Home Finance Create Artwork, Don’t Starve: Methods to Make Cash as an Artist

Create Artwork, Don’t Starve: Methods to Make Cash as an Artist


The phrase “struggling” is so usually tied to “artist.” However you don’t must win The Voice or promote a portray for tens of millions to translate your artwork right into a supplemental paycheck, part-time or full-time job.

Websites like Etsy, to go-to for handmade merchandise, will help you launch your small enterprise. However don’t neglect the significance of social media, a cultured web site and old style networking.

Right here’s how three creators cast methods to make cash as an artist.

Be Daring, Push Your Portfolio and Have a Facet Hustle

Alli Arnold took her first daring step to advertise her illustrations at age 8.

“I despatched a Valentine’s Day illustration to Newsday on Lengthy Island, N.Y., they usually revealed it! My elementary faculty’s principal hung it within the faculty’s foyer. I knew I used to be on my approach,” stated the skilled illustrator who lives in St. Petersburg, Fla.

A mixture of expertise and the center to maintain submitting her work has saved her working as an artist for greater than 20 years.

After graduating from New York’s Parsons Faculty of Design with a Bachelor’s diploma in Tremendous Arts, Arnold obtained a job at Seattle Weekly. 

“My rising pile of revealed work empowered me to name different publications that I wished to work with. I moved again to New York Metropolis after three years in Seattle and hit the bottom working,” she stated. Her illustrations have appeared within the New York Occasions, New York Journal, Glamour, Actual Easy and different nationwide publications

They’ve additionally appeared on reward playing cards and different content material for Goal, Barney’s New York, Tiffany & Co. and Neiman Marcus.

“Within the outdated days, earlier than social media and the Web, in the event you illustrated for one journal, one other journal would see your work, and in the event that they appreciated it, they known as you,” Arnold stated. “That was how my entire profession labored for 15 years: inch by inch. There was a time after I had month-to-month illustrations in 5 totally different magazines. These 5 illustrations a month paid the payments, and every part on high of that was gravy.”

However a transfer to St. Petersburg in 1991 hampered her profession. At the moment, face-to-face connections resembling seeing purchasers within the workplace or assembly for espresso saved the assignments flowing.

“I shortly realized — to my shock — that there actually is one thing to being in New York. Even on this trendy world, individuals actually wish to work with somebody they’ve met,” she stated.

So, Arnold needed to get her identify out once more in Florida. She staged a present at a preferred retailer and submitted her work to native publications. The work began up once more and one job begat one other. She additionally labored social media to the max.

“I’ve 4 totally different Instagram accounts that I replace commonly,” she Arnold.

Arnold works on a mural for a new business that is opening up. She has also illustrated books and created custom pet portraits for customers. Chris Zuppa/The Penny Hoarder

Just this year, she started selling on Etsy, offering custom pet and people portraits. The platform made it easier to transact business, since people are more comfortable with a proven and well-known marketplace than an independent website, she said.

The October issue of HGTV Magazine featured Arnold as a favorite pet artist and it was great to be able to direct that traffic to Etsy, she added.

But, of course, a career in art hasn’t been easy.

“I know very few artists who don’t have a side hustle,” Arnold said.

Her side jobs have included work as a personal shopper, costume jewelry scout, pet sitter, proofreader, stints at The Gap and even modeling hats for the Kentucky Derby.

Have a Flexible Product Line and Mindset 

Just because you go out on your own doesn’t mean you’re locked into that business model forever.

In 2015, at age 49, Malacia Anderson, known as LiLi, left her day job in customer service once the income from her art surpassed her day job earnings.

She designs and sews custom clothes from her home in Roosevelt, N.Y. Her dresses, tops, skirts and head wraps are made from distinctive fabrics with African prints from places such as Nigeria, Ghana and India.

She sells most of her clothing on Etsy.

“It’s the easiest platform for my business because  it provides clear information in regards to delivery and descriptions. It’s simple to set up a shop,” Anderson said. “Their payment as well as refund process is simple. Overall they provide back office support that takes the fear out of starting a business.”

But three years after making her art her full-time career, Anderson missed the regular paychecks (and healthcare benefits) that come with an office job. So she now works part-time as an administrative assistant but significantly supplements that income as a dressmaker.

Malacia Anderson sells custom clothes and designs on Etsy. In 2015, Anderson left her customer service job when the income she made from her art exceeded her day job income. Photo courtesy of Aderon Mothersill

Not too long after taking the part-time job, COVID-19 changed the world.

“I had a (social media) follower who worked in a hospital and she posted that she couldn’t find any cloth masks,” Anderson said. “I made her a few as a gift and posted a picture of them. People started asking me to make one for them.”

Friends sent her photos of masks selling for $25 or more.

“I couldn’t believe it. I started making them for $10 and then it just went out of control,” she said. “In one month, I had over 800 orders in my Etsy shop.” Before the mask mania, a typical month saw 25 orders for clothing.

Meanwhile, Anderson still had custom clothes orders coming in.

She completed those orders then reduced her offerings to more standard options.

“I brought back all of the simple things that I used to do in the beginning. The price points were lower, and that was better for me and the changes in the economy,” Anderson said. “It proved to be the perfect midpoint between that and the masks.”

Now, about 75 percent of her income comes from her sewing.

Along with the Etsy shop she’s had since 2006, Anderson started selling off of her own website, LiLi-girl.com, in 2018 and sells on Instagram.

Determine, Save and Spend money on Advertising and marketing

Setting cash apart two years prematurely and investing in advertising are two methods Lynn Veronneau, of Washington, D.C., transitioned from her day job to supporting herself as knowledgeable jazz singer.

She sang professionally half time years in the past whereas learning music in France and realized it was a tough option to make a dwelling.

So Veronneau used her fluency in French and English to construct a profession as a bilingual communications specialist. For greater than 20 years, her work included stints on the United Nations, the European Heart for Nuclear Analysis and the World Financial institution in Washington, D.C.

“Within the course of I raised a household,” stated Veronneau, who married Ken Avis, a guitarist and singer she met backstage in Switzerland.

Then there got here some extent the place life was getting a bit of shorter, and my husband and I began planning for one thing else,” she stated.

That “one thing else” was discovering a option to carry out professionally and go away their day jobs. Avis was working in human assets.

Lynn Veronneau, her husband and two other musicians joined together to create a jazz group called Veronneau. The group invested in a publicist, a website, a professional writer and photographer. This helped the group get into the charts, and reviewers started writing about them. They released more music and earned grants to produce festivals. Photo courtesy of Lynn Veronneau

This was 12 years ago. At the time two of their three children had graduated from college in Canada, where Lynn Veronneau is from, and higher education costs much less than in the United States. They continued to work in their salaried jobs two more years and set aside money for their third child’s education.

The couple performed together, but wanted a bigger, fuller sound with more people. They found two more musicians to join their group and named it “Veronneau.”

“After just a year or so we decided we were going to record and release and promote,” Veronneau said.

The group invested in a publicist and a good website, with a professional writer and photographer. The website consists of simple methods to hearken to their Sound Cloud and Spotify web page.

“You’ve obtained to look the half earlier than you may actually method golf equipment. You’ve actually obtained to seem like you’re already the actual factor,” she stated. “We put all our eggs in a single basket, and we obtained some traction and generated some curiosity.”

Earlier than too lengthy the group obtained into the charts, and reviewers began writing about them. The group saved the momentum going, releasing extra music and incomes grants to supply festivals.

“We form of got here out of nowhere,” Veronneau stated, “after which we had all of this happening.”