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Make Money With Your Art, Online Venues

Denise has been studying and teaching art and painting for 40+ years. She has won numerous prestigious awards for her art and design.

My watercolor "Seashell" sold on Etsy

My watercolor "Seashell" sold on Etsy

How To Make Money With Fine Art

I was prompted by a friend to write about how I make a living with art. Actually, it isn’t easy if you are new or haven’t a big name like Farrah Fawcett or Thomas Kinkade. The average artist has to diversify and sell art in a number of places and through a number of venues. I will cover some of the ones I use in this series. This one will cover online sales venues. The online platforms offer you a place to sell, traffic and exposure, without leaving the comfort of your own home.

Doing what you love is the cornerstone of having abundance in your life.

— Wayne Dyer

My watercolor "Under Fire" sold on Etsy

My watercolor "Under Fire" sold on Etsy

Etsy

Among the many online platforms for artists to sell original art is Etsy. Etsy is a platform for crafters and artists to sell handmade work only. They allow no commercially manufactured work on their site. Years ago Etsy was relatively obscure and few had heard of it but today it has gained traction and traffic due to some recent advertising.

I find it to be very affordable. These online selling platforms, naturally, charge a fee and then take a portion of the sales. However, Etsy is not run by money-grubbing executives only interested in lining their own pockets. They charge only $0.20 per listed item per 3 months and then only take about 12% of the sale. That makes them reasonable for the purchasing public and affordable for the struggling artist.

Once a piece sells, I am responsible for packaging it up securely so the art isn’t damaged in transit and then shipping it to wherever the customer lives. Etsy helps by making shipping labels available for me to print, and even allows me to buy the postage from them. That helps eliminate standing in long lines at the post office.

My watercolor "Persimmons" sold when someone saw it on Facebook.

My watercolor "Persimmons" sold when someone saw it on Facebook.

Amazon Marketplace

To compete with Etsy’s rising popularity, Amazon started Amazon Marketplace for artisans. Being Amazon, they naturally have the name and the most traffic but don’t they know it! They charge the most. They don’t charge a listing fee but want 60% of your sales. I don’t know about you, but I couldn’t bring myself to hand over that much of my hard work and talent to this mega-billion-dollar conglomerate.

Like Etsy, after a sale, Amazon’s part is done. They rely on you to package and ship the sold item to the customer in question.


My collage "Beach People" sold on Etsy

My collage "Beach People" sold on Etsy

You might not make it to the top, but if you are doing what you love, there is much more happiness there than being rich or famous.

— Tony Hawk

eBay

It is a mega-giant marketplace but most people think of it as a place to sell everything under the sun and not necessarily art. Still, you can sell your arts and crafts on eBay taking advantage of the “Buy it Now” feature. You set your own price but understand that there are fees involved with the transaction. I’m not exactly sure what percentage that eBay takes but it is usually affordable, just set your price allowing for that. Check it out for yourself if you aren’t sure. Like the others, you are in charge of packaging, shipping, and all the rest.

Bonanza

Their motto is “Find everything but the ordinary.” Many state that they prefer Bonanza over Etsy and eBay for the low fees, customer service, and profitability. They offer crafts of all kinds including original art. They charge a 3.5% fee on the final sale plus your shipping. Check them out for more information.

Zibbet

Zibbet incredibly offers its services with no listing fees, no sale fees, and a free account. Like Etsy, they sell only handmade items and nothing mass-produced. There doesn’t seem to be any downside to this site except that very few have heard of it. My guess is that eventually, they will begin charging a fee. Get in on the great prices while you can.

iCraft

Another handmade selling site is iCraft. There is a one-time registration fee of $25 to set up the store. Instead of listing fees, you choose between subscription rates from $5 to $15 per month, depending on the number of items you would like to list. This means there is no commission fee upon sales. If your work sells fast this may be the site for you. Check them out.

My collage "Home Plate" available on Etsy

My collage "Home Plate" available on Etsy

Selling Digital Versions

Selling online allows you to also offer digital versions of things that your customer can then download and print at will. This way you do not have to ship the product. You could sell it again and again and still profit from your work. The best part is that there is no shipping involved in this transaction. Upon purchase, they immediately have access to download the digital art.

Such digital things could include patterns with instructions, large digital versions of art or photography, coloring pages, etc. If you look at my Etsy page, Dancing Paintbrush Co, you will find coloring pages of fairies and animals, patterns for little paper model houses (intended for children or adults), and even digital art that the customer can then print any size they like. It could be for stickers, book covers, or even wall hangings. The customer then has it printed either by a print shop or on their own personal printer.


Ocean-bottom Pixies, my digital photo manipulation

Ocean-bottom Pixies, my digital photo manipulation

Advertising

The problem with having work on these online venues is the advertising. Mostly you are on your own. Sure there is some traffic that stumbles across your work totally by accident but you cannot rely on that. So you must keep your work out there in the public eye without being too commercial about it.

