Creating art is fun but making a living out of creating art may just be a faraway dream to most of us. Gone are the days when it was common for wealthy patrons to support their favorite artists who could then live their whole lives doing nothing but focus on expressing the beauty of their creativity through paint, canvas, and plaster.
These days, artists have to focus on making a living first before they can spend time on their “hobby”
The dream of becoming a professional artist still lives on in many budding artists. What if there were some way to get the ball rolling and see where our talent takes us?
You Don't Have to Be a Starving Artist
If you’re one of those artists looking to earn from your talent, then this article is for you. Here you’ll discover 8 methods to start making money as an artist.
1. Sell Your Art Pieces
The first and most direct way to make money as an artist is to sell your artwork.
You've probably seen news stories talking about how much money a single piece of rare art sold for.
The thing is:
We can't all be world-renowned artists (yet), but that doesn't mean we can't make some money on the works we currently have.
Apart from selling your artworks piece by piece, you can also sell them in print form. This lets your art reach a wider audience and makes each piece purchasable by more than one buyer. Yes, this will create your artwork far from being "rare" but it can bring you more exposure in the long run.
If you're well-versed with digital tools, selling digital art can also be an option.
2. Take Commissions
For the discerning client, paying a few bucks more isn't a problem if they're getting personalized art. This is why taking commissions is another viable way you can make money from your passion.
Do you have friends and family members who are active on social media? Offer to make them some personalized art as a starting point. Getting them to share your art can attract more potential clients (more on this later).
3. Build Your Portfolio for Freelance Gigs
Once you get enough rave reviews on your artwork, you can start forming your portfolio(s). As a freelance artist, your portfolio will act as your resume for prospective clients who want to look at some examples of your work.
Online Portfolio of the Artist Goopmassta
When you eventually finish work for paying clients, you can also ask them for a review/testimonial which you can add to your portfolio. This gives your name a more professional sheen, which increases your chances of getting hired for a freelance gig.
4. Grow a Social Media Following
As we mentioned earlier, sharing and getting your artwork exposure is crucial if you want more potential clients.
Social media benefits your art in many ways including:
- Attracting more fans to your work
- Fans sharing your work results in more exposure
- Converting some fans into paying clients
- Satisfied clients share your work and recommend you to other prospective clients
- Passive income – like affiliate partnerships – becomes viable (more on this later)
While simply sharing finished pieces can already garner you a small following, sharing a piece’s journey from inception to conclusion is even better. People seem to become more invested in a piece if they’ve been following the process of its creation. Some people may even offer to buy a piece before you’ve completed it!
5. Start a YouTube Channel
Apart from social media, you can also start a YouTube channel (like Greg Simkins or Betty Franks) dedicated to your art. While you can use social media to share WIP (work-in-progress) photos and short videos, websites such as YouTube simply offer a better platform dedicated to longer-form video content.
YouTube lets you attract more followers by sharing how-to tutorial videos, art supply recommendations, and WIP videos. It also lets you share community posts for WIP updates as well as read and respond to members’ comments.
Note that you can also mention your social media handles to gain more followers in your videos.
6. Develop an Art Course
Another way to make money as an artist is to share your knowledge and experience.
Online Portfolio of Betty Franks Art
Sharing on social media and YouTube does count toward this but both of these platforms tend to be more informal and unstructured. If you want to attract and help people looking for more formal instruction, the better option is to develop your online art course. You can find several websites that let you do this without much hassle.
You do need to be knowledgeable in what you’re teaching, though. Websites like Udemy won’t accept your course if you don’t have the expertise to back it up.
You can then mention your course on your social media accounts and your YouTube video descriptions.
7. Sell Through Print on Demand Platforms
Another way to sell your art is by selling it through print-on-demand (POD) services like Printify and PrintPartners. These services offer to print a design you choose on a particular item such as a t-shirt, cups, cards, etc.
The beauty of POD services is that they let you sell multiple copies of your art without needing to have stock on hand. You just advertise your art as it would look like printed on some sample items, get a customer’s order, then have the POD service print and send the item directly to the customer.
Do note that, while you can earn some cash through this method, it’s usually not enough for you to do it full-time.
8. Become an Affiliate Partner
Last, but definitely, not least is a method that not many artists are aware of, at least when starting – Affiliate partnerships.
With affiliate partnerships, you have the chance to earn passive income each time you post or share a photo or video of your art. It works like this:
- You sign up for an affiliate partnership with your favorite art supply brands
- The company provides you with a unique affiliate link which you can include as part of your photo or video captions/descriptions
- Vewers/visitors/fans of your website and art ask what art supplies you use and where you get them
- You point to your link and inform them you get a small kickback for each purchase made through that link – with no additional cost to them
- They purchase art supplies after clicking the link and you get a percentage of what they paid
Through affiliate partnerships, everyone wins. You earn some extra cash, viewers feel more confident knowing that they’re using the same quality supplies that you do, your fans are happy to support your passion without any extra cost to them, and the company gets some new customers.
While on the subject of affiliate partnerships, did you know our company, Nova Color, also offers an affiliate program for talented artists? Feel free to check out our Affiliate Program here. You can also check here how artists like Betty Franks, Greg Simkins, and GoopMassta are working with Nova Color as affiliates.