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Pursuing art as a career is a challenging and rewarding path. Making a steady income solely through your creative work takes business savvy and the ability to diversify your revenue streams.
If you want to earn money as an artist, try selling your artwork on online and offline platforms, taking commissions, teaching art skills, licensing your designs, creating online courses, offering creative services, and getting into web design.
Read on for more. This guide covers 10 proven methods to make money as an artist. You support yourself financially as you do what you love.
Table of Contents
How To Make Money as an Artist?
You can build a sustainable art career with persistence and the willingness to tap into multiple income sources. To go from hobby to business, you need to know how to make money as an artist. One of the most direct ways to make money as an artist is to sell the art you create. This includes paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, sculptures, and other physical artwork. Explore these art-selling methods:
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Approach galleries or co-op spaces to display and sell your work. You’ll earn a commission on pieces sold.
Art fairs and festivals
Rent booth space to sell your art directly to attendees. Local fairs can be affordable ways for new artists to gain exposure.
Open your shop through sites like Etsy or eBay to sell artwork globally. Retain more profit by managing your store.
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Prominent auctioneers like Sotheby’s or regional houses can auction your work to interested collectors.
Host open studio events where you display and sell work directly from your space.
Secure short-term retail space to organize a temporary exhibit of your latest work for sale.
Price pieces appropriately based on medium, size, reputation, and local art markets.
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Taking Commissioned Work
A reliable way to make money as an artist is by taking custom commissions from clients. Many art buyers are looking for original, specially-made pieces. Offer to create new work based on their specifications in exchange for an agreed-upon commission fee.
What do commission projects include? It can be a lot of things like…
- Portraits from photos
- Family or pet paintings
- Large-scale murals
- Custom graphic design work
- Or even unique sculptures or 3D models
Commissioned art allows artists to earn income as they build their skills and portfolio. Offering commissions can and will expand your customer base!
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Licensing means allowing others to use your artwork in exchange for a royalty fee. It’s an intelligent way for artists to earn passive income from work they’ve already created. Research companies that license artwork in your niche or list your designs on “on-demand” manufacturer platforms like Redbubble. Each time your design sells a product, you earn a commission.
Teaching Art Skills
Teaching is a rewarding way to make money as an artist. You share your knowledge with students eager to learn. You can offer private art lessons or teach group classes through community centers, schools, or your studio.
Develop a curriculum suitable for students at various skill levels. Teaching locally or online helps to earn a steady income as you empower the next generation of artists.
Possible art lessons you could offer:
Brush strokes and color mixing
Guide aspiring artists in the timeless painting and drawing techniques to bring their visions to life on the canvas.
Mold and shape
Work with students to center themselves as they form shapes from pliable clay, developing pottery and ceramics that reflect their spirit and soul.
Unleash your students imagination as they cut, glue, and assemble crafts along with learning valuable technical skills.
Teach the technical and creative aspects of photography and digital media. Students can capture and preserve meaningful memories.
Selling Digital Products
Digital products offer passive earning potential for artists. Create online resources, courses, tutorials, templates, and more that customers can purchase for on-demand access.
Some digital products artists can offer include:
- Online art classes and video tutorials
- Downloadable art guides and ebooks in PDF format
- Printable art materials like coloring pages, sketchbook templates, and more
- Graphics, brushes, and other digital assets for design work
- Website themes and templates for artist portfolios or art business sites
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Offering Creative Services
Offer freelance creative services related to your art skills for a steady income. Artistic talent is in high demand for tasks like graphic design, photography, event decor, set design, restoration, and more.
Creative Freelance Gigs
Logos, branding, marketing materials, and social media graphics are great freelancing gigs. Event decorating is an option with signage, murals, props, and installations for corporate events.
Photography and video jobs like product photography, event or wedding photography, and creating social media content are always in demand.
Get Into Web Design
Artists make great web designs. Web design is a lucrative and flexible freelance career option for those with the right skills and experience. Building custom websites, landing pages, and professional online portfolios for clients – from small businesses to creative professionals – are some of the most common freelance web design jobs.
Plus, Web designers can work independently from home, setting their schedules and rates. Clients value web designers’ expertise in translating their business needs and creative visions into user-friendly and aesthetically pleasing digital presences that effectively convey their brands and messages online.
Don’t Forget To Spread the Word About Your Services
If you wish to get more clients, you have to promote your services through multiple channels.
- Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn allow to showcase your portfolio and expertise. This helps to connect with your target audience. Posting regularly will raise your profile over time.
- You can advertise on local small business job boards and platforms designed for freelancers.
- A professional, up-to-date website with case studies, testimonials, and pricing information makes it easier for prospects to find online.
- Word-of-mouth referrals through your existing network and past clients are extremely powerful. Make sure to ask for referrals from happy customers.
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What art skills are most in demand for making money?
Traditional fine arts like painting and drawing are always marketable. Consider expanding into photography, graphic design, digital art, and other skills.
What expenses go into selling art?
Consider costs for tools, studio space, marketing, shipping, website hosting, fair booth fees, and more. Build these costs into your pricing.
How do I market my skills and find art clients?
Promote your work on social media, organize local pop-up shows, connect with interior designers, submit website designs to small businesses, etc.
Earning a steady living solely through your artwork is complex. Use income streams for a sustainable art career. Develop a diverse portfolio of offerings and market your brand through various channels. Be passionate yet pragmatic. Make art that matters as you monetize your creativity. You can forge a fulfilling path as an artist with resilience and perseverance.