It’s not uncommon that people want to make money online. Why not, it’s convenient, but it might not be easy. This guide was written to show you different kind of ways for you to make money online through your art.
This guide is also heavily focused on passive income and how to create multiple streams of income with your art. You see, for you to build a successful business, you need income streams, and one of them is digital products. One which you can easily create from your art.
There are a plethora of options out there on how you can monetize your art and believe me this list even though comprehensive as it is. Is still only scratching the surface.
Digital products are the thing when you want to build a passive income business. Digital products never get old (except if the content is outdated), and as you create products from your art. They don’t get old, so that’s already a given.
So where do you start? What is your best bet at getting your first bite of income online?
One of the biggest platforms out there is of course Patreon. A platform dedicated to creative persons. This platform hosts many damn right successful people, and it’s all in the name of support the artist at work.
But there are many more out there such as Etsy, Artstation, Shopify and so on. All these are big platforms with massive amount people using them and browsing the content daily.
It’s only useful to upload the same resources and materials to different shops just because people are different and used to use certain services. So for you to cater to all sorts of people, upload your art to multiple shops to create that multiple streams of passive income.
So let’s dive in and see what these different shops have on offer and how you can benefit from them.
Using Cubebrush as a storefront
Cubebrush was founded by Marc Brunet and is now a huge platform for all types of digital artists. The site has around 1M monthly users, and that means that there are some insane amount of eyeballs browsing through the content.
You can buy and also download a bunch of digital art materials from the site. You can find brushes, 3D assets of many kinds, art tutorials, free backgrounds, texture packs, 2D assets, tools, and applications.
The list goes on and on. There’s just a huge selection of resources available that it’s almost breathtaking to browse through. The best part is that independent artists produce most if not all of these materials. So you can buy these or download for free at your will.
Passive income as the core
This is where passive income and the beauty of digital products come in. These artists have uploaded these materials to their Cubebrush store, and when someone buys their materials, he or she might be sleeping or doing some other stuff. Thus the name passive income. It is not anymore required for you to be involved in the sale process.
If you have created artworks that you think people would like to buy and learn from. You can set up a Cubebrush store for yourself and start selling that beautiful art of yours.
Opening a store to Cubebrush is easy as one can be, just head over to Cubebrush and click the open a store button.
Fill in your email, username, and password for account creation and there you have it. Few additional settings to make sure you have your tax information correct and that’s it.
Upload materials to your store and start selling.
Cubebrush also has an active community you can take part of. At the forums, people talk about various things, and one of the coolest features is that you can easily get feedback for your artworks and also attend to different community challenges. Artwar being one of the biggest competition in Cubebrush with monetary prices.
Pricing and Fees
Cubebrush is exceptionally generous with fees as they only take 5% (at the time of writing) of the transaction performed. If they sell and promote your products for you, they take a good cut of 30% of the purchase performed. So if you are in this business for good. You do the marketing and selling yourself. That way you get to keep a much more significant percentage of the sale.
When we are talking about percentages, the goal is to have as minimal fees as possible. 5% fee is very good.
You can easily customize your storefront to look like yours. Have a beautiful background created from your art and if you feel like it, create custom product images for increased sales. Product images and store presentation is a must for a successful business.
If your store looks ugly or non-professional, you won’t make sales. It’s that simple. All things have to look good and consistent. Branding being one topic later to be discussed.
You can upload 16Gb (at the time of writing) sized files to your store. So that is plenty of data there. You can also upload any kind of file, so there are no restrictions on that. This makes it easier for you to sell for example just one video or one brush set. Or then you can compile all of these to one package or bundle and sell that. The choice is yours really.
Marketing and Selling Products
Cubebrush comes with an option to activate Facebook pixel to your store so you can follow your customers’ journey more precisely. It gives you an opportunity to also use Facebook as a marketing platform to drive customers to your Cubebrush store.
One tactic available for you to use is the countdown timer, which is a pretty new feature in Cubebrush. You can read more about the timer here: Sale countdown.
A countdown timer is useful when you want to inform your customers when a sale is closing down or if an offer is still available or not. This gives your customers a way to know that something is on sale and the sale ends soon.
Bundling products to save money
Cubebrush has invented a cool system where customers can create their own bundle, and by doing that they get a set of discount from the bundle, they have created. you can read more about the bundle feature here: Save with bundles.
If you like to expand your income sources, you can do so by activating an affiliate sale program for your customers.
The general idea behind affiliate program is that someone else is selling your product for you. At first, it might sound like why would anyone do that. But hear me out. Selling affiliate products is possibly one of the best ways to make money, besides selling your own products.
Selling affiliate products you get a commission, and the owner of the product does the actual selling, your job is only to promote the product. This way you get money by the amount agreed between you and the product owner. Some affiliate programs can be as generous as giving you 70% of the products price.
So to turn the tables, you give your customers the ability to sell your products, and by doing so, you give them a nice bonus for doing so. You win, and they win. It’s really a win-win situation.
