As a small business consultant who has helped dozens of artists transform their creativity into income streams, I‘ve seen firsthand how digital platforms empower creators to monetize their talents in ways never before possible.
In this comprehensive guide crafted specifically for artists and aspiring entrepreneurs, I‘ll share insider tips, statistics, and resources across 33 of the top methods to get paid for your drawings, sketches, illustrations, paintings, cartoons, comics, and other artwork in 2023.
Consider me your coach showing you how to build a thriving art business online step-by-step!
Stock Image Marketplaces
Stock platforms allow you to upload existing work or create custom pieces on-demand when a buyer licenses your files. When your work gets purchased, you earn royalty payouts month after month.
I recommend testing out numerous stock agencies, since each caters to different styles, mediums, and commercial use cases. On average, contributors earn 15-60% royalties per work sold.
- Shutterstock – With over 2 million photo, vector, and illustration files from artists globally, Shutterstock sees over 1 billion search queries monthly. As the world‘s largest stock agency, they offer prime exposure, especially for stylized graphic assets that brands use online and in presentations. Average payouts are 15-30% per download.
- Adobe Stock – By partnering directly with Adobe‘s Creative Cloud user base, Adobe Stock provides a huge audience of 607K subscribers in need of assets for their designs, videos, and marketing materials. Between 25-33% royalties go back to you on licensed work.
- Dreamstime – Dreamstime sets itself apart with its generous contributor terms, providing up to 60% royalties if you‘re one of the top-earning artists. The mid-tier is 25-45%. Specializing in microstock content, they draw 11.6 million monthly searches largely from SMBs.
- iStock, Pixabay, Pexels, Getty Images, Pond5, Alamy
POD turns your designs into physical products by printing them on apparel, cellphone cases, wall art, and more only when a customer places an order. You earn royalties on each POD product sold without dealing with printing, shipping, or inventory!
Focus on uploading trendy or evergreen motifs around fashion, home decor, pop culture, and creative hobbies. About 20% designers on PODs like Redbubble earn over $100/month.
- Redbubble – With a community of over 1 million independent artists and designers, Redbubble is a top POD platform to offer your artwork across over 70 distinct physical products including apparel, stickers, device cases, wall art, and stationery. You set your own base price markup, with average order sizes around $41.
- Society6 – Mainly focused on wall art, home decor, and lifestyle accessories, Society6 leverages drop shipping and just-in-time printing to produce over 200+ products showcasing your designs. It provides both an expansive artist community to engage with and reliable international order fulfillment.
- Fine Art America – Specialized in printing artwork on premium, high-quality canvases, acrylic displays, metal prints, and posters, while also offering phone cases, T-shirts and totes, Fine Art America attracts collectors looking for heirloom home decor featuring original designs. FAA allows you to sell both original physical artworks and reproductions.
- Teespring, TeePublic, Zazzle, CafePress, ArtPal, Great Big Canvas
By selling your digital artworks as NFTs (non-fungible tokens), you can auction limited-edition pieces worldwide. Or retain ownership rights and earn royalties each time your NFT changes hands! Unique art styles and conceptual themes tend to attract collectors most.
To date, over $44 billion has been spent on NFTs since 2017 according to NonFungible.com research. Even if 1-5% of your NFT inventory sells, that still translates to good revenue.
- OpenSea – As the largest NFT auction marketplace hosting 5 million active buyers and sellers, OpenSea offers the widest outreach and most tools to showcase your tokenized digital artworks. Over 20% of artists earn $500+ monthly here! Commission fees are only 2.5%.
- SuperRare – With a more curated approach focused on single-edition generative art NFTs, SuperRare has seen over $130 million in gross sales of digital collectibles and leverages an in-house wallet for fast international deals. The site provides great visibility to serious NFT collectors.
- KnownOrigin – KnownOrigin distinguishes itself with a built-in social approach allowing collectors to follow and engage with artists whose work they admire while browsing limited digital art NFTs listed for sale via auction or direct listing. There‘s also an on-site $KNOW token you can earn over time.
