower base.

The number of your engaged followers correlates with the popularity of your Instagram account, and higher values mean you’ll have more potential buyers.

Selling your art on Instagram not only helps you promote your brand, you also get to make money through sales of your artwork.

Pro Tip: You can as well partner with diverse companies, from art suppliers to fashion brands and get paid to share content with their followers.

Other Tips To Follow When Selling Art On Instagram Include:

  • Make some great art and post high-quality images.
  • When photographing your artwork, choose a clean background and make sure you take well-lit pictures.
  • Familiarize yourself with hashtags as this is a quick way for people to discover new artists online. Also, ensure you use relevant hashtags that correspond to the keywords you’re trying to identify with.
  • Have a specific style or brand that distinguishes you from other art brands – it could be your filter choice or how you interact with your followers.
  • Create captivating captions about your inspiration in creating the artwork, or something that can trigger your customers to want to make the purchase.
  • Complete your bio: A descriptive but concise description with a link to your website or blog might be all you need to make a sale.
  • Post Regularly: The idea is to stay fresh in people’s mind by posting regularly – too many posts might turn your followers off, but you can’t do wrong posting one or two times daily.

4. Sell Other Merchandise With Your Art

You can use creative selling websites which offer a print-on-demand / drop shipping service to make extra money by getting your artwork printed on tangible products.

These websites will handle everything regarding the printing, packaging, branding, and shipping of your custom products to your customers, leaving you to deal with the creative aspect.

Most of these sites are reputable and have a large audience, meaning that more people will be able to see your work.

The best part is that you can join these websites anytime without paying. They only earn commissions after a purchase has been made.

Below Are Examples Of Popular Creative Selling Websites:

1. Art Pal

They deal in all types of creative products such as drawings, photographs, and sculptures.

With this site, artists can create an online art gallery for free where potential buyers can check their work out.

Apart from this, you can showcase your work through the gallery and sell prints of your designs using their print-on-demand service.

You are entitled to 95% of the profit if you successfully sell your original artwork on the platform. The site takes the remaining 5% as its charges.

But if you use their print-on-demand service, you’ll only get the profit after the cost of production has been deducted.

2. Society6

Society6 is a platform for artists to sell art reproductions and get paid to have their work printed on a wide variety of products.

Uploading artwork and photography on this site is quite easy, and the products available on Society6 include yoga mats, coffee mugs, calendars, framed prints, stretched canvas.

You get to retain all rights to your artwork while Society6 handles all order fulfillment, meaning that you don’t have to bother with packaging or shipping.

Society6 also allows you to set your own royalty agreement on art prints and stretched canvases, while the other items have a fixed price.

3. Zazzle

Another platform to make money as a creative person by selling your designs is Zazzle.

The company creates and sells a wide assortment of products such as greeting cards (Christmas, Birthday, Thanksgiving,) pillowcases, towels, home decors, T-shirts, phone cases, coffee mugs, and other souvenirs.

You can have your art designs printed on these products and set your own royalty price for each item you sell.

The site has a royalty calculator that lets you know beforehand how much money you can make on a particular sale.

4. deviantART

Whether you have prints of designs you want to sell, or you want to sell photographs via stock images, deviantART should be one of your first choices.

You can also sell your designs on mugs, holiday cards, calendars, and postcards.

deviantART has the largest online art community with over 285 million pieces of art from more than 31 million registered users and art enthusiasts and more than 65 million unique visitors every month.

As such it is popular among artists so you can have the opportunity to network and talk to established artists and art buyers.

The insights and exposure you’ll gain from networking with other community members can cause your career to gain momentum swiftly.

For every stock image or prints sold, you’ll get 20% of the retail price.

5. Printful

Similar to Zazzle, Printful will use your designs to create custom made products such as t-shirts, pillows, hoodies, mugs, phone cases, and canvas prints.

The money you’ll be paid depends on the type of product your design will be printed on. The more expensive the product, the more money you’ll get.

Printful doesn’t have limitations on bulk orders, and they handle fulfillment and shipping services for you.

5. Sell Or License Your Art Through Stock Agencies

As an artist, you can earn royalties from your work by licensing it or selling it outright to a stock agency.

The need for photos keeps increasing daily, and large corporations, bloggers, graphic designers, marketers, and publishers all buy and use photos regularly online.

So there’s no issue of you not finding the market for your stock photos.

