An astonishing amount of people today make money solely off their anime art, and so can you. Top-selling anime artists have let their fans into their creative and marketing process.
It’s “easier” than ever to grow your online presence and market your art using platforms designed by and for anime artists.
If you’ve ever dreamed of living off your art, that dream can be a reality.
No dream is complete without hard work and consistent effort, but these tools will help you make it a reality. Let’s explore the secrets you need to know before you can make a living off of your art.
Build An Audience
The first step for any person looking to make money off their passion is to build an audience.
Starting a social media account or blog for your art is a great way to kickstart this process.
Keep in mind, however, that starting a social media campaign is one thing, and maintaining it is another. Consistent engagement with your followers, as well as frequent posts, will help get your name out there.
Building momentum behind your social accounts will lead you to your own personal audience (and potential sales). Before long, you’ll be earning passive income. So which social platforms are the best for artists?
And for a social media platform built solely around sharing pictures, that’s not surprising!
Instagram is easy to join (and you can make an alternate account to your own personal one).
What’s better is that you can use hashtags to your advantage by pushing your posts directly into the niches you’re looking to target.
Instagram also offers a way of sponsoring posts for further reach, as well as connecting to its sister platforms, Facebook and Twitter.
There are scores of opportunities available to begin building an audience on Youtube. One popular method is to live stream your art process, in which you can engage with commenters and answer questions. Take requests (and offer commissions) to build rapport.
You can also use Youtube to showcase your portfolio, previous work, or even dapple in animation (there’s a huge community on Youtube for the latter).
One bonus to building an audience to Youtube is that you can earn revenue from your videos in the form of ads, for example, which further adds to your passive income streams.
Blogging might seem outdated, but it has its place. Building a WordPress blog from the ground up can be time-consuming, especially if you’re not familiar with the world of SEO or search engine optimization.
As an alternative, consider platforms like Tumblr, which are geared to both image sharing and anime fans.
Like Instagram, you can use hashtags to push your posts towards the right audience. To really get some momentum behind your blog, you can still implement SEO strategies.
SEO entails having content on your blog with strategically placed keywords, which will increase your ranking in search engine results.
Ultimately, when a person googles “anime art” or “anime art commissions,” you want your blog to be number one.
Sell Digital Downloads
Instant digital downloads are probably one of the most common ways for anime artists to profit off their work online.
Game developers, graphic designers, and other artists frequently peruse these marketplaces to buy assets to use in their own work. As an anime artist, you can sell custom brushes, materials, and even 3D print models.
List your 2D and 3D assets for sale on these sites, and allow your followers to instantly download your work.
When you make a sale, the platform will take out a small fee (which usually isn’t much at all), and you keep the rest.
Gumroad prides itself on being a platform dedicated to the “creator economy,” and it offers a wealth of resources to people looking to market their assets.
It allows users to create their own shop front and customize it to be both a landing for their art as well as an online shop. Their platform has in-house marketing tools as well as integration with MailChimp and other useful apps.
It’s home to a lot of anime artists, as well as people who specialize in graphic design, illustration, and coding. Gumroad offers complete artistic liberty over how to present your brand and the products you’ll be selling.
For those who aren’t as tech-savvy and are looking for an easier way to jump into the creator economy, Cubebrush is a fantastic launching board. Cubebrush is an artist-to-artist marketplace that focuses on the sale of 2D and 3D assets.
Game developers and artists specializing in CG will pay high dollar for assets they can use in their own work.
One popular item to sell on Cubebrush is tutorials, which range from how to draw clouds to how to render complex 3D rooms in VR.
While Cubebrush caters to CG artists, it’s also a popular place for people to sell 2D game assets, as well as stock and reference photos. One thing you might consider selling as an anime artist is a pose reference, whether 2D or 3D, as these are quite popular.
One other tip? Start by listing some items for free. This will garner attraction to your profile and lure people in for your other items.
Artstation is a diverse marketplace home to all sorts of creators. Currently, they have over 60,000 digital products for sale.
Their best selling products include reference photo packs for poses, a 2D anatomy brush you can use as a reference in your favorite drawing software, and countless numbers of tutorials for rendering anything from clothes to hair to even weapons.
One other interesting feature of Artstation is that you can also sell books, comics, and manga on it.
One strategy you could utilize as an anime artist is to list some content, like poses, brushes, and other assets, for free. Then, you can list your artwork or manga for sale as a digital download.
The assets will lure in your audience and give your artwork more exposure.
