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how to make money with digital art

Before the internet, artists relied heavily on art exhibitions or visitors to their galleries to gain sales. Now, it’s easier to produce and market art online. If you need a definitive guide on how to make money with digital art, then this is it.

Cozy up and get ready to prime yourself to be the next prominent digital artist around. 

Unsurprisingly, technological advancements have created more avenues for digital artists to reach out to potential customers and generate significant revenues.

Starving artists are turning obsolete.

Modern technology provides artists with a platform to advertise their work and make large sums of money.

So if you fancy yourself an artist, I’ll give you the most excellent techniques to make money with that venture. 

What Exactly Do Digital Artists Do? 

A digital artist creates art using computer software.

Most digital artists work in the entertainment business, creating animated films, video games, and even mobile apps.

They’re storytellers. 

Companies hire digital artists to help them produce visual graphics for their websites.

Artists commonly make explainer movies so that their customers can comprehend how to utilize their products.

Do you remember traditional print media?

Digital artists work on those too.

Digital artists enhance photographs in fashion publications to make them look flawless.

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How Profitable Is It To Be A Digital Artist?

Digital Artists earn an average of $57,183 per year in the United States.

Digital Artists worldwide generally earn between $48,567 and $66,450 a year. 

Salary ranges might vary depending on education, certifications, supplementary talents, and years of experience in the area.

Defining Digital Art

Digital art is a type of art created using the internet and multimedia platforms.

Designing character visuals for video games and generating animated videos for commercial advertising are examples of digital art.

The same goes for developing 3-D animation for feature films and refining photos for publication using Photoshop or other tools.

Virtual art can be used to emulate various conventional art styles, like enhancing simple line sketches for a children’s book with software.

Here are the most common examples of digital art: 

  • Print-it-yourself prints 
  • How-to eBooks 
  • Tattoo designs 
  • Kindle books
  • Courses and one-off classes 
  • Fonts 
  • Gift Cards 
  • Printable color-in art 
  • Graphic designs transferred on merchandise 
  • High-quality photos 
  • YouTube videos 
  • Private community content 
  • Digital resources 
  • Stickers 

Having A Passive Income Through Digital Products 

You pass up a chance to have a passive income if you don’t sell digital copies of your work.

Let’s say you spent a few days working on an art piece.

Then you sell that one-off piece without making copies. 

Instead of profiting off that piece multiple times, you end your income stream by parting with it once. 

The easy parts of being a digital artist are selling and delivering.

It just requires some work upfront. 

Related Reading: Side Hustles For College Students – Click Here To Start One.

If you like the idea of being a digital artist, let’s move on to your first natural step.

You’ll need a basic artist’s toolbox.

I thought that people were selling high-end goods overseen by well-paid marketing and design professionals.

My eyes widened as I purchased a few successful digital products.

So, instead of overthinking the tools, consider what the majority of us can do for free online:

Canva

Canva is a remarkable free tool you can use to create and manipulate graphics.

Most of the templates and designs are free, except for a few that cost $1.

You can even put up your photos and designs, which you can then edit before distributing.

Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides 

These are essentially Google’s free Office.

These free tools can help you create a sizable portion of your content for digital products.

You need a Gmail account, which is also ‘free.’

True, it says it’s exclusively for personal use, but your business is personal anyway. 

The fantastic thing about these tools is that they preserve your work and save it in the cloud.

In effect, the possibilities of losing it are substantially reduced.

GIMP 

For any photo modification, I suggest using GIMP.

It’s even better if you have a Photoshop or Illustrator license.

Office Suite For Your Laptop or Desktop 

An Office Suite may come pre-installed on some PCs, or you may have a license for it.

If you don’t have it, Google’s version of Open Office will suffice.

A Scanner or A Scanning App For Your Phone 

There are a plethora of free photo scanning apps for Apple and Android devices (even directly from a digital image).

A typical multifunction center printer could also be used.

MFCs are simple inkjet printers with an integrated A4-sized document scanner.

