How to Make Money with Digital Art: 13 Best Paying Ways

Photo of author

by Erin Schollaert

Updated

Art has always been seen as a difficult job to get into: but it doesn’t have to be.

You don’t have to look far to find how to make money with digital art; there are options in almost every industry and countless ways you can use nearly every social media site to achieve this goal.

If you’re looking into how to sell digital art and want to make great money without working 9 to 5: these are the positions for you!

13. Create an Informational Art TikTok

Earning Potential: $200 to $5,000 a month 

TikTok is extremely unpredictable, with some people posting every day for years only to gain five followers and others gaining millions of views on their first upload.

However, it can be extremely rewarding when you can gain followers.

How to get started: create a Tik Tok account and film videos of your art process, tips for other artists, and entertaining videos creative people can connect with.

This is an easy way to start your business today with no money.

.

Trend on the Rise

TikTokers gain 2-4 cents per 1,000 views: so you can earn $20 to $40 per million views. With over a billion users on this app, it’s a great chance at an income.

12. Do Commissions One on One

painting

Earning Potential Per Year: $43,000 (Artwork Archive)

If you’re unsure how to make money selling digital art on Etsy, this is one of the best options.

Selling commissions means you’re creating custom art for your customers, which allows you to set your price and work on different art all the time.

This is an ever-changing and interesting way to make money with your art skills.

How to get started: create a commission sheet that shows samples of what type of art you offer and the rates of every piece.

Create a terms of service contract (doesn’t have to be long) to lay out your customer expectations.

11. Work as a Freelancer

Earning Potential Per Year: $49,725 (Talent.com)

Working as a freelancer means that you’ll have to advocate for yourself and build a connection with clients so that you don’t run out of income.

This is best for people who are extremely driven and are great at self-advertisement.

How to get started: connect on websites like Upwork and Fiverr and set rates that are fair to the amount of work you put in. See what is currently in demand by clients, whether it be making clipart to sell or creating NFTs to make money in the metaverse, and adjust how you market yourself accordingly.

Tactic for Success

As a freelance artist, you must have a developed and interesting style that people will connect with: but also that you’re flexible and can handle many different types of projects.

10. Create an Informational Art Ebook

Earning Potential Per Year: $50,000 (Mashable)

Ebooks are incredibly popular for beginner artists because they can learn from them and study at their own pace.

This is a great source of passive income if you can make it work for yourself.

How to get started: create a digital book of tips and instructions on doing specific things in art, and then post it for sale on Amazon Kindle.

9. Teach Art Courses Online

selling-digital-art-courses

Earning Potential Per Year: $59,285 (Comparably)

Teaching is an awesome way to build an income and a following since there are tons of beginner artists out there who want to learn the ways to make art that they’ll enjoy.

To succeed in this, you have to be thorough, and you have to be skilled.

How to get started: decide on an art subject you’re well versed in, and then create a curriculum and sell it on sites like GumRoad or Etsy.

8. Become Your Own Sticker Shop

Earning Potential Per Year: $60,000 (One More Cup of Coffee)

Starting your sticker shop can give you unlimited income, especially if you have a Cricut or a Silhouette cutter that can make it easier on you.

But, you’ll need to combine it with social media to advertise.

How to get started: this has a huge overhead cost; you’ll have to spend around two to five thousand dollars to buy the printers, shipping materials, cutting machines, and advertising needed.

7. Sell Merch With Print on Demand

Earning Potential Per Year: $60,000 (Meant to be Made)

This is awesome because it’s a passive income, but you must remember to stay creative and be wary of fanart since it could lead to a lawsuit.

However, the inverse can be true- with one artist suing for $12 million when a company used their art without permission.

Best Places to Sell Print on Demand Items:

  • Printify – offering large scaling and over 500 products to have your design printed onto; Printify is newer but is best known for working with influencers.
  • RedBubble – the best known on this list, RedBubble allows artists to customize their printed on items as much as possible, while printing on a huge selection of items.
  • Shopify – the top competitor for RedBubble, Shopify takes it further by allowing you to print at a discounted price for yourself to sell items at conventions or in person.
  • Machine – this is the newest company on this list but currently runs at a low rate and focuses on showing off a large range of items that aren’t available on other sites.
  • Society Six – as well known as RedBubble, Society Six has lost a lot of its audience in recent years, so it can take longer to build onto.

