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How to make money as an artist in 2021? - A step by step guide

16 March 2021

How to make money as an artist in 2021? - A step by step guide

A common misconception is that making money as an artist is virtually impossible. At the very least, not when you’re still alive. This may have been true in the time of Vincent Van Gogh and Johannes Vermeer. However, this is not the case in today’s vibrant digital age when ART is reshaped by technology, where creating a solid follower (and customer!) base is more than possible. So, if you’re a creative individual, we congratulate you! You can turn your skill into a successful position that will bring you success and fortune.

The art of making money from your art

We all have faced the question of how to make money selling art? Monetizing art is an art form in and of itself, one that can be studied and perfected like everything else. There are many examples of highly talented artists who are masters of their trade but find it challenging to live from it.

Making money with artwork requires you to develop a specific, personalized art style that makes you unique. However, creating an art style of your own might sound time and

concentration consuming, which it is. However, many young artists are still trying to find their style but are making lots of money in the process.

Making money from your art may seem to some artists to be incredibly difficult because thousands of artists appear to be more talented than you. Alternatively, there might be people who had attempted to sell their art before but were unsuccessful in doing so—the distinction between the artist who makes money and the artist who does not can be found here.

How to make money as an independent artist?

Now nobody knows about you and your art. They’re not going to hire you or buy your artwork (yet). So how to sell digital art? or any form of art? To get started, you need to have a strategy on how to make money selling art. But before your get started, you need to be patient and consistent. Without these two keywords, you will not succeed,

Prepare for success by having a Plan in Hand.

Now your skill isn’t enough in this highly competitive world. In order to make money with your artwork, you need to have a solid strategy. Now there’s no cookie-cutter formula on how to make money fast. So the strategy we’re going to talk about will paint a step-by-step guide to sell and make money from your art. So we can start by sharpening your skills.

Supplement Your Artistic Talent with Education

To diversify your portfolio and prospects, it’s essential to keep adding to your concrete collection of marketing skills. If you could think of taking a graphic design program, a Photoshop editing class, or even a content writing seminar as a side project, it might be just what you need to get the job. The more tasks you can complete competently and comfortably on your own, the more attractive you would be to a potential client. Perhaps better, instead of making the customer pay someone else to complete the job, you get all the payments.

Don’t Rule Out Working for a Company

For some people, diving headfirst into freelancing isn’t the right approach but this is one of the valid ways to earn money. As a budding freelancer, peeking into the office’s inner workings will provide a wealth of knowledge. However, You can learn about the working atmosphere in an artist’s studio, an advertising agency, a marketing firm, a department within a larger organization, or anywhere else you land a job. With these details, you can

better estimate the time it takes you to finish a task and a company’s deadlines and style requirements. To make money as an artist, this is really crucial to have job experience, for your own betterment.

Build Your Brand: Start making money from today.

This is important as a freelance artist. Self-branding can never go wrong. Specially if you’re an artist looking for making money online,

Once you have your business plan and continually develop your skills, you can start building your brand. You can create a brand with immediate awareness of your work and what you can do with your clients by combining different direct marketing methods and simply putting your work out there.

Determine What Your Brand Is: A variety of factors can determine your brand. Draw tangible aspects of your work—consider your preferred medium, such as oils or watercolor—that can become engraved in memory while developing your brand. In order to better communicate your brand and what your work can do for your clients, build a tagline all along the lines of “Let my work lend support to your creativity.”

Step Out of Your Comfort Zone to Market Your Work: No wonder how shy or socially awkward you are, you must—and, more importantly, can—leave your comfort zone to hit your target audience or Market. But you can’t make money as an artist if you don’t step out of your comfort zone. Believe in yourself and your job, and battle commitment inertia by reminding yourself of your objectives. Concentrate on positive self-talk about how much you enjoy making art and how much you trust in each piece. At the very same time, it’s essential to keep yourself apart from the art, which means you can’t let any rejection affect your core identity. Although you can adore your job, it isn’t always what potential clients want at the moment.

Show Your Work Anywhere You Can: Ask anyone from your local cafe owner to the high-end exhibition district if you can put your art on show. And if it happens right away, they will need to fill an artist’s spot in the future and will keep you in mind. You can’t go wrong if you ask respectfully and professionally.

