Selling art

  • Hello again, everybody! How are you doing? 🙂

    This time, my question is about selling art. Aside from commissions, going to events and being a freelancer, do you sell your art in any platform?

    I'm thinking about opening a store to sell some designs, and if I don't sell anything, at least I'll be designing things and maybe this can create a little of exposure for myself as an artist.

    There's a lot of sites for this purpose, like RedBubble, Society6, Zazzle and such, but doing a little bit of research, I took a step back. Some people say that these websites can steal your art if you get too popular and making a lot of money (especially RedBubble, from what I saw on my research). They would delete your account and keep on selling and never give you the profit you earned. Reading this I got concerned and decided to ask here.

    Well, do any of you have ever tried these websites? Can you comment on anything about your experiences? Is it a good thing? Is it a bad thing? Can you make any profit of it?

    Hope you can help me with this one. 🙂


  • SVS OG

    @joyce_carmo Interesting question! Yes it is definitely possible to sell your art in other ways... I run a business with my husband where I do the designing, he does the organising, and we use my art (and other art that we license) to create products for the craft industry - patterned papers, stamps and dies for the most part. It's not the perfect job for an artist, in the sense that you are relatively restricted to certain themes that are the most popular (I spend roughly half the year doing flowers and the other half doing Christmas)...but on the other hand it's great to be able to say I do this for a living.

    So yes, do it! It may take a long time to come to fruition (at least it did with us), but it is definitely possible.

  • Thanks for your reply, Dulcie. It's awesome to see people that succeeded to make a living from their own art. Makes me want to try it even more. For the time being, I'm once again unemployed, so I'm looking for a place to sell where I don't need to invest money from the start, hence my question about these online art communities, where I just upload a design and make it available for sale.

    But your experience is something else to keep in mind. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. 🙂

  • SVS OG

    Ah right, yeah I can see where you're coming from there. I don't have any experience of these sites but I remember visiting Will Terry's page on Society6 a while back, so he can't think it's too bad. They must be pretty good or I wouldn't imagine they would have so many members.

    I mean, yeah don't discount other ways of selling your art, outside the box so to speak. If there's anything else you do in life where you have some sort of unique/special knowledge of, compared to everyone else..or if you know a group of people with a specialist interest of some sort.. maybe there's an opportunity there to find a niche to sell stuff.

  • Yeah, that's the point. I didn't know Will Terry maintains an account on one of these websites. All I know is that Jake Parkers sells online, but with another approach. He takes care of print and shipping by himself, and as far as I wanted to do so, I don't think there's really an audience that would be willing to buy from me directly atm. Thus, I'm looking for these sites to try and make some exposure and a little bit of income, even if it's little. Just the fact that I don't have to make a lot of prints, and being affraid of don't sell them afterwards is good for me. If I don't sell anything, at least I didn't wasted anything, or something like that...

    Well, thanks again for having pointed another important aspect of this market for me to think about, Dulcie. Being able to see what is trending in those communities can maybe give me an idea on what to design too and where I could fit. 🙂

  • SVS OG

    Well good luck with creating and selling (if you decide to set one up). I hope it can work for you!

  • SVS OG

    @joyce_carmo I have had a Society6 account for a few years now - I have had some sales (pretty much all from friends/family) and lately only have a few items on there at request. The products are nice and folks are satisfied with them. But I do find you do not make very much money - since the company is doing all of the work and has all of the costs involved.

    And just like with anything else - you do not immediately get sales when you post as your are one of millions of pieces online. Folks can like your piece and it will build in popularity but it takes a while to build up the reputation or lots of existing followers to go get your stuff on there.

    So I would personally recommend doing both your own shop as well as one or a few of these sites and see what happens. If it is going to take time to build up a following - your own website/shop would be ideal in the long run!

  • Hey, @Rich-Green. I really thought these things you pointed out would be pointed sooner or later. I have that in mind, and hearing from people who already have experienced these platforms can keep me a little more realistic about my expectations on them. So thanks for adding your experience. I'll keep in mind all you said. 😃

    And @Dulcie, thanks again. I think I'll give it a try, as I have nothing to lose. 🙂

  • I had a shop on Etsy a few years back where I sold giclee prints of my watercolors. I got the most sales from small trading card sized prints. They were priced low and people like to collect them (including myself). There was the cost of ordering prints from a separate website though. My biggest problem was the illusion of promotion within Etsy. The community would "favorite" the heck out of my page but they were all other sellers who weren't looking to buy. Promotion outside the site is a big deal.

  • @joyce_carmo not sure if you're into it, but my wife and son are very successful stock artists. It's HARD work, more than just creating, you have to do A LOT of research, and keep current with trends, styles, and seasonal work. You also have to extensively key word your files so people can find them. It does NOT pay well the first year, a large portfolio is required to pay for itself after a year's time of fattening it.

    But if you're style is marketable, and some sites do except raster work, though primarily you would have to learn Adobe Illustrator, Corel Draw or the much more affordable Affinity Designer, as 99% of it is Vector Art. But again if you work hard, it is a career that affords a certain amount of laying back, after the first year. The trick is to keep feeding your portfolio week after week... and if you're lucky, get an inspector's job from one of these companies after showing your diligence. THAT is slightly more tedious but a kind of parallel career created by the stock art industry as well. My family does both.

    Stock art comes in short videos, in photography of course, in raster and vector. Even in music files. It's an industry from the fall out of the small to midlevel advertising agency that can no longer afford to keep a design team paid full time in house. We've been at it 10 years, and have done fairly well for ourselves. But make no mistake, it won't pay off immediately, and it is very hard competitive work.

    There is a lot of horrible schlock out there... you have no idea why people pay for that stuff, but they do.

  • @gimmehummus! I knew about Etsy, but I thought it was based more on a seller-customer direct relationship. Didn't knew that they handled printing and stuff. I'll take a look, thanks a lot!

    @Bobby-Aquitania that's yet another way to make a living thru art that I didn't knew. Thanks for sharing about your experience. I'll have to make a little research on that area to see it can be my thing, though. 🙂

  • Etsy doesn't handle printing. I had to get my stuff printed myself so I used a site called They had really good selection and quality though.

  • @gimmehummus Oh, I see! Thanks for making it clearer 🙂

  • @joyce_carmo great topic!! my advice is try one, see if you like it. then try another. find some of your favorite artists and see what shops they use then trust in what you already know then take action:

    a lot of times we as artists can be stuck indefinitely in the information-gathering mode. Here's a great article for those of us who are stuck:

    cheers!! I'm on a similar journey.

  • Hey, @carlossketches! Thank you very much for the links and the support! 🙂
    The second link was especially nice, I really liked it!

    Good luck for both of us in this project! 😃

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