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How To Sell Digital Art – The Best Ways Explored

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In this article, I cover how to sell digital art. I share some personal tips and strategies I use to sell digital art online. Article cover topics such as print-on-demand, commission work, NFTs, design and illustration assets, art resources, etc. If you want to make money with your digital art, then read on!


Key Takeaways

  • You can use your digital art on print-on-demand products. Great marketplaces for this business model are Redbubble, Society6, and Etsy.
  • You can sell digital art as resources and assets. Great places to do this are Creative Market, Gumroad, Artstation, and Envato Elements.
  • Online courses enable you to ask for higher prices. To scale your online course business, use platforms like Skool, Teachable, and Podia.
  • Selling digital art NFTs is one of the newer ways to make money with digital art.

Print-On-Demand Business Model

Print-on-demand is a business model where your digital art is printed on physical products after an order has been placed. This eliminates the need for large amounts of inventory or handling shipping from your side. The Print-on-demand model is great for creating t-shirts, clothing in general, accessories, home decor, and more.

You only need to create the digital art and upload that to a print-on-demand site like:

One of the biggest sites to sell print-on-demand (POD) products is Redbubble. You need to remember that bigger marketplaces bring bigger competition. Etsy is also a wonderful option, and the best way to do pod business on Etsy is to integrate it with Printful. In this scenario, you upload your digital art designs to Printful and sell them through Etsy. If you choose Etsy and Printful as your option, remember to use high-quality product mockups. You can get the best ones from Placeit.

How to succeed with print-on-demand products

  • Understand your target market and competition: Do market research to understand the needs and wants of your target customers and create designs that appeal to that target market. See what your competitors are doing for design inspiration
  • Create high-quality artwork and designs: Create digital art designs that are visually appealing, unique, and high quality
  • Use as many platforms as possible: Amazon, Etsy, Redbubble, Society6, Inprnt, Saatchi Art, TeeSpring, etc. are only some of the platforms where you can sell the exact same design you have created
  • Optimize your product listing: Use keywords, professional-looking product images, and detailed product descriptions to optimize your product listings
  • Offer discounts and promotions: Offer discounts and promotions to attract customers and increase sales
  • Customer service: Excellent customer service enables you to build a loyal customer base. Respond to customer inquiries asap and be willing to go the extra mile to ensure customer satisfaction
  • Continuous improvement: Monitor your sales and customer feedback and improve your designs and marketing strategies.
  • Trends: Track trends and see if you could create a design that is aligned with a current trend

Digital Art Resources

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Example screenshot of what you can sell on Artstation

The best part about creating digital art is that while you create the final artwork, there’s a lot of material that is produced during the creation process. When you are creating your digital artwork, record your screen to create a process video from it. You can easily edit your videos with Adobe Premier.

Save work-in-progress images and create progress shots files from them. Create a high-resolution file from the final artwork and possibly even create a tutorial (written or video) from the artwork. Below is a list of different ways you can monetize digital art resources:

  • Sell a digital art bundle: This bundle can include a high-resolution file of the artwork, progress shots, a video or a written art tutorial on how you created the artwork, brushes that were used, the original PSD file, etc.
  • Sell digital art brushes: Sell the brushes you use to create your artwork. Creating custom brushes will increase sales
  • Sell digital art assets: You can also sell your final artwork as an asset on marketplaces like Envato Elements, Creative Market, Etsy, Creative Fabrica, Artstation, Gumroad, etc. You can sell 3D models, animations, textures, mockups (Placeit), fonts, etc.

Different digital art and design assets you can sell online

  • Digital paintings and illustrations
  • Vector graphics and illustrations
  • Photoshop brushes and actions
  • 3D models and renders
  • Stock photos and videos
  • Icon and logo designs
  • Photoshop and Procreate tutorials
  • Website and app templates
  • Fonts and typefaces
  • UI and UX design elements
  • Motion graphics and animations
  • Virtual and augmented reality assets
  • Game assets and sprites
  • 3D printable models
  • VR/AR/XR experiences
  • Plugins and scripts
  • Concept art and designs
  • Digital art prints and posters
  • Digital art courses and ebooks
  • 3D scanned models and textures
  • Interactive elements and animations
  • Al-generated art
  • Web and mobile app design elements
  • Branding and Identity elements
  • Digital art portfolios and templates

Best marketplaces to sell digital art resources on

Remember that you can sell the same digital art resource on many marketplaces. There are different audiences on all platforms, so selling it in multiple places will only increase your total revenue and profit.

Commission Work

Commission work is when you, as a digital artist, are hired to create a specific piece of art for a client. The client will typically provide a detailed description of what they want the artwork to look like, and your job is to create the piece according to those specifications.

Commissioned artwork can include anything from portraits and landscapes to illustrations and graphic designs. You get this type of work from individuals, businesses, and organizations that want custom artwork created for a specific purpose, such as a logo, a mural, or a portrait of a loved one.

Commission work is a great way to earn income if you love interacting with clients and like doing custom work according to specifications. The downside is that it’s an active income model instead of a passive income model. The beauty of digital artwork is that you can monetize it infinitely, whereas commission work is a one-time transaction.

Pricing your commission work

Because commission work is a one-time transaction, you need to price your artwork high enough to make it lucrative for you and worth spending 40 hours on an artwork. Remember that businesses always have more money to spend, and they can deduct that expense from the business revenue.

Hours spent on an artworkThe complexity of an artwork (multiplier)Skill levelHourly rateTotal cost to the client
511$20$100
1022$40$1,600
2022$40$3,200
3044$80$38,400
An example of how you can price your artwork

Price your artwork according to how much you expect the project will take time, what is your current skill level (self-defined), and what is your hourly rate (self-defined), and you will get the total costs to the client.

Don’t be afraid to charge a lot of money for your work. There are plenty of companies who are willing to pay a lot of money to get a professional artist to draw digital art for their project. If you haven’t yet been approached by said companies, it means your skill level is not yet at that level where they feel comfortable paying a lot of money for your services. Another reason could be that they haven’t found you yet.

How to get commission work

The best way to get commission work is to post your artwork online and on multiple platforms. Behance is a great place to promote your artwork, and there are a lot of businesses that use Behance to find talent for their next big project.

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Behance has a dedicated section for digital artists to showcase that they are available for work

Here’s a list of where you can post your digital artwork to get commission work:

  • Behance
  • Dribbble
  • Artstation
  • Instagram
  • TikTok
  • DeviantArt
  • Pinterest
  • YouTube

The key here is to get your artwork the maximum exposure possible, so clients can find you from multiple sites.

Online Courses

You can also sell online courses teaching digital art by creating a course curriculum, filming and editing video lessons, and then listing the course on a platform. You don’t need to just publish your online courses on one platform. You can publish the same course on your website, Skillshare, Udemy, Gumroad, Artstation, Creative Fabrica, Domestika, Teachable, and other places.

One way is to first create the course on Skillshare (as they are very strict on what they approve), and when they have approved your course, then just upload it to multiple places and start selling. It’s beneficial for you to study how other creators have created their courses and then use those same principles and editing choices on your course videos.

If you want to create a website and sell it through a funnel, we recommend getting a domain from Namecheap, hosting from Bluehost, and a course platform from Podia.

The main steps in creating an online course

  • Define the course content and goals
  • Outline the course structure, including lessons and modules
  • Create and film the video content
  • Edit the video and audio content
  • Create supplementary materials such as quizzes, assignments, and worksheets
  • Design and create the course website or landing page
  • Create a sales page and promotional materials
  • Test the course to identify any bugs or issues. You could also have a beta group to do this
  • Release and market the course
  • Monitor and update the course regularly

Skillshare and Udemy are marketplaces where you don’t control pricing or revenue much. If you want to take control of sales and do paid ads, then you need a website and a platform to sell your course on. The best option is to use platforms like Skool, Teachable, Podia, or Payhip.

We don’t recommend hosting the course on your website as you want to have the course player and the content delivery to be as high-quality as possible.

You also want to make sure the platform you’ve chosen is scalable. When your business grows, you need the platform to be something that can offer everything you need to expand your business further.

Support Platforms

If you want to go the route of drawing what you want and being supported for doing that, then Patreon would be the place to be.

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Charts that show you the estimated monthly payouts and individual pledges

Rewards and subscriptions on Patreon

Patreon is built on rewards and subscriptions. Rewards are something you give to your supporters at a monthly pace.

Rewards can be anything but the following is the usual stuff artists provide for their supporters:

  • Art tutorials, voice-over tutorials
  • Process videos and speed paintings
  • Fanservice and recognition, you create or draw your supporter’s artwork
  • Coloring pages for your supporters to color and practice on
  • Digital art materials and bonuses like digital art brushes, sketches, PSD files, etc.
  • Art lessons and giving art critique
  • Digital art workshops
  • Behind-the-scenes content
  • Physical merchandise
  • Commission works, giving the option to commission you for free
  • Community access (a private Discord server)
  • Q&A sessions & live streams
  • Early access to your creations, something the public won’t see anytime soon
  • High-resolution or full-resolution artwork
  • Wallpapers

Subscriptions usually range from 1$ to $100. 1$ usually gives your supporter the option to support you without getting anything special in return.

Selling 10 subscriptions for 20$ is the same as selling 100 subscriptions for 2$. When you are pricing your subscription tiers, balance the offering, value, and price.

Different ways to be supported by your fans online

While Patreon might be one of the most popular platforms when it comes to getting monetary support from your fans, it’s not the only platform. Here’s a list of other options for getting support from your fans:

Create And Sell NFTs

NFTs are unique digital assets that are stored on a blockchain, and they can be used to represent ownership of digital art, videos, music, and other digital assets.

To sell digital art as NFTs, you first need to create the digital artwork and then mint it as an NFT using a marketplace such as OpenSea (our recommendation), Rarible, and SuperRare. After minting or lazy minting the NFT, you can list it for sale, and then people can buy it from you using cryptocurrency such as Ethereum.

