How to Make Money as an Artist in 2022

If you’ve thought about trying to make it as a full-time artist, you’re probably facing the question: How do I turn my art into money?

If you want to start selling your work, the most important step is finding where to put your artwork so that you attract lots of customers interested in your style. In this article, we’ll be looking at the different platforms - both in-person and online - you can use to start selling your work.

In this article, we’re breaking down:

  • How to make money as an artist through both in-person and online gigs
  • Why it’s important to find your audience (and how to do it)
  • The best way to find financial stability as a professional artist

Where to Sell Your Art

The internet is oversaturated with creative people trying to sell their work, which means artists that want to turn their passion into a full time job have to find creative ways to get potential customers to even see their work so that they’ll buy. 

Some of these methods of selling art are easier than others, so we’ve listed this from most to least difficult:

7

Submit to Art Galleries and Art Magazines

art gallery
colorful art prints on magazine covers

Getting your artwork in a gallery or art magazine will immediately put your art in front of thousands of people. Usually, galleries and magazines will put out a “Call for Artists,” which you can find online. 

Most submission processes will have you fill out an application, write a bit about your work and inspiration, as well as ask you to list any previous publications or exhibits where your work has been showcased in the past. This method works best for people who create fine art. 

Note:

This is the most difficult method on the list for a reason. When galleries put out a call for artists, they receive tons of submissions that go through several curators whose individual tastes end up dictating what gets chosen.

6

Apply to Paint Murals

how to make money as an artist with mural art
how to make money as an artist with wall art

If you enjoy large-scale work, you can get hired out by your city to paint a public mural or look for jobs painting murals for businesses. 

Getting Your First Mural

The hardest mural to get hired for will be your first one, especially if you’re filling out a lot of long applications that never seem to get accepted. 

Instead, you can offer to do a mural for a business in a high-traffic area for cheap. (This should not become a pattern, especially if you do the mural for free. Ask the business not to share what they paid, or else other businesses will expect you to do the same for them.)

Who’s In the Market for a Mural?

When it comes to large-scale, outdoor murals, bigger cities tend to have more open to mural work, which means more opportunities for artists. Search for city arts programs or mural festivals in cities near you to find upcoming jobs.

If you want to paint for a private business, look for opportunities with:

  • Corporate headquarters
  • Coffee and ice cream shops
  • Bars and nightclubs

Note:

You will need to adapt your style to the vision of your client. Cities will often have a specific theme they want you to work off of. For businesses, you can create concept art that matches their brand’s personality.

5

Sell Art Online

We recommend that every artist has their own website as a base where people can find them. However, selling artwork on your own website can really limit the number of clients you can reach. By posting your work on an established platform, you have a better chance of reaching customers who would be interested in your style, but don’t know to look for you by name yet.

What Platform Should I Sell My Artwork On?

sculpture
painting in picture frames

Fine Art

One-of-a-kind paintings, drawings, sculptures, photography

sculpture
painting in picture frames

Fine Art

One-of-a-kind paintings, drawings, sculptures, photography
print on digital art demand products
graphic design poster

Prints and Products

Illustration, graphic design, photography

  • Creative Market (graphics and digital work)
  • Printful (turn art into posters, T-shirts, mugs, etc.)
  • Etsy (sell crafts or fulfil product orders with Printful)
print on digital art demand products
graphic design poster

Prints and Products

Illustration, graphic design, photography
  • Creative Market (graphics and digital work)
  • Printful (turn art into posters, T-shirts, mugs, etc.)
  • Etsy (sell crafts or fulfil product orders with Printful)
selling digital art online
selling art pieces

Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs)

Crypto art (digital artwork, videos, gifs, etc.)
selling digital art online
selling art pieces

Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs)

Crypto art (digital artwork, videos, gifs, etc.)

4

Sell Your Work at Art Fairs

art fair selling high quality prints
outdoor art fair selling traditional art

If you’re looking to establish yourself locally, selling your work at art fairs is a great way to connect with your community. 

Building a Following with In-Person Sales

You’ll need plenty of ready-to-sell work prepared, but handing out business cards with your social media info is how you can help you get those buyers to become repeat customers

Note:

Most art fairs and festivals require you to sign up for a spot 6-12+ months in advance. (They will also charge a fee to hold your space.)

3

Work as a Freelance Artist

freelance illustrator making original art

Creating your own business as a freelancer lets you use your artistic skills to make money online.

