How to Make Clipart to Sell in 2022 (Ultimate Guide)

by Erin Schollaert

Updated

Clipart is in everything from news articles to educational documents, and yet many don’t think about the profits earned from learning how to make clipart to sell.

Whether you’re like 70% of artists who say they don’t make enough and want to make an extra income selling digital art, or you don’t draw but want to find a way to make this work for you, it’s a fantastic business to get into.

These are the most important things you need to know and the steps you should follow to build a business and passive income from selling clipart.

How to Create Clipart

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There’s no way to make a profit without producing your own clipart. Whether you create it yourself or work with artists who will create it for you: effort can change everything.

Drawing it Yourself

This is possibly the most straightforward way to make clip art, and a fantastic way to make money with art skills.

Whether it’s digital or watercolor clipart, drawing it yourself will give you the chance to get into this business without any money down.

You can create as much clipart as you have time for and draw whatever you want exactly how you picture it.

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Although this only works for people who already know how to draw, illustrating something is a powerful advantage here.

Working With Artists

If you can’t draw, that doesn’t mean you can’t participate in this industry! Instead, purchasing the rights for images directly from the artists.

The best way to go about this is to hire an artist or illustrator who can work on a batch for you. Some will agree to work for only an upfront fee, while others will want a percentage of the profits. 

Make sure that either way, you have them sign or agree to your ownership of the items so that there isn’t a licensing issue down the road.

Creating It From Your Own Pictures

This is a newer form of clipart that is also used as stickers in apps.

Converting photos into clipart usually needs some form of graphics added to it to make it more interesting and should be clear on what it’s emoting.

If there’s no graphic design, these images will come off more as stock photos.

Popular types of clipart

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There are many forms of clipart, so it’s important to get to know them before you jump in.

Although creating art seems easy and fun, there are dozens of possibilities for the types of art you can make, so it’s important to decide on your branding early.

The Main File Formats

Before you even consider the style or type of art, file formatting matters.

Many sites will only allow you to upload art if it’s in a .png or .jpeg format, but you can have other types of formats available. 

For example, if you edit or create images in Photoshop, you can add a .psd file format at an extra charge.

This allows companies to edit or change it to suit their needs more and encourage them to make the purchase.

If you have to choose between .png or .jpeg, use .png because it doesn’t deteriorate as quickly, and you can include transparent parts in the image.

The Mediums People Use

There are multiple mediums that people use to create their own art, and when it comes to clipart, any of them can be used to create incredible and fun pieces. These are the top mediums!

  • Oil and acrylic – classic thick paints like oil and acrylic are gaining popularity again. The global art market is currently valued at 50 billion, and a lot of the sales are from original pieces and prints from oil and acrylic art. These are messier and take longer to perfect, but they can create amazing images.
  • Digital painting – digital painting has become exceedingly popular in the last twenty years. Although the upfront costs of a graphics tablet used to be prohibitive, it’s since become a highly popular medium because of how much art can be completed and edited without any extra spending.
  • Watercolor – watercolor has such a unique and pretty look to it that it’s immediately identifiable. Great for use in anything from flowers to faces, watercolor is an awesome way to create amazing clipart without needing a lot of time for drying.
  • Mixed media – mixed media is simply art where more than one media is being used. Although it can take some time to perfect whatever mix you use, this is often used by combining digital and traditional art until it has a unique look.
  • Vector graphic art – although this is also digital art that can be created on a tablet, it’s different from digital painting or illustration because of how it’s made. Vectors are collections of pixels that can form lines or shapes and are infinitely scalable in their original form.

Clipart Styles

Most clipart is done in acute or minimal style. This means using as few lines as possible, and large gestures or swaths of color to bring the feeling or idea around.

Although detailed clipart exists and can be sold, since clipart is usually used in smaller formats, it’s better to get the point across as clearly as possible while minimized.

A great way to plan clipart and ensure it will be readable at most sizes is to thumbnail the art before you begin. 

To thumbnail well, draw a series of smaller squares or rectangles on paper or digital canvas, and while they’re small, draw the image loosely within it. Ensure that it’s readable at this size.

Then, as you start to draw it in full size, take the time to zoom out every once in a while to ensure that the work is still readable, or with traditional art, stand further away from it by a few feet.

Best Selling Clipart Subject Matter

Multiple subject matters are extremely popular with clipart. If you can make one of these genres your own, you could set yourself up for success.

