9 Farm Animal Art Bestsellers: Home Decor That Sells!

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Kevin Hayler: Professional Wildlife artist, author, and traveler.

When it comes to selling art for a living, you must niche down and choose a subject with a proven market. That’s why I’m sharing my top 10 farm animal art bestsellers as a compliment to my 12 wildlife art bestsellers post.

After over 20 years of selling my animal art to the general public, I know these farm animals have market demand:

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1. Cows: Ever-Popular Farm Animals

One of my earliest prints was of a line of cows overlooking a fence. It was one of those rural scenes, familiar to anyone walking in the British countryside. Thankfully we still have cattle grazing in meadows!

It appealed to me as a subject, but it wasn’t until I made my drawing into a print that I realized just how popular cattle are with the public. They love cows. The image below is so basic. Perfect proof that it’s not so much the skill that sells, it’s the subject.

“Curious Cows”. My earliest sketch (Mid-1990s)

Now, many years later, I know that highland cattle are especially loved. Jersey cows, with their beautiful huge eyes, will sell, and so too will calves of any breed.

If you look online, it is immediately apparent that it is the quirky nature of cattle that has an appeal. Many of the bestsellers are comical. Nothing wrong with that.

On the whole, it’s safer to stick to a softer gentle wide-eyed innocence, with one exception. There is also a market for Taurus the Bull (Apr 20th – May – 20th). Zodiac imagery is popular.

You’ll find these posts helpful:

Contrast the cow sketch above with the donkey drawing below, and you can see the difference practice makes. You would never believe they are from the same artist.

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Dorian Iten on Proko. His course is reasonably priced and inspiring

2. Horses: Farm and Pet Animals

The market for horse imagery is huge. As a commercial subject, this should be top of my list. I didn’t put it at the top because it’s not farm horses as such that constitute the biggest market.

Apparently, there are over 200 horse breeds in the world, so which ones should your paint or draw?

Again there are regional variations but these 3 are safe bets:

Top 3 Popular Horse Breeds:

  1. Arabian Horse: Known for its beauty, stamina, and good temperament, the Arabian horse is one of the most popular breeds in the world. Half the world’s population is to be found in the States with over 600,000 animals, followed by Canada with over 45,000. (source)
  2. Thoroughbred: Primarily bred for racing, the Thoroughbred is also used for other horse sports, including show jumping, and driving. They have another life as riding horses for more confident riders who know how to control their more spirited natures
  3. American Quarter Horse: Recognized for its impressive speed over short distances, the American Quarter Horse is highly versatile and used in various equestrian activities. This horse is the most popular breed in the States with over 2 million registered horses, with a further 400,000 worldwide.

There is a niche appeal for heavy horses, much of it nostalgia for days gone by. You will see pastoral scenes for sale with horses pulling plows or carriages, at least, that exists in the UK, I’m not sure about the States.

The great thing about this market is the potential for premium commission work. You can’t own a horse without a substantial disposable income. As soon as you present some horse portraits you will get inquiries about custom commissions from the ‘horsey’ set. A very lucrative market.

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3. Ponies: Young Girls Love Them

Ok, not exactly farm animals, let’s call them country animals, they still have to be grazed and stabled.

I separated ponies from horses because they are a market unto themselves. There is a huge demand for pictures of ponies and in my experience, it is driven by young girls going through a phase in their childhood.

I’m not learned enough to know the psychology that attracts young girls instead of boys, but I have traded long enough to know it’s real and it’s not confined to the wealthier kids. Many youngsters go riding and get involved with pony clubs.

Pictures of ponies make perfect gifts, and popular breeds will sell very well. Don’t overprice your work, make them affordable for the kids’ bedroom.

Shetland poney pencil drawing by Kevin Hayler

I did make one mistake when I tapped into the market. I know nothing about ponies and assumed that Shetland ponies are cute and all the girls would love them. Apparently not. I didn’t know that Shetland ponies have an ‘attitude’ problem. I didn’t do my research. Interesting.

What resonates with the public is not always so obvious once you talk to them directly.

If I drew a pony today I would draw our native New Forest ponies, a mother with her foal should work. Another choice would be the Welsh pony, a very popular riding breed on both sides of the Atlantic.

4. Piglets: There Are Pig Collectors Everywhere!

Let’s be honest, the bulk of the market is for piglets, not so much for adult pigs. Cuteness is the name of the game, quirky, fun, and often stylized art.

