Are you an artist thinking of selling digital art online? Unsure what options you have to stay competitive in the market? Here are 11 ways you can explore to start making money with digital art.
There’s so many opportunities to make money online today if you’re an artist making digital art. The best part of it all is that you can do it remotely at your own pace. It’s even cooler to have it all set up beforehand so you can make a sale and earn passively while having morning coffee or on your journey to work – if you still keep a full time job. That’s the dream I’m working on here at Passive Marketeer!
In this article, I’ll be sharing the 11 ways you can explore to offer your digital art for online sales and the sites you can join to start selling.
*This post may contain affiliate links. This means I may earn a small commission (at no cost to you) if you sign up for a program or make a purchase using my link!
Is Selling Digital Art Profitable?
Selling digital art is profitable because it does not involve costs a physical art would have. This includes production cost, shipping cost, storage cost or any handling cost in between. Most digital art is only made once and sold repeatedly without incurring additional costs.
How Can I Sell My Digital Art Online?
Anyone can sell their digital art online as there are numerous ways to do so. Individuals can sell digital art on Etsy, place designs on print on demand products, create a NFT or join networks that need contributions for art elements like Creative Network, Dribbble or Envato Elements.
How To Sell Digital Art On Instagram?
Small businesses can sell digital art on Instagram by using the platform as a promotional tool. It is not possible to conduct a transaction for digital art on Instagram itself. Most will place a link in Instagram bio redirecting customers to purchase the digital art on another website such as an Etsy store or a Shopify website.
11 Ways To Start Selling Digital Art
1. Freelancing for clients on designing marketplaces
One of the ways we can sell digital art is by offering freelance services on marketplaces like Fiverr or Upwork. This is a great option to explore if you don’t have a ready product to offer right now and want to know better what is in demand. Start with an affordable rate and increase as you improve your skills. Some other skills you may need to be a great freelancer include good communication, attentive to task details and amazing time management.
While Fiverr might be a site for just everything, here are some specialized sites for just graphic designers:
Join these sites and start offering your services!
The video above from Creative Hive talks about what defines digital art and why you should be making them!
2. Selling beautiful Canva templates with art
If you’re a Canva expert or nerd wannabe like I am, you can make money selling Canva templates you’ve made yourself. You might not think it is considered as art and while I might agree, it depends completely on the kind of templates you make. Some templates like invitation cards, coloring pages and eBook covers may require great creativity and drawing or designing skills.
So make digital art, import them to your Canva dashboard and sell them in the form of templates! Art on its own may not have a great demand but paired with useful templates, you’re sure to make some sales. Check out my step by step guide on how to create a listing for Canva templates on Etsy.
3. Open slots for commission art on Etsy
Don’t want to be living the hectic freelancer life but still want to accept jobs from time to time? You might be able to sell commission art on Etsy as it is quite a popular product. Commission art can be wide ranging from cartoon drawings, digital portraits, comic book covers and couple art. Decide what kind of commission art you want to draw and offer them in digital files.
You don’t need a ready product but sharing some of your best samples can get you faster sales. One of the best options is if you have a digital design portfolio or a website of your own to showcase your drawings. Include these links in product description! Since it isn’t passive and requires new drawing for each job, this is a popular offering for digital art on Instagram.
4. Create and sell your own creative fonts
Not everyone likes to draw faces and flowers, some of us love drawing lines and have great handwriting. Did you know you can sell your own fonts? It is a form of digital art with a good demand online! Creative fonts are used for all kinds of content making including YouTube videos, ebooks, social media pages and even websites – mainly for brand recognition.
Sign up to an online marketplace for fonts like Foundry. They help distribute your fonts to multiple sites like MyFonts, Fonts.com, FontShop and Linotype.com. Check out their guidelines and how to apply to avoid rejection.
Another great option you can explore is So Fontsy. They sell fonts in bundles including ready SVG files mainly used for typography based merchandise. A print on demand business owner will surely need some creative help!
5. Make patterned wrapping papers
Did you know you can sell digital wrapping papers online? I grew up needing to go to a gift shop every time a friend’s birthday is approaching and not being able to find a wrapping paper I truly like (or think my friend would like). So digital wrapping papers sound like an amazing product for great designs!
If you’re unsure on how to make these wrapping papers but very eager to start, check out this masterclass on how to design a wrapping paper collection and sell them! Whether you start selling them digitally or physically, it doesn’t really matter anyway. What’s important is you have the skills to design the best wrapping papers. The masterclass teaches you how to use designing tools like Photoshop & Illustrator, where to sell your products plus avoid common rookie mistakes.
Another option to sell wrapping paper designs is with print on demand – I’ve explained how it works down below.
6. Draw and sell vector graphics as stock
Vector graphics or vector arts have a huge demand for their versatile use online. Experts and professional digital artists would know this! You can make up to 60% commission passively by selling vector graphics on micro stock agencies, also known as marketplaces where buyers purchase and they handle everything for you. Best part is you own it forever and it can be sold repeatedly til you no longer decide to.
Vector graphics can be digital art of any kind such as drawings of food, animals, flowers or even wallpapers. These are some sites you can sell vector graphics on:
7. Take your own photographs and sell as digital art
Photography is pretty much a digital form of art. If you have interest in taking photos or you’re a professional photographer with a lot of unused images, you should explore ways to sell them with stock websites. This is a great way of earning passively online without having to draw or design – because honestly, a lot of us don’t know how to!
