15 Ways to Make Money as an Artist
In this blog, I’ll be explaining how you can make money from your artwork in 15 different ways (there are many more ways out there too!)
I’ll refer a lot to active and passive income. Active income is a revenue stream where you have to put a lot of work in constantly to earn money. Passive income is where you have to put in hard work at the start but then it needs very little work to maintain that revenue stream.
1) Selling your original art. This is the most obvious way on this list and is an example of active income, creating a piece of art every time and then selling it. This method can get time intensive!
2) Selling prints. Prints are great for making repeated profit from one piece of art. This can be either active or passive – you could make the prints yourself or you could upload them to a website that does it all for you, such as Red Bubble. You can decide which one benefits you the most, weighing up work vs profit etc.
3) Selling merchandise based on your artwork. There are lots of items out there that you could sell with your artwork on, from t-shirts to mugs. Again, you could do this yourself or outsource.
4) Commissions. This is where customers will ask you to draw specific things for them. Personally, I find this method quite time intensive and pressurized – and you’re always looking for the next one. On the other hand, some artists do love it! This is a form of active income.
5) Selling art courses and tutorials. This is passive income, but I love it because you can make a course that will help lots of people but once you’ve made it, that is it. Upload it online and it’s there for everyone forever.
6) Patreon. This is a great platform for creators and is a membership site. You set monthly rewards for your patrons in return for a monthly pledge. For example, you could offer a print every month or an art course etc.
7) Getting affiliates and commissions from selling art materials. This only works if you have an audience already, but on YouTube I leave links to all the materials I use. I will get a small commission if someone buys it from that link at no extra cost to the buyer.
8) Ad revenue. Adverts can play before and during your YouTube videos etc. This is a nice addition to supplement your income, but I don’t rely on it too much as you don’t have much control over it (YouTube could change policy etc.)
9) Sponsorships. A lot of people do sponsorships and brand deals, especially if they love one particular brand. Contacting the brand and asking if they’ll sponsor one of your videos, for example, could work. Free art supplies at no expense are always a positive too.
10) Start an art blog. Videos aren’t for everyone, but if you’re great at writing then this could be the one for you! You can still point people to other things you do that might benefit them (like products and services,) and hello, this is a great blog you’re reading right now.
11) Create a book (or e-book). This could be a book of prints or an educational book teaching people how to improve their art. Another great little potential money earner. This is something that will take a lot of work to produce, but once made can be a great passive revenue stream.
12) Licencing out your artwork. Big supermarkets or home stores often have canvas prints to sell for the home – licensing your art to these kinds of places can help you earn some nice royalties- Got to love all of this passive income!
13) Live streaming. This one isn’t as popular, but you could live stream whilst you create your art. Gaining subscribers on Twitch is a great way to earn money with this approach.
14) Teach classes on platforms like Skillshare. There’s a lot of adverts for this platform at the moment, to take classes, but why not teach them? This could help you earn money whilst you’re still in the early stages of building your own audience. I even have a class on Skillshare, take a look!
15) Sell services on websites like Fiverr. It’s an established marketplace where you can advertise your services, such as original art or commissions. People will contact you after seeing these advertisements.
If you would like to improve your art skills, check out all of my online art courses.
To see me talk about these 15 ways in more detail, watch the video below: