Go back

How to Make a Living as an Artist

Read in 4 minutes
Published on: 30 Sep 2021

A common stereotype among creators (and those outside the domain) is that making art a lucrative career option is arduous. Well, that might have been true in the Renaissance when it was difficult for painters, even like Leonardo da Vinci to gain patronage. But in today's times, where art enthusiasts look forward to Banksy’s artistic intrusion and spend a tidy sum on avant-garde art forms, an artist has diverse avenues to coin money. 

Save your time. Learn this in as little as 1 minute.

We’ve got 500+ bite-sized content to help you learn the smarter way.

Download the app

So, if you are a creative soul, trust your art and are persistent enough to showcase your drawings, we say congratulations! The muses have chosen you to make art as a career. So, draw, paint, sit back and watch your art sell itself.
Here are the most effective, tried and tested 9 creative ways to make money with your artistic skills:

1. Use Instagram to sell your art

Use Instagram to sell your art

Instagram came around as a blessing to creators from all skill domains. The possibility to become an Instagram influencer is higher than ever. To recap the basics, know that your Instagram account displays who you are both creatively and professionally. Start by considering these tips to sell your art on IG creatively.

  • Your Instagram bio is the best place to send your fans who want to purchase your available art. So, try pairing your bio with a short and sweet line dripping with personality and profession. Add a link to your website, and your account is ready to go!
  •  A clever trick to engage your followers on this platform is by posting regularly. Try posting progress posts, before and after shots, behind-the-scenes in your workplace, timelapse of your work process, and tutorial videos on art.
  • The ultimate goal is engagement. Every post should start a conversation. Try captioning your posts with quotes that fuel your practice, a revelation or any exciting news you have.
  • Expanding your Insta network can open a lot of doors and will help you gain a fan base. So, befriending other artists and influencers is a great way to get more eyes to your art account.

2. Teach art classes online/offline 

Teach art classes online/offline

Organising online classes is another great way to diversify your income as an artist. Plus, it will make excellent content for you to market yourself in this domain. Social media provides a vast pool of potential students and clients for your online classes. 

  • You can start by promoting your art classes by asking your friends. Posting daily updates of your workshops for maximum exposure is a great way to start. 
  • Check out Facebook for common interest groups and research a ticket-selling platform.
  • Send out an email newsletter to your subscribers and fans.

You can also subscribe to KoolStories-a social learning platform where you can give tutorials to learners and earn money through it. 

3. Art selling websites & apps

Art selling websites & apps

Nowadays, many artists are skipping galleries altogether, deciding to take their work directly online. The shift cuts the high costs of arranging exhibitions and displays in art fairs. Here are some of those best platforms to virtually sell your art:

Hey Prints
Kool Stories

4. Applying for grants and competitions

Applying for grants and competitions

We suggest a great way to the creative minds here- to supplement your income and ease the financial burden of being a full-time artist. 

One among them is participating in grants or fellowships. These programmes provide funds to pay the rent and other expenses, allowing the artist to work round the clock as a virtuoso. 

There are art competitions around you, be it local, regional, or even universal-you just need to be an active researcher. Be sure to follow the news on social media and your artistic circles. You will probably find at least a few competitions that you can enter and win cash or other prizes. And if not, they will give you a chance to invest in new materials and skills.

5. Earning money through Youtube art tutorials

Earning money through Youtube art tutorials

Online art tutorials have seen a real boom in the last few years and are a great marketing tool to boost your bank balance. You can use this platform as a brilliant money maker and build yourself an excellent reputation as an expert in the art domain. All you need is filming equipment and a willingness to put yourself out there for the world to see.
To get noticed on YouTube, here are a few simple steps you can take:
⦁    Define your niche and target audience 
⦁    Research keywords and your competitors
⦁    Upload content at least twice a week
⦁    Use Youtube shorts which gives the artist a competitive advantage within a short video space.

