Before the Internet was ever a thing, making and creating art meant you need to put in a lot of hard work to not only create art but also market it and sell it – mostly from the people in your environment, so to speak. In this article, we’re going to talk about how to sell artwork online. We will go through the entire process of setting up an online presence as an artist, so to speak, and touch on how to price, market, and sell your products online.
The thing is, while many popular artists sold their art worldwide, to get to that level of recognition, you’d have to put in many years of hard work, many visits to art galleries, and many meetings with art curators and other mediators.
No matter how talented you were, you needed time to get the recognition that you and your work deserved, which meant that earning money this way was possible, but also a very slow process.
Nowadays, with all the commodities we have that sprung up thanks to the invention of the Internet, sell artwork online is becoming more and more easier with every passing day.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that now you can scribble anything on a piece of paper and call it art (although there is an argument that this just as well may be the case sometimes), but the fact is that now it’s easier than ever to get recognized and earn money in the world of art.
How to Sell Art Online and Make Money
Heck, you don’t even need to get fully recognized as an amazing artist!
As long as you have a profile on one of the platforms where you can buy and sell art, you can earn a decent wage by simply uploading your most recent designs and pieces of art.
As you will see, the entire process is not that difficult, but as with all things – to become successful at selling art online, you will need to invest your creative work, time and arm yourself with a lot of patience and willingness to learn.
Without further ado, here’s the deal.
Choose between art creation and curation
There are two major ways that you can get into sell artwork online:
- Creation, or
Or, the two combined.
The thing is, if you’re an art creator, other than experiencing creative issues now and again, so to speak, you probably won’t have much problem coming up with materials to sell online.
So, if you’re interested in going down this road of promoting yourself as a creator and your art, you’ll have plenty of options to work with to both create digital art (or some other form of art that you can sell online), as well as to create a platform from where you can sell your art and market yourself as a creator.
The other option would be best suited for the folks who aren’t too keen on creating art themselves but feel they have a pretty good eye for art.
Simply put, curators fill in the void created when an artist is primarily interested in making art and cannot be bothered to get into the sales game, so to speak.
As an art curator, you can become the artist’s representative and help them sell their art online. For that service, you will receive a certain percentage of the sale. (Depending on what your agreement with the artist is, of course.)
There’s also a third option here.
This one is reserved for people who both create art themselves but who also want to promote other artists and help them sell their art while taking a part of the profits.
This third ‘way’ of online art sales can be a great option for artists who have some experience with online sales and who feel they can both help out new young artists get recognized online and earn some money doing it.
Of course, this option is not limited to only experienced artists, as even complete rookies can create and curate art. That said, you would need to invest more time and patience to get that sort of gig up and running than if you concentrated on either of the two options we described above.
Types of Art You Can Sell
In terms of the sort of art you can sell online, the good news is that you are not limited to just one type of art or just one way of selling it.
The thing is, you’re only limited by what you are capable of creating and possibly by how well you can market yourself. Also, being able to connect with other brands that you can collaborate with can be a massive advantage when it comes to making a new breed of products you can sell repeatedly.
So, even as a complete beginner, it can be a good idea to not limit yourself to just one way of creating art or just one way of selling it.
Some of the options you have when it comes to creating art that could be sold online, for example, include:
- Digital art,
- Real-life art, (which you can ship to your customers together with frames and so on)
- 3-D printable sculptures.
Of course, there are many other ways to create art that you could sell online. Dioramas, for example, spring to mind as an interesting format. (Although they do take a lot of time to make.)
Besides experimenting with creating art, you can also take several different approaches to sell your art. For example, you can consider:
- Selling original art (only one original exists and no copies)
- Digital downloadable art,
- Collaborations with various brands (if you can get in touch with them),
- Repeated prints on fabric and other materials,
- Custom art (where the customer orders a specific unique piece of art to be created).
As we said above, you don’t have to concentrate on just one way of making art and one method of selling it online. The more different approaches you adopt to create and sell your art, the better chance your brand will become visible on the market, and the quicker its popularity will grow.
