19 Ways to Make Money as an Artist Online and Off

19 ways to make money as an artist online and off. No fluff

For many artists, the idea of making a living from their art is a pipe dream. The good news is, with the internet, there are more opportunities than ever to make money as an artist. So if you are serious, here are 19+ ways to make money as an artist.

  • Art Commissions
  • Teaching Workshops
  • Teaching Art Online
  • Youtube Tutorials
  • Print-on-Demand
  • Artist in Residence
  • Art Fairs and Festivals
  • License Your Art
  • Patreon
  • Street Art
  • Open Studio Events
  • Art Galleries
  • Online Art Galleries
  • Make a WordPress Website
  • Affiliate Links
  • Email Marketing
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Crowdfunding
  • Etsy
  • Read my Blogs (cough)

I have a lot to say under each heading and if you can’t find everything you need, I’ve included links to point you in the right direction. Skip to the parts that interest you most.

So, let’s crack on because this is a long read.

(I get commissions for purchases made through links in this post. However, I only promote products I like and recommend)

1. Art Commissions

The first way most artists make money is through art commissions. In the beginning, most artists are hired by friends and family and then by word of mouth. Typical commissions would be portraits of friends and families and their pets.

That’s a great way to get started but to make money you will need to take it further. Use your circle as ambassadors and recruit them to promote your work. The idea is to get the ball rolling.

There is big money to be made if your style is quick and you are in the right ‘set’. In other words, if your social circle is already loaded.

If not, you should target wealthier clients by specializing in painting and drawing their passions. It’s all very well painting the neighbor’s ailing cat, but if you can do the same thing for someone who’s wealthy, you can charge much more for the same amount of work.

As a way in, without contacts, you should advertise your services. Rent a booth at a dog show, a pony club event, or at a regatta. Go where the money is.

Follow my advice in this post: How to Get Art Commissions The Easy Way and Make Money

They are often overlooked but murals are another way to make money. They are not confined to nurseries or playgroups, at the high end, leading brands will commission them for advertising.

Start with a portfolio of designs, either previous work examples or mockups of your designs, that can be scaled to size as commission.

Who would commission a mural? First of all, there are the more obvious places such as nurseries, schools, surgeries, and hospitals. Then there are restaurants, hotels, and bars.

Private commissions from soon-to-be parents eager to decorate the kid’s room could be lucrative. Interior designers might commission you, it’s worth presenting your portfolio to a few and network.

Then there are small businesses. Think about all those depressing graffitied walls blighting every town. Think how upsetting it is for any business to have to live with that on their own walls.

It wouldn’t take much persuading to convince a business owner that your mural would not only make life better but also act as free advertising. The local press are always after local stories and something as big and bold as a public mural is perfect.

The mural can be themed to the business. and it’s tax-deductible, what’s not to like?

Think how tempted a business would be if you guaranteed to keep the mural in good repair for the first year to prevent taggers from spoiling it. If you go the extra mile, you should get the business.

2. Teaching Art Classes or Workshops

If you have a passion for art, confidence, and the talent to back it up, teaching art classes or workshops is a great way to make money.

An easy way to get going is to find a cheap rental space to hold the venue, advertise your services on notice boards and local facebook forums and charge a fee for every attendee.

Limit the class size to create urgency and prepare for your lesson. I knew a woman who did this, and to be honest, what she lacked in skills she made for with enthusiasm and personality.

She was making £1000 ($1500) per week 20 years ago.

This post will open your eyes: Should You Teach Your Art Skills in Public? (Pros and Cons)

3. Teaching Art Classes Online

Make Money as an Artist on Udemy

To make money as an artist on Udemy, you’ll need to create a course and market it to potential students. Your course should be well-organized and cover a specific topic related to art.

You can promote your course through Udemy’s marketing tools, social media, and other online channels.

Some course creators make big money on Udemy, while others make a significant side income.