Create A Membership
If you’re not on a site like Patreon or Fanbox, you’re seriously missing out. These sites have huge potential for generating sustainable, passive income, especially for artists.
You can create a membership program for your fans to join in exchange for a monthly fee. Set different tiers of membership that grant access to exclusive content.
Not only will your fans be able to support and interact with their favorite creator, but they’ll also be able to directly buy from your shop as well.
Every month, you’ll get cut a check based on your earnings, and memberships auto-renew, meaning that sites like Patreon and Fanbox could be your way to living solely off your art.
Patreon was one of the first membership platforms to enter the scene, and it stands today as one of the most popular. Originally scouted by artists, it now features a variety of creators from many different platforms.
Patreon offers a lot of support for its artists, and it’s free to start. They offer different memberships (go figure!) for artists looking to dabble as well as artists making a large volume of sales.
Patreon works great for integrating your other online shops or social media, and many people are already supporting other artists on the site.
You can create a monthly membership for as low as a dollar and market it to your fans in exchange for exclusive content such as live streams or art.
Fanbox is a membership platform that’s exclusively dedicated to anime artists. That’s a big deal, considering that your target audience is right there in front of you.
The site has been up for a few years now, and many anime artists have gathered cult followings and revenue streams from membership sales.
One downside is that many artists on the platform–as well as the company behind the platform itself–are based in Japan, which presents a small language barrier.
But for an art style that originated in Japan, that’s to be expected. Of all these sites on this list, anime artists might have the easiest time finding success on this one.
Sell Online Courses
For every anime fan out there, there’s a fan who wants to learn how to draw like their favorite shows. By sharing your skills and the tricks of the trade, you can add to your revenue streams and make money off your art.
Online courses are in high demand, especially in the time of the pandemic. People want to learn from the best of the best, even more so when it’s a niche like anime art.
You can offer an online course that’s as simple as a guide to drawing a character or something more complex as a series of courses dedicated to the art style.
Not only are selling and marketing online courses fun, but they’re rewarding, too, and not just for the sales.
Teachable is a massive online platform dedicated to online courses. They focus on not only helping people learn but helping creators share content as well.
Similar to Gumroad, they have a variety of tools that will allow you to customize your landing and brand appearance.
Despite the amount of sophistication behind their creator’s platform, it’s quite a user friendly and easy to start on. To date, they have over 100,000 creators on their platform who teach courses on any and everything imaginable.
They even have some celebrities who offer their own sage words of advice. While Teachable isn’t exactly geared specifically for artists, you can find a lot of success on here with their tools.
Kajabi is the main competitor to Teachable, and the site has some interesting differences. Kajabi promises to creators that it will simplify their online business by integrating their online courses, membership sites, and coaching programs into one.
The convenience of that is huge, especially considering it’s important to diversify your portfolio as an artist.
Kajabi’s all in one dashboard is easy to navigate and can lay out all your revenue streams in one easy to access location. If you already have some accounts on some of the other sites mentioned in this guide, this is another great one to add.
It’ll help you keep track of your online presence without making your head spin.
Thinkific is a smaller platform dedicated to online courses, with about 50,000 creators. Big things come in small packages, however, as the site has earned $650 million in revenue.
In addition, Thinkific’s audience has people from all over the world, which can be a big help to an anime artist looking to profit off their work.
Anime art has an international fan base, considering that the style first originated in Japan and later became popular all over the world. You can reach a greater portion of your audience by being on a platform that caters to international users.
The most tried and proven method of generating money from art, especially anime art, is by selling merchandise.
If you’ve ever been to an anime convention, then you know how much people are willing to pay to have merchandise with their favorite artists’ work on it.
Today, there are websites that make creating and distributing your own merchandise a seamless process. You simply upload your artwork, and these sites will take care of everything from processing the payment to creating and shipping the merchandise.
And if the customer isn’t satisfied with the product? They’ll take care of the returns and customer service, too.
Art prints are a great merchandise option for anime artists to explore. That’s because there’s a significant profit margin.
If you think about it, even high-quality paper doesn’t cost much to buy or print on, as well as the ship to the customer. But physical copies of fine art are high dollar items, especially considering how much work goes into creating the art in the first place.
Considering taking your physical or digital art to sites like Inprnt or Printful. You simply upload your photo, and the platform will optimize it for a beautiful, professional print.
Customers can choose to have their favorite pieces of yours printed on paper, canvas, and even wood and can pay extra to have it professionally framed.
