Are you ready to learn how to sell art online? Chances are, it’s about time:
Being the only one to enjoy your art pieces strikes the wrong cord. It’s a bit selfish, to say the least:
Do you have a good enough reason not to allow the world to witness your creative genius? If the answer is no, then let’s get to it:
Today, you’ll learn all you need to know about selling art online for beginners:
- How do you sell art online and make money?
- Can you sell art online for free?
- What are the best places to sell art online?
This post may contain affiliate links – my disclaimer when you have a minute.
Can You Make Money Selling Art Online?
Well, let me do my best to answer what seems like an obvious question:
By all means, many factors will prompt you to begin monetizing your art skills.
Here are some of the essential ones:
Firstly, developing a successful art business from home will allow you to escape the routine of a nine-to-five job. It doesn’t get any better than that.
Secondly, earning extra cash in exchange for a painting will boost your monthly income if you want to keep your current full-time employment.
Lastly, selling artwork you’re proud of will give you much-needed confidence in your talent.
Whatever your reasons might be, the bottom line is that selling art from home is a valid option right now:
Millions of artists worldwide are exploring that option to the best of their abilities.
How about I start showing you how you can do the same?
Decide What Art To Sell Online And How To Sell It
The first thing you must do is choose a business model. Let me elaborate further on that:
Starting an online art business requires many decisions that will affect the potential success of your endeavor. One of these decisions is picking the type of art you want to sell.
Do you want to sell original work? Physical art includes paintings, sculptures, and other art forms potential clients can touch. Selling physical art has the potential for higher price points but involves production and shipping.
What about digital art? Digital prints, posters, and crypto art are more popular than ever. Listing digital art for sale has many advantages, such as lower production costs and the opportunity to build a passive income stream.
I want to emphasize that selling digital and physical art is also an option. Most successful artists develop businesses that offer both types of art and reach two different target audiences.
Sell Original Artwork
Every artist is a creator with the ability to sell original art. Such art can be paintings, sculptures, drawings, photography, and digital artworks.
Many platforms can help you make money as an artist selling original artwork. For instance, online galleries, social media, and even website builders provide opportunities for increasing your presence and reaching thousands of potential buyers.
Nowadays, creators have access to professional tools and print-on-demand services that will make the selling process as easy as possible.
Sell Art Prints (Reproductions)
As I mentioned, the biggest advantage of offering reproductions is the opportunity to sell the same artwork repeatedly. Prints and digital files typically sell at a lower price.
Be that as it may, artists selling prints on online platforms benefit from reaching established audiences and gaining extra visibility. On the downside, these platforms usually charge subscription fees.
A print-on-demand business model translates into low upfront costs, considering the product you sell will receive its unique design after a client orders it. Also, starting a POD business means you don’t have to deal with shipping or inventory.
Feel free to sell your art as prints in two ways – Open Edition (selling unlimited products) or Limited Edition (printing only a certain number of prints).
Since this article aims to show you how to sell art online as a beginner, I’ll do my best not to confuse you:
Selling custom art means offering it to other people or institutions for a commission. You can join an art marketplace like Saatchi Art or Fine Art America, showcase your artwork, and receive commissions and requests.
Assuming you have an interest in commissioned artwork, it’s essential to go right about it. Take advantage of a platform’s resources for preparing contracts before you sign one for the first time.
Placing your custom design on art prints and other printables is far from your only option for monetizing it. There are other opportunities, too:
Most independent artists create additional income by selling customized merchandise like T-shirts, mugs, bags, etc.
Sell Other Artists’ Work
Selling other artists’s work means you’ll operate as a curator. In other words, you’ll act as a partner to artists.
Many artists have no desire or ability to market their work. So, they have no choice but to rely on galleries, retail partners, or curators to manage their businesses.
Once curating art becomes your new line of work, you’ll earn a percentage of the selling price by providing your business knowledge and expertise. Professional curators can keep up to 50% of the selling price of an artwork.
Decide Where To Sell Art Online
Up until now, I only answered the first part of the question of how to sell art online. It’s time to cover the second one – where to sell your artwork.
