If you read this, you’re probably a creative person. You’re maybe even talented, and you know that your art is good. But you don’t know how to make money from it. Don’t worry, that’s why you got here. As opposed to the classic image of artists, this is the 21th century, and you don’t have to starve and struggle in order to fulfill your artistic ambitions and lifestyle.
So without further ado, here are some options for artists to start making a living out of their art:
Just to get this out of the way, because it is the most obvious one. Being an illustrator can mean a lot of things:
You can illustrate books for other clients, authors that don’t have artistic skills but want to have illustrations in their books, or publishing agencies that want their book covers illustrated...
And of course, you can write and create your own book! If writing and storytelling is part of your passion, you can create a children’s book, a graphic novel or a comic, and sell it to publishing agencies or online.
That’s a great option for you if you love illustrating.
Second obvious. This option opens you up to a lot of other options as well: You can be a graphic designer for companies that want you to design their logos, their products, their website graphics...
You can work for animation agencies, to design their characters, sets and features.
You can work as a freelancer for individual clients that need specific designs for their small businesses.
The possibilities are endless, but only if you’re into design, of course.
In this new age, social media has opened a whole other new branch of possibilities for artists. You can create multiple accounts of art (or just one or two if that’s what you want), on YouTube, Instagram, Tumblr and more, and post as much of your art as you can. The beauty about these platforms is that you’re not limited to showing only finished, polished work, but also the process and the secrets of your work.
Through these accounts, you can reach many clients, both for jobs similar to the two previous points, but also, a completely different option, of advertisement deals. You use a lot of materials in your work, in your process pictures or in your videos. Once your online presence is big enough and attracts enough of an audience, art companies can (and probably will) contact you with sponsorship offers, such as: presenting their products in your videos \ posts, mentioning their brands and recommending them.
This is a great way to create an income, if you’re familiar with social media platforms and if you love that instant connection with your audience.
This is somehow related to illustrations and graphic design, but still not exactly. There are people out there that would like you to design or illustrate things for them, but not for a website or for books or animation or anything. Just because they like art and they can pay for it. Obviously, you need to find them, and the best way to do this, is to let them find you - which brings back social media, and online presence in general. Once you have an audience and you start getting noticed, people can start contacting you with personal requests:
It can be to design a tattoo for them, or paint them a portrait, or create them a costume made wedding invitations or house decorations or personalized bookmarks - it can be literally anything!
The only downside - you can’t do a lot to find these clients but to grow your presence, and wait for them to contact you.
Sometimes, making money out of art is not about selling anything, but about passing on your passion.
If you enjoy teaching, that’s another whole new world of possibilities for you. It depends, of course, if you have a teacher's certificate, and of what you want to teach, and where.
You can be teaching art history in schools, colleges, universities, or privately in afternoon classes, and all of it can also be practical teaching.
Can you imagine yourself standing in front of a class, explaining about Dalí, or helping a room of students learn to use charcoal and perspective? It might just be perfect for you...
This option can be done both alone, or with collaborations with other artists. This is like the opposite of selling online (which we’ll get to in a moment), but online presence can help here too.
The idea is to find a place for your own or existing places that exhibit local works and add your work to the stock.
This option is good if you live somewhere a lot of art lovers live, because your buyers will mostly be the local people or tourists in your area.
This is probably the most common option, especially combined with some previous methods we’ve offered. The most simple way to sell your art, if you don’t have a gallery or clients that order directly from you, is by an online shop.
It can be an existing shop, like Amazon or Etsy, or your own website. It’s the place where you put all your works (like the gallery), so everyone that found you through your social media or by chance, could buy your art.
And speaking of online shops, why not choose the environmentally-friendly option?
Coslug is a website focusing on ethically and sustainably printing and shipping their artworks. It’s perfect for art lovers and nature lovers that care for the environment.
You can shop on our website by art genres and by artists - and you can possibly become one of those artists…!
So there you have it! Hopefully this was a useful guide for you, and you’re already on your way to making some money. You are more than welcome to try and combine the methods listed above.
Good luck with your art!