Art Business

The Secret to Making a Living with Your Art

January 28, 2020


I'm a full-time artist and online educator. You can find my watercolor designs on products all around the globe. This blog is where I share all of my latest art business tips for you!


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You can make a living with your artwork! You don’t have to be the “starving” artist; you can live comfortably, and even make an amazing annual income as an artist. What’s the key? 

Multiple income streams. 

You might be thinking: but there are plenty of artists out there selling only their original paintings and killing it!

While this could be true, chances are there are some other income streams they are using that you may not know about because they’re happening behind the scenes. 

While some artists may make the majority of their income from selling their original work (that’s a lot of painting!), I have an overview of revenue streams for you to consider if you want to make a full-time income from your art, too. 

1. Selling your original artwork: This is the most obvious way to make a living as an artist. You can sell your paintings directly to customers, through art galleries, or at local art markets. 

2. Selling reproductions like prints + other products with your art: Reproducing your own artwork on products is another great way to make sales, and give your arms a break from all of that physical creating. You can sell these products online, at local markets, or at wholesale to local shops. 

3. Art licensing: You can license your artwork to other companies who produce products for you, and give you royalties or flat fee payments. (For more free tips on art licensing, see this blog post).

4.Teaching in-person workshops: Share your knowledge with students by teaching your own process-based workshops locally or by traveling to new places. 

5. Teach classes online: Create online classes through sites like Skillshare or on your own platform. Your expertise is valuable! 

6. Affiliates and sponsorships: Reach out to your favorite art supply companies and become an ambassador, sharing their products with your audience through social media, local workshops, etc. You can also create an Amazon page with suggestions of your favorite supplies and earn a small percentage for every sale. 

7. Write a how-to book: Share bits of your process or expertise in a how to book. Find a book agent and reach out to publishers with your idea, or self-publish.

8. Apply for an artist residency: Look for opportunities that may provide you with a studio space or other perks as the artist-in-residence. 

9. Live painting at events or murals: Bring your art to the public with live painting events like at weddings or conferences. Share your art on a larger scale, literally, through murals which can be either privately or publicly funded. 

10. Get your work in places like hospitals or hotels: These places often need a large amount of artwork for their walls; reach out to them to and pitch your work, or team up with a local art buyer. 

There are even more ways to earn income as an artist, but I hope these ideas get you started!

Eventually, one or two of these revenue streams will likely outshine the rest for you, but try different ones out. You’ll start to find the ones you enjoy the most and are the most successful for you in the long-term.

Though multiple income streams are key, especially when first starting out, finding your focus later will help your art business become streamlined and efficient. 

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  1. Pamela Olson says:

    Art therapy 🎶 instrumental

  2. Jackie Dugas says:

    Great information, I’m not an artist but great info for anyone starting their own business.

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