Making Money as an Artist
I started my first art business while in elementary school; painting pictures of birds and stars and selling them to my family members for ten and fifteen cents. Wanting to encourage me, they obliged. Although my skills improved greatly through middle and high school, I stopped attempting to make money through them. I was faced with the fact that a profitable business needed customers besides family, and I couldn’t stop asking myself: Who would buy artwork from a teenager who had only ever taken exactly two weeks of art classes in the 9th grade?
My lack of technical experience was what led me to take art classes in college. I soon decided to pursue a minor in studio art. But I still had no real plans for my artwork. I knew that a profitable career as a gallery artist was extremely difficult to achieve, and that I did not have the talent or passion to be a full-time graphic designer. So if I wanted to make a profit through my artwork, I needed to find a different strategy. The new approach? Art prints.
Art prints are simply printed copies of an existing piece of art. The wonderful thing about art prints is the amount of freedom they allow the artist. By selling prints, I can keep my original piece of artwork and sell as many prints people are willing to buy. I can also ensure quality because every print will look the same. Selling prints also allows me to price my artwork lower than I would price the originals, which will theoretically attract a larger amount of customers.
Although I have experience in painting and watercolors, my art medium of choice is paper and watercolor or alcohol markers. Because the markers also last for an appreciable amount of time, I can keep my supply costs low. These materials allow me to create the flat, intensely colorful look of a graphic design while also allow me to create tiny, hand-drawn detail. I do not know yet if this is a style that customers will flock to, but I have received positive feedback on it so far.
I already own the paper and markers that I will need to create my artwork, which means that my only predicted additional expenses are printing and shipping costs. My next step is to create more artwork, find a printing service, and begin marketing.
My Marketing Plan
Art is a competitive field. My solution is to approach the game differently, by selling prints for a lower price to a wider market, rather than attempting to compete with gallery artists or graphic designers. I want to build an brand of art that is marketed toward regular people, not art critics. I will execute this by aiming to keep prices low and marketing my business on social media sites. I also plan to make my art easy to purchase by utilizing a site like Etsy. With hard work and creativity, I believe that this plan can become profitable for me.