Take Your Business Cars Everywhere You Go: Always have business cards on hand—handmade or graphically crafted by you for optimum impact—that include your contact details, including your artist’s website, and be ready to hand them out when the opportunity arises.

Create and Foster a Strong Social Media Presence

Establish and maintain a social media presence, whether on Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Tumblr, YouTube, or all of the above. Even if you’ve never used social

media much before, it’s a robust platform for aspiring freelance artists. Self-promotion is the key to make money as an artist.


Pinterest is an intensely visual social media website perfect for gaining visibility for freelance artists. Develop a profile for yourself that includes information about yourself and your artwork, as well as a link to your website. You will create a unique community willing to share your work within their committees by posting a mixture of your work and photos that inspire you. As well following other artists and art fans’ bulletin boards and simply loving pins.


Instagram, like Pinterest, relies on photos to create and maintain user connections. Instagram helps create an atmosphere that bridges the difference between Pinterest’s relatively quiet yet visually rich environment and more verbal networks like Facebook and Twitter. Create frequent posts with daily sketches to keep followers up to date on your hard work ethic and serve as a visual work journal to demonstrate progress and motivation.

Facebook and Twitter:

While all of these social media behemoths has its website, you can use them to reach a large audience. Although they are not as visually-oriented as Instagram and Pinterest, they have a large potential audience.


Since LinkedIn has a more corporate business feel to it, don’t be afraid to use it. The Market for artists’ work knows no limits.

Networking: a crucial step to make money as an artist.

Build a Mailing List for Email and Snail Mail:

Email lists are a perfect way to communicate with people who come to your in-person or online shows or exhibits. You’ve probably attended an art show or concert where the artist requested your name, email address, and physical address. However, to exchange email and conventional mailing announcements, do the same.

Offer Tutorials:

Ask your local Sports and Recreation Organization to provide tutorials to local artists, or start your own Youtube account to offer weekly lessons on different methods.

Start a Blog and Maintain it:

Blogging is a crucial way to reach out to your followers using a mix of relevant content and a well-thought-out SEO strategy. Technique tips, new art supply reviews, articles about recent gallery openings, interviews with local artists, or musings on working as a freelance artist

are all welcome. This can also generate some extra income that you can also count under the make money as an artist stigma.

Design a Newsletter:

A newsletter allows you to send out information on your artwork or the local art scene daily. Build a simple layout in Microsoft Publisher or another desktop publisher and add your artwork photos. If you’re not familiar with desktop publishing, this is a great place to look for more training to round out your skillset.

Participate in Art Forums and Discussion Groups:

Participate in the conversations that interest you if your favorite website has a community discussion group or forum. Most forum environments allow you to create a profile that includes a connection to your artist’s website and social media accounts, allowing others to view your online portfolio and website.

Join Job Boards:

Although it might seem unlikely, you never know when anyone would need a freelance art director for a big art project and would believe that Indeed.com or CareerBuilder.com are the best places to look for candidates. To keep your name out there, create a profile, apply your resume, and request work posting updates for specific positions on some of the top job boards. It’s impossible to predict when a hot idea will appear in your regular email checklist.


Allow the time to give back to your society. Don’t limit yourself to volunteering as a tour guide at your local museum or assisting with a new museum show setup.

Build a Strong Community with Fellow Artists:

Building an active group of fellow artists, similar to networking, will help you find new creative project opportunities. But, even more importantly, freelancing can make you lonely and alienated. Speaking with other creatives who have been through (or are going through) similar experiences will make you feel better about your efforts.

Pitching Your Idea: Key to make money as an artist

Now pitching your idea or offer in an attractive manner doesn’t have any substitute. Because this is the first thing your client or potential client will see. To make money online by selling art, your selling pitch has to be the main focal point. Your digital art portfolio is also really important to showcase your artwork.

Be sensitive while pricing

This way of pricing method is also known as the “Do as the other guy does”. You will build an informed guess about how you can price your work by gazing at yourself and others in similar circumstances and seeing how they value their goods. In the make money as an artist

community, this is a great misconception. BUT it’s not just about the talent level. You must understand the other person’s perspective and the amount of publicity they have gained in terms of patronage and shows.