"Motherhood" A Sow with her piglets. A pencil drawing by Kevin Hayler
“Motherhood” A Pencil Drawing by Kevin Hayler

I have one drawing of an old sow with her piglets sniffling around. As always, the mother a baby theme triumphs, I very much doubt that the sow alone would generate much interest.

This is an Asian pig but despite the unknown breed, collectors still buy it. It seems that the subject alone is enough to sell the print. Maybe they assume it’s a Tamworth, an old English breed.

To contradict my assertion that cuteness is the main appeal, there is a sub-market for ‘Ugly’.

I do occasionally get asked for African Warthogs. I understand why. I’ve seen many in my life and they are wonderfully ugly. I think people admire their feisty nature and how they run with their tails raised high.

warthog running with its tail raised
A warthog running with its tail raised.
I never did get around to drawing this one

It could be worth testing the market with a pile of pigs wallowing in mud. If there are piglets, I’m sure it would work.

As a footnote, the Chinese have a year of the pig in the Chinese zodiac. That might be a market worth exploring.

5. Chickens: Surprisingly Popular Farm Pets

I get asked if I’ve drawn chickens quite often and browsing through sites selling calendars and greeting cards, I can see that the market must be big. Why is that?

On the face of it, chickens are not the most adorable birds. There are some colorful breeds and silkies have a charm, but there must be something more.

I think it’s because ordinary folk still keep chickens. Indeed it is gaining popularity. I’m sure that accounts for some of the affection people have for chickens. They are pets that lay eggs. Win-win.

They are easily tamed and as long as you keep the roosters away a pleasure to have around

They are low maintenance, roost for themselves at night, and not too messy. We used to keep chickens at work, they are quite happy grubbing about for themselves and clucking away contentedly.

I have noticed that kitchen art often contains chicken imagery, so that’s a selling angle. Another low-brow market that might exist, is hen parties. I haven’t tested it out but it makes sense that hen night apparel could be themed with the right image.

6. Donkeys: Farm Animals of the World

As soon as you have a donkey image on display you hear the ‘oohs and ahhs’ of customers reacting to the image. Donkeys resonate with people. They have an appeal that is quite different from pony and horse lovers.

While donkeys may be beasts of burden in much of the world, they are kept mostly for fun at home. They are intelligent, slightly obstinate, and free-thinking.

Maybe it’s the quiet reluctance to do anything they don’t want to do, that is the appeal for people. Whatever the reason, they have fans and donkey charities raise millions rescuing donkeys from abuse.

Here in the UK, the Donkey Sanctuary does a fine job of raising awareness about donkey welfare.

As donkeys appear half asleep most of the time, I suggest you draw or paint a donkey with their ears up for maximum impact, or concentrate on its huge eyes.

I drew this donkey foal that I came across in a village in Ethiopia. This drawing has sold well.

'About Turn' Baby donkey mechanical pencil drawing by Kevin Hayler
You have to have a heart of steel not to react to this baby donkey

7. Rabbits: Mass Appeal and Cute

Another one of those subjects that cross over into the pet market. I get asked for rabbits quite often, but not as much as you might imagine. Perhaps there is a cultural thing happening because I get asked for hares, more than rabbits.

Nonetheless, rabbits are the most popular small animal pet, commanding about 40% of the market in the US. There is obviously a market for rabbits, all you have to do is look at greeting cards to see that. If all see fails, draw kittens and bunnies!

With an industry existing around care for rabbits and all the merchandise to go with it, there is a ready market to tap into.

Go down to your pet store and take a few photos.

8. Goats: Plus Sheep and Lambs

Now I’m moving on to subjects that I know will work but I’m less sure about the size of the market. I’ve been asked for these subjects often enough over the years to be sure that people will buy images of goats, but how many?

Calendars.com Goat calendars for sale

I looked on Calenders.com and found 17 results for Goats. Straight away you can see ‘baby goats’ for sale. None of them say ‘kids’. I suggest you follow suit. They will have researched that and decided baby goats has more appeal.

I’m assuming there are more people with the space to have goats in the US than here in the UK, where owning enough land for a small holding is out of the reach of most people.

I looked up ‘Sheep’ on the same sites and there were very few results. Lambs are featured more.

If you intend to sell online and not face-to-face, I think there is a viable opportunity for sales.

9. Llamas and Alpacas: New Farm Animals

Honestly, this is an outlier. I have no idea how big the market is, but I have been asked for Llamas and Alpacas enough times to search for them on the same calendar sites. They are much more popular than sheep.