All in all, Cubebrush is a fantastic platform to sell your artworks, tools and whatever was created or used to produce that artwork of yours. With a small 5% fee on selling, you really get a fantastic platform to sell your products. Cubebrush seems to be ever evolving and always adding new features to make your sales process more and more efficient.
Artstation is not a new art site out there but is new in the sense of it now offers you the option to sell your creations. Artstation is a bit different platform from let’s say Deviantart or Behance. Deviantart being more for the beginners in mind and the ones starting with digital art and photography. and Behance being more inclined to graphic design.
Deviantart is still the biggest art sharing platform there are, but Artstation is quickly catching up.
This art site is a bit more focused on concept art and industry professionals. You can easily connect with artists that work inside the art industry, and so it becomes exciting to follow their work and see new art style everyday pop up on the front page.
However being visible on this site is not easy, not even if you acquire the pro status for yourself. You see, there are so many artists already on the platform, so there’s a lot of competition you have to beat to get seen.
Occasionally they feature artwork on their first page, and if you are lucky, you will be seen by the millions of users around the world.
Artstations marketplace doesn’t differ too much from the competition. You can sell basically anything on the platform and just by browsing the front page of the marketplace gives you already a nice variety of resources available.
There are brushes, tutorials, zbrush tools, photobashing techniques, 3D printable models, material packs and what not. If anything the amount of art assets on sale is amazing.
What differentiates Artstations marketplace from others is that there are slightly more artists from eastern continents selling materials. This creates a wonderful opportunity for people to get inside knowledge on different types of painting techniques.
Sorting through it all
You can sort the marketplace by best selling, trending, all, categories and price. So when you are selling your materials on this site, you can sort out the list and see where your products fit the best. Do also see what your competition is doing and either mimic or create something different.
Product presentation is the key as always. Even when you would have around the same material as the guy next to you. If you have better product message, display and value. You win the deal. So do make sure your product stands out from the rest.
As said before Artstation has industry professionals and that means there is some serious competition going on. You really have to step up your game to survive in that marketplace. However, if you are one of those professionals. Go for it. Sell your knowledge and stuff there.
You are always you, and that means no one else can sell the exact same thing as you are. Your works look like yours and no one else’s. So you are unique and in that sense will always stand out from the crowd. Only thing is that the crowd is so huge so it might take a while before that happens.
Consistency and perseverance, this characteristic you just have to have, to succeed. There is no shortage of money in the world. If you get seen in the crowd, you can make money. That is as sure as one can be.
Deviantart is probably one of the oldest art platforms out there. No wonder that the site has readers over 160 million per month. That number right there is pretty huge and can be said that no other art site has these kinds of numbers. Not even close.
Is the site a bit too big for artists these days? How do you get seen, do you even get seen? Is it a good place to start showing your artworks, what about selling your artworks?
If you think about the numbers and if you are just starting out as a creator. The site might not be the best place to start, anything.
If you are determined to use the site and like the platform. The best thing you can do is to start interacting within different groups that resonate with you. Posting to communities and participating with other artists and creatives.
Deviantart gives you the ability to establish your own shop to sell print on demand products. If you are one of those that have created a lot of art and feel like your products could be something people would be interested in buying, you can quickly start your own shop in Deviantart.
Deviantart is not the best place to sell your products, just because the storefront is not too appealing and you can’t personalize it too much if any. Yes, the prints and products are presented clearly and you see the artwork you are buying or selling.
Product presentation is one of the keys to selling your items. Deviantart does not do too good of a job there, so is Deviantart the right place to sell anything.
If your work gets seen on the first page of the main shop page then yes, there is a higher chance of generating some serious income and name for yourself. This is always possible but requires a lot of work.
Good for finding other creatives
The platform is in my opinion only good for finding and following artists. As the site is so huge in size, there’s also an excellent chance that your favorite artist is there too. Deviantart might be a bit more tapped into western people and you right not find too many artists and creatives from the eastern part of the world here.
It can also be an excellent place to be seen if and just if your work gets to the front page of Deviantart. As mentioned the site has around 160 million viewers monthly, and that means a lot of people seeing your artwork. This is, however, true only if you get to the front page.
And getting to the front page is like winning a lottery at least from the perspective of an outsider. Artworks, photographs, graphic designs and all between are posted daily in the numbers of hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands. When you post your artwork, it quickly disappears into the ever-updating line of artworks.
The disadvantage of being too huge
The fact that there are so many people posting artworks daily, also means that your work might never get seen the way you want to it to be seen. The same goes for your products. You know if you place your products for sale, but no one knows your existence. How can you sell your products? Not organically at least you can’t.
Gumroad is a bit different kind of beast than the usual art sites. It might not be the prettiest or the most customer-friendly considering user interface. What Gumroad do has is an excellent platform and functions to build on.
You can sell individual products, memberships, subscriptions, and physical products. The best part being that you don’t even have to worry about taxes (not at the time of writing, there are some exceptions on taxes so do read more about those at Gumroads’ official page).
Selling products on Gumroad is as easy as it can be. You just create an account, upload your art materials to it and set a price. Gumroad works best for individual products and is somewhat good for subscription-based business.