Scanned photos from MFC scanners are of the highest quality.

Because they’re limited to small images, you’d be better off shooting a decent quality photo or scanning the image in portions.

You could then “sew” the sections together using tools like GIMP if you need to scan a massive piece of artwork.

Procreate 

Procreate is a digital drawing software MUST HAVE for anyone who owns an iPad and an Apple pencil.

It’s ideal for any artist, whether they’re creating digital or non-digital things.

It’s not that expensive, and you’ll get a speedy return on your investment.

Don’t Hesitate To Outsource Your Work If It Gets To Be Too Much. 

You might want to explore contracting out part of the effort involved in developing a digital product.

This can spare you a lot of time, especially for design or illustration work.

It will also make your digital products look more professional.

You may consider yourself a competent artist, yet you may fall short in other areas, such as refined illustration work.

That’s when you should consider hiring freelancers.

You can find them on sites like FlexJobs or Fiverr.

These days, digital artwork is in high demand; therefore, they’re easy to come by. 

Taking Orders For Digital Products 

You might think you need a full-fledged eCommerce solution to handle thousands of transactions every day.

The truth is that artists still accept orders from customers via email and DMs (Direct Messages).

It’s possible to communicate solely on social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook.

Here are the most prominent ways to take orders for digital products: 

DMs and Emails 

As previously indicated, this is the simplest method of taking an order.

Set up a business Gmail account, instruct clients to email their orders, and accept payments using the methods below. 

eBay 

Did you know that you can sell digital items on eBay?

You are free to sell them as long as you possess the copyright and indicate it while listing these items. eBay can also take care of your order’s payment and “delivery.”

Etsy 

Etsy is an online marketplace for artists and crafters, although it also accepts digital products as long as they’re art-related.

As a result, you’ll be able to sell drawings, prints, tattoo designs, portraits, and graphics.

Shopify, SamCart, or Squarespace 

These are websites that cater specifically to online sellers.

Some artists argue that these services are prohibitively expensive.

For a basic store, Shopify starts at $29 per month.

For a company website, SquareSpace costs around $25 per month. Lastly, SamCart costs roughly $49 per month.

WooCommerce 

You may use the WooCommerce extension if you have a WordPress website to make it more functional.

It will transform your ordinary website into a powerful e-commerce platform that accepts orders, processes payments, and delivers products.

It’s also easy to integrate with your social media accounts, and you can sell straight from Instagram.

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Receiving Payments For Orders 

The most important thing is receiving the money you’ve earned when it comes to selling digital art.

To do so, you can process a payment in various ways, depending on how you make a sale. 

When you sell digital products on Etsy, you’ll see that it already have a payment processing gateway.

They’ll take care of all credit card processing for you.

They might make the payment and keep your funds for you through a third-party payment provider like Paypal.

They could also do all this themselves. 

In either case, you’ll need a bank account for them to send money to you.

Never put your real cash on any of these services.

While they are safe, they often have rules that could result in you losing your money if you break them.

As a result, transfer it to a secure account whenever you’ve earned $100 or more.

Remember that they may charge a fee based on a portion of your revenue.

Because each one is unique, you’ll need to do your homework before picking who to go with.

If you’re using Shopify, Squarespace, or Woocommerce, you’ll be able to link a payment gateway to accept credit card transactions.

Anyway, most buyers of digital art or digital downloads already have a credit card and are familiar with online payments. 

Delivering Digital Products 

When you sell physical goods, you must ship the customer’s purchased item.

Fortunately, with digital download products and the right correct software, you can accept payments and ship items electronically instantly. 

When you sell an art digital download product that transforms into a physical product, the platforms are responsible for deliveries.

You only have to supply the art and collect payments from your end. 

The Types of Digital Products You Can Sell 

1. Print-it-yourself Prints 

If you don’t want to print copies of your work, you can make a good watermarked scan in high resolution.

Take care not to make it so large that it takes too long to download. 