It must be said that as a buyer, Udemy courses are hit and miss, but that leaves the door open for anyone who is willing to put in the extra effort and make a professional course. You will stand out.

As it is, it’s a platform where you can test the water and give it a go.

Make Money as an Artist on Skillshare

Skillshare is also an online teaching platform but one that specializes in creative courses. If I wanted to learn a new artistic skill, I would go to Skillshare before I bothered with Udemy.

Not only is Skillshare more relevant but it’s also more concerned with the quality of the teaching. The overall standard is far higher than Udemy.

You can also promote Skillshare courses to your audience through affiliate links, as I do. If you haven’t got to the stage of making your own course, there is nothing wrong with promoting someone else.

I have noticed that only a handful of course creators get most of the traffic. Invariably they have superb ratings, so the emphasis is on reputation. They also promote ‘staff picks’ for useful courses which will help newbies.

Make Money as an Artist on Domestika

You may not be familiar with Domestika and for good reason. It was formally a Spanish site with Spanish-speaking courses. It’s now based in the States and actively seeking English-speaking instructors.

Domestika is another step ahead when it comes to quality. Their classes are so well, produced, to such a high standard, that I put their classes on my website as an online course section.

The tutors are still mostly Spanish-speaking with English subtitles or dubbing. Don’t be put off, if you are confident that you can meet their high standards you should give it a go.

Domestika is big and its top teachers have huge audiences. If you are equal to the top Spanish-speaking teachers and can make an English version, there’s a great opportunity there.

Join as a creator, or take a look at the courses on offer. There are no membership fees. Sign up and buy what you please.

Make Money as an Artist With Teachable

Teachable is not a marketplace. It’s an all-in-one platform that enables course creators to build and market their own courses from scratch.

They have all the resources you need to help you get going with tutorials on every aspect of production and marketing.

According to their website, they have over 100,000 instructors and listening to a webinar last night (not Teachable), I heard a claim that 4 out 10 Teachable instructors earn over $50,000 per year. Is that a fact? I dunno but there is a great opportunity to be had, that’s for sure.

The price tiers, per month, as of 2022 are:

  • Free
  • $29
  • $99
  • $249

In other words, you can set up your course for free and dip your toe in the water when you are ready. They claim that the $99 tier is the most popular, maybe, but I can’t see many advantages over the $29 plan.

Thinkific is another popular course builder, very similar to Teachable

Their price tiers, per month, as of 2022 are:

  • Free
  • $39
  • $79
  • $399

I don’t know so much about Thinkific, but a quick comparison suggests that you get more bells and whistles with the cheaper Teachable plans.

There is one more option I’ll mention briefly.

Make Money as an Artist and Join Linkedin Learning

Linkedin Learning (formally Lynda) has a huge range of courses geared at teaching every level of students by professional instructors, with experience and qualifications.

Their courses are sold at a premium with a membership model at $29 per month. That will certainly filter out the dreamers.

It’s difficult to say how much a teacher can earn because royalties are paid according to the popularity of your course. Some teachers undoubtedly make big bucks.

4. YouTube Art Tutorials

A Youtube channel has the most potential for getting quick results. It’s a growing platform with a low bar of entry. The amazing thing about Youtube, something Facebook and Instagram have abandoned, is the organic reach. If you make content people like, you will rise to the top and not be outranked by the big boys or advertisers.

Art lessons on YouTube attract huge audiences and a loyal following. YouTube provides a great platform for artists to share their talents with the world for free and still earn a great income.

I follow a guy called Dries Ketels on Youtube. He doesn’t get a huge following, at the time of writing it’s only 13.4K, yet he revealed, that with only the views he gets now, from publishing one video a week, he earns $800 per month from the advertising alone!

That’s not including referral and affiliate links.

And here’s the thing, he only talks about art and making money, he doesn’t even do art tutorials.

There are tons of different art tutorials on YouTube, and many of them attract enormous audiences and most of them, but by no means all. have very modest talents. Incredible.