On most freelance sites, you can set your “title” to reflect the type of work you do (for example: “Graphic Designer” or “Illustrator.”)

Finding the Right Clients as a Freelancer

As a freelancer, you’ll find tons of job listings. Pick the ones that fit your skills and write a cover letter for each job. Your cover letter should be different for each client and explain why you’re the right fit for the work they need. 

Freelance sites will give you access to business clients as well as commission work. For example, a portrait artist would work more closely with customers looking for personalized artwork than a business looking for a designer. 

Note:

Freelance sites can make finding potential clients much easier, but they take a percentage of your pay. You will need to factor that into your hourly rate.

2

Advertise Your Work on TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook Groups

If you’ve tried selling artwork before, you’ve probably noticed that there is a lot of competition. The only way to stand out from other artists is to build a brand. The best way to do that is to build a following on platforms that let you display your work like TikTok, Instagram, or a Facebook Group.

Posting each piece that is up for sale - or even a short video of you creating art - will make it much easier for people interested in your style to find you and buy your work. 

Having a Recognizable Brand Builds a Community of Followers (AKA Customers)

Once you have a brand people recognize, it’s easier to grow your following and connect with an audience that knows your name. It’ll be way easier to make money because these people will want to visit your online marketplace, take video courses you make, visit you at art fairs, etc. 

The best way to build your brand as an artist is to find people that connect with your art…and with you. This lets you monetize not only your work, but anything else you film about your day-to-day life, creative process, etc.

Note:

TikTok and Instagram are the ideal way for beginner artists to find an audience. Connecting personally will allow you to find fans, even if you’re still improving your art skills.

Note:

Make sure you post high quality images on your social media. When it comes to video, high quality audio is just as important. We recommend using a separate microphone than the one on your phone.

1

Become a Tattoo Artist

tattoo artist

Being a full-time artist is hard. Building an audience of customers large enough to support yourself is difficult - unless you’re working on skin. 

Tattooing is the most stable way to become a full-time artist (that still makes good money). Tattoo shops have clients in and out all day long, and tattoos have only grown more popular in the last 15 years. As a tattoo artist, you can enjoy what you do and keep a consistent paycheck.
Tattooing also gives artists more freedom. You can set your own hourly rate, and because there are tattoo shops all over the world, you can make money while you travel. 
designs by tattoo artists

Prepare for a Tattooing Career with the Artist Accelerator Program

Deciding to take your art skills into the tattoo industry is just the first step on your journey. However, adapting your drawing or painting style to tattooing on skin can be difficult without some extra guidance.

However, finding the straight-forward information you need to progress is difficult. And with so much out there online, it’s hard to avoid picking up bad habits from incorrect and outdated resources.

This is one of the biggest struggles new tattooers face, and too many talented artists have given up their goal of getting into tattooing because of the years it would take to unlearn their bad habits. 

That’s why aspiring artists are learning to tattoo with the Artist Accelerator Program’s structured course. As a student, you learn every step of the tattooing process from professional artists with the experience and advice you need to build your skills and create incredible tattoos. 

With the Artist Accelerator, you can stop wasting time searching through incorrect information. You just get the clear, easy-to-understand lessons you need to start improving fast… along with support and personalized feedback from professional artists in our online Mastermind group.

Over 2500 students have already gone through the course, with many of them opening up their own studios. If you want to join them and learn the skills you need to start tattooing full time faster…

Looking for a tattoo apprenticeship?

Tattooing 101's Artist Accelerator 90 day program is the closest thing to a real apprenticeship

  • 500 video modules
  • Professional tattoo artist coaches
  • Private mastermind community
AUTHOR
Nathan Molenaar

Nathan is a licensed professional tattoo artist with over 8 years’ experience working at studios across the globe, including Celebrity Ink, the world's largest tattoo studio chain. When he's not tattooing, he spends his free time sharing his experience and knowledge with aspiring artists who dream of pursuing a career in the tattooing industry.

write a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

SUGGESTED ARTICLES FOR YOU

MORE FREE CONTENT FOR YOU
July 15, 2022

Shading is what creates contrast in a tattoo and makes it “pop” ...

Tattoo Shading Techniques
November 17, 2021

Sacramento, CaliforniaSacramento has an estimated 114 tattoo studios and we've rated competition ...

Tattoo Apprenticeships – Sacramento

Our Community

Join the Tattooing 101 Community today and get free, instant access to tools and resources that take you behind the curtain of all things tattooing. From apprentice to shop owner, we've got you covered.