Then you can sell a digital copy of it to your customers.

They can then print it at home or take it to a local printing business.

It would be best to list the image in a mocked-up picture frame.

You must also include a disclaimer indicating the item being sold is a digital image that can be printed at home.   

So how do you produce print-it-yourself prints?

You can scan existing artworks and then convert them to grayscale in Gimp.

You can also start with a fresh outlined drawing and scan it. 

Alternatively, if you’ve mastered Procreate on the iPad, you may now create your art digitally.

Depending on which eCommerce solution you’ve chosen, make sure the file size for download isn’t more than 1MB.

Going higher can slow down the download process.

Consider those clients who do not have access to ultra-fast broadband. 

Make sure your digital file is labeled with the name of your website and the name of the artwork.

Of course, you want your customers to know where the image came from.

If you hold the copyright to the image, include a copyright declaration in your description.

How much should you charge for this type of digital product?

These attract more committed buyers who want to adorn their walls with your art. 

They will be willing to invest an additional $10 or more to have it professionally framed or printed.

You can offer a copy of each digital download for $5 for these prints, for starters.

You can charge extra if you have a large following.

For a few months, list the things to see how the market reacts.

If they aren’t selling, consider lowering the price or increasing the marketing of the goods.

2. How-to eBooks 

eBooks are most likely the first digital download product ever offered for sale on the internet.

After watching numerous web marketers and artists provide manuals and comprehensive instructions, I can confirm its current viability. 

An eBook is essentially a step-by-step tutorial on doing a given task.

The more detailed and difficult-to-find information you have, the more likely you will sell eBooks.

eBooks are usually well-written and well-planned, and they focus on a single topic or address a particular issue. 

One of the most typical questions I get is how lengthy an eBook should be.

It can be as long as it takes to resolve the said problem correctly.

Most eBooks, however, are between 30,000 and 50,000 words long.

They can be in the form of bullet points, step-by-step directions, or thorough information.

Many eBooks are between 20 and 100 pages long.

A tip is to provide value to your consumers by anticipating their inquiries.

If you write fiction as a form of expression, you are certainly also a reader.

So write the eBook that you’d like to read yourself. 

eBooks are popular since all you need is a word processor and a decent graphics tool like Canva.

Start your eBook by outlining the problem you’re trying to solve and then explaining your solution.

Then make a list of all the subheadings you’ll be writing about, and finish with a conclusion.

Consider what questions would be asked if your audience was sitting with you as writing points. 

Then create a professional-looking front cover, back cover, and pictures to package with Canva.

Make sure your writing is proofread and grammar-checked, then have someone else read your eBook to double-check. 

eBooks can be sent to a paying customer through email.

If you’re utilizing one of the eCommerce sites I mentioned, they’ll be able to download eBooks after payment has been processed.

eBooks range in price from $5 to $50 per copy.

For an excellent complete eBook that discusses everything in detail, the average cost range is $10-$15.

Related Reading: Self Publishing Children’s Books – Become A Published Author Now!

3. Tattoo Designs 

Selling tattoo designs is a highly specialized field, so do your research before devoting your time to creating designs.

You can get your artworks transformed into tattoos if you are an artist with a large following.

It all starts with a design that needs to be turned into a digital file, just like anything else.

The design should be simple and, ideally, a vectorized image that will not deteriorate in quality when enlarged.

People will want to enlarge or downsize the design based on where they want the tattoo on their bodies. 

If you choose one of the eCommerce platforms, it should be taken care of.

Posting on Etsy or eBay and having buyers download from there would be the most straightforward option.

Avoid putting watermarks on your image because I doubt anyone would want that on their body.

Tattoo designs should be considered any other kind of original art, with prices ranging from $5 to $50.

The more unique and intricate it is, the more it would cost. 

4. Kindle Books 

Numerous companies provide Book Online buying and fulfillment services.

While physical book publishing seems appealing, Kindle Publishing is the most straightforward option. 