9 ways you can make money as an artist

#1: Commissions

One of the most well-known methods of making money is by taking fees from customers. Commissions are “custom orders” that you can provide to clients in the form of portraits, character designs, logos, advertising graphics, and so on.

However, It’s inefficient because it requires time and constant contact with customers. Still, it’s an excellent way to make money if you don’t have something to sell. Particularly if you’re a professional (or not) being commissioned by a corporation or large studio, etc.

#2: Teaching Art

If you look closely, you’ll possibly discover that your neighborhood provides opportunities for making money through art. Much better if you specialize in a common field such as astrophotography, calligraphy, or street photography. Here go some suggestions for how you can contribute to your community’s social life while still gaining experience and earning money:

In your local community center, give adults, youth, and high-schoolers painting (or whatever your specialty is) classes or one-day workshops.

Organize an exhibition on your own or with the help of other artists.

For corporate events and celebrations, including a short, immersive art workshop.

Organize outdoor “Plein air” art workshops.

Moreover Teaching online courses can be a more effective way to meet a larger audience. On the other hand, tutoring several people at once would be much more challenging online than in person.

Another alternative is to make teaching a source of passive income. You’ll only have to plan the content once, and it will provide you with income for months or years.

#3: Lead Workshop

Perhaps you enjoy teaching, but the prospect of designing an entire course is overwhelming. You will also enjoy face-to-face contact with students. If that’s the case, teaching workshops might be a good fit for you. It’s widespread among photographers, and it can be a great way to supplement your income. Primarily if you specialize in astrophotography or street photography.

Some photographers, such as Cuma Cevik, arrange destination workshops to take groups to exotic locations and customize the experience to a particular theme. Workshops aren’t just for photographers, though.

Are you a dancer on the streets? You may teach people how to use spray paint or cut stencils in workshops. Perhaps you’re a master of hand-lettering? Give workshops on calligraphy and typography fundamentals.

Consider your creative specialty and what you can provide that is unique and exceptional. You may even be able to arrange workshops around your travel schedule and make money while on the road if you plan carefully.

#4: Freelancing

I’m a freelancer… It’s probably better represented as doing everything I’ve mentioned here plus a little bit more…or a little bit less. You may be drawing for regular people while

working a part-time job and selling merch on the side, getting your art into exhibitions, or working for many companies on a contract (the technical stuff)… Alternatively, you could make a full-time living by attending conferences and selling your work there.

#5: Freelancing websites

These websites provide enough visibility not just for the artist but also for the customers. This makes them the best way to communicate with clients and collaborators. Through such websites, one can land reasonable job offers and opportunities by gradually expanding one’s network.

Freelance websites such as peopleperhour.com, upwork.com, hireanillustrator.com, and YunoJuno.com, among others, have addressed the age-old question of how to make money as freelance websites such as peopleperhour.com, upwork.com, hireanillustrator.com, and guru.com, among others, have addressed the old question of how to make money as an artist. We have a list of the 15 best websites for you to sell your artwork down below.

#6: Write an e-Book

If you prefer writing to video production, you may want to try your hand at writing an eBook. There’s no lack of guides you can make as an artist, whether it’s providing tips on how to use a particular medium, teaching the fundamentals of composition, or offering a unique viewpoint on your niche.

If you’re writing about underwater photography, I’m the fundamentals of studio lighting; other creatives will respect your knowledge—and they’ll pay for it. Look through this list of the top 10 eBook creators to find the right program to assist you with your project.

#7: Selling prints

Selling prints on the internet has never been easier in this age of digitalization. Let’s say an artist wants to sell their work, but the cost and difficulty of shipping and delivery prevent them from doing so.

But don’t be concerned! Websites are dedicated to every post-sale responsibility, allowing the artist to focus solely on delivering the best of their talent without worrying about secondary responsibilities.

It is not only inexpensive, but it is also completely hassle-free. Some of the most well-known websites in this category include DeviantArt, Zazzle, Etsy, inPrnt, Teespring, and redbubble.

#8: Digital merch

This can be anything from a simple Twitter icon to phone and computer wallpapers, custom digital brushes, and digital art tutorials.

You can sell anything on your site or through a third-party platform like Etsy, Teespring, or Shopify.

