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How to make money with art | 3 ways that are proven to work

Do you want to earn some extra money with your hobby art, or do you want to make a full-time living out of art?

There are several ways to make money with your own art. These are the top 3 ways: 1. Go the commercial route and work for a company 2. Create what the people want and need 3. Gather a large social media audience and use them to sell art to

The most important thing to remember is that being a profitable artist means you have to do things that have nothing to do with art: the business side of it. Keep reading to find out more!

Can you make good money with art?

You can definitely make good money with art. The times of being a struggling artist are long gone. There are no more artists that can barely afford a living vs artists that swim in money. And it all has to do with the rise of social media.

The thing is, in any other occupation you have to get an education and you’re ready to go. People will hire you and you’ll have a reliable income through your job.

But when it comes to art, people only buy it if you’re good. It doesn’t matter if you have an education in art. They only buy it if they like what they see. And art is subjective.

That’s why you need to focus on growing your social media presence.

The power of having a large social media following is huge. Every artist has an audience that loves their work. It’s just that you need to find a way to reach that audience and the best way to do that is to use social media.

3 ways to make money with art

The way that I see it there are three ways to make money with art.

  1. Go the commercial route and work for a company
  2. Make art that people want and need
  3. Profit off of your social media audience

1. Go the commercial route to make money with art

There are a few commercial art jobs you can have. For example:

Concept designers are people who work for a company like an animation studio. They are tasked to create visual art following a brief. They create art all day long and get paid for it. They have benefits and work for a reliable company.

The benefit of going the commercial way is that you’ll be working for companies that allow you to have a steady income.

The commercial route is the ”easiest” way because you don’t have to deal with the business side of selling your art. You just show up to work and do your thing.

The downside is that you have to have a good portfolio in order to be accepted, and sometimes they require you to have a specific education.

Another well-known job that allows you to be creative is graphic design.

2. Make art that people want and need

Do the research and find out what’s currently trending. Things like stickers for journalling purposes are always popular. Make illustrations for authors to use in their books. Create things that people want and need to ensure you’ll have a steady flow of income.

Think of this: the world is always in need of nurses. That’s why anyone with a nursing degree will always find a job.

To make this apply to artists we need to think smaller: what is the journalling world in need of? Certain stickers? What is the author’s world in need of? Illustrators?

Find something that people need and go make it. Another option is to find something that people don’t need but really want. People are willing to pay more for something they really want.

Did you know that there are people who make a full-time living by designing adult coloring pages? This person found something that people really want and need: coloring pages, but for adults.

3. Profit off of your social media audience

If you want to sell art you need people that are into it. The best way to do this is by promoting your art on social media. It’s the exact same concept as being an influencer. Influencers can sell their audience anything because their fans trust them and perhaps want to be similar to them.

You can do the same, but with your art. People are interested in your process, the tools that you use. Use this as content to captivate as many people as you can.

Social Media for visual artists

Visual artists need social media that’s focused on images like Instagram and Pinterest. YouTube is a great way to have people fall in love with you as an artist. Other media like Twitter can be beneficial too, but it’s not social media that is focused on images.

Instagram for visual artists

Instagram allows you to post pictures and videos. Reels are small videos in which you can share the progress of your art. These types of videos do great and are a way to attract new followers fast.

Here you can read how to attract new followers using Instagram reels.

Youtube for visual artists

Youtube is an incredible way for artists to make money. You can show how-to’s, your progress, and behind-the-scenes. People love vlog-style videos. You can grow a large audience that wants to buy your art.

There are tons of popular Youtube artists that make a living with art due to their Youtube success.

Pinterest for Visual Artists

Pinterest allows you to post images that link to certain websites. People see these images and are able to save them. Once they click on an image it takes them to a link that you choose, which would be a link to your art.

Pinterest is a search engine and it’s often used for home decor inspiration. Use that to your advantage!

What types of art make the most money?

As an artist, you can make basically anything. But which products or types of art make the most money?

These types of art typically make the most money:

  • Oil paintings
    • They allow for hyper-realistic art that people are willing to pay for
  • Portraits
    • Pretty much the number 1 request of all time
  • Anything that’s customizable
    • Pet portraits
    • Profile pictures
    • Someone’s OC
  • Stickers
    • The journalling community is huge
  • Caligraphy
    • Think of invitations
    • Window decorations for local shops
    • Nameplates for weddings
  • Art prints
    • If you have a large enough social media following art prints will sell fast
  • Greeting cards
    • Birthday cards
    • Seasonal cards
  • Home Decor
    • (Abstract) paintings
  • Patterns
    • Work as a pattern designer or sell your own
  • Graphic Design
    • Every single advertisement or magazine is made by graphic designers
  • Murals
    • Some cities ask artists to paint murals which they pay a lot
    • Restaurants
    • Nurseries

How do art artists make money?

Artists make money by selling their art, either through an art gallery, as commissions, or simply by featuring their art on their own social media or website. It’s all about reaching the right people.

Another way to be an artist and sell art is to be a graphic designer. Most graphic designers are artists but choose the ”safe” so they’ll have a steady income.

Other creative jobs with a steady income include:

  • Concept Designer
  • Character Designer
  • Environment/background Designer

You can all do these jobs freelance or work for a company.

Where can I start making money from art?

To start making money from art you can set up your own website or start using certain sites that are specifically made for artists to sell their designs. You simply upload your own design and they handle the technical part.

You can start making money from the following websites:

  • Gumroad
    • Here you can sell digital files
  • RedBubble
    • Offers a wide variety of physical products on which your designs can be printed
    • They take care of everything including shipping the items
  • Society6
    • Similar to RedBubble
  • Etsy
    • Platform on which you can sell your art
  • Patreon
    • Platform on which you can offer memberships
  • Instagram
    • Social media

Patreon is a membership-based website. People pay you a certain amount of money each month and you deliver the content. This content can be how-to’s, tutorials, digital goodies, and more.

Step by step plan to start selling art online

I’m going to show you a global plan of what you should be doing in order to start earning money with your art. For each step I suggest you do some research.

I’m making money off of my art for years now but I never stop doing research about how I handle things. This is because social media very often changes its algorithm which you have to keep up with.

How to start earning money with your art:

  1. Set up your social media accounts
    • Instagram
    • Pinterest
    • Youtube
  2. Create an account on RedBubble or Society6 or build your own website
    1. Upload your designs and set your price
  3. Start working to gather a large following on your social media accounts
    1. Follow social media coaches to stay up to date with the algorithms
  4. Link to your accounts where you sell your art
    1. Put your name or handle everywhere so you’re spreading awareness
  5. Profit

I’ve been doing this for a few years now and it has paid off. It’s all about marketing yourself: spread awareness, post consistently, make art & link to where people can purchase it.

The most important thing is to not give up. Doing this will not happen overnight. Time will pass anyway so you might as well keep going.

I hope this gave you some insight into how to make money with art. Especially in this day and age, it’s very easy to earn money with your art.

If you like to receive more art tips tutorials how to’s and more, feel free to sign up for my art letter.

♡ Laura

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