Earning money from doing something you love is a dream every one has. Too do so is not impossible, but it is still work, just as any job is work, and can be quite hard. Many give up before they succeed, and give the impression it can’t be done, but I believe that with the right creativity, discipline, and motivation, anyone can succeed in earning a living from what they love doing!
There are many things to consider when starting down the road to using your artwork for a source of income. The most important decision is whether to work towards being completely self employed, or to have another source of income. While some people feel having another source of income is not truely succeeding in your art career, consider this- When self employed, you will have as many, if not more jobs and tasks to complete that are not art related than if you have another side job. You will be a designer, an advertiser, a book keeper, an accountant, a customer servant, and so much more.
Of course being self employed has it’s benefits, but it is important to weigh the pros and cons of this option carefully.
Either way, there are a number of important things you must teach yourself-
1. Study and learn all you can about copyright law. For protecting your own rights, and to be sure not to infringe upon others.
2. Study your craft! Whatever your artwork style or technique, refine it, learn, experiment, and do the best you can! True artists never stop trying to learn and improve their craft and come up with new and innovative ideas!
3. Learn from those around you in the same field. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Most people are happy to help as long as your questions are specific and friendly!
4. Make a name for yourself. This requires a lot of promotion, and working for little to no profit in some cases. You want people to see your art in as many places as possible, so that they will start to recognise it and connect it to you. You also need to build a reputation as being professional, reliable and trustworthy if you wish people to spend their money with you!
5. Enjoy yourself! Don’t forget why you began in the first place, and your passion for the things you create!
With new technology and avenues to promote artwork, doing it all yourself is an option many artists are taking, and succeeding in.
Producing your own prints and merchandise:
– A good quality printer for creating art prints is important if you will be making prints yourself. Look for something that specifies its inks as being “archival” quality. You will also want packaging for them to give them a nice display, most artists use http://www.clearbags.com for print packaging supplies.
– other products can be made easily and cheaply such as bookmarks, magnets, keyrings and more. When looking for products to add to your range, unless you’re in huge demand, look for things that are easy to make just one of at a time.
– Instead of making things yourself, you can have items made and printed at copy centres, photo shops, or online sites that manufacture one off products such as Cafepress, Redbubble or Zazzle.
Then you need somewhere to sell the items:
– Sell your products online on your own website. Webdesign is expensive to pay for, but easy to learn how to do yourself! Save some money and take the time to learn yourself. Also study how to promote your website, because there’s no point in having one if no one finds it. There are many great online resources about promoting your website, search engine optimisation, and selling art online.
– Sell your products at flea markets, weekend markets and craft markets. These can be a good income source, and a lot of fun! You can make a good display with cheap fold out tables, nice fabric to cover them, and display items from budget stores (magazine racks, cup trees and baskets are great!).
– Sell your items at large fairs and festivals, or conventions. These can be expensive to get into, but many have cheap “mail in” sections or “print shop” sections that don’t require a lot of money or preparation to show in.
Different Ideas and Ways to Earn Money from Art-
– Teaching art classes, either as a qualified teacher, or many youth and community centres will pay unqualified but skilled people to run classes.
– Taking commissions, ie, being paid to create artwork for someone else and their ideas. Illustrating for books is ideal, however personal commissions for fantasy portraits is very popular and much easier to come by.
– Doing classical stye Portraits. Family portraits, business portraits, and so on. Ask your local framers or photo store if you can advertise there.
– Painting decorative work onto craft objects for sale. “Folk art” style objects can be a lot of fun, and unique items can be highly sought after.
– Graphics design, for print or web design, graphic design is creative and is needed everywhere.
– License your artwork to manufacturers. Royalties are often not huge (5-15% is often standard), but can add up. some companies prefer to pay a flat once off rate for use of your work, which is a good large hit of money upfront, but not as good in the long run. Study any contract very well before signing, and be sure there is always a way to get out of it if you want to or need to.
– Show in galleries or offer your work to galleries for a sales commission.
– Sketching in person at markets and events (portraits, etc). People love seeing an artist working in real life!
– “Busking” art, eg, pavement artwork, 5 minute portraits, etc. Local laws about busking will apply to doing this.
Selina knows it is possible to have a career as an artist. At 27 years old, she has only worked a year of her life for another employer, being self supporting on her art alone since the age of 22.
When following these tips and ideas, please be sure to research any and all legislation, laws and rules which could apply to these activities individually or running a business as a whole in your area.