How to get started: upload your designs to one of the many print-on-demand services below, and advertise so customers can find and buy from you there.

6. Take On Coloring Work for Webcomics

Earning Potential Per Year: $60,000 (Fair Page Rates)

Creating comics is time-consuming, so many artists hire others to color their panels and create beautiful scenes. This job is a great way to gain steady work.

coloring-work-for-webcomics-pros-and-cons

How to get started: advertise yourself as a colorist on social media and make friends through the comic community. Make your rates clear, and work with people eager to work with you.

5. Sell Character Designs as “Adoptables.”

Earning Potential Per Year: $60,150 (ZipRecruiter)

Adoptables are character designs people can buy from artists to use in a large selection of projects and ideas.

Offering these designs as an auction allows you to make even more money. Best when listed on sites like Twitter, Deviantart, or Patreon.

How to get started: post images of unique character designs and fan art to build a following before posting any character designs for sale.

4. Make a Living Through Patreon

Earning Potential Per Year: $63,000 (Finance Buzz)

Patreon has been gaining speed constantly over the last ten years, and it’s expected to keep growing.

This is an awesome place to get paid for your hard work while also connecting with fans.

How to get started: gain a following on social media like Twitter or TikTok, and migrate them over to Patreon. There’s generally a conversion of $30 a month per 1,000 followers on any given site.

3. Sell Stock Image Illustrations

selling-web-photos

Earning Potential Per Year: $65,020 (Wave Apps)

Stock images are used for everything from news sites to fashion magazines, which can be a great way to access the most customers possible.

Best Places to Sell Stock Image Illustrations:

  • Shutterstock – originally photography-focused, this is the most used site on this list and continues to be the best space for those willing to fight to get into the market.
  • eBay – best known for helping people sell and buy second-hand physical items, eBay also has a massive catalog of digital items, allowing you to sell stock images.
  • Wix – most well known for its website building options, WIX offers an opportunity to build a captive audience by adding to its image catalog that patrons can purchase from.
  • Getty Images – this site has brand recognition and is one of the first stock image sites people use. The main focus is creative/ advertising, news sports and entertainment, and historical/ archival images.
  • ElephantStock – this stock image site started as purely photography but now offers many options and isn’t as competitive as others. If you can build a brand for yourself: do it here.

How to get started: create, or gather a backlog of multiple images and illustrations that you can sell as stock images. Generally, these can’t be fanart. Instead, list them for use and sale on sites like Shutterstock and Getty Images.

2. Create Digital Coloring Pages

Earning Potential: $1 to $5 per download (Eyanki Media)

Selling digital coloring pages anywhere from Etsy to eBay allows you to gain a passive income while still creating beautiful art whenever you want to.

Make a niche for yourself, so your account stands out.

How to get started: create unique and detailed illustrations in line art, and upload them with both a transparent background and a plain white background for sale.

1. Create a Youtube Art Account

Earning Potential: between $2 and $12 per 1,000 views (Business Insider)

Youtube is still rapidly growing, so it’s a good idea to get into this as long as you can bring something fresh and creative to the table.

In addition, YouTube pays far better than Tik Tok and offers more room for growth and advertising deals.

How to get started: decide on the theme of your account, create a banner, an icon, an upload schedule, and interesting content so that your viewers won’t get bored.

Wrapping Up

Whether you’re new to art and trying to plan your future, or you’re ready to quit your day job and want more immediate answers: the most important thing to know is that art is one of the most flexible ways to make a living.

You can combine any of these options and double up your income; no artists have to starve.

The Ultimate Side Hustle Toolkit

Get FREE access to our toolkit - 79 clever ways to make extra money and helpful tips to get started!

About the Author

Photo of author
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.