It will enable you to convert that eBook into a Kindle book, which you can then sell on Amazon.

The majority of Kindle books for beginners cost $2 each.

Sure, this may not appear to be a large sum of money, but it adds up.

Although Amazon takes a share, you can still make a decent profit.

This could be a great start if you’re not a well-known author.

5. Courses and One-off Classes 

You could easily use that eBook you made before and record yourself completing all of the exercises.

You would then be supplementing your book with videos, PDF workbooks, etc.

Consider a course that incorporates all of your expert knowledge.

You can market this knowledge and make it enticing to potential students. 

What is the best way for you to create this digital product?

This would entail taking all of your eBook-writing, YouTube video-editing, Canva, and Photoshop talents and combining them into one course.

While you can provide this content on your website, you could become an instructor on Udemy. Students flock to such platforms. 

If you don’t know how to structure a course, Udemy is an excellent reference. 

The average cost of a course is roughly $10; however, it can be boosted to be more expensive.

Most sellers would price their course at $150 and then offer a 90% discount indefinitely.

Traditional professors have made hundreds of thousands offering courses they would have taught at a school for $30,000 a year!

6. Fonts 

Fonts require a little more talent to create because they are products that must adhere to a precise set of digital regulations.

Selling fonts is a typical hustle among graphic designers.

You can put them up for sale on Etsy or eBay.

You could also sell these on your website and include instructions on installing them on Macs and PCs.

Font can be purchased individually or as part of a font set.

All of the letters and digits in the range will be included in these packages.

They might start at $5 to $10 per pack and go up depending on market demand.

7. Gift Cards 

While strictly not a product, gift cards can be a source of revenue because not all of them are used. 

People buy gift cards, print them off, and give them to their family and friends.

You can create a gift card with tracking and expiration dates on several eCommerce sites.

If you Google gift cards for WordPress, you’ll find a list of all the alternatives accessible as a plugin.

There are several legal requirements for selling and recognizing gift cards, which differ from state to state.

Some don’t require expiration dates, while others demand that they be stored safely.

Gift cards are liable in the same way that money owed is. So be prepared to honor a gift card once you’ve sold it.

8. Printable color-in art 

This is the most basic digital product you can sell.

If you have a social media account like Instagram, you can check which of your artworks is trending. 

Then you may offer digital downloads of your artwork, which can be printed out and colored in at home.

Artists working in the fan art field can make a lot of money by selling black-and-white outlines of their works.

Their followers can then color in these prints at home.

Adult coloring is becoming increasingly trendy!

So how do you get started?

You can scan old artworks and then convert them to grayscale in Gimp.

You can also start with a new outlined drawing and scan it. 

9. Graphic designs transferred on merchandise 

The best part about using a Print-on-Demand service is that all you do is list the item on their website.

You supply the design, and the platform handles the rest.

They will manufacture the item that the buyer has chosen, process the payment, and ship the item to your clients.

You won’t even have to provide customer service.

Any quality issues are handled by the company, not you.

These services usually have set pricing or a price range for their items.

Of course, the percentage of commission you’ll receive for each item sold varies.

You can choose to earn 20% or more commission on the final price of an item sold on Etsy.

Let’s assume they offer a T-Shirt with your artwork on it. For the t-shirt, they’ll charge, say, $25.

Because you chose to earn a 20% commission on each shirt, the sale price when it’s posted is $30.

As a result, for every $30 t-shirt sold, you profit $5.

They usually pay you at the end of the month or when you reach the earning threshold of $20.

10. High-quality photos 

There is a market for high-quality digital images that can be downloaded and printed at home.

That’s excellent news if you’re a photographer or create detailed art.

Some customers want to use them as screen savers as well.

Your high-resolution photos will most likely be used as stock images in marketing materials.

Bloggers may make up a bulk of your customer base.

Shutterstock, Adobe Stock, and free sites like Unsplash are examples of digital photography for sale.

You don’t have to do anything but list the item on these sites and sell the links to them.