I’m not sure how serious the Llama farming industry is outside of South America, but I do know that Llama and Alpaca farms are gaining popularity in both the U.S. and the U.K.

They are bred for their wool, for trekking (packing animals) and to guard sheep herds against predation. They are also to be found in most open farms and petting zoos.

I came up with 13 results on and 7 on . That indicates a solid market.

It could be worth trying your luck.

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General Tips for Selling Farm Animal Art

Having been in the animal art business for over 20 years, I’ve gained insights into what typically sells well.

While there’s no one-size-fits-all formula, certain trends are evident. Here are some recommendations based on my observations to enhance your chances of success:

Emphasize Mother and Baby Bonds Artworks depicting the bond between mothers and their young tend to resonate deeply with viewers. The key is to evoke feelings of closeness, care, and family. It’s not about being overly sentimental, but rather highlighting the positive emotions associated with these relationships.

Stay Positive Opt for uplifting themes. Remember, most buyers will display the artwork in their homes, not galleries. They generally prefer pieces that uplift rather than evoke deep contemplation. Amusing art sells well.

Simplicity is Key Artworks with straightforward compositions or portraits against uncluttered backgrounds are more adaptable. This approach allows for greater flexibility when resizing your images for different commercial purposes.

Colors Sell Better Than Monochrome While my personal preference is for black and white, that is only due to my colorblindness. Colorful artwork has a broader appeal.

Read this: How to Get Paid For Drawing: 18 Ways to Make Money

Be Thoughtful with Color Choices Consider how the artwork might fit within a home setting. While bold and bright colors can be striking, they might not be everyone’s cup of tea. Many buyers lean towards harmonious color palettes that seamlessly blend with their interiors.

Prioritize Easy-to-Frame Designs Artworks that fit standard frame sizes tend to sell better. Making your pieces compatible with readily available commercial frames can be a significant selling point.

The Power of Eye Contact Portraits where the subject makes direct eye contact with the viewer often leave a lasting impression. When composing your art, a slight shift in the subject’s gaze towards the viewer can elevate the piece from being merely appreciated to being sought after.

Baby Animals You may cringe at the thought of drawing or painting baby animals as the ultimate sell-out, I understand but before you dismiss it, think on. Baby animals have an innate charm that’s universally adored, making them perfect subjects for spaces dedicated to children. It’s a huge market.

Farm Animal Art Bestsellers: Final Thoughts

You would think I could’ve rounded this list off with one more animal to make it 10 farn animal art bestsellers, but in all honesty, I couldn’t be sure that they would sell well enough.

At first, I thought that there must be a market for waterfowl, especially ducks. However, I drew a duck once and printed it, but it didn’t sell well. It was a good drawing too, I think.

"Love a Duck" A pencil drawing by Kevin Hayler
“Love a Duck” A Drawing by Kevin Hayler

When I researched it, using my ‘calendar’ method, there are very few products. I can only conclude that the general market is limited. I suspect there might be a market for wildfowl.

The other possibility was to suggest selling images of bees. I suspect most commercial images are of Bumblebees. and to qualify as a domestic farmed animal, it would need to be Honey Bees.

I think the Honeybee niche might be too small. Having said that many enthusiasts keep bees as a hobby these days. It might be worth targeting beekeeper groups and societies.

Whatever you decide to do, the top 7 farm animals on this list are definitely popular enough to find a ready market of buyers.

If I was starting out again today and selecting a new list of the top ten bestselling animals, I would definitely have horses/ponies on my list. Why?

Because they tick all the boxes, like this:

  1. Women and girls love horses and ponies the most and women are the best art buyers
  2. Horse owners tend to be high earners with money to spend
  3. There is potential to break into an affluent commission market
  4. Many young girls have a passion for ponies and pester-power is profitable
  5. There are horses and ponies everywhere and it’s easy to get your own imagery

When a member of the family has a clear and identifiable passion, their family and friends look for gifts that reflect that interest. That expands your market. You win on every level.

This guide should help you to make an informed decision about producing commercial farm animal subjects.

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9 Farm Animal Art Bestsellers. Home decor that sells.
The artist and Author Kevin Hayler

Hi, my name’s Kevin and I’m a real person!
I’ve been selling my wildlife art and traveling the world for over 20 years, and if that sounds too good to be true, I’ve done it all without social media, art school, or galleries!
I can show you how to do it. You’ll find a wealth of info on my site, about selling art, drawing tips, lifestyle, reviews, travel, my portfolio, and more. Enjoy

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