Best Places To Sell Photos Online And Make Money With Art Skills:

1. Shutterstock

Shutterstock has been a popular choice to buy stock photos online for over 15 years. With over 200 million images and videos available for purchase royalty-free, the platform boasts of millions of purchasing customers.

According to the site, they have paid out over $500 million to their worldwide community of artists and art contributors.

Shutterstock allows you to keep your copyrights protected, so you have to set up the rights on your images.

They also give credits to image owners, which is beneficial to promote your ownership and also give your brand the necessary exposure it needs.

Contributors make between 20% to 30%, and payouts are done every month. Also, you don’t have to sell your images exclusively on this site.

2. Adobe Stock

Adobe Stock (formerly Fotolia) is a platform where artists can sell their stock photos. The photo marketplace was created by the makers of the most popular editing software tools like Photoshop and Lightroom.

Adobe Stock is one of the earliest online platforms to sell photos, and it is widely known for its royalty share being higher than other online shops.

Artists can make between 20% to 60% on their photos, and Adobe Stock doesn’t require you to make them an exclusive seller of your images. Thus you can also advertise and sell your art on other online platforms.

3. 500px

500px is an online marketplace where you can create portfolios of your images and make money with your art skills.

The site was created by photographers, and unlike so many “photo sharing” sites, 500px doesn’t require you to give away your photos to upload them.

Bonus Tip: Other Methods To Make Extra Cash Quick

Your art skills aside, there are other ways you can use to earn hundreds of dollars every month without leaving the comfort of your home.

Here’s are some ideas that’ll help you make money on the side without stress.

1.Get Cash Rebates

You can get back some of the money you’ve spent on online purchases using cashback sites, and enjoy up to 40% discount on your purchases.

Here are a few of the best cashback sites.

Ebates

New users receive $10 for registering, and existing users can earn $25 on every qualified referral made.

Sign up here and get $10.

Swagbucks

Swagbucks offers online rewards for shopping, surfing the net, completing online surveys, and watching videos.

There’s a sign up bonus of $5 for new users on the platform.

Dosh

Dosh has a particularly impressive list of participating stores where you can get cashbacks for your online purchases.

They also offer generous bonuses: $5 signup bonus, and $8 for every friend you refer to the app.

Other cash back apps you should look out for are Paribus, InboxDollars, Ibotta and Shopkick (use promo code MDR for a $5 bonus).

2.List a Room in Your House

If you have a spare room in your apartment that you don’t mind renting out, you can make extra money by listing the room on Airbnb.

Airbnb connects people who want to rent out their homes for a short while with people who are looking for accommodations in that area.

Under the Airbnb’s Host Guarantee program, you can get protection for up to $1 million in damages to covered property if any damage happens in your absence.

As the host, you can decide to charge per night, per week, or month.

3.Sell Your Old Stuff

Make money selling off your old stuff like electronic gadgets; phones and tablets, games, books, DVDs, and much more using Decluttr.

To begin, visit the Decluttr site and input the barcode of the products you want to sell.

You’ll receive a notification from the company with a list of how much they’ll pay for those items including a packing slip to mail your items.

Within less than 24 hours of receiving your products, Decluttr will pay you via direct deposit or PayPal.

4.Complete Online Surveys

Online survey sites are free to join and easy to use. And if you want to make even more money, you can sign up for more than one survey site.

You can earn as much as $50 per hour on surveys or even more depending on the number of paid online surveys you’re eligible for and how consistently you take them.

Here are three of the best paying online survey sites: Swagbucks, InboxDollars, Survey Junkie.

Wrapping Up

For every artist, having more than one source of income is a priority.

Sometimes, relying solely on your earnings from gallery representation or freelance clients is not enough to foot your monthly expenses.

However, with the advent of the Internet, and by extension, social media, there are now more chances for you to make money as a creative individual.

Regardless of whether you choose to start an art blog, or teach art online, or even create a YouTube channel where you can sell your merch and other stuff, you have to play to your strengths and choose the method that suits you best.

Which of these methods of monetizing your art online are you likely to try out and why? Are there other ideas on how to make money with art skills you think we have skipped?

Share your thoughts with us in the comments.

Logan Allec, CPA

Logan is a CPA, Certified Student Loan Professional, and founder of Money Done Right, which he launched in July 2017. After spending nearly a decade in the corporate world helping big businesses save money, he launched his blog with the goal of helping everyday Americans earn, save, and invest more money. Learn more about Logan.

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