Reliable Ways on How To Make a Living Selling Art Online

Vincent van Gogh- Self-portrait 1853 – 1890


Hi there. In this post, I will be discussing on how to make a living selling art online and with the focus being on painting.

When I finished high school back in the early 90s, I got myself involved quite a bit of painting. Over time I had quite a fairly large collection and I started to look for ways on how I could sell my art.

I found little success. I still love art but I now do it as a hobby. Watercolor still remains my favorite.

You may have heard of the myth of the starving artist. It not entirely a myth because most artists hardly make money from their work. The term starving artist was started in the late 18th to early 19th century and usually depicted a romanticized notion of artists who chose to sacrifice material gain for the sake of their art.

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Unless you have a death wish, I don’t really see the point of you starving yourself to death just because you want to be part of popular culture. It’s just crazy. I can bet most them were starving because they couldn’t sell their art.

Vincent van Gogh is probably one of the 19th centuries most famous artists. He lived a life of poverty and suffered terrible mental instability despite having painted close to 2100 paintings in his career. He only sold one. Today, his paintings are worth millions of dollars.

Despite his troubled and eccentric life, he was a master genius of his art but found little appreciation for what he painted.

Well, not much has changed in the art world since then. If you are an artist, I am sure you know how difficult it is to sell art. Part of the problem is that many artists don’t treat art as a business and It’s probably the one thing they don’t teach you in art school.

I believe the art profession has a lot of potential for growth. It’s also probably also the most unappreciated. Many people don’t understand that an artist has to put emotion and character in their work. Its like writing a novel or composing a song. They tell a story that is worth something.

The same way musicians make money selling songs that they produced years ago, so should it be with fine art. Why should an artist sell a masterpiece painting and then never have to get paid again for it?

Works of art are special People love creativity. Creativity should go into managing your art business as well. No need hanging around dingy street corners looking rugged as you try to flog your art.

Do it differently.

The fact is the old ways don’t work anymore. Normally, artists would do a painting, rock up to a gallery, leave their work and wait for their work to sell. Others would be commissioned to work on projects.

The problem is that it takes forever to get paid. Most galleries normally split the cost of your masterpiece with you once sold. I had a friend who told me that it would sometimes take 2 years to get a buyer for his painting.  As a commissioned artist, it means that once your contract is over, you just have to starve until your next gig.

It all starts with the right mindset. I know most artists can be reluctant to change, but the world has moved on. You should as well. Your work is worth more than they are willing to pay for. I truly believe you can make a decent full-time income as an artist.

What do I need to do to succeed as an artist?

Have great art. Okay, maybe you don’t have great art. Have some work. The more you work the better you get at it. I would recommend you paint daily. Remember there are days when your creative juices won’t be flowing as much. However, don’t just sit around not working because you are not in the mood.

Remember it’s business. The guy with the milk bar down the street will open shop come rain, come shine. You too should be open for business.

Join an art community. Becoming a member of an art community either online or offline can have a huge advantage in your career as an artist. It’s easy to learn and grow when you are surrounded by like-minded people.

Stick to one medium. Most artists start by experimenting with different mediums of art. Often along your journey, you will find that you are better working with say water-color than acrylics. Stick to what you are good at. It will give you a better edge.

Make digital copies of your finest paintings. You could higher the services of a professional photographer to take pictures of your paintings. However, with a good digital camera or even smartphone camera, you can take good shots of your work. The trick is to make sure that you are taking them under natural light and in high definition. Also, remember to use the auto timer to avoid shaking.

Enhance your images. Digital cameras don’t always do justice to images. Use a program like Adobe Photoshop or lightroom to enhance and sharpen your colors. Remember they are your paintings and there are no rules regarding what you can or can’t do with them.

Upload your work on online galleries. There numerous online shops that sell art. Some sell prints on demand while others sell originals and prints. Here are some them.

  • ArtPal
  • Etsy
  • Amazon
  • Ebay
  • Artplode
  • Café press
  • Imagekind
  • Craigslist

Build a website.

If you are looking for exposure, then you should know that the internet has 3 billion people connected to it. That is a huge number. Any business today that operates without some kind of online presence will find it hard to compete. People need a central place where they can view your work and even place orders.

Building a website is not what it used to be. It’s surprisingly easy. Anyone can do it. In fact, you can have 2 FREE websites, with no ads or data restriction, with the SiteRubix platform. It takes less than a minute to set one up.

Many thanks for reading my post. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below. I would love to hear from you.


Hi folks. Thanks for dropping by. I am a graphic designer and also build websites for local businesses. I am also a member of Wealthy Affiliate. WA is a community-based training platform that truly delivers. It offers a variety of tools, training, and support, and best of all, it’s FREE to get started with. Check it out and see if it’s a good fit for you.

2 thoughts on “Reliable Ways on How To Make a Living Selling Art Online”

  1. Hi Mburul. This is a great post for anyone looking into how to sell their art online. I am not artistic in any way but I have a friend who is amazing at it. I have been trying to convince her to start a blog or website and I think she might be convinced to do so after reading this! 🙂


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