Building Your Brand
Building your brand around art is typically not as difficult as building a brand around other products or services.
Of course, that’s not to say that creating a brand is ever easy, no matter what you’re doing. But, if you’re building a brand based on a visual body of work, so to speak, you will have plenty of stylistic questions related to marketing your business already answered. (Or, at least, half-answered, so to speak.)
For example, if you have a visual style you tend to follow when creating art, and this visual style is unique, you can use the recognizability factor of this style to make your brand around it.
Let’s say you make pixel art.
Your logo can be one of the characters you drew, or some object is drawn in a pixelated form.
This will let both your existing and potential customers know that you do pixel art, so in time, you’ll accumulate an online audience of people who like pixel art.
On the other hand, if you tend to use several different drawing and painting techniques, you can concentrate on your favorite topics. So, if you like to draw animals a lot, your brand logo can be a silhouette of a flamingo or some other animal.
You can also market yourself as a creator and include your life story as a part of your online business’s ‘about’ section.
Pretty much, whatever it is that you like and that you deem important, and whatever messages you want to send to the world through your art should be taken into consideration when coming up with the brand voice for your online art store.
Pricing Your Art Correctly
… can be a tough thing to do, especially for a beginner.
Usually, most artists who are only rookies in the world of selling art online tend to undervalue their art and sell it for a much lower price than they need.
While it does make sense to offer your potential customers prices that aren’t too steep if you’re a beginner, what you don’t want to do is underprice your art so much that you’re barely earning any money.
Here’s a famous story about pricing your art from the legendary painter Pablo Picasso.
A young woman saw Picasso sitting on a bench in a park.
Having recognized him, she excitedly asked him to make a portrait of her on the spot.
The famous painter agreed and quickly drew up a sketch with a single pencil stroke.
The woman was satisfied with the drawing and then asked the Painter how much she owed him for the portrait that took only a couple of seconds.
Picasso responded with ‘$5,000’.
Surprised, the woman asked him how he could ask for such a steep compensation when it only took him a couple of seconds to draw the sketch.
Picasso responded with: ‘Madame, it took me my entire life. (to draw it).’
This illustrates how pricing works in the world of art.
It’s not just about how much time and resources you need to finish an art piece, but it’s also your skill level, experience, and the value of your brand.
As a beginner, however, you can start with taking into consideration your working hours as well as a couple of other factors such as the materials you’re using (canvas, paint, and so on) to come up with a rough estimate on how much you should charge for your art.
Also, original works of art that are unique should be priced more highly than copies or replicas of the same work.
Setting up an Online Store
Selling art online is much easier and hassle-free if you have an online store set up before selling.
The thing is, you can always try to sell art without an online store, but having one can make this process much easier and secure.
For example, some of the best platforms for selling art online would include Shopify, Etsy, Amazon, and many others. Of course, you can always make a separate website or blog where you can display your art and attract potential customers.
An important part of setting up an online store would certainly be the visual presentation. As long as you can convince your audience that your store represents your brand and that your brand is interesting, you’ll have a great chance of selling whatever it is you want to sell on it.
This principle works for any online sales business, but it’s essential for selling art.
Since you’re a visual artist, the way you organize your website visually will give your potential customers an immediate idea of what quality of art they can expect to find there.
So, make sure to put a lot of effort into the looks and the overall appeal of the online store itself, and then selling the art will be much easier.
While sell artwork online is way more convenient than offline, this doesn’t mean you should completely ignore the offline potential for marketing your art.
The thing is, art-related events and social institutions such as galleries can be a great place to get yourself well-known in your area and to get people interested in your craft and art.
Also, meeting people from the world of art can open up opportunities for collaborations, which can be an excellent way to get your brand out there – especially if you’re still a beginner.
All in all, whether you like to create digital prints or original pieces of art, or even have a good eye for excellent sell artwork online and like to work as a curator – the Internet will provide you with endless opportunities to get your art seen, recognized, and liked enough so you can make some money off of it, too.
We hope this article helped you learn more about how to sell artwork online, and we wish you plenty of success in this demanding but rewarding line of business.