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You know what I wanted to be when I grew up? An artist. Of course as a child I didn’t think growing up meant making a living. I never thought about how artists made money or how to make money as an artist. I didn’t even think about how to make money as an artist online even! How technology has grown and how easily we can make connections online and transfer those connections in real life, making money as an artist is easier than ever. At least, in my opinion.
Don’t have a Bachelors degree in fine arts, multimedia, or graphic design? This is 2018 everyone, a college degree isn’t absolutely needed anymore for a number of professions, fine arts included unless you want to work in an art museum restoring old priceless paintings. But let’s face it, the demand for art restoration in museums isn’t exactly booming. Honestly, who wants to spend $40,000+ dollars on a degree that has become obsolete in it’s field and come out of it with a mountain of debt with no job to pay it off?
Thanks to the internet, you can find training almost anywhere for your certain category of creative expertise you are going for. And the training you will find online on a various number of teaching platforms will give you more up to date, quality training than you will find in a stuffy old college that will put you 10 years behind the rest of the industry as soon as you graduate. I am not trash talking college degrees at all. I just want to point out that they are no longer the smartest choice, it depends on what you want to do with your life and the necessity for one varies from field to field.
So if you are looking for more training, guidance, classes, and a wonderful community to help you along the way, I suggest Creativebug. Sign up for Creativebug today for an absolutely free 14 day trial with access to 1000 classes, new classes added every day, and free templates, patterns, and even recipes PLUS a 20% off Joann coupon code. Trust me, by the end of today you will be obsessed with Creativebug. So I apologize in advance for any new addiction i may have added to your life because this site is so cool.
I am a self taught painter, artist, dabbler, etc. I love to paint, draw, sketch, experiment with spray painting, and even graphic design and other mediums. I just don’t do it for a full time job as there were other paths in my life I pursued.
But I never lost my creative spark as I still paint and draw when I have time and I designed and created everything you see in front of your eyes on this blog. So in some ways, I did grow up to be an artist.
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How to make money online as an artist or IRL?
When I was in college and after, I needed some extra cash so I was actually able to sell some of my work. This comes harder to some than others. But it isn’t impossible, you just have to get creative with how to make money as an artist.
As someone who truly wants to be an artist for a living, you will have to become comfortable with multiple income streams. You will have to find different ways to make money using your creative skills, whether that be selling products, services, or teaching classes too. You will have to take care of your own benefits and take job security into your own hands.
If you are weird enough, maybe one day you will be the next Salvador Dali.
You can do live painting in busy areas like town squares or shopping centers that have an eclectic feel. I use to go to live concerts at a small venue in the area and ask the owner if I could ‘live paint’ during certain concerts during the week or weekend. This wasn’t a problem as many artists do the same thing at the same venue.
I would bring some paintings with me that were already finished and set them up around the spot where I would be live painting. Between sessions and throughout the night, people would browse and usually every night people would buy a couple.
Depending on the type of art you create, live painting or creating can be possible in the ideal setting. For me it was the hippie-esque, EDM, indie techno, and experimental concerts because my paintings were very bright, surreal and abstract.
Find the spots where your ideal customer would interact and go there. Look into music festivals coming up where there might be opportunities for you to do this and maybe get a booth to sell more of your inventory.
Get in touch with local art studios.
Look into the art galleries in your area that maybe have open rental space to sell your art work at.
In our area, the Soulard Art Gallery rents out spaces to artists to display and sell their work. In order to be able to be considered for one of these spaces though, you have to first participate in one of their art shows. They have an art show every month or few months or so and they are not hard to get into.
Another great way to get your name out there and start engaging with potential customers is by participating in art shows or festivals.
So get to researching and you might be surprised with what you find.
Sell your art on Instagram.
There are artists out there that as soon as they post a picture of a new painting on Instagram, it take only seconds to sell. Instagram is so widely used now that many enjoy using it more than even Etsy for selling art work. You can do flash sales and promote them with Insta-stories.
Check out here how one girl sells her work for up to $30,000 right off of Instagram.
Create an online store with Shopify or Etsy.
You can also sell your artwork on eBay, Shopify, Etsy, etc. There are tons of ways to sell your paintings online. Or if you are a digital painter, even better as then you can do illustrations for books, articles, etc. Think out side the box and even get your designs printed on stylish blankets, scarves, mugs, furniture, t-shirts, you name it. You can use a variety of sites to do this And then sell those finished products on your store.
Creative Market is one of my favorites if you are a graphic designer. On Creative Market, you can open a shop and sell your designs, vector patterns, fonts, icons, and more. The coolest thing about Creative Market is once you sign up, you get some pretty sweet freebies weekly sent straight to your inbox.
Have you heard of ‘Amazon Handmade’?
Because of the killing that artists are making through selling on Etsy, Amazon came up with their own version of an Etsy styled experience called Amazon Handmade. Amazon Handmade is where artisans can share their craft and easily sell their work through all of our favorite platforms, Amazon!
Contract out your skills for projects and become an freelance artist.
If you have expert design experience and are a master at the Adobe suite, you might be able to contract out your services on Upwork or Fiverr. These skills are perfect for someone who wants to become a freelancer. Create a website or blog to showcase your portfolio and offer freelance services through a ‘Work With Me’ page. Make sure you have a PayPal setup to easily invoice your clients.
Then create an Instagram to showcase your artwork, freelance services, products, etc and get the word out there!
Make your income passive with submitting designs and artwork to sites like Cafe Press and Threadless.
I use to spend hours browsing on Threadless for the perfect comforter because of how many mindblowing designs the site offered. I later found out this is because on Threadless, you can create a store for free with little to no effort for actually trying to sell your products. After you get your shop set up, all you have to do is submit your design and what you want to sell with your design on it (cups, blankets, curtains, home decor, clothing, whatever you want), and Threadless takes care of all the marketing, packaging, shipping, and even customer support.
This makes your efforts minimal for a nice passive income. How cool is that!?
If you are also an artist or striving artist, what other ways do you make money? We would love to hear more from you!
Need more resources? Check out some of these great reads I found on the subject:
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Resources That I Can’t Live Without
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Daniella is the creator and author of iliketodabble.com. When her wife Alexandra and her aren’t globetrotting or playing with their 7+ animals, they are hustling and working towards a future of financial freedom.