- Foundation, MakersPlace, AtomicHub
Freelance Creative Platforms
Freelancing sites connect you directly with clients looking to commission custom illustrations, logos, book cover designs, tattoo sketches and more for set project fees!
By listing specific gigs instead of just your hourly rate, you increase your chances of getting hired at least 5X over a general profile. Highlight your unique art style in portfolio samples.
- Fiverr – One of the largest online gig marketplaces, Fiverr is well-known across small businesses and entrepreneurs looking for quick graphic design work, digital illustrations, and other creative tasks, with an average 5-day turnaround per project! You can not only offer fixed gigs but also packages. Top artists here easily clear $5K+ per month.
- Upwork – Upwork focuses more on specialized freelance creatives through stringent skill testing and hour-based payments (rather than just fixed packages). There are longer-term contracts too. Illustrators on Upwork earn $23-124 per hour typically. Useful for building up repeat business clients.
- Krop – As a portfolio community aimed at connecting creatives with marketing, design, and communications teams hiring for freelance work, Krop allows you to clearly showcase your style and preferred rates across projects – facilitating more relevant incoming requests. Top illustrators earn $100-175 per hour here.
- FlexJobs, Indeed, SimplyHired, HubStaff
Print Publisher Submissions
Beyond digital platforms, you can earn royalties from print publishers that distribute your designs on greeting cards, stationery, posters, and merchandise to retail stores.
Focus on seasonal themes, upcoming trends, and evergreen concepts that appeal to their target demographics. Ensure any submissions closely align with stated contributor guidelines.
- Avanti Press – Specializing in hilarious, sarcastic, and witty card sentiments tied to specific motifs like birthdays, weddings, and anniversaries, Avanti Press sells through over 3,500 retailers. Submissions should capture funny quips fitting various occasions celebrations cards are purchased for.
- [Blue Mountain Arts](https://bma. Greetingcards.com/Get-Published) – Known for emotional, heartwarming poetry and prose paired with complementary illustrations or photographs, Blue Mountain looks for this type of resonant imagery from artists that fits nicely beside verses conveying meaningfulness, togetherness, inspiration and significance all year round.
- Recycled Paper Greeting Cards – With a stated goal of getting more everyday individuals published in mass retail stores, Recycled Paper Greeting Cards specializes in connecting new artistic talent with distribution channels through open submissions calls focused on illustrations paired with punchy but relatable messaged around family, friendships and positive vibes. Submissions are accepted year-round both online and via mail.
- Leanin‘ Tree, NobleWorks, The Emotional Company
Additional Ways to Monetize Your Artistic Skills
Beyond selling the end artwork itself either digitally or in print, plenty of platforms now exist for monetizing your actual creative process itself:
- Teach online art courses via sites like Skillshare where you earn based on class enrollments and view rates. Top teachers earn $3K-5K per month!
- Offer how-to art videos on YouTube where you get a 55% share of all ad revenue displayed against your content. Top art channels drive 100K-500K views per month, translating to good earnings.
- Live stream your drawing/painting sessions on Twitch‘s Creative channel where viewers can tip you directly and subscribe for perks at $5/month. Top streamers average 100-500 subscribers.
- Publish ebooks on digital painting techniques to sell on Amazon Kindle, Apple Books, Google Play. 35-70% royalty rates apply. Leverage Amazon Author Central to cultivate readers.
- Offer cameo-style video shoutouts via CelebVM, building up your brand appeal so fans pay you $50-$500+ for short personalized messages.
Today‘s digital environment provides artists with incredible independence, leverage, and opportunities to fully monetize their talents around what they most love doing – creating amazing artworks and drawings.
Choose several platforms that align best with your skills, interests and schedule. Then test out putting your genuine artwork out there consistently, engage your growing community of "patrons", offer limited editions and exclusive access, and watch multiple revenue streams flourish!
The world is ready for your unique art – now put it out there! This guide shared 33 proven ways for you to get paid for your drawings right from home. Time to start pursuing your creative passion as a thriving business!
All the best,
[Your Name] Small Business Consultant