How To Make Money From Your Art

Art is a beautiful form of self-expression that for many, is a passion that ignites the soul. However, a lot of artists find that turning that passion into a sustainable income can be challenging and struggle to find a way to make a living from it. The goal of this post is to provide you with practical tips and inspire you to see your art as a viable source of income, empowering you to pursue your dreams with confidence and enthusiasm.

8 ways to generate income from your art

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How to Make Money and Generate Income From Your Art

  1. Sell your original artwork: The most obvious way to create income from your art is to sell your artwork. You can sell your original artwork through galleries, online marketplaces, or directly to customers. Remember that you can turn one piece of original art into other avenues of income through limited edition prints, canvas art prints, and even metal prints just to name a few. Look for companies that provide white label, drop shipping services where you can place a customers order and they will ship directly to them like this one here. Pricing your artwork correctly is important to ensure that you're making a profit, while giving the collector the best price possible.

  2. Offer commissions: Many artists start out by offering commissions as a way to get their foot in the door and begin generating income right away.  Doing this allows you to create custom pieces for clients based on their specifications for a guaranteed sale. Depending on what kind of art you create here are a few ideas: Pet portraits are popular and always in demand, live wedding paintings are becoming more common, landmark or landscape paintings meaningful to someone.

    Several factors come into play when it comes to pricing these pieces. Remember that they are one of a kind and you are going out of your way to create a unique piece only special to the collector. Then, based on what you normally charge for artwork you should include a commission fee for your time and materials used in the overall price.

    High quality reference photos and step-by-step painting tutorials

  3. Sell digital downloads: If you create digital art, you can sell digital downloads of your artwork on your website, through online marketplaces like Etsy, or on digital download platforms like Gumroad. Consider things like downloadable files for coloring pages, art prints, planner pages, product label tags for makers, stickers and more. The possibilities are endless!

    teach workshops
  4. Teach workshops: If you have experience and expertise in a particular style or medium, consider teaching a workshop! This can be a really fun way to get out in your community, meet new people, and get your name out there. Places like art collectives and educational schools for lifelong learners, paint and sips, etc are some examples where you can share your knowledge and passion with others in a workshop style setting. You can teach classes in person or even online and charge a fee for each class and materials. 

  5. Create merchandise: Creating merchandise that showcases your artwork is another easy way to create income. You can create prints, posters, coasters, beanies, ball caps, phone cases, t-shirts, and so many other items featuring your artwork. If you can swing it, I suggest purchasing samples to make sure the product features your art in the way that you envisioned before putting in a full order. This way saves you money and hassle in the long run.

    Another merchandise option is offering kits like paint by number kits, embroidery kits, punch needle kits, knitting kits, stained glass kits. Having these items are just another offering to add to your online marketplaces and gives potential customers options. Places like Redbubble and Society6 make it easy to sell merchandise featuring your artwork too. 

    art licensing, jig saw puzzle

6.  License your artwork: Art licensing can be a huge opportunity for artists and it isn't talked about much. There are lots of companies out there and it may take some research to find the right fit and most have an application/approval process. The best way sometimes is by simply sending an email to these brands or manufacturers and asking if they would consider licensing your art. If you don't feel like doing it all yourself, search for art licensing agencies and each out to a few to see if they will consider your work. These folks are always on the lookout for new artists, so don't be shy!

When you do finally get accepted, you send them a high resolution image of your physical painting or digital piece to use your artwork for commercial purposes in exchange for royalties. For example, your artwork could be used on products like popcorn tins, fabric, puzzles, greeting cards or home decor items to name a few. Just make sure you are getting high-resolution images of your work before you sell it.

7. Participate in art fairs and exhibitions: Participating in art fairs and exhibitions can help you generate income and gain exposure for your artwork. Not only does this give you an opportunity to show the face behind the art, but it can also give you an opportunity to share your story with potential buyers and leave a lasting impression. While they can be a lot of work to set up, the huge benefit of these is you can sell your artwork and merchandise directly to customers. It can also bring a lot of joy and satisfaction seeing a customers reaction to your work in person. Additionally, these are great places to sell any inventory you have mentioned in #5.

8. Start a subscription platform: Creating a subscription based service on platforms like Patreon is another great way to generate stable, monthly income based around your art. You can offer exclusive artwork, monthly downloads, reference photos, exclusive behind the scenes videos or content, exclusive member chats on Discord, one-on-ones to evaluate subscribers artwork, and so many other rewards in exchange for their support. Building a community of like-minded artists benefits everyone involved and this is a great way to do that and boost your monthly revenue.

market your art online with email and social media 

Build an online presence 

In today's digital age, it's important to have a strong online presence. You can use social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and Tik Tok to showcase your artwork and connect with potential buyers. Don't be afraid to promote yourself and your artwork on those platforms because the more people who know about your artwork, the more opportunities you'll have to sell it.

I suggest starting simple and not overwhelming yourself with "proper" social media strategies. A great way to get your feet wet is to think of a way you can share your artwork within a 15-20 second video and share those to all of your social accounts. Reels, tiktoks, and shorts are some of the best ways to get your voice heard. As you post, you'll come up with more ideas as you go and ways you can share.
how to create stable income from your art

The key to success

A key component to all of this is having an email list. Remember that you don't own your content on social media platforms and theoretically it could all disappear in the blink of an eye. If that were to happen, how could you continue to reach collectors and potential buyers? By having an email list that you export and save frequently offline.
This list would be something that you own and can use to update subscribers, share about upcoming sales and life updates in a more personal way than through posts and stories. Freebies are an excellent way to get people to sign up for an email list as well as offering a discount for a future purchase in your shop. 
    how to make an income from your art
    Growing an income off of your art is something that anyone can do and in this new digital age, it's a lot easier than you might think. You might try using all of these suggestions I mentioned above or focusing in on a few of them that you do best, just remember to stay consistent in either case. Now more than ever is a perfect time to get started and with patience and perseverance, you can succeed in turning your art into a career you love. 

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