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Make Money From My Art Etsy or eBay

Updated on June 7, 2010

Introduction to Etsy and the Artists

I recently had the opportunity to interview the artist, William Hessian aka William the Canvas Killer in conjunction with an artist interview series I have been developing for the website. His experience and actions as an artist and promoter of his works are a model for anyone interested in clever, viral-friendly and cutting edge art promotion.

What is Etsy

Etsy is a place to buy and sell, like eBay, but with one very significant restriction. It is a place only for handmade goods, Arts, Crafts - Yes, cheap asian imports - NO

As an artist, Ive found its a much better marketplace and has significantly lower listing and final value fees.

Who is William the Hessian?

A very skilled professional artist, after the interview you can find many linsk to his writings, artwork, portfolio sites and stores.

Who is Sunforged?

Sunforged is a collaborative of artists, here on HubPages he is represented by the Artist and Writer, Joshua Sunforged.

eBay vs Etsy

Q. William, I must admit that you are one of the inspirations for the website, you do everything right, you have a unique style, your active in the artist community, you take full advantage of all the web has to offer. I have seen you post videos, hold contests, you have large social media network and you have blogs and websites that support your art.

How long have you been developing and learning the internet portion of your marketing efforts?

Williams answer:

I remember in 1996, when my parents got their first PC, I immediately wanted a website (free hosting with angelfire) to post my sketches and publish my ideas. Slowly as new online social markets, medias, and other communities have emerged I felt it was a good idea to be everywhere. It started in 1996 with angelfire, advanced to my own dot com, and has evolved since then to include registering with over 15 social websites to promote my art blog, artwork and other projects.

Q. Here at Sunforged we are very experienced in eBay sales, but other than a few exceptions never really felt it was a great market for selling original artworks.

How to do you feel about the eBay marketplace, have you found success with sales there, do you feel that you received acceptable value from your involvement?

Williams answer:

I studied ebay three seperate times trying to decide if I wanted to sell art there. I take notes and balance my investments. I never invest money, such as ebay fees, unless its worth the risk. The first two times I opted to skip it, and the third time I had only minimal success. I sold 5 things and 10 things went unsold. Most of the sales went to my friends and family, who then had to pay shipping, and I had to pay fees. It quickly seemed obvious that ebay was not for me.

Q. How about ACEO's and ATC's ? These are the notable exception in our opinion. Small trading card size artworks that are made specifically for resale are a viable income opportunity for an artist, do you have any experience with this as either a buyer or a seller?

Williams answer:
I am a part of 2 or 3 ATC and ACEO trading groups on Yahoo. I think artists should join these groups if they enjoy making art cards, or trading art. It is very fun, although I only do it when I have enough time; which at the moment is very sparringly. I do love it. Its a great way to collect art from many people and also explore and be a part of a community of artists.

Q. My first purchase on Etsy was actually of one of your bearded bunnies, I still keep the framed print in my Living room. As a result of this purchase, i joined up as an etsy seller too, I dont get the same kind of traffic (I track the site in analytics) but i have generated more sales of my handmade items at a much higher profit than ebay. have you found this to be true also?

Williams answer:

Absolutely. I think Etsy attracts real buyers and collectors. I have sold many works across the country through Etsy, and have repeated sales, and legitimate collectors to emerge from the sales and communication that follows. I think Etsy does a lot of things 'right', which Ebay overlooks. I'm glad to see it catching on, because the more success Etsy has, the more success us Etsy sellers will have as well.

Q. In general which do you prefer etsy or ebay? Have you ever purchased anything from etsy yourself?

Williams answer:

I have not purchased through Etsy, but my girlfriend and my dad have, and I've been able to see the transactions. Etsy is hands down the best way to sell artwork online, besides setting up your own shop on your own website (which costs money). Ebay is better for selling your used glass eye, and old spiderman comics, I'm sure. But selling art on Ebay is quite a hassle.

Q. A little over a year ago, you started a blog entry on one of
your blogs blogblogcherry where you were doing an experiment/battle between the two sites? How did it turn out?

Williams answer:

Etsy blew Ebay away from the start, and the results were so lop sided that I quit the experiment, because I was losing money on ebay sales, while making money on Etsy. The entire comparison seemed like a good idea, until it was so obvious which was better.

Why he is the Canvas killer!

See William's Etsy Store

Paintings, Prints, Art Books and more.

Get Your very own Bearded Bunny - I have one, I recommend them!

Also a great example of a well designed store with interesting captions and character

WilliamHessian at Etsy

More info about Etsy,ATC's and ACEO's

How to promote your Etsy shop

Where to Sell Handmade Products Online (besides Ebay)

Go ahead and start a HubPages account to earn from your self created promos of your art and from sharing your experiences

Find more interviews and money making artist techniques

See constantly updating interviews and techniques on how to make money from your art


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    • profile image

      vinil raj v.v 

      10 years ago

      Am beginner's in art field. can you help me. iam completed BFA in kerala traditional mural painting.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      i am looking on how to sell my drawlings online i am really good and every one loves my drawlings and i want to make some good money selling what i love to do....

      thanks love always brandi ann wheeler

    • profile image

      Geoff Wainwright 

      10 years ago

      I am a ebay seller and this is the first time i heard about etsy, wow thanks for this now i can use this to gain more money ^^ thanks

    • mathewday profile image


      11 years ago from Dirty South

      Interesting hub, I was actually googling about eBay and found your hub. I've never heard of Etsy before, so I learned something new. Really cool interview and enjoyed the video!

    • heart4theword profile image


      11 years ago from hub

      Always interested, in hearing success stories about Etsy:) Thank you for sharing your experiences!

    • profile image

      ebay software 

      11 years ago

      Personally, I love eBay and the big variety of products you can purchase or sell. I’ve seen people purchase $2K in one day on eBay.

      Thanks for your article. It was very informative

    • profile image

      Zulcris Flor 

      11 years ago

      Where I can submit my drawings and get pay?

    • sunforged profile imageAUTHOR


      11 years ago from

      Wow! You work is amazing, truly. If selling your art is ever a me and I will share all I can.

    • Manna in the wild profile image

      Manna in the wild 

      11 years ago from Australia

      Thank you for pointing out this alternative link. Do you think these would sell: ? I've not sold any art at all. Just so far doing it for fun, but your hub has got me thinking.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      This is one of the best hubs I've come across from a marketing perspective. I love the egalitarian nature of the web - you can actually have a voice, raise the profile of issues and services that are worthwhile & might otherwise be overlooked. And 'the Canvas Killer' is great!!

    • Pearldiver profile image

      Rob Welsh 

      12 years ago from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time.

      Hi Joshua, This is very interesting for me. Thank you for doing this hub as I have only recently found Etsy and love its structure. There are some great listings on that site and from an investment perspective; I believe some longer term gains to be had. Having such sites for artists is great. I hope you do well too. Once again thanks, this is a good hub.

    • Enelle Lamb profile image

      Enelle Lamb 

      12 years ago from Canada's 'California'

      Etsy does sound promising - I never got into Ebay even though I was told I should...

    • RedElf profile image


      12 years ago from Canada

      Wow - great info. I had heard about Etsy, and also that Ebay is not the best way to go for artisit. I will definitely give Esty a try, Thanks so much.

    • profile image


      12 years ago

      Etsy sounds promising. I've been looking for a way to sell my graphic art online. Perhaps this is it.


    • Stacie L profile image

      Stacie L 

      12 years ago

      hey good hub. I used to sell on Ebay but Etsy is so much better for artists. I just found Artfire too


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