How to Sell Your Art Online: A Complete Beginner’s Guide

Are you an art student or hobbyist looking for ways to get your artwork out there? Building an art business from scratch is a great way to get yourself known, show off your skills and generate sales.

Whether you’re a creative person looking for a part-time job or looking to start a full-time business after working in the arts industry, this can open up a range of artistic opportunities. Here’s what you need to do.

1. Decide what you want to sell

The first step is always the hardest part and that is deciding what to sell. What are you best at creating, and what would you rather be doing part-time or full-time? Perhaps you would like to reproduce prints of your favorite works of art and turn them into postcards or digital downloads, or perhaps you would prefer to sell one-of-a-kind hand-painted works.

However, if you can’t decide on one thing, feel free to expand your creations into categories like digital and traditional media. Do you know about pixel art and think you could put together a beautiful keychain? Here are the best pixel art tools to create pixel perfect artwork.

2. Choose a good printer

Choosing a good printer is especially important once you have decided to print copies of your artwork. Not only does it help an artist save money, but it also allows them to produce high-quality images from the comfort of their own home; You don’t have to pay a company to print your work.

Compared to a basic office printer, inkjet printers can use high-quality pigment ink instead of dye-based ink, allowing for better color reproduction and printing on larger, heavier media. Consider buying a printer with a chroma optimizer as this gives glossy prints a smoother topcoat.

3. Research the competition

The arts will always be a competitive field as many want to be successful in it. So by researching your competition, you can find the loophole no one dares to enter. What do people want to buy and how often do they search for it? Where do they buy that particular piece of art from and what does this company do differently to beat their competition?

Once you can figure out what your audience wants in your niche, you can figure out how to sell to them. Most commonly, a direct-to-consumer business model is used, which may involve selling through a website or studio. Alternatively, you can try the NFT route if you have an interest in digital currency; Here’s how to create an NFT and then sell it online.

4. Create your art and take photos

Once you’ve decided on your niche and preferred sales method, you may think that creating your artwork is the easy part, but there are many boxes to tick. What type of art supplies and art medium do you need to stock and how do you schedule a monthly or bi-monthly replenishment? If you want to buy high-quality items, it can get expensive.

Once you’ve decided to create digital artwork, what kind of software will you use? Here are some of the best drawing and painting apps to get you started. For photographic work, you should also buy a good camera and equipment. Whatever niche you choose, you need to think about what you need before you even get started.

Once you’ve created your work, you need to take photos of it to show to potential buyers. You can use your smartphone camera for this, just make sure the lighting and composition are flattering. You can even add props.

5. Choose a platform

The platform you sell on can make or break your success. Choose something that is most visually appealing to your potential customers and also makes sense for your type of art and price point. Squarespace, Wix, Shopify, and Etsy are the best known.

Having your own website gives you a sense of professionalism as an artist and also provides you with an easily accessible portfolio for potential buyers. If you want to create a mockup of your thought process for your website, learn how to use Canva to create a mockup of your website.

6. Build a brand and market your art

Once you’ve built a website portfolio and know what you’re selling, building your brand from scratch is the next thing to happen, and that usually includes social media. Sharing your art and website on social media allows people to get to know you and what you do, what you stand for and why you are different.

To get your first client, Instagram is one of the best places to market yourself and Instagram Reels is a great feature to take advantage of. You can also post art tutorials on TikTok or YouTube, show accelerated videos of you creating the artwork, or answer questions. The most important thing to keep in mind is to be creative and keep sharing with others.

Don’t want to go the social media route? How to build your artist brand without social media.

7. Work with galleries

Partnering with an art gallery is a great way to gain public recognition. Decide where you want to exhibit your work and which galleries fit your work and artistic goals.

Attend gallery events, build relationships with others in your field, offer to talk about your work, send in applications and remember to follow the submission guidelines. Entering a gallery isn’t always easy, so keep your options open.

8. Pack and ship

If you’re selling physical artwork, how would you like to package it? The packing and shipping process can affect your company’s reputation, so plan accordingly.

For framed work, you should use materials such as sturdy cardstock, bubble wrap, heavy plastic bags, wrapping paper, and clear packing tape. Consider double-bagging it for extra security. Smaller works of art can be sent in padded shoulder bags.

You need to consider shipping weight and dimensions, shipping distance, sticking and labeling, the type of shipping you offer your customers and allow the buyer to track their purchases.

9. Copyright in Your Work

When you create artistic work, you want it to be protected. Copyright protects all tangible and perceptible original works such as fine art, websites or photographic art.

This law ensures that no one can steal your original ideas and protects your property from sale and use by others. In order to hold these violators accountable, you may need to register your copyright, depending on where you live. If you are in the US, register it with the US Copyright Office.

10. License your work

If you’ve tried all options but aren’t feeling too good in the creative world, there is an option for you to license your artwork, which can be through a company, an agent, or by pitching your work to others. Licensing allows you to receive a percentage of royalties by agreeing to a contract, as a company pays a fee to use your artwork for commercial purposes.

Some of these profits belong to the company selling your work, which might appear on a company shirt or packaging. However, it can also be an effective way to earn passive income while building a second business. In some cases, you can be rewarded with up to 10% of your sales.

Build your art business

It doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner or a creative professional looking to expand your portfolio, building an art business is possible regardless of your skill level and will benefit your artistic career in the long term.

With the right tools, creative flair, and determination, you’re on your way to a second revenue stream. Platforms like Artwork Archive are a great resource for aspiring artists to get involved with.

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