  • Holidays – if you’re starting in clipart, working in holiday-themed art can be the easiest place to start! This means Christmas, Hanukkah, Halloween, New Year, birthdays, anything that people celebrate every year can be used here. Although this may seem vague, holidays come every year, and therefore this can be a good source of income you can count on.
  • Family – family clipart is used everywhere, from mental health awareness campaigns to small businesses advertising, so this can be a great place to focus a few of your pieces.
  • Education – education is the second most popular place that clipart is used. Often showing up in anything from slides a teacher may set up for their class to textbooks and even schools’ websites. Clipart for school can be anything education-related and can range from K-12 to college-aged students.
  • Business – this is the most popular type of clipart. Companies use it for everything from training information to emails and advertisements. This type of clipart is also used in some educational settings depending on the class.
  • Animals – the use of these varies from small businesses to dozens of other uses. The animals can range from cute to spooky, but if you want them to stand out, they should have a use other than just how they look. Consider combining them with one of the different subject matters.
  • Plants – plant clipart is increasingly popular and doesn’t require a lot of thought to create. Beautiful plant clipart is used on everything from wedding invitations to business documents and can be incredibly versatile.
  • Communities – community-specific clipart depends heavily on how large the community is and how often they’d need this. For example, LGTB+ pride clip art could be used once a year and is in high demand from April to the end of June.

How Much Can You Make Selling Clipart?

Selling clip art is a fantastic way to make some extra money through passive income. Whether an adult or a teenager making money, there’s big potential. 

Although you still have to put in the time and effort to create or purchase the art, once it’s available for sale, people can buy it without you having to take any extra steps.

Keep in mind this is just one way to make money selling digital products.

Selling Clipart Individually

Selling clipart as individual images can win you $1 to $20 per image.

For more unique and stylized images, you can charge for more, but generally, $1 to $5 is the limit for most clipart. 

Selling Clipart In Packs

Selling clipart in packs is a great way to make people feel like they’re getting a great deal while getting your art out there more.

You can create themed packs based on anything from Halloween to business attire and sell these in collections for $5 to $50. 

You should ensure that it’s less expensive to buy the pack than it would be for them to buy the images individually.

How is clipart being used today?

Clipart may be in multiple parts of your life without you even realizing it.

Although it’s become common for some companies to buy unique art made for them, most still use pre-made art.

Companies Use It In Advertising

People can recall over 65% of what we see in our daily lives, so using catchy images can be a great way to help a brand stand out.

Articles and Blogs

Many news sites and blogs use clipart to help illustrate what’s going on.

The NYT both purchases clipart and has it made in-house for their articles to carry their point across. 

They even allow for people to buy the rights to use the images, to a limited degree, from within their articles.

Educational Information

Many schools use clipart to get information out to their students.

This can be from teachers including them in their powerpoint slides to textbooks including them in the margins to illustrate a point.

Many schools even specifically instruct their teachers to use clip art as a teaching aid.

Best Platforms to Sell Clipart?

There are plenty of platforms that allow you to sell your clip art; these are the best of them!

  • Etsy – this is the most common place to sell, and it makes it easier to get your name in front of customers. Unfortunately, it does have file upload limits, and you have to pay monthly fees for your listings and your sales that take up your income.
  • RedBubble – you can sell your items as digital downloads or as stickers on RedBubble, and it’s a great way to advertise your images. Unfortunately, this market is saturated, so you have to try hard to get noticed.
  • Creative Market – this site caters specifically to graphic designers and is a great way to make it big if you can make a name for yourself. Unfortunately, a lot of this comes to chance on whether you get noticed.
  • Gumroad – this site allows you to make and sell as many items as you want. It can give your shop the feeling of a one-stop shop for everything, but you have to advertise on other sites for traffic.

Extra Tips To Make Money Selling Clipart

Like any new business, it’s important to know how to build your brand and find leads that can lead to purchases. These are the most important things to know.

1. Advertise Your Collection Using the Best Strategies

Learn how to advertise yourself in a way that makes your clipart look attractive and finds the customers where they are.

Advertising on Instagram isn’t going to make educational companies buy your art. Instead, try to advertise in places that graphic designers or creatives would go.

Some sites like Etsy even have built-in advertising to ensure your listings show up first.

2. Create A Recognizable Brand or Aesthetic

If your items aren’t unique: they aren’t going to sell. Take the time to create a unique style or unique subject matter, and lean into it.

If you aren’t sure what your style is, research what unique art you like, and take inspiration from it. Don’t copy a style, but take pieces from many to create your own style.

Clip Art Is Timeless

No matter how much you make or how long you make it, there will still be people who want your earlier art or others who stumble upon your clip art from last year and want it.

So as a passive income, you can ensure that you make money off of your older pieces while still putting out newer items that will get snatched up the moment they’re available.

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About the Author

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Erin is a business teacher and mother of three. When she’s not in the classroom or fulfilling her obligations as an A+ hockey and lacrosse mom, she’s working on her latest article.