The only drawback about this method is most stock websites will need to review your work before approving your application to start selling photographs on their site. So if you think you have what it takes, getting approval should be pretty easy! If you don’t, consider working on your skills first.
8. Sell digital art elements on premium marketplaces
Interested to earn passively instead of actively with your digital art? Selling on marketplaces like Creative Market and Envato Elements will get you there easily. These marketplaces need all kinds of digital art so you won’t be restricted to only making one type. However, in the beginning, I believe it’s always good to stick to a niche so you can improve faster.
Envato has all kinds of digital files including videos, music, photos, templates and fonts. You can apply to become an Author (partner designer) where earnings can come in three ways – portion of subscription, bonus for new content uploaded and promotions. They’ll be reviewing your work though so give them your best!
You might think what’s the difference with selling on Etsy? Well, these sites specialize in digital elements for professional use. So it’s really on another level compared to Etsy or Amazon where offerings are mixed up. You’ll also earn a lot more as most are subscription based and customers are not looking for the next cheap alternative – they value your work!
9. Create a NFT and earn fees on every sale it goes through
A lot of people may not know what a non-fungible token (NFT) is, and trust me I wouldn’t either if it weren’t for my partner. So this is no way a financial advice and you must do your own research to understand before doing anything with NFT. I’m just speaking from what I’ve seen on Twitter with the growing trends of artists making artwork to be sold as NFT. Some are earning a good living doing so on a full-time basis!
Generally, artists who lists their artwork on a NFT marketplace will earn when their artwork gets sold. On top of that, the artist will still earn a certain percentage of sale price every time the item is transacted in the marketplace. This is only possible thanks to the blockchain system which is a huge evolution to the art industry and crediting artists.
You can understand better how it works here, it’s good detailed info but take some time to digest. It’s not rocket science but it’ll get your brain working.
10. Sell art on print on demand products
One of the first few ways I made money online with digital art is via print on demand. Basically, you’ll upload digital art to merchandise such as tote bags, leggings or phone cases and sync your products to your own ecommerce store on sites like Etsy, Shopify or Squarespace. Once an order comes in, you’ll have to pay for the product cost and shipping charges before the order can be processed and shipped to your customer. You can start by signing up to POD sites like Printify, Printful, Redbubble or Society6.
These merchandise are only printed and made with your digital art once there’s an order hence the name “print on demand”. Till then, you will hardly incur any cost to start the business – especially if you make all these designs yourself. That’s why I really recommend this side hustle for introverts, single moms or even anyone. Just like most side hustles I’ve explained above, you can earn passively with print on demand working from anywhere.
If you’re ready to start, check out my print on demand product guides! Great tips included.
- Tote bags for print on demand
- Tumblers for print on demand
- Phone cases for print on demand
- Posters for print on demand
- Leggings for print on demand
- Jewelry for print on demand
- Candles for print on demand
- Doormats for print on demand
- Hoodies for print on demand
- Pet products for print on demand
- Socks for print on demand
- Pajamas for print on demand
- Blankets for print on demand
- Baby clothes for print on demand
- Wrapping paper for print on demand
- Puzzles for print on demand
- Stickers for print on demand
- Athletic wear for print on demand
- Hats for print on demand
- Journals for print on demand
- Greeting cards for print on demand
- Mugs for print on demand
18 Best Sites To Sell Digital Art
Print on demand:
Why Should I Sell Digital Art?
1. Low cost to start compared to physical art
Physical art requires upfront cost even when you haven’t made a sale. This can include production cost, storage, shipping charges etc. – even costlier if you need a physical shop for it. With digital art, all you need is a computer setup and maybe optional cloud storage upgrade – a small one time or a yearly payment. Your cost to start really depends on the kind of digital art you want to make.
2. Huge growth opportunities and easy to scale
A digital art business is easily scaled. You can hire multiple designers at one time from all parts of the world and sell your digital art to anyone anywhere. There’s no need to worry about shipping and if storage spaces is enough. You can join multiple marketplaces and sites, offer your art under several brand names at almost no extra cost to setup.
3. Ability to earn passively while you sleep
One of the best things about the internet and everything digital that comes with it, is that it works even as you sleep. You don’t have to physically take care of a shop for 24 hours in a day to make life-changing sales. Instead, most of the ways of selling digital art allows you to earn passively – while you send your kids to school or when you’re taking an afternoon nap. You just have to put in the work today to be able to earn repeatedly forever.
What Do I Need To Start Selling Digital Art?
What you’ll need depends on the type of digital art you want to make. Everything I’ve listed above is completely doable with these:
- A niche to specialize in
- A physical digital drawing tool to draw your artwork by hand
- Editing software to create illustrations
- Camera to take photographs for stock
- An online marketplace or website to sell your digital art
- Patience and consistency for long term results
Research further to understand better. Your success awaits!
Being an artist in this era doesn’t have to be boring. If it is, I think you’re doing it wrong and you should be exploring more. Everything is just a click away!
Here are 10 ways you can make money selling digital art:
- Freelancing for clients on designing marketplaces
- Selling beautiful Canva templates with art
- Open slots for commission art on Etsy
- Create and sell your own creative fonts
- Make patterned wrapping papers
- Draw and sell vector graphics as stock
- Take your own photographs and sell as digital art
- Sell digital art elements on premium marketplaces
- Create a NFT and earn fees on every sale it goes through
- Sell art on print on demand products
Interested of making digital products instead and don’t want to focus entirely on digital art? I’ve compared some of the best online tools you can use to make digital products here (both free and paid!).
Photo by Michael Burrows