Variety for services
As mentioned before you can sell digital products, physical and even memberships through Gumroad. What is kind of standard approach for artists is to have a Patreon account for subscription service and then uploading previous rewards to Gumroad for further sales.
This business model is extremely efficient as you are providing options for your customers. Some might be just interested in buying a certain artwork from you and some want to support you all the time.
By offering both options for your customers, you create variety and that only increases your income options and probability.
Membership and subscription services
Membership and subscription-based services are almost the same things, subscription mainly used sending ongoing content for your customers. Whereas membership is a content archive that can be enjoyed instantly by the customer.
The best benefit of creating a subscription-based business is the predictability of the income you will be receiving monthly, yearly, quarterly or whatever is the frequency you have set for your service.
By knowing how much money you are getting each month (taking the churn into account, churn meaning the percentage of customers opting out of your service) you can plan investments and other activities for your business.
Options and possibilities
What is so cool about Gumroad is the way you can build your business around the Gumroad platform. Gumroad offers you integration possibilities with WordPress for example and this is one thing that gives you the ability to brand yourself. Something many services lack big time.
By integrating Gumroad to different services you can create a store that is hosted on other platforms and only the sales transaction is made through Gumroad. Which all emphasizes the branding effect. Branding is one of the crucial things to have in business besides sales.
Patreon is possibly one of the most favored ones for digital artists. You can create a subscription-based business in no time and serve millions in a matter of minutes.
Patreon is established as a support platform, where people support creators. A creator is a creative person or a team that produces monthly something that interests the people around the given topic.
It could be anything from music to comic books. So many make so much money on this platform that one can only be amazed. Patreon was created to support artists. Art might have had the status as something that does not create wealth but that is not true anymore.
You can make a lot of money with your creations. You as an artist can support yourself and your family by drawing the things you love. Many do that already and Patreon gives you an excellent platform to make money from your hobby. Read more about Patreon from this article: How to use Patreon to make money online.
Patreon is built on rewards and pledges. Rewards being something you give your supporters on a monthly pace. Pledges being the way your customers can support you.
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 creating or drawing your supporters artwork
- Coloring pages for your supporters to color and practice on
- Digital art materials and bonuses like digital art brushes, Sketches, PSD-files and so on
- Art lessons and giving art critique
- Behind the scenes content
- Physical merchandise
- Commission works, giving the option to commission you for free
- Community access, like to a discord
- Q&A sessions & live streams
- Early Access to your creations, something the public won’t see anytime soon
- High-Quality or Full-Sized Illustrations
Pledges usually range from 1$ to anything you dare to charge. 1$ is usually something that gives your supporter the option to support you but not being too into your art business. You know, gives you a little bit of money and not expecting too much in return.
Higher values are the ones that start to build your business. What you do need, however, is a massive amount of people to support you in order for you to make a living. There is one thing what you should remember though and that is the fact of charging more than less. By charging more, you have to sell less to make the same amount of money whereas selling more with less. Makes sense? It’s all about math.
Selling 10 subscriptions with 20$ is the same as selling 100 subscriptions with 2$. Which sounds more appealing?
Selling products is art as much as a strategy (pun intended). With sales strategy, you can increase your sales and with the right messaging you nail down those sales.
Bonus – Behance
Yeah, you might not think Behance to be something you sell your art on. However, this is the platform to be when you are selling your services as a freelance creator. Graphic designers, digital artists, art studios, advertising agencies, you can find a lot of professional having a professional portfolio up there and getting commission requests constantly.
I, for example, get plenty of commission requests through that channel and think of Behance as the way to get clients when doing freelance work.
Plenty of people also sell their art and design packages through that platform. One of the most used ones is Big Cartel as the storefront.
The usual process of selling your work in Behance is that you post your artwork or design to Behance as a project. You make sure the project is presented with the utmost quality and at the end, you present a way for the viewer to purchase your products.
Presentation, background and story, product and availability – A simple yet effective way of making sales.
Behance is possibly the best platform for graphic designers and freelancers to get commission requests. Behance’s strongest selling point is the way you can create projects for the platform. Projects presenting your previous client work and how you approached a set of a challenge given to you.
Projects slowly become your visual portfolio and credibility of your skills. When a client sees your skills and the way you are presenting your work he/she is more willing to hire you.
Your projects showcase your visual eye and professionalism.
Creating a professional looking portfolio creates trust between your skills and the client. Think about it. When you see something that is made with skills and thought, you are more confident that he/she can deliver the same results to you too.
A final note
Digital art gives you an insane amount of opportunities and is one of the best ways to create passive income. Creating art becomes a business and excitement. You always have the opportunity of leaving the creation to your computer’s folder. However, you can also go and monetize that with various ways presented here.
It only requires some amount of work to publish and package everything. Though you only have to do that once and just copy the same package and product images (as applicable) to other art sites to gain more revenue streams for yourself.
What is left for you to do is create more art and with that more business.
There are more opportunities out there but this list is meant to provide you with a solid base to start selling your own digital art creations.