There are two main ways to make money with your YouTube channel. You can run ads (after a minimum number of 10,000 views, and also promote your affiliate links in the description. The other way is use your videos to make teasers and direct your audience to your website, course, or your Patreon site.

We’ve all seen those speeded-up videos where a work of art appears magically. They hypnotize viewers and yet teach nothing, that’s a teaser. You can do the same kind of thing on TikTok. Try giving 60-second tips and drive viewers back to your site for more.

You can also rank high on Google searches with Youtube and beat the blogging competition. If you want more visitors, you must write great blogs and link them to your Youtube videos covering the same subject. It’s a simple way to get a boost in your rankings.

I haven’t done it yet, because I’ve got a face for radio, but that’s my hang-up.

5. Print on Demand Merchandise

There are a number of print-on-demand services that will allow you to sell their products with your designs. This can be a great way to make some extra money, as in most cases, you can set your own prices above their stated minimum, the margin is your profit.

It sounds easier than it is. It’s not passive because it’s the marketing that will drive sales and that takes time and know-how.

The secret for gaining sales is to produce quantity with strictly commercial designs. This is no way to sell fine art. Think mugs and Tee-Shirts.

Very few people manage to make a full-time living, but many artists use print-on-demand services as a side-hustle.

Top tip: Offer merchandise as an upsell for art commissions. Would Granny and Grandad love a print of your portrait of their grandchildren? I think so. Got to think business!

If your impact on the environment is of concern, and why wouldn’t it be? there’s a new sustainable print-on-demand clothing company that’s seriously worth checking out. It’s called TeeMill.

It’s free to join, with no setup costs. All you do is provide the designs and market your work. Seriously go and check it out.

Other well known Print-on-Demand sites include:

6. Artist in Residence

Being an artist in residence is a great way to get your work in front of a captive market. By being in residency at a specific location, you are able to create a body of work that is tailored to the audience viewing it.

As an example, if you make wildlife art, as I do, a zoo makes perfect sense. What better place could there be to promote your art?

I knew a guy who was Artist in Residence in a large hotel, He sold local landscapes, which was ideal.

The location doesn’t have to be high-end and arty, all it needs is the footfall of the right kind of people, who might buy your style of artwork

7. Art Fairs and Festivals

The best art fairs and festivals are the ones that attract people who are already interested in buying art. These events are typically well-organized and offer a wide variety of art for sale.

But you are not confined to art fairs, sometimes it’s better to be one of the few artists attending a different kind of event. A bigger fish in a smaller pond, as it were.

If you are doing a fair read this: Selling in Art Fairs (5 Tips You Can’t Afford to Ignore)

As long as you target the festivals and meet-ups directly related to the style and subject of your art, you can make good money. Who needs competition?

In my experience, it’s better to have a smaller targeted audience that is interested in what’s on offer than a big audience of casual random people. That is especially true of free events.

This post is closely related: Who Buys Art and How to Spot a Buyer? (Secrets Revealed)

Think about it, if something is free it attracts people with no money to spend. It’s as simple as that. If that free event involves partying, don’t bother selling art, it will not work.

Selling art made simple banner

Then there are free art and craft shows. Regular markets are a double-edged sword. In some respects, it’s good to be the fixture who is reliably there every time a regular turns up. On the other hand, you may well discover the law of diminishing returns.

As a seller, you soon realize that attendees are there for something to do on a weekend, and they might love and buy your art at the beginning, but without a turnover of brand new faces, the interest withers on the vine.

It figures, there are only so many pictures people will buy.

Read this for selling tips: How to Sell More Art: 10 Selling Tips For Artists

There is something to said for attending more exclusive art fairs. If a customer has to pay to get in, even a token amount, it filters out the dust-kickers. Only customers with a real interest will pay up. You really have to be an enthusiast or a buyer to do that.

8. License Your Art For Passive Income

Licensing art is a great way to generate passive income. By licensing your art, you are essentially selling the right to use your artwork to someone else.

