Learn how to utilise your artistic abilities to make money, as we explore the ins and outs of selling your art online.
Making art can be a very satisfying and creative process. Although many of us partake in art as a hobby, we may not see it as a financial opportunity.
While selling your art may seem daunting at first, there are some easy ways to get started. Here, we’ll explore 6 ways you can sell your art online, and also explore how to sell your art locally.
Why should you sell your art?
If you’re a person that finds joy in creating artistic pieces, you may be wondering if there’s any real benefit to selling your art online. There is, of course, nothing wrong with creating art for your enjoyment and satisfaction.
However, if you’d like to pursue art as a career or start a side hustle, there is value in selling your artwork. Sharing your art with others can be a great feeling, and making some extra money can be incredibly helpful to those in need of additional finances.
The online art market has even been estimated to be worth around 50 billion USD, so it’s a space with many opportunities.
Creating art has even been linked to having positive impacts on mental health. So, why not boost your happiness by creating a little bit of art in your free time? And if you can make some extra money in the process, why not?
What is a side hustle?
You may or may not be familiar with the term ‘side hustle’. It’s an informal term used to describe a side gig that someone takes up to bring in some extra income. These are typically smaller projects that people do alongside their full-time work, and selling your art is a great example of a side hustle.
Whether you just want to make some extra money on the side or you’re interested in building a full-time career, selling your art can have huge benefits. If you’re curious about some other side hustle ideas, we explored hobbies that make money in a previous article.
What types of art can you sell?
Art is subjective – whatever art you feel like pursuing is the best way to decide what to make. If you have a creative mindset, you’ll probably be able to come up with some ideas about what to sell. However, we’ll lay out some examples of what you could sell to spark some ideas:
How to sell art online – 6 top tips
We are living in a digital world, where most of the things we do involve the internet. It only makes sense to utilise the web to spread awareness of our art and make some online sales. Let’s delve into 6 ways you can sell your art online:
Just like you would in a physical store, online marketplaces let you explore a range of items for sale. There are art-centred platforms that work as a hub for individual artists and independent sellers to display and sell their work.
A great example of one of these online marketplaces is Etsy. The website focuses on handmade goods and art, so customers will often visit the site specifically for that genre of goods and services.
To start selling on Etsy, you’ll need to set up an account and then open up a virtual store. Here, you can list all your art and items you wish to sell. As your shop builds its reputation, you’ll get increased visibility and traffic, leading to more sales.
Another alternative to selling on Etsy is Storenvy. You could even list your work on multiple online marketplaces to get a higher level of traffic.
If your artistic skills or passions lie in the realm of creating custom-made art, you can always take up freelancing. Establish yourself as an artist who freelances, and you can take commissions on various things.
Some of the art you could create includes animations, pet portraits, illustrations for children’s books, mascot designs, to name a few. Whatever art you wish to make, you can put your name out there for paid custom work.
To get started freelancing, you can try websites like Fiverr. Here, artists can lay out exactly what they offer and set the price they charge. Potential customers will find your listing and request custom work from you.
Another way to establish a freelancing career is by creating yourself a website to showcase your work and list the prices on there. You can also create social media accounts for your art business to spread awareness. We’ll talk more about this in just a moment.
If you’re curious about developing a brand identity, check out our How Branding Works and Building Your Personal Brand course.
Print on-demand companies
Another option for selling your art online is to utilise print on-demand companies. These websites let you list your premade artwork and offer it as an option for customers to buy as T-shirts, makeup bags, prints, tapestries, and much more.
This is a fantastic option for having low-effort income from your art, as you don’t have to deal with inventory, stock, and shipping issues. The process is as simple as signing up, uploading your art, and waiting for your percentage of product purchases.
Also, since you upload the artwork for people to choose from items available, you won’t have to continually work on additional art to keep a steady income. You can, however, continue adding new designs and increase your reputability. Examples of these sites include Redbubble, Teepublic, and Society6.
A relatively new development in the art world, NFTs are taking the internet by storm. Non-fungible-tokens, or NFTs for short, are pieces of digital art that people can purchase to own.
As NFTs have risen massively in popularity, there is a large market for them to be created and purchased. You could utilise your artistic abilities to draw up some NFTs and offer them for sale. Additionally, you could take on some freelance work to sell NFT art, which people tend to pay handsomely for.
Again, Fiverr is a great place to offer freelance work. The site already has many listings of people offering to sell NFT art. In our What are NFTs and how do they work? article, we take a detailed look at what an NFT is.
Networking and social media
An important aspect of selling art online is making connections and creating an online presence. Building yourself a website, or commissioning one, is a great way to establish yourself as a reputable artist.
Social media platforms like Instagram also provide a great way for you to showcase your work and make meaningful artist connections. Artist communities are welcoming and foster an environment of supporting each other. If you find yourself with other artist mutuals, you can share each other’s work to support each other and boost engagement.
As well as this, posting your work on social media can also boost awareness of your brand. By using hashtags and sharing your art with the right groups, you’ll expose your work to potential buyers. Another way to do this is to share your art on forums or various websites; niche subreddits are always a great place to start.
In our Digital Skills: Social Media course, we’ll talk you through the process of building a social media presence and using social media for business.
If there’s a specific product you have envisioned, but you don’t have the funds to create it, crowdfunding can help massively. Websites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo let you showcase your idea to the public and offer them the chance to invest in your idea pre-production.
It’s a great way to gather the funds you need, build excitement for your product, and gain exposure. If you have a social media presence, this may be an easier experience for you as you’ll have prospective customers before crowdfunding.
When creating your crowdfunding page, it’s important to make sure it looks professional and clean. A top tip for doing this is to use Canva to design your page. It’s free to use and lets you create a seamless graphic design for your page, boosting its professional appearance.
For some more ideas on crowdfunding, check out our Crowdfunding Q&A open step from Middlesex University London.
How to sell your art locally
If you’re not a huge fan of online activities, you may prefer to find out how you can sell art locally. You could also choose to do both to boost your chances of earning extra money. If you’re interested in pursuing art full-time, taking up both online and local means of selling is a good idea. Let’s look at a couple of ways you can start to sell your art locally:
Local markets are a fantastic place to start selling your art. Markets often have contact emails where you can reach out and enquire about table-space. You’ll likely have to pay a small fee to sell there, but you get a physical place to sell your art and the chance to meet other artists.
Many markets operate on weekends, so it can be taken up alongside a full-time job. You can always choose to just have a table on specific days you have free, so you don’t have to commit to a set day. It’s worth noting that markets often charge more for weekend stalls, so you could save money by opting for a weekday stall.
Similar to selling your art at markets, conventions allow you to do this in a niche setting. There are conventions for all types of things, and if your art is tailored to a specific topic of interest, you can sell your art there.
Conventions often charge more than local art markets for a table, so it may be a good idea to start with a market first. Conventions tend to be very art-focused and you’ll find loads of people eager to support local artists, making for a great atmosphere.
Getting involved in local art communities can help start your art journey. You can share ideas, encourage each other and support each other’s work. Local art events like life drawing sessions or pottery workshops are great places to meet other artists.
You can also find local groups for artists online on platforms such as Facebook. You may find that once you are part of a network of artists, you’ll hear about opportunities of where to sell. As we mentioned above, it’s also a lovely way to take inspiration from each other and support each other’s work.
As daunting as it may be, selling your art online is a great way to make some extra cash while keeping up a rewarding hobby.
We hope this article has given you some ideas on where to start selling your art online. If you want to get your creative juices flowing, why not check out our Developing a Creative Mindset course?