#9: Physical merch

You can make physical goods out of your digital merchandise! Sell it, ship it, and profit. Unless you use a site like redbubble or something similar that handles manufacturing, shipping, and handling, it’s a lot of work.

Of course, in exchange for a portion of your profits.

15 websites to sell your art and make money online

There are many online art markets to sell your art on and multiple ways to do it — just a tiny sample is mentioned here — for those looking to figure out as an artist how to make a living. It is suggested that you conduct extensive research to determine which option is the right fit for you. These sites and portals will provide you with all you need to begin selling your artwork as soon as you post it, for a commission or an upfront fee.


At least once in your life, you’ve used Amazon to make a purchase! You can sell almost everything there — you can print and sell your book, DVD, or anything else you can think of; the choices are infinite. There are many more relative niche sites about your interest.


Another art market that provides 10,000 artists with the chance to fulfill 500,000 subscribers worldwide. With a 30% commission, you can sell original art, such as paintings, prints, portraits, and sculptures.


Artplode is a top-notch online art gallery where dealers, artists, galleries, and enthusiasts can buy and sell art without paying a fee. Each artwork is advertised for a one-time fee of $60 on Artplode. The listing will remain on the Artplode website until the seller decides to take it down. You may also pay to get your artwork featured in one or more of its featured areas.


ArtFire is another online platform with no listing or ultimate value fees for handmade goods produced by artisans worldwide.


Alamy is a website where you can sell your stock photography. It promises to be fair, straightforward, and easy to work with, and you get 50% of the sale. You’ll join a group of 110,000 customers and 60,000 supporters.


CODAworx is an international digital community dedicated to designing projects that integrate commissioned artwork into interior and architectural spaces. You can be noticed by architects, developers, designers, art consultants, and public officials if you are a public artist, sculptor, or painter who works with light, sound, or video.

Creative Market

Creative Market is an online platform for design assets created by the group. You can offer web designers graphics, WordPress themes, stock photography, and other digital products. Creative Market has over a million consumers and over 250,000 products for sale.


Etsy is a well-known e-commerce platform that sells handmade and antique goods and supplies. Art, photography, clothes, jewelry, food, bath and beauty products, quilts, knick-knacks, and toys are among the items available.


The gallery is a designed online art exhibition that sells one-of-a-kind pieces by the world’s best young artists. They take a 50% share of the sale.


Printful prints and distributes your custom print patterns to your clients on t-shirts, posters, canvas, mugs, and other items.

Saatchi Art

This is one of the most successful web galleries to sell your paintings, drawings, prints, photos, and sculptures, with 12 million monthly page views, 1.1 million social followers, and 60,000 artists from all over the world. They manage delivery, work on a non-exclusive basis, and charge a fee of 35%. It’s a great place to sell your artwork online.


You’ve already heard of it and have even used their high-resolution stock images, vectors, and videos. Acceptance and getting an utterly functioning account are not easy to come by.


You can turn your artwork into posters and prints, as well as phone cases, stickers, t-shirts, and everything else that can be printed, using Society6.

Vimeo on Demand

Vimeo, the well-known high-quality video website, allows you to sell your videos for $20 a month billed monthly, or you can try it out for a free trial for max one month.


Zazzle offers three ways to earn money:

As a designer, you can publish your ideas on items as a manufacturer.

You can sell your products.

As an associate, you can promote your favorite things.

This provides you with various choices for selling your art online and earning money as an artist.

Last but not least,

The success mindset (or, why the “Starving Artist” is total BS)

If you’d like to be a profitable artist, you must first realise one thing: The concept of a “starving artist” is total nonsense.

That’s why we sought advice from Antrese Wood. She is the Savvy Painter host and has worked as an art director for a big video game studio and a talented artist who has sold hundreds of paintings.

“The starving artist syndrome is a well-known phenomenon in the art world,” Antrese explains. “Some artists think it’s sleazy if someone even considers marketing themselves or trying to sell their art.” And it’s incredibly hypocritical.

There are thousands of other ways to put a justifiable value on an art piece, so “What are the ways artists make money?” is no longer a question of guesswork. These incentives are just waiting for you all to seize them and convert them into a lucrative career in the creation of beautiful artwork. So go out into the parallel world of freelancing and explore the possibilities as you’ve never seen them before!


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