That person can then use your artwork on a product they are selling, such as a t-shirt, puzzle or coffee mug etc.

The key to making money from licensing art is to ensure that you are licensing your art to companies that will sell products that your target audience will buy.

For example, if you create art for children, you would want to license your art to companies that sell children’s products.

This approach is not for the precious or artists who want to say something to the world. It entails painting commercial subjects, in a style and size that will reproduce on a variety of products.

If you are anything like me, licensing is hard to get my head around, how do you know people aren’t ripping you off? Don’t procrastinate, learn from Cat Coquillette.

Her Skillshare classes are very popular and I discovered her on Udemy selling the same course! That’s a lot better than paying to join Skillshare, and you get to keep the course.

9. Patreon Masterclasses

Patreon is a Godsend for many artists. The site provides a platform for artists to offer masterclasses in return for exclusive access, which in turn, can be tiered at different price points.

The payments are monthly and can be canceled at any time, but psychology dictates that most mentors are reluctant to unsubscribe too soon.

In theory, there is no reason why you can’t pay for a month, find your information and leave. In fact, most people stay for a few months. I know I did.

I followed someone for 6 months and paid $10 each time. In effect, I paid $60 for the info that intrigued me. When I left I felt disloyal. It was quite hard to do.

The key to making Patreon work is to provide value in return for your patrons. Giving people direct access to you via live video and meetups is a real winner.

A basic mentorship might involve general tutorials and advice open to all, the next level up could be personal private masterclasses, the next could be personal coaching one-to-one. That’s how it works, with variations to suit your circumstances.

10. Street Art

There are a number of ways to make money selling art on the streets. Indeed, I have been trading my art prints for years on a public street in a seaside resort for over 20 years.

It’s a seasonal trade but I earn enough money in the summer to carry me through the whole year. Don’t underestimate the earning potential.

It is HUGE!

The public thinks you are scraping the bottom of the barrel, but they don’t know how much money street traders make. And that is what you are, a trader or retailer.

It takes a mind-shift admittedly, but your art prints are a product and your USP, or unique selling point, is it’s you that created them. Use your leverage and promote the romance of your lifestyle to your advantage.

The other classic way to earn cash on the street is by doing portraits. That’s a skill few master, and it’s only for the blessed few. A more viable alternative is to make caricatures.

There are quite a few caricaturists in my home town and most of them are mediocre or failed portrait artists, but they make a good income. It’s very downmarket but as a summer job, it pays the bills.

Another option is to paint local landmarks. Local views and famous sites are perfect as tourist souvenirs. The drawback, artistically, is painting the same views over and over again.

It would work better by painting a dozen originals and selling them as signed prints. Have one work in progress as a prop to entice onlookers, and sell prints for a living.

11. Open Studio Events

Some artists make a good income by opening their home/studio to the public in Open house events. Many towns organize these very popular gallery trails at various times of the year.

They tend to be very well advertised and people will come from far and wide to tour the artist’s home.

I see this happen in my own town, in fact, as I write my friend is preparing his studio for the Spring Arts Festival starting this weekend.

Let’s not fool ourselves that half the appeal is to see inside other people’s homes, that’s a given, but everyone who walks the circuit has an interest in art, or they wouldn’t bother.

In other words, visitors have a buyer’s intent. They are not random onlookers.

A few will be looking for original art and that’s great if meeting you, and seeing your art, leads to a sale. The profit is all yours.

Most visitors, however, will be art admirers and open to impulse buys. They are not looking to spend thousands, far from it, it’s a nice day out BUT they can be tempted if the art is affordable.

That will probably be your best source of income.

Think prints, and sell high-quality reproductions of your work. You are not limited to limited editions, open editions are a great source of income. I’ve made most of my money with signed open edition prints.

Then there are the peripherals, cards, coasters, tiles, calendars, fridge magnets, that kind of thing. If licenses allow, you could even sell coffees and cakes, why not?

