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This article has been written by Tatyana Vlasko, an established artist. She has turned her passion into a business. In this article, she describes the process and the tools she has used. Furthermore, She has developed her business into a passive income asset, by selling prints of her art. In this article, she shares her insights on how to sell art online.
How to sell art online and make money
Hi! My name is Tatyana Vlasko and I am a commercial illustrator(my Instagram @tattyarty). I have been drawing for 3 years and I have been selling it for 1 year. I’ve shared some tips on how to start making money from your hobby. My own experience.
Do you need an academic qualification in Art to start an online art side hustle?
Definitely not! I don’t have a professional education in the art sphere. Watercolour painting was a hobby for me and the process of relaxation during my maternity leave. I am passionate about travelling, sport, good food and fashion. I drew travelling and partying girls, that inspired me a lot. I used my illustrations as birthday presents for my friends and posts for Instagram.
How I improved my drawing skills:
I’ve started following worldwide known and inspiring illustrators (@meganhess_official @alenalavvdovskaya @rongrong_devoe_illustration @j_mavlyanova) from different countries. I even copied their styles, posted my works on Instagram with the tags and links to them. I also took part in different workshops and marathons for illustrators, where you have a tutorial part and creative tasks (runway, street style sketching), to upgrade my skills and learn from the best in this sphere. There are also a lot of courses on SkillShare (1 month is free). Or you can just follow illustrators you admire as I did. And now I’ve turned illustration into my full-time job.
What do you need for a good image?
First I draw my art using my little son’s watercolours and regular paper. I enjoyed the process so much!
A scanner and basic skills in photoshop. I scan my watercolour illustrations on my HP scanner in 600ppi resolution and then edit it in photoshop: transparent background and size of 7500px*9000px are perfect. Of course, you’ll have a much happier customer with the highest quality print as well. You can watch just a few lessons on youtube on how to do this.
Earning a passive income from your art
The first tool the beginners can try is print-on-demand sites. Isn’t it great? Once you download an image and can earn your 10-20% every time on sales of products with your design. You can get your passive income for ages! No deadlines, no technical tasks! And, as a bonus, the first sales bring confident and the feeling of success and inspiration, that drives and motivates you. I remember how I was happy to get my $5 with selling a pillow with my design! “Somebody likes it! I should keep doing it!” It sounds so small, but this was a huge step for me.
There are many types of products wall prints, bags, phone cases, mugs, wrapping paper, t-shirts, backpacks. Have a look at my wallpapers and pillows! The best site I had success with was society6.com
A long list of “print-on-demand sites” you can find on the internet. I’ll give two the best sites in my opinion – here I’ve got my first sales. They really work. They are both for artists, graphic designers, and photographers.
Society6 – is the simplest and one of the most popular. It is free to use. You will receive the payments on PayPal account After verification you can download your artwork and it immediately will appear on different surfaces, fabrics. Society6 often has promos for their clients like discounts and free delivery. To raise your sales you can post promos in your Instagram.
Zazzle, another website, has tons of products. It is also free to use. After signing up procedure, you will pick a store name and set up a shop. You can choose from hundreds of products you want to apply your designs to (t-shirts, phone cases, greeting cards).
Each time one of your designs is sold you’ll get paid a percentage of a price. The price is fixed by you. There is no need to control manufacturing, shipping and communicate with clients. Zazzle will make everything for you! You will receive your amount (10-20% of a published price) when somebody buys products with your design.
All payments on Zazzle and Society6 are made via PayPal account.
My advice here: make a survey on goods that are popular and turn on your creativity! What is your niche? You can make patterns from a flower sketch, draw cartoon characters o
r superhero, abstract graphics or iconic portraits.
My second step was using freelance platforms such as freelancer.com and Peopleperhour.com.
Here you will work with real buyers. That means more responsibility: meeting deadlines, perform your skills, communicate and do as many editions as needed. The love of my life is PeoplePerHour.
PeoplePerHour is a great online platform for freelancers to make money.
Necessary tools to be successful on the freelance platform:
- The first, eye catchy portfolio. From time to time I have offers from clients: “I saw your portfolio. I would like you to ask you to draw illustrations for my company.” Also, describe your skills and experience, add photos, videos, samples of your works. Profiles are ranked. It is based on your activity per month. You can get ranked higher in search results by finishing projects.
My advice here:
In the beginning, apply for smaller projects to get some good feedback and practice.
- A computer with a dedicated internet connection.
- A printer and a scanner
After completing profile with your successful portfolio you can search for proposals in your sphere and bid for them. You can bid on 15 projects/jobs a month for free. You can buy more credits if you have used all your free proposal credits to apply to more projects.
Connected to illustrations projects logos, portrait sketches, cards, wedding invitations, book illustrations, fashion illustrations, and many others. There are also many proposals for vector graphics, poster designs, interior designs and creating of landing pages. It is also great for graphic designers, and photographers. Each freelancer will find his niche.
The platform is safe enough. The Buyers pay a deposit and by the end of the project, the payment will be transferred to your account. You can always ask for a help 24/7.
The price of an illustration varies from $10 to $100. You can also part-time and long period projects. PeoplePerHour will charge you 20% at the beginning until the amount of the orders reaches 500 pounds.
You can withdraw your earnings in USD, GBP, or EUR via one of the following payment methods:
- Bank Transfers
- Payoneer card
Here are the most interesting projects on a freelance website, that I’ve performed:
- Designing wedding menus, invitations, Christmas and personalized cards (Canada, USA, UK)
- Designing a set of fashion illustrations for a fur store (Furever, UAE)
- Separate design pieces as fashion illustrations for the collection of dresses (UK, France)
- “Star Signs” illustrations for tea towels (Simply Whimsical, USA)
- Watercolour sketches of a bag collection (for a catalogue and tech sketch for a manufactory) (Veera Lee, USA)
- Designing shoes and preparing tech packs (USA)
- Jewellery sketches (Kuwait)
I make a living from my passion: Art. Starting a year ago with $5-$15 per month on print-on-demand sites, now my income is coming closer to $2000 (it has just been 6 months since I started working on freelance sites). I wake up in the morning knowing I do what I love and hat I am good at, feeling closer to the magic world of fashion. I can work from anywhere in the world and my Art gives me a continuous stream of Passive Income.
Wish you great success and huge sales!
We thank Tatyana Vlasko for her insights on selling art online and making a living. We wish you luck on your journey to financial freedom.