4 Easy Steps to Make Money as an Artist

As an artist, I often talk to other creative minds and discover that most of them struggle. They don’t struggle with the fact that they can make amazing, beautiful things, but they cannot grasp the concept that they can live of off their creations. Many people think it is impossible to make a career or even make money as an artist, which is where the term “starving artist” comes from. Artists should only starve because they are hungry with passion and unrelenting drive, not because they cannot make money.

After going to college, I decided most creatives never get the business training they need in order to have a career. Most artists struggle with it, but it’s not hard at all. If you break everything down, it’s as easy as the following four steps.

1 – Make Art (or anything pretty/creative)

make money from paintingThis is a no-brainer. Most artists can do this in their sleep, but the catch is making things that people actually want. Don’t make things to copy off of others or steal ideas. No one will buy what they can already find somewhere else. Be unique with your talent. Also, make LOTS of it. More inventory = More $$$. The more you have for a specific (or even more than one) niche, the easier it will fly off the shelves. Think of ways to change colors or other little things that can take the artwork that you’ve already done and make it brand spankin’ new again.

2 – Add a Price Tag

Another step that may seem simple, but artists overlook. People want to buy things with a price. You can display your art all day all over the place, but no one will want it because there’s not actual price listed. Adding a price when you post or show off your artwork simply says “Here is what I think it is worth, which includes the time, materials, and effort I’ve put into this piece”. You can mark it up as much as you want depending on what it may be, but feel free to haggle with your customer. If they really want it and are sticking to a budget, be nice, mark a few bucks off and give it to them, which leads into the next step.

3 – Put It Out There

selling artAgain and again and again. Show off your work on social media, in-person, at local shops, at galleries, in magazine articles, give it away to your friends and tell them to tell a friend, and don’t stop there. Your art means nothing if no one is actually looking at it. People need to know your shit exists before they will even consider it interesting or pretty enough to look at, let alone buy. The beauty of this step is that it’s so easy to due thanks to the viral age that we live in. If you create art, give it a theme that’s trending, smack it all over the internet, and (hopefully) watch it take off.

4 – Find Your Niche/Audience and Shove It In Their Face

Ever heard the phrase, “Someone will buy anything”? Well, it’s absolutely true and you can apply it to your art, but you just have to find out who that someone is first. Think about the stuff you make and really think hard about the type of person who would want it. Take it a little further and develop a personality for this person. That’s the only way to find your specific audience. Of course, over time, your audience may end up finding you, but unless you have a reputation, that will never happen. So you need to really think about who would want your art and shove it in their face over and over again (see step 3). Find out what your audience does, where they live, where they shop, what websites they browse and make sure they are seeing it all over the place. Simply stalk the shit out of your potential customers and make sure your art is in the right place at the right time for them to see it.

As an artist myself, I often struggle with this, but selling your art takes patience, time and dedication. You might not be an overnight success, but with enough hard work, I hope you get to make a living off of your creative skills and doing something you love. That’s what life is all about.

Have any specific questions? Need graphic or website design work done? Need help with your branding? E-mail me at or visit my website to discuss that and much more. 🙂

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