Whether you're a guitarist looking to make a living playing gigs, a singer/songwriter looking to make it big in the music industry, or a painter hoping to make a name for themselves online, you need to find a way to make money. If you want to make money online as an artist, you need to find someone to pay you for your work. It's not as easy as you might think.
This blog will introduce a variety of different ways that artists like you can use to make money as creative entrepreneurs.
It's a good time to be an artist. The internet has created many new opportunities for artists to sell their work. And now with the rise of social media, it is easier than ever for an artist to gain exposure for their work and find new customers.
In this post, we explore different ways to make money online as an artist. The method you choose will largely depend on your specific goals, your unique business model, and what you are willing to do. It might take some time to figure out what works best for you, but I promise that the results will be worth it in the long run.
How to Make Money Online as an Artist
Here are some of the most popular ways artists make money online:
1) Sell art on Marketplaces.
Selling your art online through an established marketplace or platform is a great way to reach buyers and get your work out there. However, it’s important to make sure you understand how the site operates.
There are numerous websites where you can sell prints and original artwork, including Etsy, Zazzle, and Society 6. These sites allow you to create a free storefront and don’t require any investment beyond your time.
If you’re looking for a direct sales model where you can set your own prices, retain more of the sale proceeds, control more of the transaction process and build your own brand, then consider creating your own website or using an eCommerce site like Shopify.
The advantage of this option is that you don’t have to give up a percentage of each sale like you might on marketplaces like Redbubble, Etsy, or Society6. The downside is that it requires more upfront investment in time and money before you start making sales.
2) Teach an Art Class Online
As a professional artist, you can bet you’ll enjoy teaching others the art itself. You can offer classes online on any art topic including:
- Watercolor painting
- Fine art
- Performance art etc.
- Digital illustration
- Still life drawing
To start making money online as an artist by sharing your knowledge, join some of the popular online tutoring platforms, create an account and start taking classes. Some of the best options to consider include Outschool and Tutor.com
3) Start an Online Course
Besides the platforms above, you can also offer your lessons as online courses on your website with the help of learning management systems like Learndash, made for WordPress.
If you don’t want to build everything from scratch, you can consider hosted learning services below:
Teachable and Thinkific give you the flexibility to set your own prices while Skillshare and Udemy are best for reaching the ready market as they have lots of subscribers and users of the platform.
4) Sell Vector Designs
If you are a creative digital visual designer, you can make money with art by selling vector designs. You can use Adobe Illustrator, Corel Draw, InkSpace, or any other vector graphics software to create vector files, package them and sell them on stock websites.
How much you make depends on how popular your designs are, and the percentage loyalty you earn from each sale. You can expect to make anywhere between 15% to 60% loyalty from your creations depending on the microstock agency you use.
Some of the popular vector designs you can create and sell online include wallpapers, digital illustrations, floral elements, background graphics, tools, animals, etc.
Microstock websites spend millions of dollars on advertisements and have thousands of subscribers searching their databases. Thus, contrasted to selling on your own website, you have more luck with these sites.
Here are some of the most popular places to sell vector designs and make money from your art:
- Creative Market
- Adobe Stock
- Envato Elements
- Vector Stock
- Graphic River
5) Design, package, and sell design templates
Another cool way to make money online as an artist is by designing and selling templates. This can be a lucrative business that can bring you a couple of hundred dollars to a few thousand every month, but you do need to put in the work at the very beginning.
You need to:
- Figure out what sells
- Try different designs
- Study your competition
- Perfect your design skills
- Learn how to properly price your products
- Create a seamless checkout process etc.
While you can design templates for anything, using any program, I have found that Canva marketing templates tend to sell the most. You can create:
- Social media graphics, banners, and thumbnails
- Pinterest Pins templates
- Workbooks templates
- Cheatsheets templates
- eBooks templates
- Media kit templates
- Infographics templates
- Planner templates etc.
Now, once you have designed your templates, you need to list them to start making money. Some of the common places best for selling design templates are:
- Creative Fabrica
- Creative Market
- Design Bundles etc.
6) Start and Monetize a Youtube art channel
If you love sharing your art and teaching others for free, then this strategy is right for you. Start a YouTube channel focusing on your creations, grow a following and start making money.
Like anything worth working for, making money from the YouTube art channel takes time. You need to show up regularly, pushing top-notch content that keeps your subscribers coming back.
To apply for YouTube Monetization Program, you need to have at least 1000 subscribers and 4000 watch hours. However, don’t let these numbers scare you since, with a proven solid strategy, you can get there within months of quality content production.
There are a few things to keep in mind:
Define your niche: YouTube, though not like Google, is still competitive. So niching down to an area you are most conversant with is worth considering. Start by focusing on a single topic such as watercolor drawing tutorials, making money as an artist, etc, and then grow broader as you gain more subscribers and discover more topics that your audience is searching for.
Do your research: There are many successful artists on YouTube who bring in six figures in annual revenues. Take time to study them, analyze their strategy to discover why it’s working for them, and see if you can incorporate it into your own. You can use a tool like Tubebuddy to discover keywords and profitable topics that your competition is targeting.
7) Create a Print on Demand business out of your creations
Did you know that you can turn your creations into printable products? Use your favorite graphic editor tool like Photoshop or Canva to create unique design elements or patterns and upload them onto products on Print on Demand sites.
Some of the best print-on-demand sites for artists include:
10 Other Ways on How to Make Money Online as an Artist
- Sell Canvas paintings on Saatchi Art
- Start and monetize an art blog
- Make money with commissioned work
- Run offline art workshops
- Build a following, and become an influencer
- Make money as a freelance illustrator
- Write a book on drawing
- Make and sell patterns for fabrics
- Sell images online
- Concept art for game development
To make money online as an artist, you need to think creatively. There are many ways discussed above, but depending on the nature of your art, you may find that one strategy has better results than the others. The key is to identify one main model and focus on it before venturing into the others.