Inprnt or Printful will take a small commission fee, like many other sites on this list, but the rest of the profit margin is entirely yours.
If being recognized in public is considered a thrill, how about seeing your art on someone’s shirt?
Everyone and their mother has at least one Redbubble sticker nowadays, although Redbubble and similar sites like Society6 offer a wide variety of products to print on.
Like Inprnt, you simply upload your work, and your customers can choose which product they want it on. Products include mugs, t-shirts, hoodies, journals, and even duvet covers.
One other advantage to using Print-on-Demand sites like Redbubble is that they regularly push sales to their customers, which will attract more people to your online store.
- Hardcover Book
- van Baarle, Lois (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 152 Pages - 04/10/2018 (Publication...
If you’re primarily a digital artist, it’s very rewarding to hold a physical version of your art in your hands.
That feeling is special for your fans, too, which is why you should consider selling a compilation of your art in a book.
Publishing your own book is easier than it sounds, especially with the advent of self-publishing. Amazon Kindle offers an easy and user-friendly way to compile your art into a book and sell it as a digital download.
They also have a print-on-demand service for Amazon customers who order your book.
Another great company to consider is 3Dtotal Publishing. 3Dtotal Publishing is an independent publisher that showcases some of the best of the best when it comes to digital artists.
They have fantastic volumes showcasing the art of Loish, Djamila Knopf, Guweiz, and many other famous anime artists.
Sell How-To Books
- The Master Guide to Drawing Anime How to...
- Hart, Christopher (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 144 Pages - 07/07/2015 (Publication...
If you already have a number of online courses under your belt, you can take that content even further by condensing it into a how-to book.
How-to books on drawing anime are consistent best sellers on Amazon and are also frequently picked up by 3Dtotal.
You can also use how-to books to subtly push your social media pages or other paid content.
If you have a Patreon or similar membership service, try offering members an exclusive discount (or even a free digital download) of your how-to books.
Become A Freelancer
When approaching the topic of how to sell anime art, it’s important to remember to take different approaches to online commerce. Whether you’re looking to make a few dollars off your art or create a self-sustaining income, you have to be creative in how you approach an already crowded market.
Freelancing is a massive part of the world’s economy, even more so after the pandemic started. As a freelancer, you can lend your services to businesses or other creators in need of art.
You can make money off passion and help out another creator at the same time. One big moneymaker for freelancers? Commissions, which are popular among influencers who need art to market themselves.
Upwork is the largest gathering of freelancers and clients. You can sign up for free, although applying to jobs will cost you “connects,” which you can purchase whenever you run low.
In addition to people offering their services, there are a number of clients seeking help for both short term and long term projects.
You can also create a profile in which you can link to your portfolio and list your experience. Similar to LinkedIn, you’ll appear in searches when clients look for talent on the site.
Fiverr is a unique approach to the concept of freelancing. It started as an idea where freelancers could offer their services for only $5, as a sort of microtask.
Nowadays, you too can offer your services for $5 and much more, as the site is now a sort of marketplace for freelance services.
Commissions are very sought after on this platform, and anime artists regularly make quite a bit of revenue on Fiverr. Other popular services include logo design, art assets, and colorization/photo editing.
Behance is the quintessential portfolio host for artists. You’ll find the portfolios of some of the best names in illustration, graphic design, photography, fashion, and anime.
Listing your portfolio on Behance is essential for gaining industry connections and long-term projects. Even if you’re not interested in becoming a professional anime artist, listing your portfolio on Behance is a great way to gain legitimacy and respect from your peers.
Behance is regularly scouted by companies like Google and Apple, both of which are particularly fond of hiring out small-name artists. Putting yourself out there can be scary, but it can’t hurt!
The Secret on How to Sell Anime Art
This guide provides an all-encompassing approach to how to sell anime art. With any product or online commerce venture, it’s wise to find a niche and stick to it.
Anime art in and of itself is a niche, but think of how you can narrow your audience even further, whether that be through chibi, fan art, fantasy, or other genres.
Try incorporating many channels into your art business, including a social media profile as well as a membership or commerce channel.
There are so many new companies popping up on the internet promising to be the next best thing for creators, but don’t fall for the trap. Stick to the bigger, more well-established names (although you might find that smaller sites have less competition).
It’s also important to remember to not get overwhelmed.
If you can’t keep track of how many social media channels you have, chances are your fans can’t, either!
Keep things simple, and remember that with time and consistent effort, you will see results. Today, anyone can learn how to sell anime art and find their own slice of success.