12. Art Galleries

If you asked the public where they would go to buy art, chances are they would say a gallery, but that’s not what they actually do. Very few people visit galleries.

Galleries cater to a tiny demographic, albeit one with money. Most artists, starting out, will be wasting their time but that’s not to say you can’t earn money, you most certainly can.

If you do the type of art people want, and can produce your art quickly, there is every possibility that you can get a return.

It’s unlikely that one gallery will provide you with enough sales, you will need several galleries in different towns or regions to get a good enough income. Besides, it’s wiser to spread your bets and not rely on one gallery owner.

I did it years ago, it’s a lot of work and not something you can do casually. My advice remains the same, sell prints. It’s the only way to scale and get your art in enough places.

Read this post for a reality check: How to Sell Your Art in Galleries: Is it Worth it? The Truth Told

13. Make Money with Online Art Galleries

If you’re an artist looking to make some money from your work, selling through online galleries is a great option. There are a number of different galleries to choose from, each with its own strengths and weaknesses.

Some, like FineArtAmerica, specialize in prints and merchandise while others and are open to all, while others like Saatchi Art, focus on original artwork. The important thing is to find a gallery that fits your style and offers the type of art that you create.

One of the most popular online art galleries and marketplaces is Etsy where you can find everything from paintings to jewelry to handmade goods and digital artwork.

There are alternatives, however, sites such as Amazon Handmade, Artfire, and Artspan. I’ve even done well in the past selling prints on eBay.

There are also online art galleries that focus on contemporary art forms such as digital art, a good example of that is Art Station.

This post relates to digital art: Is The Procreate App Worth it For Beginners? Get the Facts

Some galleries such as Artfinder, Saatchi, UGallery, and Zatista, have juried submission policies in order to maintain the high quality of their offerings.

I won’t write any more about them here, namely because I’ve already done that.

It’s called 25 Platforms for Artists to Sell Their Art Online and Make Money

14. Sell Your Art on Your Own Website

Having your own website is a great way to sell your art. You can post pictures of your artwork, and include a price and contact information.

You can also use your website to blog about your art, and to promote upcoming events or exhibitions.

Use this course on Skillshare to get you up and running. Simply follow the instructions.

Alternatively, buy a course on Udemy, it’s far cheaper!

A basic buying option is easy to set up. Open a PayPal account, and include a “Buy Now” button on your website. When someone clicks on the button, they will be taken to PayPal’s website, where they can enter their payment information.

Once the payment is processed, you will receive an email notification with the customer’s address and contact details, and the buyer will receive an email with a receipt.

If you are selling downloadable prints the receipt can contain a link to download the artwork.

The real beauty of having a website is the control it gives you to promote yourself and collect emails for marketing purposes.

If you want to set up a fully functioning and free e-commerce site for yourself, it’s perfectly possible without being a techy.

I managed to set up my Woocommerce store simply by following instructions on Youtube. Occasionally you will have updates to enable, in the same way that you have App updates. I’ve never had a problem.

15. Use Affiliate Programs to Sell Your Art

The classic way to earn money through affiliate links is to write popular blogs that get plenty of readers and have offers directly related to the content. Each referral earns a commission.

Sometimes the commissions are huge. Recommending web hosting is popular. A sign-up via your link can put $100 in your pocket. M ost percentages for art-related stuff are smaller but better than Amazon that’s for sure.

If you’re an artist looking to sell your own artwork, one way to do so is by setting up your own affiliate programs with other websites. This way, every time someone clicks on one of your affiliate links and makes a purchase, you earn a commission.

The best part is that this is passive income, so you can continue to earn money even when you’re not actively promoting your work.

Most artists will go the conventional way because it is so much easier. The hardest part might be getting accepted onto affiliate sites. Unless you have some traffic, many will turn you down.

