If you love arts and design, you might have wondered if it is possible to earn and be successful while you enjoy this classic passion at the same time.
It is definitely possible to make money from your artworks – you just have to learn how to.
There are different ways how you can earn income from your art, but we will be focusing on 15 ways. These can be passive and active revenue streams.
A Passive Income Stream is when you have to put extra work in the beginning but then it needs very little work to actually maintain that income stream while an Active Income Stream requires constant effort to maintain and keep generating money.
Learning how to earn income from your artwork requires a great strategy. You may want to combine active and passive income streams to achieve your income goals. You just have to try these different ways and go on for what works best for you.
So, let’s dive on to the 15 ways to make money as an artist.
1. Selling Your Original Art
This is the number one and most obvious way to earn money as an artist. This is a form of active income because every time you want to earn money, you have to work to create a painting or graphic (like a Logo) that you can sell. This might take a lot of your time.
2. Selling Prints
It is a great way to earn income from a single art. You create it once and you sell it repeatedly. This can either be active or passive. It is a passive form of income when you put in effort at the beginning to create digital artworks to sell. A good example is a digital scrapbooking kit you create and sell online. It can be active when you create, and print and ship them yourself every time you get an order. That’s a lot of effort. But you can make this process passive when you outsource the printing and shipping or sell them digitally. You just have to discover what works best for you.
3. Selling Merchandise
Incorporating your artworks into items that people usually buy such as mugs, cellphone cases, umbrellas, pillows, and shirts (practically anything you can think of) is also a great idea to earn income from your art. Make the most out of your pieces and sell merchandise. Again, you can either do it yourself or outsource it to experienced merchandisers.
4. Earn Commissions
This is a very good example of an active form of income because you earn commissions when your clients or customers order artworks or graphics from you. This is very time-consuming and energy-draining so you have to weigh the situation and your clients.
5. Selling Online Art Courses and Tutorials
This is what many artists love because this is a passive form of income. You create an art course or a tutorial and you keep selling it. And because it's a digital file, you don't have to ship anything or send anything. You can also get a higher profit because it costs you nothing to send the digital product to your online customers.
It is a great platform for creators. It is a membership site where you get monthly income from active participants for the work (aka your work!) they love. This is completely depending on what you want to do for your patreons. You can set rewards like tutorials or print packages in return for them pledging to you. It is an active form of income because you need to fulfill those rewards every month for your patreons.
7. Affiliate Programs
Getting affiliates and commissions from maybe selling art materials and promoting supplies that you use for your artworks only works if you have established online traffic. You add that affiliate link to your website, YouTube channel or wherever you are allowed to post it and every time a visitor of your site buys the product that you promote through the provided link, you get a commission. It can be a small amount (or a large one if you e.g. sell digital products) but it will add up if you have a broad audience or social media followers. It is a passive form of income.
8. Ads Revenue on YouTube
If you have an art channel on YouTube, you can get ads from various companies or enterprises. Those adverts will give you extra passive income but do not rely on it too much because your income depends on your viewers, and YouTube occasionally makes changes on its guidelines and policies. It can also be an active form of income because you have to create engaging videos for you to get ads.
9. Sponsorships from Brands
Many brands are into sponsorships these days because they can advertise their products online with lesser expense than advertising on TV. You can grab the chance to earn from sponsorships. If you have a specific art supply brand or graphic editing software that you love, then you might want to contact those brands and make a deal with them. They can sponsor your art supplies. Or if it is a graphic editing software or tablet, then you don’t have to fork out any expenses.
10. Start an Art Blog
If YouTube is not for you because you are not good in speaking or creating engaging videos, then blogging might be yous! Just like on YouTube, you can also accept ads from advertisers where you can earn passive income. Also, you can promote your other revenue streams in your blog posts.
11. Create an eBook or a Book
Because you love arts, I believe that you can create an e-book or a book that would help other artists or designers to improve their skills. E-books, just like online art courses and tutorials, just require some upfront effort. While physical books will definitely take a lot of time and effort to produce you can publish eBooks as an indie author. Once your book is out, you can earn passive revenue over time.
12. Licensing Out your Artwork
This is an interesting way to earn as an artist. You license out your artworks to companies that sell kitchenwares, home decor, clothing, and others. You may not sell your original art pieces to them but they can "rent" them to put their merchandise on. It is a passive form of income once you learn the details.
Tara Reed, a licensing expert, said, "The appeal of art licensing is that you can actually license the same piece of art for usage by multiple companies on different products, maximizing your earning potential.
13. Live Video Streaming
This one isn't as popular as earning from ads but going live while doing your artworks, for example on Twitch, you can earn from donations and tips from fans that find you entertaining. You can also get regular viewer payments, revenue from ads, brand deals and sponsorships, affiliate sales, and more. The best part is you can sell your own artworks while you are livestreaming and build connections with your fans.
14. Teach Classes on Platforms like Skillshare
Skillshare is a popular online learning community and many want to learn from educational videos. You can earn by sharing your knowledge to Skillshare students. You'll get paid from royalties and premium referrals. Who doesn't like that passive income?
15. Sell Services on Websites like Fiverr
Fiverr is an established market and a great way to make use of your skills in arts while you earn money. You create a gig or offer your services to their global audience, deliver great services, and you get paid! Its so simple but that's a very active income stream because you got to fulfill each job that people hire you for as they come in.
So that's it. As an artist, you surely have many ways to earn money not just by selling your original pieces. And as I've mentioned, you can try several ways and see what works best for you. You can use 5 ways or all these 15 ways at a time, that's up to you. But at the beginning you should definitely focus on just one or two ways. If you wanna learn more about designing and selling your designs join me in the Safari Lounge Designer Classes!