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How to sell your artwork online

Being an artist is not always easy or glamorous. The creative process of our work is the most important thing. But quite often we neglect the financial or administrative tasks to earn extra money or even make ends meet. Fortunately, the internet is the perfect invention artists and creative people can use to earn money. In this article, I wanted to share some tips and my experiences on how to sell your artwork online.

One possibility to do that is to earn “passive income”. But what is passive income and is it really so easy and passive as it sounds like? Can you just sit back and watch your money come in? No, it is not passive at all. Opposite to commission work, you create art for yourself and sell it online. But it still is a lot of work. Before and after creating art. The real work starts when you finished your artwork. And there are some things you should consider first.

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1 // Develop your own style

As an artist, you need your art to be recognizable. People who see your work should remember your style. This could be a color scheme of your favorite colors you often use, a special way to draw or paint, or elements you love to draw. That doesn’t mean you can’t experiment and try new techniques but you can always adapt new things in your own personal style. Taking notes on my future project helps me to determine my goals. I even developed my own project planner.

2 // Your products

Before you start, think about what products you want to sell. Do you want to sell only art and canvas prints or additional products like stationery cards? A lot of POD-sites also offer to print your work on cups, bags, phone cases, t-shirts, and blankets. Some of these products require different image formats or sizes. Some sites also sell their products via Amazon and other huge online shops, so you have to decide if you are ok with that.

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Resources for digital illustration

3 // Prepare your artwork

If you do traditional art on canvas or paper you need to digitalize your artwork with the highest resolution possible. You can either photograph your work or scan it. Here are some tips on How to Photograph your Art on a Budget. It is also crucial that you use high-quality tools, paper or canvas and colors for your artwork. You will notice that the colors are much more vivid and that the paper feels much better. In this article, I write about what I am using: Resources for Traditional Illustration.

If you create digital art it is sometimes easier. The only thing you should remember from the start is to ALWAYS use the highest image size AND resolution possible. Here is an interesting article on How to Prepare Your Art Files for Printing. The majority of modern software or apps allow to set your files up in print quality. In this article, I list some of the resources that I am using: Resources for Digital Illustration.

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4 // Set up your shop(s)

If you plan to sell your art prints and other print products on several sites you should prepare some things in advance. It is important that potential buyers can recognize you by your profile image and bio. Take your time to think about an interesting and short bio. Tell something about yourself and your art. Use a quality portrait of yourself or one of your signature artworks as a profile image.

Now upload your artwork. It is best if you already have a number of artworks to sell so potential buyers can browse your products. A lot of POD sites allow choosing if you want to print on all available products or only some. You have to chose what products best present your artwork. If you have original artwork on paper or canvas you can also sell them on your own website or Etsy.

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5 // Promote, promote, promote!!!

If your shops are ready and everything looks fine, the work begins! You have to promote your products. And thanks to the internet, the possibilities are endless.

Use your social media channels to show your artwork and products. If you are not a fan of social media, well you don’t have to use it for your private images and so on, but it is a perfect possibility to self-promote. Switch to business accounts to see and analyze your statistics. Learn about the behavior of your followers and post accordingly.

Build sets or themes. Try to show your followers several of your artworks that are combinable or have a similar theme or color. A lot of people search for tips on how to combine art so show them and maybe sell more than one of your works!

Link your products on your website. If you have a website you can link your POD profiles and/or even your products to push sales. Show your favorite work and write about it on your blog.

Set up a newsletter. Inform your website readers and followers about new products or remind your fans of sales. Before setting up a newsletter research about the legal obligations in your country regarding newsletter marketing. Here are some tips on How to Collect Email Addresses.

Show your art in mockups. Some POD sites show uploaded art in mockups or product previews. You can also google for free art mockups. Most of them are PSD files with smart objects where you put your artwork. That way potential buyers can imagine how your art would look like in their own home.

Use seasonal themes to sell more. For example, promote artworks with flowers or plants in spring, bold colors in summer and so on. Some sites offer the possibility to create calendars. Start selling them in September or October! People buy calendars from September through March or even April!

6 // Don’t stop creating new work

Now sit back and see how people get to know your work. You will see which ones are bestsellers and what doesn’t sell as well as expected. Use this information when you create new work. Try new things, new techniques and connect with other artists. In the meantime start to work on commission to build up an interesting portfolio.

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There are a lot of POD sites to sell your art online. There is Society6, Zazzle, RedBubble, Curioos, Juniqe, ArtboxOne, FY, and Posterlounge.  You can google POD art to find more. On THIS site I list all of my retailers. And don’t forget to check out my latest FREEBIE!

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