10 Surprising Ways to Make Money from Your Art

 10 Surprising Ways To Make Money From Your Art


As an artist, making a living from your craft can be challenging. However, there are many surprising ways to monetize your art beyond selling prints or exhibiting in galleries. In this article, we’ve compiled ten unconventional ways for artists to make money and expand their reach.

Keep in mind that these ideas require creativity, hustle and dedication, but they can be incredibly rewarding. From art licensing to merchandise design, here are ten surprising ways to make money from your art.

1. Sell art online

Selling art online has never been easier thanks to platforms like Etsy, Zazzle, Society6 and Redbubble. These websites allow artists to create an online storefront and sell their prints, original artwork, and custom designs to a global audience.

To maximize your online sales, you’ll want to invest time in creating high-quality images of your artwork and set competitive prices. Providing excellent customer service is also crucial for maintaining a positive reputation and securing repeat business.

2. Participate in art fairs

Participating in art fairs or craft shows is an excellent way to sell your artwork and connect with potential customers. Art fairs offer a unique opportunity for artists to showcase their work in person, receive immediate feedback, and make sales.

You’ll need to research and apply to relevant art fairs in advance, and keep in mind that participating in these events can be expensive. However, the experience and exposure can be well worth it.

3. Offer custom artwork

Offering custom artwork is an excellent way to build personal connections with clients and create unique pieces tailored to their specific needs. Custom artwork projects can include portraits, murals, illustrations, and more.

As an artist offering custom work, you’ll need to establish clear communication and establish a process for gathering project requirements, obtaining feedback, and producing final artwork. A robust portfolio of previous custom work will also help demonstrate your expertise and attract new clients.

4. Create art for greeting cards

Have you ever browsed the greeting card section at your local store and thought, “I could make that”? Well, you can! Creating art for greeting cards is a fun and profitable way to showcase your artistic skills and reach a broader audience.

Companies like Hallmark, American Greetings, and Papyrus are always looking for new artwork to feature on their greeting cards. You can start by submitting your designs to their open art calls or creating your own line of cards and selling them online or at craft markets.

5. License your art

Art licensing is the process of granting permission to use your artwork on various products, such as home decor, clothing, stationery, and more. Art licensing agreements typically involve royalties, which means you earn a percentage of the product’s sales.

Licensing your art requires finding licensing opportunities and negotiating contracts with manufacturers or marketing agencies. You’ll also need to ensure that your artwork is protected by copyright and that you have legal representation during the licensing process.

6. Teach art classes

Teaching art classes is an excellent way to share your passion and knowledge with others while earning additional income. You can offer classes in-person or online, ranging from basic drawing and painting techniques to more advanced mediums like ceramics, printmaking, or digital art.

To teach art classes, you’ll need to have a solid understanding of the subject you’re teaching, as well as excellent communication and organizational skills. You can advertise your classes on social media, local community boards, or through art schools and studios.

7. Create merchandise

Creating merchandise is an excellent way to expand your brand and offer a variety of products with your artwork. Merchandise can include anything from t-shirts, stickers, phone cases, totes, and even home decor.

To create merchandise, you’ll need to find a printing company that can produce high-quality products at a reasonable price. You can sell your merchandise online or in-person at art fairs or markets. Offering limited edition or exclusive merchandise can also create a sense of urgency and drive sales.

8. Illustrate children’s books

Illustrating children’s books is a lucrative and rewarding way to showcase your artistic skills and bring stories to life. Children’s book illustrators work with authors and editors to create illustrations that complement and enhance the story.

To become a children’s book illustrator, you’ll need a portfolio of previous work and the ability to work with deadlines and revisions. You can find opportunities to illustrate children’s books by connecting with authors, literary agents, or publishing companies.

9. Create public art

Creating public art is an exciting way to showcase your artwork in a public space and create a lasting impact on your community. Public art can include murals, sculptures, installations, and more.

To create public art, you’ll need to research opportunities and apply for grants or proposals. You’ll also need to work with local governments, community organizations, and businesses to gain support and funding for your project.

10. Sell digital downloads

Selling digital downloads is a convenient way to offer your artwork to a global audience and earn passive income. Digital downloads can include prints, coloring pages, patterns, and more.

To sell digital downloads, you’ll need to have a website or platform that allows you to sell and distribute your files securely. You can also offer digital downloads as a bonus to customers who purchase your artwork or merchandise.


As an artist, there are many surprising ways to monetize your work and reach a broader audience. Whether you’re selling prints online, illustrating children’s books, or creating public art, these alternative revenue streams can help you achieve financial success while doing what you love.

Key takeaway: The key to making money from your art is a combination of creativity, hard work, and adaptability. By exploring new revenue streams and embracing technology and innovation, artists can create a sustainable business and build a loyal following.

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