If you clicked on this article to read, you are probably thinking about selling your artwork but just don’t know how to
And what about promotion? Website, social media etc.? Yes, all of the above are options!
I know, I know it’s overwhelming! You google “how to sell my art” and get over 4 billion results!
No wonder people would be overwhelmed and confused over which way to go and how to get started.
I have geared this article to beginners in the process—those who have been doing art for a while and desire to take it to the next level, so to speak.
I will explain tangible ways, both in your local region and online, and you can decide what is right for you based on them. In addition, I will also be describing my own story of selling art. 🙂
An Easy First Step – Really!
There are a number of steps you will need to do to get out there and start selling. If you have zero exposure for your work, except for family or friends’ admiration, you may wish to join an art club.
And no offense to my family or friends, but the validation coming from strangers eliminated the thought about the bias family and friends may have had. Strangers are not obligated to say anything about your work!
So, I participated in the club’s shows and did receive awards (not to toot my own horn!).
Also, I met a lot of great artists, one in particular who was selling his artwork—both original and prints—and he gave me great advice about doing that (I discuss this further in the next section).
My success with the club led to more recognition from family and friends, too. I received my first two commissions from this! Also, this led to my month-long solo exhibition, where I sold some pieces! Awesome feeling! 🙂
Sell at Craft Fairs – Network!
The artist I met through the art club got me started with selling prints. He put me in touch with a wonderful,
Additionally, he also showed me how to package them using foam board, cut to size to back the prints and bagging them with sealable bag (Clearbags.com).
Pictured here is one of them packaged.
So I built up a small inventory to start with and framed a few originals. I bought a few display stands (both floor and table) and a nice cloth for a table.
I sought out all the local craft fairs and participated in those sales for years, earning quite a few sales of my prints that way.
What About Large Art Show Venues?
Did I participate in the local huge art shows in my area? Well, you may be surprised to learn I did not.
The reason I didn’t was because:
1. The entry fee was very pricey (hundreds compared to $40-50 for craft fairs).
2. A lot of equipment is required, since most of them are outdoors.
3. Too much competition! Everyone there is an artist, compared to craft fairs where you may be one of maybe three artists in the whole fair.
But just because I didn’t do the large art shows doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try there. Just know there is more investment in the art show route with perhaps more effort and definitely competition.
More to Consider for Large Shows
You would need to frame many original pieces and have them ready to show. And you may need a tent or outdoor equipment.
But if you sell a few large originals, that could offset your cost. And remember, the clientele there would be there to find fine art originals and would be expecting to outlay larger sums for good artwork. 😉
That is not so at a craft sale. Most craft fair goers would not be in the market to outlay that much for an art item at that type of venue.
However, I did sell small original pieces and a lot of prints at craft sales. Also, many people took my card for future reference, resulting in many commissions!
This is also a great way to meet lots of people and network! You never know what opportunities may present themselves.
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Big Online Opportunities – So Vast!!
Here is a link to a great article: https://www.websitebuilderexpert.com/website-builders/best/artists/
It’s important to have a website; it establishes you as a professional. And you can link other sites like Etsy to it and/ or print-on-demand sites (discussed in the next section).
If you’re thinking about selling, you may wish to consider print-on-demand sites, and there are many to choose from.
Print-on-demand means that the company will handle everything—printing, transacting the purchase, packaging, shipping, and customer service—for you. They will keep a commission for all of that, though.
Here’s a tip before jumping right into one, though: Learn about the different online companies—really research the kind of genre they have on their site before you upload your stuff. Look at others’ work.
Your art may not be what their customer is looking for and you will have wasted your time (and believe me, it is time-consuming to upload, title, attach keywords, describe, decide items to be printed on, set mark-ups, etc.). In other words, your artwork shouldn’t contrast too greatly with the style seen on the site.
Also, research other things that may be important to you, like which ones have affiliate programs, if you’re into that (Redbubble has this as does Imagekind), or direct connection options to social media. Or maybe they may have an option to license your art through them. (Fine Art America has this).
Read reviews of their product/printing quality, shipping time. You really need to spend the extra time looking into all the advantages and reputation of each one before deciding to go with them. Maybe order a product or two to see the quality for yourself.
I didn’t do as much research as I should have. And I wasted a lot of time uploading to ones that turned out not to be what I exactly wanted. Don’t make that same mistake.
So which are the best ones? Well, that depends on your type of art and what you’re looking to do.
There are so many and there are plenty of reviews out there on each one. I would seriously read about each one to determine what is the best fit. But here are three I am a member of:
Fine Art America
I have sold on Redbubble. They have many, many kinds of products available to have your art printed on. I really like them for this reason.
