How can you make money as a digital artist? There are more options today than ever before!
Here are six ways for digital artists to make money that don’t involve active work for a client.
Art Courses & Tutorials
Many people want to improve their art skills, get started with a specific type of art, or learn how to use a new program for their art. You can fulfill this need with courses or art tutorials.
Courses can sit on paid platforms like Skillshare or Coursera, or you can go for indirect monetization through ad-supported platforms, sponsorship deals, and tipping. Tutorials will almost always fit into the indirect monetization rather than being on a paid platform.
If you have the time to make a course on a specific art topic, this can be a great way to make passive income over a long period! A course takes a lot of work upfront, but you can earn without doing anything else once you finish making it.
Make a course about an art topic you’re knowledgeable about. Choose a highly specific topic. The more specific you can make it, the more your course will stand out in a crowded market of digital courses. Unless you already have a large audience, you should avoid making a course on a broad art topic. Go for a niche and create a fantastic course that appeals to a specific group.
Make a series of videos explaining different things about your art, demonstrating techniques you use, or showing how to make a specific thing. As people watch your videos, you can build an audience and start collecting ad revenue or getting some tips from people who enjoyed your work.
You can contact brands and look for video sponsorships if you have a large enough audience. Offer to make a tutorial drawing a specific thing for the brand, do the tutorial using their program, or mention their sponsorship during the video.
Art Making Videos & Streams
Streaming is a popular outlet for artists to make some extra money today. Making art on stream allows the audience to ask questions, interact with you, or chat while doing your thing. With enough viewers, you can get into the Twitch Partners or the YouTube Partnership program and earn ad revenue. Even without that, you can get subscriptions and donations from viewers.
Art streams are a great way to chill out and enjoy the company of other art lovers, with the plus of making a bit of money as well. If you’re good at it, you can make a ton of money from streaming.
Your other option for making art for viewers is to create videos of you doing your art and post them online. Instead of tutorials, these are just videos of you doing art. You can do anything from short timelapse videos to long-form, chill videos for people to relax. Get creative with it!
Stock Images & Designs
Stock images are a big business, but they’re not all real photos taken by photographers. They can also be digital art of any kind, including graphics and simple digital designs. You might not get many hits, but if you put up enough multi-purpose graphics and designs, you can get a few downloads and make some passive income monthly.
Icons and icon sets are another interesting stock media type to look into. It’s not as obvious of an income stream, but it can be lucrative! You can make custom icons for almost anything and sell individual icons or icon sets through stock image sites or your own custom storefront.
Your target audience for stock media is usually web designers, developers, and other content creators. Make something useful for them, and you can turn it into a healthy stock media side hustle. You probably won’t get rich with this, but it’s good practice that can earn some passive income, so it’s a win-win!
Self-Published Comic, Coloring, and Art Books
Self-publishing is a real possibility, even if you’re not interested in writing a 200-page novel. Comic books are an option if you’re interested in a bit of storytelling, but you also have options like coloring books (for adults or children), coffee table-style art books, art collections, or even written/illustrated art tutorials.
When you self-publish a book, it sits in an online bookstore and sells over time. This is another source of passive income that takes a bit of time upfront to set up. Once you have a few books in your catalog, you can earn a little extra every month from the sales.
If you want to make this income stream a little less passive, you can actively market your book to get it in front of more eyes. The more people who see your title, the more likely you are to make some extra sales each month. Publishing new books regularly can also bring fresh attention to your existing books, meaning this income stream can compound over time.
Twitch Emotes, Badges, and Overlays
Twitch streamers love custom overlays to spruce up their streaming screens. Mixing in custom emotes and badges, you can make entire design packs aimed at streamers, helping them customize the experience for their viewers. You can sell basic packages of overlays, emotes, and badges or bespoke collections that you can customize for the buyer.
Set up a free shop on Visuals by Impulse, Etsy, Shopify, or a similar platform to find buyers. Or offer that service on a freelancing platform like Fiverr or Upwork.
If you’re ready for a more technical design challenge, you can create and sell custom fonts online. You must make a complete font set and follow all the proper formatting. Then, you can sell your custom fonts on platforms like Envato Elements, Creative Market, My Fonts, and even Etsy. If you want to put them on multiple platforms, make sure there’s no exclusivity agreement.
Custom fonts are just another passive income source. They probably won’t make you rich, but a few unique font sets can earn you extra income every month without any extra effort. Your only time investment is the upfront time of making the fonts, which you may already have done for your own projects.
How do you supplement your income as an artist? Let us know in the comments below!