I find that Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are ideal for this but I don’t rely on them exclusively. I keep a YouTube channel stocked with video tutorials of me working on my craft, both watercolor and collage, as well as little house crafts and anything I’m currently working on. Each week I then post these videos on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. I even blog about my work. All of these drive a little more traffic to my Etsy site and some sales.


The Invisible Man, my digital photo manipulation

The Invisible Man, my digital photo manipulation

Final Thoughts

Although I’m sure you would have thought that Amazon was the best bet for artisans, I hope you have revised that opinion. For those of us with limited funds, Etsy works best for me. I’d love to read your thoughts and opinions in the comments below.

Comments

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on June 11, 2021:

Devika Primić,

Yes, it is always up to the fickles public. Sometimes they like what you do and sometimes they don't. I think that most art styles are cyclical in that the trend will come around before long so I wait it out. I would rather do that than try to change my style and do something I'm not happy with just to please what is trending right now. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on June 11, 2021:

Linda Crampton,

I'm glad you think so. I always like it when I find resources that I can use as well. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on June 11, 2021:

Hi Denise Could it be that it depends on who has an interest for that art?

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on June 10, 2021:

Thank you for sharing such useful information, Denise. Your article is a great resource for people who want to sell their art online.

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on June 10, 2021:

Linda Lum,

There are even more than these but I didn't want to go overboard with information. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on June 10, 2021:

Devika Primić,

I think the only real downside is that it isn't consistent. I never know when I will get the next sale. I have some really busy months and some really lean months with no sales at all. It's hard to guess why that is. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on June 10, 2021:

Pamela Oglesby,

Yes, I've seen everything there from painted rocks to patterns for dolls and doll clothes. I'm just grateful to have an alternate place to show my work. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on June 10, 2021:

Chitrangada Sharan,

Thanks. I'm glad you found it helpful enough to pass on to people. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on June 10, 2021:

Rosina S Khan,

It does work well. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on June 10, 2021:

John Hansen,

Yes, some of the others haven't been around as long as Etsy and don't have the regular traffic that Etsy does but they are gaining traction each day. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on June 10, 2021:

Dora Weithers,

I've sold quite a bit on Etsy but also use some of the others as well. I won't touch Amazon Marketplace though. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on June 10, 2021:

Wow, Denise. I had no idea that there was anything other than Etsy. Thank you for all the tips and info on the various platforms available.

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on June 10, 2021:

Bill Holland,

Oh, Bill, I must say doing without my computer was like living without a digit. I knew it was missing every hour! I'm glad to be back with my old friend. Thanks for commenting even though this one wasn't really targeted to you. I know in the writing world online venues are the way to go for you. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on June 10, 2021:

Misbah Sheikh,

Oh no! What a disaster! I know that can happen. I moved one time and forgot there were some paintings in the attic. I know that the landlord just burned them. I felt bad about it but I still had some photos of the work and I just had to move on to better work as best I could. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on June 10, 2021:

Rawan Osama,

My pleasure. If more people are successful, then I am successful. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on June 10, 2021:

Peggy Woods,

I feel like keeping with the times means keeping up with the newer ways of getting your work seen. It doesn't do any good hiding behind the couch or under the bed. Get it seen! Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on June 10, 2021:

Denise your ideas are useful and in such ways one can do exactly that earn an income. Hard work pays off.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on June 10, 2021:

I think you have provided a great deal of good advice for those who have art to sell. I have heard Etsy is a good place to sell, but you have provided more possibilities. Thanks for sharing.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on June 09, 2021:

Great article about the Online venues, where one can sell the art work.

Your art work is superb, and I liked each one of them. Thanks for sharing the list, and I will refer it to some people, for whom it’s useful.

Thank you for sharing this wonderful information.

Rosina S Khan on June 09, 2021:

I am glad Etsy works well for you, Denise. Good for you, and I am happy for you. Thanks for sharing.

John Hansen from Queensland Australia on June 09, 2021:

Good advice here Denise. My wife has an Etsy store to sell her crafts too. I hadn't heard of the others but I will pass them on. Thanks for sharing.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on June 09, 2021:

Kudos to Etsy. I love them for being so reasonable. Some of the other names are new to me. Hope you and Etsy do well together.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on June 09, 2021:

Great article, very informative, does not apply to me at all since I'm artistic-challenged. :) Blessings always, and welcome back.

Misbah Sheikh from The World of Poets on June 09, 2021:

Dear Denise, Thank you for sharing your experience with selling your art through these online marketplaces. It's a very helpful and informative hub. I did my Bachelor's degree in Psychology and Fine Arts. I had 3 huge portfolios that contain Landscapes, portraits, figure drawings, oil and watercolour painting, Black ink paintings, still life drawings, pencil sketches and much more. A few I gifted to some loved ones and friends, Rest I forgot to carry when we moved to Spain from my home country. I really can never forgive myself for doing this.

Many Blessings and Love!!

Rawan Osama from Egypt on June 09, 2021:

Thank you for sharing it

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on June 09, 2021:

Thanks for telling us about your experiences with selling your art with these online venues. I have never tried doing that.

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