How to make money from art in Zambia [FIVE FAST & EASY STEPS]

5 easy strategies Zambian Graphic Designers and Artists start making fast money from their art.

I’ve had the privilege of observing artists in Zambia for some time now. Here, I share some of the strategies I’ve observed artists following to achieve fair levels of success.

STEP 1: Know What To Compose.

In Zambia, we are lucky as designers to have so many opportunities. As in, Zambia is a growing market, new businesses are emerging everyday. An artist could make music album artwork, logos, website designs, tickets, banners, paintings and sculptures etc. Also, a cool market to dive into is the cartoon, animation and video game industry as the potential of this market has not yet been fully harnessed in Zambia. Its up to you as a creative to decide.

Tip: Diversify. Make different stuff for different things.

STEP 2: Find Your Market.

As creatives, we are free to compose whatever we like. From imaginative digital abstract depictions to naturalistic engravings and sculptures plus several different things. It’s your choice. Remember however, artists that create what they are passionate about are more successful. Some artists find it difficult to know what they are passionate about. If you are one of those, take some time, stare at one spot on the wall and reflect on what really defines you.

Once you find what kind of artwork you are passionate about, start analyzing your target market. Your target market is the demographic of people that you think would pay for the work you are passionate about.

Digital art piece for a rap album .

Know their age group, financial standing, occupation, gender, ethnicity, education level, etc.

For example, an artist composing rap album artwork for Zambians will target unemployed Zambian males between 14 to 30.

The people in this demographic will likely tell their friends about an art piece or artist, till the word of a good artist reaches the ears of a potential client

STEP 3: Compose.

Obviously your next step would be making your artwork. However, an artist needs to remember what makes his/her work unique. The fact is, anyone can be an artist. All you need to do is put a little extra effort to making your art fetching and above all, stand out.

Logo design in CorelDraw.

On top of that, its probably the best practice to have a digital version of each and every one of your designs.

I recommend Autodesk Softimage for professional animations, Aurora 3D Animation Maker for more basic animations and Unity for game design.

CorelDraw for logos, tickets and banners.

Photo manipulation in Adobe Photoshop.

Adobe Photoshop for digital art pieces, designs and infographics.
Most people use Photoshop for digital image manipulation. Personally I’d use it for designing the user interfaces of websites and applications.

Adobe Illustrator is better for creating vector graphics such as type faces, logos, drawing and sketches.

There are tons of free online tools for Graphic Design, here are my suggestions;

Canva for flyers, tickets, business info-graphics, banners etc. You will need to pay for the full experience but a free trial is available.
Fotor for banners, posters, cards and social media headers.
Canva’s logo maker or Logo Maker for logo design.
And you can find more free — easy to use — online tools.

Make sure you get opinions from lots of people. Be prepared for bad comments and even more prepared to work harder on your artwork.

Tip: Successful artists dedicate regular time to production.

STEP 4: Sale.

Next, channel your expertise. A channel is the vehicle in which your work will be delivered to the eyes of potential buyers. Remember that not everyone will pay for your work. Some people would prefer to pay for your skills — in the sense that they hire you for a job. While some people would rather not pay at all. As designers, artists and creatives you are guaranteed to get turned down. The business of the arts is a difficult business.

Your sales channel should aim to gain traction from your specific target market. Take advantage of the social media platforms where your target market hangs out. If most of their activity is based on Facebook, start an interesting eye-catching Facebook page and promote your page using Facebook Ads. Try to post often — atleast once a day and try to be as interesting as possible to gain likes and shares. You could do this by posting memes, gifs, interesting quotes etc. Don’t be too desperate and fill your page with only your art work. Post all kinds of things — but not stuff nobody needs.

Attend as many art showcases and competitions as possible. This isn’t only a way to sale, it is also a way to find new networks of people that will connect you to potential clients.

Sunday Market, Arcades Shopping Mall, Lusaka.

Though there are few of these in Zambia, try your best to keep your ears on the ground to find out when such events show up.

You could also book a stand at Sunday Market at Arcades Mall, Lusaka. This is a way to good way to sell tangible artwork such as paintings, sculptures, collages etc.

STEP 5: Practice.

A good artist never stops learning, never stops practicing and never stops improving. Its your duty to practice on a regular daily basis. Draw up a time table and set reminders on your phone for the times you practice. Moreover, develop a strong personal style as you practice.

If it helps you, take art classes or just watch some YouTube videos because, like it or not, there are people that are better than you and you will have to keep learning and improving to become the best.

There is a famous tale of a boy that would wake up and rush to a stream surrounded between trees. There he would draw, very terribly, what he saw everyday. He did this for the next several years, everyday, never missing a single day.

That boy was Leonardo da Vinci. One of the greatest creative minds to ever walk the Earth.