Nowadays, you can find potential clients in many places, such as:
Your Own Website
Generally speaking, one of the best places to sell your original work is on your own website. Thousands of artists offer their paintings or digital downloads on their blogs.
Starting a site is a great way to gain more exposure as an artist. Assuming you know how to drive traffic to your pages and use SEO, developing a successful blog can bring many potential customers to your art.
Right now, launching a blog is easier than ever. More importantly, it won’t cost you a lot:
Once you pick a domain name, you must choose a reliable hosting company. BigScoots is one of the best web hosting providers that offers top-notch customer service and affordable plans.
There is no need to sign up for an online course to start a blog that will make money. Instead, you can see the process on YouTube or read it on Google.
Your Own Online Store
The next place where you can sell artwork online is an online store. An online shop provides many opportunities to reach a global audience and market your art.
Shopify is the leader in the eCommerce stores industry – anyone can build an online store for free with Shopify’s free trial. But that’s not your only option:
You can always use website builders (WordPress, Wix, or Squarespace) with the WooCommerce plugin. That plugin provides tons of functionality to your online art store.
Generally speaking, the best way to make money selling art is by launching an e-commerce store. I recommend it because it will put you in a position to have control over your new business.
For example, you’ll set your prices, choose delivery options, and show your creative energy through the design. However, you’ll also be the one to deal with shipping and returns.
An Online Marketplace
As you already know, you can sell printables, digital products, and merchandise in different online marketplaces like Etsy, Amazon, and eBay.
Why should you list your art for sale on such online marketplaces? Here is why:
Platforms like Amazon and Etsy have millions of daily visitors. Chances are, thousands of them can become your target audience of dedicated art lovers more than willing to invest in your artwork.
Etsy is a great place to sell handmade or vintage art, eBay should be your choice if you want to sell items in auctions, and Amazon offers ease of use for anyone selling digital art or vector designs.
Note that you can boost your sales if you combine the power of any of these marketplace sites with the extra exposure most social media platforms provide.
Online Art Marketplaces
What do I mean by online art marketplaces? It’s self-explanatory when you think about it:
An online art marketplace is a specialized platform where you can offer original work and art reproductions. These platforms already attract a large audience of potential buyers, so not using them will limit your art business.
Working with art galleries is one of the most popular ways to sell art online for beginners.
Have a look at some facts that will help you decide whether selling art to an online gallery is the right move for you:
- Many online galleries prefer to list only expensive art – Unless you have high-quality artwork that could sell for thousands of dollars, don’t offer anything yet.
- Your submission will go through a valuation process – An art curator will decide whether your work qualifies for a spot in the gallery.
- Potential clients can buy your art piece immediately – Online shoppers will visit the gallery’s website. If some of them want your work, they can purchase it instantly.
Sell Art Through Online Art Auctions
No matter how you feel about art auctions, becoming a part of them is an exciting experience. While it’s not that easy to get in on some art auctions, it’s worth the try:
Sure, there is no guarantee that your work will cut through the red tape. There is always the possibility that it will, though.
Here is how to proceed once you choose an online art auction:
- Complete and pass the application process.
- Wait for your artwork to go through valuation and review from an art connoisseur.
- See if your piece is a good fit for the theme.
- Make sure your art is of a superior design.
Most online art auctions have a reputation they protect a lot. So, if your art helps an action to uplift it, you have a good chance to get in and sell your work.
Sell Art On Social Media
By all means, we can’t talk about selling art online without acknowledging the possibility of using Social Media. Earning thousands of dollars from selling artwork requires a lot of effort.
If you want to sell a lot, you have to promote a lot! Here comes the good news:
Nowadays, you can promote anything you want on Social Media for free. Even more, Social Media channels will let you promote artwork to a target audience and attract the right people.
I won’t be exaggerating when I tell you that billions of people spend a lot of time on Social Media every day. A big part of that traffic is art collectors and individuals with eyes for fine art.
