When you decide to turn your creativity into a job, there’s an art to making money in itself. Artists can struggle to find avenues to monetise their work. Luckily, we’ve sculpted a list of the best to try.

But which shade of commercial art is right for you? To find out which method compliments your style, we draw on a range of profitable options.

This guide discusses how to make money as an artist, which includes:

  • Online sales
  • Workshops or courses
  • Content or commissions

How to make money as an artist:

Online sales

There’s a range of sites that could be perfect for you to sell whatever art you’re able to create.

Etsy

The marketplace for small independent crafters or artists, Etsy is a well-known stop for people who love unique products. Most customers on the platform look for gifts that are unique and interesting.

You can list anything on the site for as little as £0.15, but you pay transaction and payment processing fees. Set up a shop quickly and access your store through its mobile app or web browser.

Etsy is fantastic for:

  • Canvas prints
  • Stitched goods
  • Posters
  • Framed art
  • Sculptures

The platform offers the option to advertise your products to help you with your sales for an additional 15% fee, if they’re bought through the ads.

For more information, see: How to start an Etsy shop.

Creative Market

If your art isn’t physical and you create digitally masterpieces, Creative Market would suit you more. The marketplace can connect customers to your work, to use for their creative purposes.

The Creative Market lets you sell:

  • Graphics
  • Fonts
  • Photos
  • Web themes

For example, customers who need visuals for social media posts pay you for your digital art and the right to use it. You can also keep in touch with buyers through the platform, which could mean they continue to buy from you.

One of the site’s best success stories is Nicky Laatz, a font maker with over £1million worth of sales.

Saatchi Art

If crafts or digital designs are not how you value your work, Saatchi Art is an online marketplace for higher-priced pieces. It’s a leading gallery that puts on eighteen international exhibitions each year.

You can easily set your account up and start selling alongside other in-demand artists. The site does take a commission for each piece, and after their fees, you get 65% of the money from the artwork you sell.

Saatchi Art allows you to sell:

  • Paintings
  • Photography
  • Drawings
  • Sculptures
  • Prints

A new addition to the online gallery are NFTs (non-fungible tokens). These are digital artworks that often sell as part of limited collections. NFTs can fetch high resale values, so you might be able to charge more.

Workshops or courses

An alternative route for making money as an artist does not need to be through your art itself. It could be that you teach orders how to improve their abilities.

You could set up workshops and courses, either online or in-person, and charge a fee to students who would like to learn a new skill. If you focus on a specific niche, you might establish yourself as an authority on the subject area.

For example, suppose you’re a printmaker. In that case, you produce lots of work to advertise what you do and encourage others to try it. You could rent space in a community centre in the evenings and bring along supplies.

You could target your classes toward:

  • Care homes
  • Universities, colleges or schools
  • Hospitals
  • Libraries
  • Mental health charities
  • Disability organisations

Besides the benefits of improved abilities, it could also help people relax or enjoy themselves. Promote social media events and encourage attendees to tag you in posts, showing their artwork while marketing your next event.

For more information, see: How to run a successful webinar.

Content or commissions

Social media platforms can give you additional ways to make money as an artist. Many can use their talent to create exciting content that people would like to see, meaning sponsorships and advertising revenue.

YouTube

A video library of engaging content, YouTube could be the perfect way for you to share your art. You could speed-up a recording of you putting together a large scale piece or a tutorial on creating smaller ones.

Video blogs may be popular where you offer other aspiring artists advice on the best paints to use or how to turn their hobby into a business. Art lovers would likely be your most influential audience, so make videos that interest you. 

There’s a particular fascination with calming or satisfying videos, and people may feel that way when watching your painting reveal itself.

TikTok

Similarly to YouTube, TikTok is a great place to create video content. Unlike the former, the latter is for short clips users watch quickly.

Any art videos you create need to be concise and addictive, so think about what could grab people’s attention and make them want to see more.

Perhaps unconventional pieces or processes may most likely appeal to people, like using food instead of paint brushes to create your work.

Instagram

Social media could also advertise your artistic abilities to create commissions for people. Instagram is a platform that encourages lots of images so you can use it to show off your past work.

For example, you could draw people’s portraits or pets if you have a specific style. Possibly create comic books and turn people into heroes.

Through Instagram, you can grow a following and regularly use polls in your stories to ask people what they want. You could do the first few pieces for free and charge people once they can see the value in your work.

For more information, see: How to set up an Instagram shop.

Brush off difficult financial management with Countingup

Now you know how to make money as an artist, think about how you could manage it and continue to sustain self-employment. You may have the costs of supplies, equipment or travel to consider, so your earnings should cover those.

Countingup is a business account with built-in accounting software, which can help you keep track of the money that goes in and out. 

It’s a simple app that offers cash flow insights, so you never get caught out with too little for your next project.

Get started for free.