What makes NFTs lucrative is that it enables you to get passive income even after the initial sale. In OpenSea, you can set a royalty percentage up to 10%, and get whenever your digital art is sold; you get 10% of the sale price sent to your digital wallet (we suggest having a cold wallet).

We’ve written an extensive guide on how to make money with NFTs if you want to know more about this business model.

NFTs are still a new way of selling digital art, so finding a marketplace that has just been launched and getting your NFT listed there can be a lucrative endeavor.

Marketing strategies

Creating digital art without marketing won’t bring sales. Correct marketing, with professional branding, increases your likelihood of getting customers interested in your products.

  • Understanding your customer: Pain, needs, wants, desires, fears, and dreams are all things that drive people to buy products and services. Identify a specific group of people to target, referred to as a “tribe,” and understand their needs, desires, and pain points
  • Creating a remarkable product: Good is not great, and only great sells. Create a product or a service that is truly remarkable and stands out in the marketplace. Create something that is unique, useful, and valuable to the customer and that they will want to share with others
  • Creating a story: Use storytelling to create a connection with the customer and a sense of meaning behind the product or service. Creating a narrative that is both emotional and logical helps the customer understand the value of the product and their role in it
  • Branding: Consistent design, colors, font, and typeface creates a sense of quality around your product. Even if you would be selling mere digital art brushes, creating branded product images will do better than just simple and boring images of brushes
  • Building trust: Be transparent, honest, and consistent in your messaging, as it will create trust in the customer. Share information that is useful and relevant to the customer, and do not hide anything
  • Creating an emotional connection: Use emotions to create a connection with the customer and to make them feel something when they encounter your product or service
  • Creating a movement: You can use your product or service to create a movement or community of people who are passionate about the same thing. Use the product or service to bring people together and create a sense of belonging
  • Embracing the change: Be responsive to customer feedback and adapt to the needs of the market. Embrace the change and be open to new ideas and ways of doing things.

Marketing is a skill as is sales, so learning both skills is crucial if you want to grow your digital art business. The below book from Seth Godin is an excellent read if you want to understand marketing more in-depth.

Sale
This Is Marketing: You Can't Be Seen...
4,928 Reviews
This Is Marketing: You Can't Be Seen...
  • Hardcover Book
  • Godin, Seth (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 288 Pages - 11/13/2018 (Publication...

Sales strategies for selling digital art

When you have selected a marketplace and the way you want to sell your digital art, here are some sales strategies to use to increase sales and conversions:

  • Building rapport: Build a strong connection with the customer, so they feel comfortable trusting you. This can be done by listening to customer feedback, communicating with the customer, and showing genuine interest in their needs
  • Asking powerful questions: Use open-ended questions to uncover the customer’s needs and objections. This allows you to tailor your sales pitch to address their specific concerns and objections
  • Overcoming objections: Acknowledge objections from the customer, address them directly, and provide a solution. You can address objections by asking how they feel about their current situation (lack of art skills, for example) and then sharing similar feelings and ultimately offering a solution to the customer (your product)
  • Closing the sale: Assume the customer will buy from you and make sure your product pitch is aligned so that the solution to their problems is your product.
  • Following up: Follow up with your customers to build a relationship, and provide excellent service
  • Using emotional triggers: You can use emotional triggers, such as the desire for security, social proof, and scarcity, to influence the customer’s buying decision

Note that these are just some strategies to increase sales and conversion, and they may not work for everyone. It’s important to understand your audience, their desires, wants, needs, and the context of your sales pitch. If you want to increase your knowledge about sales, we suggest reading the below book from Brian Tracy (one of the best sales persons ever).

Sale
The Psychology of Selling: Increase Your...
2,565 Reviews
The Psychology of Selling: Increase Your...
  • Audible Audiobook
  • Brian Tracy (Author) - Brian Tracy...
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 12/30/2012 (Publication Date) - Gildan...

You And Yourself

As a digital artist, it is important for you to recognize your own skill level and way of thinking when setting up an online art business. By doing so, you are able to accurately assess your strengths and weaknesses, and make decisions about your brand, sales and marketing strategy.

By understanding your own skill level, you are able to focus on showcasing only your best work and building a strong online presence that appeals to your target audience. Recognizing your own way of thinking helps you to stay true to your vision and create a unique brand that stands out online.

You need to also asses whether you want build an active or passive business model. When you want to build an active business model, then commission work is the way to go.

Online courses, digital art resources and assets, print-on-demand, Patreon, and NFTs are ways you can earn passive income from your digital art.

You should also consider whether customer service, and being available when needed are things that you like. You can sell digital art online in many ways, so understanding yourself as a person helps you choose the right business model to support the person you are.

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Okuha

Digital Artist

I’m a digital artist who is passionate about anime and manga art. My true artist journey pretty much started with CTRL+Z. When I experienced that and the limitless color choices and the number of tools I could use with art software, I was sold. Drawing digital anime art is the thing that makes me happy among eating cheeseburgers in between veggie meals.

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