- How To Sell Art On Instagram
- Step-By-Step Guide To Selling Art On Facebook
- Ways To Sell Art On Pinterest
- TikTok For Artists
How To Sell Art Online And Make Money: Step-By-Step Guide
So far, you have decided what type of art to sell and where to sell it. Naturally, you must be wondering what the next step to take to build a profitable online business as a professional artist is.
Let me walk you through the process of building a lucrative business and making tons of online sales:
1) Register Your Art Business
First and foremost, you shouldn’t start selling your artwork and earning an income before you register your business and prepare the necessary paperwork. How do you do that?
There are two options to consider when registering an online business:
- Sole Proprietorship: The sole proprietorship option will allow you to register your art business for free. It will make you identical to your business in terms of ownership and liability.
- Limited Liability Company (LLC): That option is the better deal if you want to track your business expenses and hire employees.
Registering your art business is unavoidable – it’s the only way to have an Employer Identification Number (EIN), which is necessary for setting up a business bank account.
Additionally, you might need a Business License to sell your art online.
2) Prepare Your Digital Art For Selling
Some of you might want to sell only original paintings. However, others probably prefer to offer digital prints as well.
Therefore, I’ll have to cover the process of preparing your digital art:
Digitizing Your Art
Don’t let digitizing your art intimidate you – you won’t have to hire a dedicated specialist. Instead, you can manage to digitize your artwork on your own:
Take a photo of your physical art and place it on a scanner to create a digital file. It’s essential to use a high-resolution camera to achieve ultimate results quality-wise.
Use the advantages of natural light and avoid shadows if you want your digital artwork to reflect the richness of colors in the original piece of art.
Now, how do you protect your digital art from stealing? Commonly-used ways to protect digital artwork are watermarks and signatures, low-resolution previews, and copyrighting (applying to the U.S. Copyright Office).
3) Create Physical Art Products To Sell Online
By all means, an easy way to make money online as an artist is by selling physical art prints. That business model is perfect for new artists and graphic designers since it’s beginner-friendly and offers a high-profit margin.
Use Print-On-Demand Services
For starters, manual production methods work well for creating physical art products to sell. Be that as it may, selling your art on a physical product is way easier through a print-on-demand service.
Using a POD service is the best way to print your art on different physical products without maintaining an inventory.
Essential factors to consider when choosing a POD service are pricing, product selection/quality, customer service, platform integrations, and shipping rates. Nowadays, the two most popular POD companies are Printify and Printful.
Place Your Art On Print-On-Demand Products
How do you decide what products to sell with your design on them? Do you look for information on a search engine like Google? Or do you check what print-on-demand products are trending now?
Your unique style as an artist will play a role when picking products to sell. Still, I recommend looking at the type of products trending right now.
With that said, you can expect plenty of online art sales if you place your artwork on the following products:
- Wall art decor/Digital prints/Fine art prints
- Women’s clothing/Men’s clothing
- Baby clothing/Accessories
- Phone cases
- Tote bags
Creating these print-on-demand products and selling them in your online shop will attract different audiences and increase the online presence of your business in different market niches.
4) Pick A Platform For Your Art Store
I already covered the different platforms where you can sell your artwork earlier in this guide about how to sell art online. That’s why I won’t go into many details right now:
Feel free to sell your art in more than one place. For example, you can offer art pieces in your online store and try to sell them at alternative places like art fairs.
By all means, many factors should be under consideration when picking a platform to sell your art. Here is what I have in mind:
Building an Etsy shop will place your art in front of millions of daily users who trust the platform and know their credit cards won’t be misused. While that will work to your advantage, you can still find potential customers on other online platforms, such as social media networks and eCommerce sites.
I suggest keeping these facts in mind before choosing the best place to sell your art.
Note: Most online art marketplaces charge membership fees – that’s another factor to consider while looking for a good place that will attract many art buyers.
5) Price Your Art
There is no way to fully answer how to sell art online without talking about pricing your art. After all, determining the right prices for your artwork is the most important thing when moving forward with your online business.