Click here to see my page.
Their site is easy to navigate and not overly time-consuming to upload. They also have an affiliate program.
The picture to the left shows my hibiscus image for sale that Redbubble printed onto a clock. Here is another product, the same image on this lovely pillow.
Also, they have an easy way you can promote your work on social media.
For example, you can choose to promote on Facebook or Twitter, and they will send the picture, write the content, and post it for you.
Some of their art is very modern and minimalist. Look at a lot of their work and choose it (or not) based on what you have to sell.
Fine Art America
I just joined them recently.
(Click here to see my page there).
They have a LOT of different types of art—photography, fine art, designs, and illustrations.
Also, people are selling on there! Fine Art America posts congratulatory messages daily selling artists/artwork. I like that and hope to see mine in that feed soon!
Uploading is fast and fairly easy. They allow a lot of keywords, too.
Although, they don’t seem to have as many products as Redbubble, but they still have a good amount.
They have been around a long time and have a good size membership—on par with Redbubble.
There are also a lot of people selling on there, though, too!
This is an older company. I have sold through them, and I have to say, Imagekind’s printing and packaging is top quality.
One cannot go wrong purchasing from them. They do not, however, offer products such as towels, water bottles, mugs, bedding etc., just paper and canvas prints.
To see my page on Imagekind, click here.
All these print-on-demand companies are great because you don’t need an inventory and do not need to be involved in collecting the money, packaging, shipping, etc.—a big burden off your shoulders!
They do it all for you, but they do take a commission. And some say you have to sell a lot to make good money. So, keep that in mind.
Etsy or EBay
Others swear by this way of selling. There are fees associated with selling through them, but you get to keep way more of the profits.
You would have the responsibility of all the customer interaction, though, and would need an inventory.
This is time-consuming, but I recommend this route if you have the time!
Promote, Promote, Promote on Social Media
I have only recently begun to promote my art through social media. I’ve read a lot about how to promote, and one of the main takeaways is not to be that annoying person who is always trying to sell their stuff to your followers.
It’s important to start by following other artists and engage with people so they can get to know you and your work.
Be sure to recognize others’ hard work and compliment others’ artwork, too. If it’s all about you, that’s a big turn-off. And after all, we are all in this together and should be supporting one another.
The key is to engage—I’m pretty much engaging almost daily and several times/day sometimes.
I also am on Facebook (established a business account—I never post to sell on my personal account!), Pinterest. A lot of artists do videos on YouTube as well.
This social media promotion is still very much a work in progress for me and it’s a lot of work.
Once you start, you must realize, this is part of the promotion side of your business—yes, selling your art must be viewed as a business—you need to maintain a presence on social media, regularly posting several times/week, if not daily, so you won’t be forgotten!
If it seems too daunting to do all of them, just start out with one then build from there.
This is another way you can promote/sell your art. You could create a blog that discusses you—your art, what
Your blog can be a part of your website or a separate one. And It’s a great way to connect with people.
Customers want to know who you are before they buy from you. There are many articles about how to set up a blog out there. Just google and get started.
I got started blogging as an off-shoot of my art instruction business—I share a lot of info while teaching face-to-face, so why not help people online as well, I thought?
Wealthy Affiliate’s platform is where I began my blog. Wealthy Affiliate provides a lot of step-by step help to create a word-press blogging website along with oodles and oodles of training (for any niche, not just art) and an extremely helpful community! I highly recommend them. Click on the banner below if you’d like to find out more affiliate marketing.
Gift Shops and Art Galleries
This is another great way to get your name out there at least locally. I have sold work this way and currently have my artwork in a great store near me. I do get steady sales from them!
You have to not be shy to visit these kinds of places! Mention you’re an artist, give them your card directing them to your website and ask if they would take on some of your work.
If you’re going to try local art galleries, you will need to call first and schedule an appointment to meet with them.
From everything I’ve read, they don’t appreciate walk-ins if you’re seeking representation.
Also, you will need to have photos of your originals organized in a very professional-looking binder to show them.
Wishing You All the Success!
Whether you want to sell face-to-face or online, I hope you’re feeling a bit more confident and inspired to get out there and start selling.
Years ago, when I pondered about how to sell my art, I knew I had to just get myself out there and try step by step. It has been a long, wonderful journey, and yours is just beginning!
Get out there and show your artwork to the world. Buyers are waiting!
Thanks for reading. As always, I welcome comments or questions you may have—you may leave them below. I will never share your email.
Have an artful day!