As an artist, you have the potential to become extremely successful. Think about Vincent Van Gogh, or Salvador Dali; these are some of the most recognizable household names in the world. However, not every artist has the chance to become world-famous, and sometimes it can be difficult to earn a consistent income with your art.
In this article, we will explore 20 different ways to make money as an artist, both online and in-person. From teaching to NFTs, this list has something for everyone.
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20+ Ways to Make Money as an Artist
Sell Original Artwork
This is the most traditional way to make money as an artist. You can sell your artwork directly from your studio, through galleries, at art fairs or markets, or online via your website or platforms like Etsy.
Prints and Reproductions
If you create digital art or have high-quality photographs of your physical artwork, you can sell prints of your most popular creations. This allows you to sell your artwork at a more affordable price point, as well as the opportunity to target multiple customers with one piece.
Share your knowledge and skills through art lessons, either one-on-one or in a group setting. You can do this in person or online using platforms like Skillshare, or even by making YouTube videos. Additionally, you can create your own online course to reach a wider audience.
You can also make money as an artist by creating custom artwork for clients based on their requests. This could range from portraits and murals to digital illustrations and design work.
Licensing and Royalties
License your art to be used on products, in advertising, in books, and more. Whenever your work is sold or used, you receive a royalty payment. You can also create and sell vectors online, to websites like Shutterstock.
Patreon or Other Crowdfunding Platforms
Offer your fans the opportunity to support your work on a subscription basis, through crowdfunding sites like Patreon. In exchange, you can provide them with exclusive content, early access to new work, discount codes, or other perks.
You can submit your best works to art competitions. Often, these competitions offer a cash reward for their winners, or other opportunities.
Art residencies are temporary periods of time where an artist works on a project or develops new ideas by learning from other artists. Many residencies offer stipends, free accommodation, and the opportunity to create and exhibit new work and improve your skills as an artist.
Grants and Fellowships
The purpose of grants and fellowships is to provide financial support for artists’ ongoing personal projects, collaborations, and non-profit public art projects. You can apply for art grants and fellowships online to provide funding for specific projects or even your ongoing work.
If you specialize in digital art or graphic design, you can collaborate with brands to create artwork for their products, advertisements, or marketing campaigns.
If you gain a larger audience, you can turn your artwork into merchandise like t-shirts, mugs, stickers, phone cases, and more. Websites like Redbubble make this extremely easy to do, on one simple-to-use platform.
Storyboarding is crucial in film, advertising, and animation industries, to plan out video content in a visual way. If you can draw well and have a good understanding of storytelling and composition, this could be a great opportunity to make money as an artist.
You can compile your best-selling artwork into a book or zine and sell it online, in galleries, or in bookstores.
Art for public spaces is often commissioned by local governments, businesses, or community groups to fix or improve dilapidated areas like parks. Additionally, places like kindergartens may commission artists to paint engaging artworks on their walls for the children.
If you have the necessary qualifications, you could consider a career in art therapy, helping people to express themselves and deal with emotional issues through art. The qualifications required to offer art therapy varies depending on your location, but usually they include a bachelor’s degree in art, and a minimum of one years’ experience working in community service or public welfare.
As an illustrator, you could work on books, magazines, advertising campaigns, packaging, and more to create custom illustrations and artworks for other companies.
If you have a good eye for art and understand the market, you could work as an art consultant, helping individuals or businesses to select and purchase art from other artists and galleries.
NFT (Non-Fungible Token) art has grown in popularity recently. This blockchain technology allows digital artists to sell their work in a way that provides proof of ownership and authenticity. You can sell your NFTs on platforms such as Rarible, and some arrangements allow you to receive continual royalties for if and when your art is resold.
If you can build a large following on social media platforms such as TikTok or Instagram, there are opportunities to earn money through sponsored posts, collaborations, and affiliate marketing.
This will require additional training and may be time-consuming to start out, but decent tattoo artists can earn a lot of money with the right marketing and reputation.
Companies like Hallmark are always on the lookout for unique and appealing designs for greeting cards for events like birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas, or any other special event that people would like to commemorate.
If you’re proficient in movement and timing, the animation industry might be a great fit for you. This will also require additional training, but can be an excellent and lucrative career choice for artists who have the right skills for it.
Video Game Design
If you have additional training, the gaming industry is always in need of artists to animate and design video game characters, environments, and textures.
Artists can create and write blogs and articles, either for their own websites or for businesses and individuals seeking their services. This can help you to gain a wider audience, market yourself, meet others in your network, or simply to position yourself as a trusted advisor in the art community.
It is important to remember that the success and profitability of the above avenues can vary based on factors such as your style, skill level, marketing efforts, and networking abilities. It’s essential to adapt and explore multiple opportunities to find the ones that work best for you.
Artists have a plethora of excellent career paths to choose from, from teaching art classes to selling vectors online. With the necessary skills and training, any talented artist can expect a thriving career in their chosen field.