Whether you’re selling physical paintings, fine arts, or digital downloads, pricing them entails your full attention and consideration. So, how do you pick prices for your artwork?
Above all, the best way to pick a price for your art is to find the middle ground between profitability and what will appeal to your target audience. And you can’t do that unless you learn to understand the costs of creating your art and the profit margins you can go after.
What is the cost of selling your art online? Such costs are the materials you use for creating physical art, the monthly fee of a POD service (if there is one), shipping costs (if you handle the shipping yourself), and listing fees (if you sell artwork on places like Etsy).
The easiest way to pick prices that will ensure a profit margin is by doing a combination of things, such as:
- Calculate your base cost and potential sales volume
- Consider the popularity of your products and the competition within your niche
- Pick competitive prices that will help your online business and brand stand out in the art world
- Don’t set cheaper prices that don’t reflect the quality of your products and your artistic skills
- Prepare discount codes to attract repeat customers
6) Market Your Online Art Store
Many different ways exist to market your art. Setting up a professional store is not enough to ensure never-ending sales:
On the contrary, promoting your online art business is probably the most essential step you must take while still learning how to sell art online effectively.
That’s where marketing tools and sales channels come in:
- Invest In Paid Ad Campaigns – Facebook offers affordable options to reach a much bigger audience.
- Create Contest – Marketing your store will become easier once your presence on Social Media begins to grow. Doing contests is a great way to achieve that.
- Offer Exclusive Discounts – Let them be just for followers and loyal fans.
- Reach Out To Influencers Working In Your Niche – Building connections is unavoidable if you want Social Media to benefit your business.
- Learn How To Do Content Marketing – If you’re serious about building a profitable online business, you should learn as much as you can about content marketing and using marketing materials.
- Understand How To Do SEO (Search Engine Optimization) – Knowing how to do SEO will improve the visibility of your business in the search results.
- Do Offline Marketing – Taking part in art shows or connecting with art galleries will expand your reach.
- Start An Email List – List building is one of the most effective marketing strategies any online art business owner must use.
- Build A Professional Online Portfolio – Make sure your portfolio contains your best artwork that reflects your artistic style.
- Take Advantage Of The Shopify App Store – That one is self-explanatory.
Tips And Ideas To Successfully Sell Art Online
Anyone can jump on the opportunity and begin selling artwork online. However, you don’t want to sell a piece here and there over several years, do you?
Who would be OK with something like that? Correct me if I’m wrong, but the goal is to become a best-selling artist.
Then, the first thing you need to work on is your mindset:
Selling enough art to live off your creative skills will not happen overnight. So, having a lot of patience is crucial!
Next, you have to accept that you’ll go through lots of trial and error. Just like any other business, you’ll need to adjust your selling and marketing strategy multiple times.
Also, it’s worth mentioning that you should constantly work on your skills. After all, practice makes perfect!
How To Sell Art Online Frequently Asked Questions
What Is The Best Site To Sell My Art?
The best site to sell your art depends on your needs and goals as an art online business owner. With that said, selling art on Etsy is a good idea for beginners:
Etsy attracts millions of daily visitors, and art is one of the most popular categories on the platform.
How To Sell Beginner Art?
- Narrow your artwork down to a niche
- Learn as much as you can about selling art online the right way
- Create an eCommerce art store
- Sell your art to the best online art marketplaces
What Is The Best Way To Sell Art Online?
The best way to start selling art online is to launch an online store. Having an online shop will give you all the business and creative control you need to develop your business and add team members to help you.
Is It Profitable To Sell Art Online?
Selling art pieces on the web is more than a lucrative business. Of course, you’ll have to work hard, apply smart marketing strategies, and improve your skills to turn your store into a profitable online art business from home.
Final Say On The Subject Matter Of How To Sell Art Online
Alright, it looks like there is nothing else to say about selling art online. We can keep the discussion going, though:
Do you have any questions about today’s topic? Is there an experience of yours you would like to share?
Feel free to do so in the comments section below.
I keep a close eye on it, so I’ll get back to you soon!
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