6. Selling your art with other merchandise

Selling your art with other merchandise

So you have built an audience- at least partly receptive to your work and your products. Now, this digital age has brought you some powerful opportunities to share your artwork and monetise it. Good creatives being the most crucial success factor here, you are no longer limited to selling your original artwork. You can sell them on any sort of products-from custom t-shirts to face masks and even on mugs.
With these print-on-demand services, you'll spend far less time worrying about the efforts of logistics, supply chains, and order fulfilment. This type of service will cover printing, packaging, branding, and shipping of your custom products to your customers. Now that we have found you the places that buy art, all you have to do is- focus solely on creating great work and promoting it to your audience.
To sell your art online on a product, you first need an 'online shop window'. A portal that provides the actual functionality to your customers where they can scroll and buy your products. 
You can start with these: 
Redbubble, Zazzle and Society6

7. Selling your art in art fairs, festivals and conventions

Selling your art in art fairs

Although a large percentage of young people prefer online shopping, many collectors, gallerists and curators still love seeing art in person before making a purchase. They always come to see what’s trending and envision their next exhibit. And when you put tens of thousands of art professionals in one place, it's the single best opportunity to make deals happen for you.
The best way to start with this idea would be to search for local art fairs or festivals in your area. If by chance, your neighbourhood happens to be an extra interactive one, you are in luck!
Once you’ve registered for one, make sure you carry along:

  • Business cards with your brand name and logo.
  • Items to decorate and personalise your booth 
  • Ready-to-be-sold artwork 

8. Create an art blog & sell your e-book

Sell your e-book

If you’re into blogging and have made tutorials, this is the next step you’ll probably take after having built an audience. Just like how you caption your Instagram posts, you can also use texts in your art blog. The function of the text will be to support the visuals and explain the actions depicted in the process. Content to upload for the best results:

  • Reviews on your new art supplies
  • Opinions on recent art trends
  • Process videos and tips on the same
  • You can also create your e-book and sell 

As you have an audience now, it is easier for you to promote and sell your e-book.

9. Working for magazines and blogs

Working for magazines

Now that you have an art blog writing articles and submitting your artwork for a magazine is a cinch. This idea is not only a fascinating way to put your name in front of a broader audience but also a great deal to start with. Most bloggers, magazine pages and website owners are likely to hire from their audience of readers. What you exactly need to be on their verge is to be an active follower. The shortest way to achieve this is by commenting on their posts and engage with their content.

Earn your first income as an artist

Earn your first income as an artist

Whether you’re exhibiting or browsing, watch and listen carefully. Although following these steps may come to you as a tough row to hoe. But don't feel disheartened!
Many among the most successful artists felt the same way in the beginning. 
Do you see artists around you? Do they look happy? Talk to them about their experiences. Most artists are always obliging to exchange stories. You’ll learn a lot!
No business skyrockets the moment it starts; the profits come in after a series of hard work and patience. And when they finally arrive, it will be utterly rewarding. We, at KoolStories, help you streamline this process and get your art business instant visibility. Still wondering how? 
Subscribe to KoolStories - an upcoming micro learning platform to monetise your skills and grow your interests. Here, you can create bite-sized audio and video content that might be helpful for avid learners and enthusiasts. The opportunity is open for all skilled individuals. Step into the world of digital micro learning now. 


Can you make good money as an artist?

Yes! If you are an artist, you can earn good money by selling your original and high-quality prints or copies of your artwork.

How do freelance artists find work?

In today's digital era, several platforms are providing a range of work for freelance artists. These sites include Arts Thread, Art Wanted, Fiverr, Freelancer, Toptal etc.

Where can I sell my artwork?

If you are an artist looking forward to selling your art pieces, make sure to research and analyze these platforms & choose the one that best suits your art practice. ArtPal, OnlineGallery.art, VSUAL, Singulart, Artfinder, Saatchi, ShairArt, Printful, Picta Design etc.

What's the best app for making digital art?

If you are planning to start your first digital drawing. We present you a list of some best apps to try your hand on with some powerful drawing tools: Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator,  Procreate, Pixelmator Pro, Assembly, Adobe Photoshop Sketch, Adobe Illustrator Draw and many more.

How can I draw online for free?

Now that you have decided to draw digitally, here we have got you a list of some powerful free apps: Adobe Illustrator Draw, Artrage, Colorcinch, Adobe Photoshop Sketch, Magic Slate, GIMP, Pencil Sketch.

Why do most artists fail?

Success as an artist is rare.
It depends on a lot of factors like work ethic, artistic talent and resilience. However, the most significant factor remains marketing.
Artists who are not able to reach their audience never get famous.

Why are artists so underpaid?

The world doesn't pay artists for their efforts or time in creating art but the value attached to their work. Unsurprisingly, it takes a long time and immense productivity to create substantial value as an artist.