Amazon will sign you up easily but they will delist you if there are no sales within 180 days, not that it matters because they don’t stop you from reapplying anyway.

You can use your affiliate links elsewhere. You are not confined to your blog. You can add them to social media posts, notably Youtube, and pop them into bulk emails, for example.

Adsense is easy to join but pays pennies. It’s hardly worth the bother for most site owners. You will be better off joining Ezoic. They will consider low-volume sites and they have great customer support.

When your site gets to 50,000 visitors a month you can join Mediavine for a higher return.

16. How to Sell Your Art through Email Marketing

Email marketing is one of the most effective ways to sell your art. By building a list of potential customers and sending them regular updates about your work, you can create a steady stream of sales.

Here are some tips for using email marketing to sell your art:

  1. Start by building a list of potential customers. You can do this by collecting email addresses at art fairs, galleries, and other events. You can also ask your current customers if they have any suggestions.
  2. You can collect email addresses through a sign-up form on your website. Use the side banner and put a form on each blog. If you are keen to build a list quickly, put three forms on your blog one at the top, middle, and end, preferably with a giveaway offer in exchange.
  3. Send out a monthly newsletter to your list of potential customers. This newsletter should include information about upcoming events, new products, and special offers. You can also use this newsletter to promote your own art, digital products, and courses and reach out to other bloggers to promote their goods and services for a commission.
  4. Post consistent and regular updates. This will give you an opportunity to share your knowledge and expertise with your potential customers, build their confidence in you, and retain subscribers.

It’s worth mentioning that an email list is your biggest asset. You are at the mercy of all the other 3rd party platforms with their changing algorithms and policies and your business can tank overnight. Your list stays with you.

17. How to Use Social Media to Sell Your Art

Social media is a broad term but there are notable social media platforms that are popular with artists. To use social media to sell your art, you’ll need to create an account on a platform like Facebook, Youtube, or Instagram. Once you have an account, you can start sharing your artwork with your followers.

You can also join groups related to your niche and participate in discussions to get your name out there. Participate in online forums related to your industry. This will give you an opportunity to network with other businesses and build relationships with potential customers

How to Make Money as an Artist on Facebook

The truth is that Facebook has never had 100% organic reach but now it has dwindled to almost nothing. In 2021 it was down to just 2.2%. But that doesn’t mean you can’t use Facebook to build your business, it means you will have to use the Facebook Groups to get any traction.

Like all social media platforms, Facebook is a superb way to build a relationship with your audience and it is always worth taking the time to answer questions that are asked. If you can provide the answers, it gives authority and users will start to listen.

It can take a lot of time, but if you do it right, you will be rewarded. Eventually, you can nudge them towards your website.

Keep to the rules, you don’t want to get kicked out, but be subtle. The emphasis must always be on helping people out.

If you have something to sell you can always ask the moderator in return for a share of the sale.

Facebook groups are another excellent way to stay in touch with your customers, especially for service-based businesses.

This post will help you more: Social Media For Artists: The Best 13 Platforms for Creatives

Make Money as an Artist on Instagram

There are a few ways to make money as an artist on Instagram.

The usual way is to post your artwork and include a link to your website in your bio.

Instagram (owned by Facebook) doesn’t encourage its users to leave the platform so they limit your links. Many Instagrammers use linktree.com to send viewers to a choice of URLs. It helps but it’s still very hard to get someone to make the first move.

To get noticed on Instagram you have to post excellent images consistently. Your post will have a very short window to get seen, even by your fans so given the drawbacks what are you to do?

You can take the option of paying for ads which is what Mark Zuckerburg wants you to do and almost inevitably you’ll lose more money than you are likely to earn, or you can use it to target buyers in a sneakier way.

Find the galleries that sell work similar to yours and follow their followers. You can be sure that very many followers are former buyers or potential buyers. Comment and get to know them using the back door. Simple

This post will help: How to Promote Your Art on Instagram: A Concise Overview

One other way to get some attention is by running contests and giveaways and obliging your contestants to comment, hit the like tab, and visit your site for the chance to win or get a freebie.

