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The Many Ways To Make Money From Your Art

Updated on February 13, 2019

Creative subjects are often neglected in schools and many potential artists will actively be discouraged to pursue art as a career. This is for many reasons but one of the biggest being the stereotype of the starving artist. It's considered one of the hardest ways to make good money, but I disagree. Yes it can be tough to break into, but any career choice can be and you can't beat the rewards for following your dream.

The biggest set-back I think is most artists follow the same path, selling one of a kind, original pieces. If you think outside the box and consider all the possibilities, there are many many ways to make money from art, whatever medium you use~ now more than ever as many of those ways are digital! In fact one painting can earn repeated income for many years to come in many formats.

Here's a thorough list of the many ways of making money from art that I can think of. I'm sure there are many more besides...if you think of any add them below!

One painting can make you money in many different ways
One painting can make you money in many different ways | Source

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Tangible Products

This means physical items, so really we're talking merchandise with your artwork printed onto it. There are a few ways to approach this, from licensing your art to a manufacturer to selling it yourself through print-on-demand sites such as Cafepress or Zazzle or even getting it manufactured yourself.

Products often include:

  • Tee-shirts/clothing
  • Bags & wallets
  • Clocks
  • Jewellery
  • Badges
  • Stickers
  • Collectable cards
  • Journals
  • Stationary
  • Mugs & coasters
  • Resin figures
  • Plush toys
  • Calendars
  • Textile/fabric design
  • Framed prints & posters
  • Canvas prints
  • Laptop/Tablet cases
  • Blankets & pillows
  • Boxes
  • Hanging decorations
  • Magnets
  • Mouse pads
  • Window decals
  • Shoes
  • Drinking glasses & thermoses
  • Greetings cards & gift wrap


There are many forms of media that need images to help grab the attention of their audience. Most authors, musicians etc. are not also artists and so are always looking for people like yourself to work with!

Products that need illustrating:

  • Book covers
  • Children's books
  • CD covers, faces & booklets
  • DVD/Blu-Ray covers, faces & booklets
  • Video/pc games covers, faces & booklets
  • Product packaging


Digital Products

Probably the most lucrative and exciting way to make money from your artwork is to sell digital items. Why is it so lucrative? Because once you have completed a piece your overheads are minimal~ no manufacturing each product, no materials, no agents, no shipping!

Possible digital products:

  • Clipart
  • Stock images/ photos
  • PC wallpaper/screensaver
  • Phone wallpaper/screensaver
  • Tablet wallpaper
  • Logos
  • Web banners
  • Tattoo (flash) art
  • Social networking decorations (eg myspace messages, facebook/twitter profile pictures etc)

Other ideas

If you do other crafts as well as visual art, there are some more possibilities for you.

Make money from your craft:

  • Kits
  • Patterns for kitmakers (e.g. DMC for cross stitch)
  • Photo's of your work on stock image sites
  • Photo's of your finished project on merchandise
  • Materials for your craft
  • Accessories for your craft (e.g. stitch markers for knitters)
  • Patterns/tutorials for magazines
  • PDF downloads of your patterns/tutorials
  • Custom design service

Sell Information

Another way to earn as an artist without needing to actually create any art is to share what you know about your craft.

Ways to teach others about art:

  • eBooks,
  • Magazines,
  • Book
  • Series of booklets,
  • Online community (subscriptions/adverts)
  • Workshops
  • Private tutoring
  • Information marketing
  • eZine
  • Newsletters
  • Blog
  • Vlog
  • Adult education
  • Schools
  • Festivals~ demonstrations
  • Markets
  • Podcasts
  • Consultation
  • Parties
  • Lectures
  • Tutorials

You can be a successful artist!

As you can see there are plenty of possibilities for any budding artist to make a successful career. You will find that for most of the above a PC, Digital Camera, Photo editing software and Scanner will be essential.

Whatever path you decide to choose, research it thoroughly, get to know people who have already done what you want to do, ask their advice and keep focused. As I said before it isn't an easy choice, but what career is when done properly? Follow your gut instinct, keep learning and never doubt your talent as we all know that...

"Art is in the eye of the beholder"

Whether you are just starting out or have already had success, I'd love to hear your story about being an artist so please do share below!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2013 Karen Creftor


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