When it comes to making money as an artist, selling your art is the first obvious choice. It’s quite straight forwards, you create a piece of art, then find a buyer, it can be a profitable way to grow your art business. But solely relying on selling original work is not wise, it’s crucial to diversify your income sources to ensure the long-term sustainability of your art business.

Just as in finance, spreading your earnings across multiple streams can protect your art business if one source dries up. In today’s digital age, artists have more opportunities than ever to monetize their art careers at an earlier stage, in a lot of different ways that weren’t available to artists from previous generations, so it’s crucial that you take advantage of them.

Let’s explore some ideas on how to manage multiple income sources within your artistic journey for long-term growth.

1. Sell Prints & Merchandise

Let’s start with an example. If you’re an oil painter investing weeks or even months into creating each individual artwork, you understand the value of your labor and creations. However, the hard work you dedicate to your craft means that the high price tags may make them inaccessible to some potential buyers. To cater to a wider audience, consider offering limited edition prints or merchandise featuring your art, at a lower price point.

This allows you to diversify your products and make your art accessible to all, regardless of their economic background. Also, you should consider, that when a new collector discovers your work, it’s more likely that they will first buy a more affordable artwork, before building u a relationship before proceeding to purchasing some of the more expensive original artworks.

I personally use this strategy in my art practice and have a wide array of prints and merch available on my website, that allows for art lovers to support my practice at a much lower entry point, and pave the road for future possible sales. There are many ways to create and fulfill these prints and merch, in my case I use print-on-demand supplier printful to manage the whole production and delivery of these products, selling them directly from my website, a real time-saver.

2. Teach an Online Class

Each artist is unique and they all possess set specific skills and expertise, as well as experiences that stem from their unique practice, so why not share it with the world? While traditional art schools exist, many creatives seek short-format, concise courses taught by working artists who can offer real-world experiences. Short-form online courses are gaining popularity, providing a perfect opportunity for you to package your unique knowledge and offer it for sale online.

Teaching an online class is a great way to create a genuine connection with your audience, and creating the outline of a course is a great exercise to hone your set of knowledge and help organize ideas in your head. Additionally, hosting the course and creating a community can lead to future business opportunities, you never know.

The topics of the course can vary, maybe you want to share something more practical and technique-based, like painting with watercolor, or street photography. Or something a bit more abstract, like how to come up with new ideas for art projects, or journaling for artists. You could even do something super practical like taxes for artists, or how to photograph your work. It’s up to you to scan your expertise and find the right way to share it.

In my case, I created an online Academy for helping artists grow their art practices and build a striving art business. I evaluated that my expertise in marketing as well as my experience curating and organizing art exhibitions could help artists on their own path. You can sign up here for only 47 EUR

3. Host Workshops

Similar to teaching online courses, hosting workshops has an even lower entry barrier and allows you to engage with students in person. Hosting a successful workshop involves sharing your creative process and supporting students as they create their own variations. This not only helps you grow your audience but also turns your students into long-term fans of your work, because of the experience attached to it.

A lot of people love art, but very seldom do they have the opportunity to be an active part of the creative process, working side by side with the artists into creating their own works, it is truly a unique experience, and that’s a very strong selling point for your workshop. Again, coming up with a topic is up to you, focus on your strengths and what you’ll think will resonate better with people! I personally host tape art workshops regularly!

4. Public Speaking

While not suitable for everyone, speaking publicly about your art practice can be a valuable experience, there is just something special about creating a compelling story around your art journey, taking down your key points and organizing them into a compelling search, and what comes after though is what makes this not suitable for all, stepping on a stage and delivering that search in front of an audience, the sole idea of that brings fear into the hearts of most people. But, if you can make it thru that hurdle, public speaking can be an immensely rewarding experience, giving the audience the opportunity. to become familiar with your practice, while getting aid to do it. As artists, we often overlook the fact that not everyone shares our artistic lifestyle. People are genuinely excited to learn about your life as an artist and this is a great way to share it with them.

5. License Your Art

Making your art available for licensing can generate a steady income stream. Usually, the payouts for each licensed artwork are small, but it’s a great way to create a steady passive income in your art career. Basically what you are doing is giving companies or brands specific rights to use your artworks on their products. These deals vary a lot, depending on the client and the end product, but can cover commissioned illustrations, rights over previously done artworks, sales as stock material or a mix of all. Artists can also use stock image websites to directly license their artworks.

6. Write an Ebook

Have you ever considered compiling your knowledge on a specific topic into an ebook? Once again, the overall subject of your ebook is gonna vary greatly depending on your unique strengths and skills. But some ideas could be the best photography locations in your city, a guide on how to sketch outdoors, a tool list of everything you need to create an art exhibition, a guide to art projects you can do with kids. Independent of the subject, compiling your knowledge and offering it as an information product for sale can expand your audience and attract creatives seeking new ideas.

A while back I wrote myself a guide to selling art online, it’s a compilation of some of the tools, workflows, and platforms I use to promote and sell my art online, it still gets regular sales and continues to support artists in their journey.

7. Tell Your Story: Blogs or YouTube

Telling your story as an artist is crucial, it helps you connect with your audience by sharing your adventures in the art world additionally using social media to tell your story is an effective way to build your online presence. You can share a wide variety of different types of content, like tutorials, behind-the-scenes, or explanations on your artistic process, while not easy, and definitely not fast, there are plenty of opportunities to monetize your online fame as an artist via brand deals, sponsorships or payout on views. Beyond the potential income, sharing your story online provides greater visibility to your art practice and can lead to new sales and opportunities for your art career. I regularly make videos sharing some of my latest projects, and even without a large following, I’ve been able to leverage my small following into opportunities and new projects.

8. Harness the Power of Your Community

Building an audience is an integral part of an artist’s journey, you are already making dealy efforts to grow your community, so why not Take it a step further by monetizing your audience? With platforms like Patreon, you can invite your biggest fans to sign up and support you with a monthly donation, creating a consistent income stream for your art career. You can create different tiers for your supporters giving them access to extra content around your art career, such as behind-the-scenes content, exclusive Q&A, templates, and much more. It’s a great way to connect with your community on a more personal level.

9. Commission Work

Taking on commission projects is one of my favorite venues of income, because the payment is agreed before even starting the work. Art Commission projects can take a lot of different formats, from painting a portrait of collector, to collaborating with brands and creating murals for them. Each different project will bring it’s own challanges so planning and organizational skills will come in handy. Also, be sure to have a clear discussion with the client regarding style and subject, sharing your sketches to establish clear expectations. Finally, have a clear agreement about pricing and payment, ideally in writing, so you don’t have to worry about it while creating the artwork, taking an advance in these cases is always recommended. Collaborating with clients to create custom artworks tailored to their needs allows you to generate income while challenging yourself creatively.

I personally love making comission works for big brands and companies, because in most cases I’ll be dealing with a brands marketing budget, rather than with an individual personal budget, and that allows me to charge a premium fee, while getting to do large challenging projects.

10. Find Your Balance

As you explore these various income sources, remember that it’s about finding a balance. It’s no longer solely about selling art; it’s about creating a sustainable art business by diversifying your income streams. Manage your time and resources effectively to avoid burnout and ensure you continue nurturing your core artistic practice.


Embracing multiple sources of income can empower artists to thrive in their careers. By implementing these ideas and adapting them to your unique circumstances, you can build a sustainable art business for the long term. Remember to consider the specific opportunities that align with your art career and take the time to explore the options that make sense for you.