The results can be announced with a link back to your website page, with the prize winners and not to be missed offers. This is another place to use relevant affiliate links.

18. Making Money as an Artist Through Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding is a viable way for artists to make money. Kickstarter is the most well-known crowdfunding site, but there are many others that are very popular such as Indiegogo and GoFundMe.

You can set up a campaign to fund your art project, and if people like your project, and you market yourself well, the public can pledge money to help you reach your goal.

If you have a large email list you can use them to help launch your appeal. Send out a message and offer a really great deal in return for a basic pledge to get the ball rolling.

The platform to pick up on all the interest and promote your pitch.

It is very important to get your video production spot on if strangers are going to be captivated enough to pledge their cash to a complete stranger. You can’t cut corners on the presentation.

If you have an idea that probably wouldn’t get commercial backing but would excite an audience, crowdfunding is definitely an option.

It involves a lot of work and it’s not for the fainthearted, you will have to

  • Devise a great title as the hook
  • Make a compelling video
  • Set a clear unambiguous goal
  • Tell your backers why you are raising funds
  • A cost breakdown
  • Figure out gifts in return for their donations
  • Send out progress reports with links to your website

But I tell you what, why not listen to someone who really knows Kickstarter? This is a 4hr course on crowdfunding by Dr Angela Yu on Udemy

The complete crowdfunding course for kickstarter and indigogo. A course on Udemy

19. How to Sell Art on Etsy

Etsy is a very large marketplace with over 2.5 million sellers, so you will be a very small player with enormous competition.

If you’re an artist looking to sell your work on Etsy, there are a few things you need to do in order to succeed.

You must niche down and compete in less competitive markets. You must also be willing to put in the work required to stand out from the crowd.

This post goes more into the pros and cons: Is Selling on Etsy Worth it? Pros and Cons for Artists and Crafters

To niche down, you need to focus on a specific target market. This can be done by narrowing your product offerings to a specific:

  • Style,
  • Genre,
  • Theme.

Once you’ve narrowed your focus, you need to create a brand around your niche. This will make it easier for potential customers to find your work and understand what you’re all about.

And that’s not all, your art must be commercial. Etsy promotes itself as a platform for artists, crafters, and creatives, but essentially it’s just a retail outlet with e-commerce at its core, with shareholders to satisfy.

That means you must research the market and paint what the market demands. It doesn’t work the other way around, not unless you’re very lucky to be painting just the right thing already.

Don’t confuse quality with saleability, sadly the two are not one and the same thing.

Etsy is in the top ten websites in America, consequently, that’s where most of the customers are. Fine if you’re North American, not so fine elsewhere.

I had an Etsy shop selling my art prints, I did nothing to promote it, but I got sales every now and then and I treated it as passive income.


If you want to make serious money you must do things in the right way. This is a bestselling course on Udemy.

Etsy 101 - Set up a shop and promote it on Social media. A course on Udemy

Things fell apart for me, here in the UK, when the international shipping rates changed and posting prints to America became uneconomic.

If you sell downloadable art prints you can circumvent this issue.

Use Etsy as an added side-line. It might generate a good return, some people do very well but don’t rely on the platform. One algorithm change or hike in fees and your business can take a tumble.

That happened to me on eBay for similar reasons. Be warned.

How to Make Money as an Artist – Final Thoughts

Artists have always had to find ways to make money from their art. In the past, this meant finding a patron or selling their work through galleries. However, with the rise of the internet, the world has opened up more opportunities than ever for artists to make money.

If you are committed to making a living with your art, it can be done, but please don’t be fooled into thinking there is an easy way, it’s hard work. Even passive income involves a lot of work before the money starts to roll in.

Making art for a living is like anything else you do for money, it’s a business. There are no guarantees, but those who are prepared to put in the hours, are the most likely to find success.

Good luck.

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