Make sure to provide a lot of information in your image description to show up in site searches.

The cost of digital photographs varies.

The less competition a picture has, the more valuable it will be.

Prices will begin at $1 and rise from there.

Look for similar digital images for sale to discover how much the competition asks.

11. YouTube videos 

YouTube channels appear simple at first glance, yet they might be the most difficult to monetize.

You will earn money by generating videos that deliver your chosen content or tutorials, among other things.

The issue with YouTube is that to monetize your videos, you must have over 4000 hours of video views.

You’ll also need a total of 1000 subscribers.

So the more views you get, the more moolah you earn.

This is a long-term strategy that would benefit any artist with a sizable social media or blog audience.

Your YouTube channel will be used to deliver the content.

Your videos will show on your channel and be searchable once published.

Make sure that each video has an accurate description and that you use the three hashtags allowed per video. 

You can begin earning money after your channel has been monetized.

Although YouTube does not reveal how much you can make per video, several YouTubers are already publishing their earnings. 

Like Instagrammers and YouTubers, many online personalities make money by selling access to their exclusive content.

To provide additional content online, most people use services like Patreon.

So how do you go about creating this digital product?

You sign up for the platform, agree to its terms, and generate material like you would for social media.

Of course, this specific content should be exclusive to paying viewers. 

You may offer face-to-face live chats, conversations, tutorials, or access to restricted videos.

Your fans are likely to pay for access to this content if they’re dying to know your secrets!

You don’t need to do anything else because the platform will send the content to your customers. 

You get to decide how much you’ll charge for access.

It might be $25 per month or less for a recurring subscription.

Some allow for tiered access, which means that customers pay more for additional content. 

13. Digital resources

People buy digital art in the same way they purchase digital photos.

Screen savers are popular, but some are also marketed to game developers and website owners.

Converting your most famous artworks into downloadable image files is known as digital art.

List your things for a few months to see how they do in the market.

If they aren’t selling, consider lowering the price or increasing the marketing of the goods.

The blockchain technology that powers our favorite e-currencies like Bitcoin via the NFT is now included in Digital Art.

Non-Fungible Token (NFT) allows artists to digitally sign their digital artworks to ensure ownership over their copyright.

They’re now selling NFT art as solo works of art, and many people are profiting.

14. Stickers 

Artists and designers can create and sell stickers, which are specialized products.

That is one option for you, but it will mean that whatever income you receive will be more active than passive. 

You can browse your collection and select artwork that can be turned into sellable stickers.

Then you may sell them on an online marketplace like Etsy.

Even if 20% on $2 isn’t much of a profit, it adds up!

If you use StickerMule to make your stickers, you can sell them for around $1 or $2 apiece.

You can then deduct the cost of creation from the shipment. 

To get started, you will have to upload the image to Etsy and make sure it meets their requirements.

You need to check criteria such as image resolution and file size.

Click save and then market this product on your website or social media accounts to make sales.

You will need to pack and ship tangible products if you want to order and ship orders yourself.

Shipment expenses are usually minimal, even for international shipping, because items typically fit in an envelope.

If you sell on Etsy, you can set your margin anywhere from 25% to 40%.

Because stickers are inexpensive, your profit margin will be minimal.

If you sell these stickers directly, $2 to $5 for each sticker plus free delivery is a reasonable price.

To make any substantial money, you’ll need to sell many stickers. 

Related Reading: How to make money while you sleep – Check Out The Post Here.

Final Thoughts – How To Make Money With Digital Art

There are various methods to make a lot of money as a digital artist, whether you’re a newbie or a veteran. 

Do not rely only on traditional presenting and selling your artworks for face-to-face transactions.

Keep in mind that the majority of companies have gone digital.

I hope you found this guide informative and easy to follow.

I want this post to inspire you to create at least one art digital product and earn a solid passive income.

You’ll discover that it’s hard to stop once you’ve gotten used to making money online using digital art!

Now is the perfect time to dip your toes into the digital world as an artist.