6 Ways to Make Money As An Artist

Most of us were raised on the idea of the “starving artist.” We believe, in some capacity, that art couldn’t possibly be a real job that provides enough income to let us accomplish our dreams. But that couldn’t be farther from the truth! Even in this digital age where artificial intelligence is able to copy art from human beings, there is still a huge need for folks like us who can actually hold a brush in our hands and put paint where it needs to be. Whether you’ve just been dabbling in art or you’re ready to make it your calling and career, it’s completely possible to make money as an artist!

How to Make Money As An Artist

Before you start selling your work, it’s important to have a clear understanding of who you are as an artist. In order to do so, you need to be able to answer a few questions:

  • What is your medium?
  • What is your style?
  • What colors are you drawn to?
  • What subjects are you drawn to?
  • What type of work do you like to do?
  • What other skills do you have that could help you level up your art?

The reason this information is so important is that it will give you a good idea of where to start making money as an artist. For example, if you’re a watercolor artist then you’re not going to go out and start advertising mural painting services to local businesses, right? But you could offer a hand-painted portrait of their building that a business could then add to their website and letterheads.

6 Ways to Make Money As an Artist

Like any business, it’s important to have multiple streams of income as an artist. This provides more financial stability, flexibility, increases your profit potential, and allows you to grow your skills and your creative business! With that in mind, here are some ways for you to make money as an artist that can be combined together to build one hugely successful art business.

Sell Your Art Online

First and foremost: embrace the power of the internet! If your goal is to make art your full-time career, then you must have a website and several social media profiles. If you’re just trying to make some extra cash with art as your side hustle, then you can find some success by joining platforms like Etsy, Society6, or Redbubble to sell your art. By showcasing your art online, you’re able to get your work in front of a massive audience. You can use keywords, hashtags, and even trending topics to help your art get in front of the right buyers.

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Take Commissions

Capitalize on your unique style and skills by accepting commissions! Whether it’s custom portraits, illustrations for books, or personalized furniture, offering commissioned pieces allows you to cater directly to your clients’ needs while generating income. Commission work, while lucrative, is best suited for folks who have a thick skin and are willing to accept criticism.

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Teach Workshops and Classes

Share your expertise and passion by teaching others! Host workshops, online courses, or private lessons in your preferred medium. Group crafting classes, like paint and sip nights or hand-painted pottery studios, continue to grow in popularity as folks look for fun activities to try with friends. Not only does teaching provide a steady income stream, but it also allows you to connect with fellow artists and enthusiasts.

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Licensing and Merchandising

Explore the world of licensing your artwork for use on various products such as apparel, home décor, or stationery. Licensing art is a HUGE industry and there are hundreds of giant corporations that are always looking for artists to help them create everything from posters to dish towels to calendars. Don’t want to work with the big names? Consider creating your own line of merchandise featuring your designs, from prints and mugs to apparel and accessories. This is probably the number one way to make money as an artist because it doesn’t rely on you actively creating something new. In fact, we have seen artists make money by licensing art they originally painted 2, 5, or even ten years prior!

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Freelance for Businesses

Leverage your artistic talents by offering freelance services such as graphic design, illustration, or mural painting to local businesses! Like you, local businesses are often looking for ways to stand out among their competitors. By offering a unique, Instagram-able mural, custom logos, or hand-painted (and then digitized) letterheads, you’ll be helping local businesses while building partnerships that can last for years to come.

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Live Painting & Events

Are you a fast painter who doesn’t get distracted easily? Then you should look into offering live painting services! Event planners are always looking for unique and exciting activities to feature at their biggest events like galas, fundraisers, and weddings. That’s where you come in! Imagine painting the bride and groom as they twirl around the dancefloor, offering them the finished piece at the end of the night. Not only will guests be entertained by your skill but you’ll be a part of making a memory that will last a lifetime.

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You Deserve To Make Money As An Artist

The more important thing you must keep in mind is that your art is valuable, and you deserve to be paid. So often artists are told that their years of learning, practice, and skill are nothing more than a fun hobby… But that couldn’t be farther from the truth! It’s human nature to enjoy beautiful things and art is all around us, from book covers to bathroom decor. Just because other people still believe in the “starving artist” myth doesn’t mean you have to. Never settle for less than your worth. The secret to running a successful art business is to stay innovative, adaptable, and true to your artistic vision as you navigate the exciting journey of making money as an artist.

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