How Do Artists Make Money & How Much Can You Make From Art Commissions

It is commonly believed that making money as an Artist is beyond challenging and can sometimes seem impossible. However, if you are passionate about art and have the necessary skills, living the Artist dream may be your objective.

And why not? In this modern world, there are a plethora of ways to make money from your work, and some commissions can be quite lucrative. Let’s look at some ways that artists can utilize to start getting cash. 


Instagram has come to be the No. 1 social media site for artists to display their work and also for art enthusiasts to peruse what’s on offer. In a way, it cuts out the part where artists have to get their name out there and climb the metaphorical ladder, as it were.

You simply create an account and connect with potential buyers throughout the world. It’s amazing how many people you can find that would be willing to pay for your work. 

As is common these days, your popularity is measured by how many followers you have and building on that as a way of reaching people.

The more popular your art becomes, the more followers you receive and more potential customers. So, how can you make the most of an Instagram following?

  • Ensure you post high-quality images, ones that will represent your art in the best way.
  • When photographing your artwork, make sure the background is neutral and free of clutter. Decide on a certain style and stick to it, so your brand will be easily recognized, Be creative with descriptions of your art. 
  • Fellow creatives will be drawn to your work, so try to build on that with beautiful words to describe your specific art. 
  • People also enjoy reading some personal information about the artist. Write a positive, attractive bio explaining a little about yourself, so people are drawn to you and want to know more.
  • Post regularly. If someone comments or asks questions, be sure to reply swiftly and then redirect them to your selling page. 


Anyone that has a specific skill has the option of passing it on through teaching. Technology has opened up many opportunities to teach, whether in-person or online. 

Some people would love to create lovely drawings or paintings, but don’t have a clue where to start. Teaching can be a lucrative business, especially if you have any specialisms such as calligraphy, watercolours, or photography. 

You could offer classes to the local community and provide workshops with discounted rates for group sessions, or charge a higher price for 1-1. Kid’s love getting messy, so you could consider offering kid’s art classes at the local community center or such like.

You could organize exhibitions where you can showcase your art to drive interest and then highlight the classes you provide. 

What about online teaching, how does that work? Teaching online can be a  much better option for gathering a larger audience. Nevertheless, tutoring people online, at the same time, will be more challenging than one to one teaching. 

One option is to turn your training into a type of easy revenue. You can spend some time creating the material, and then it can be reused over and over again, bringing you income effortlessly. 

Creating courses and selling them to online platforms such as Skillshare or Udemy is great for generating income. You can create guides, tutorials, images, and e-books that should provide a steady stream of income.

You could even set up a YouTube channel and produce weekly live steamed lessons that people can pay a subscription for or buy at a one-off cost. 


One of the most lucrative ways to make money from art is by doing commission work. This is really where the big bucks are, but getting and agreeing on commissions is easier said than done. 

Standard commissions terms are typically for 50% payment at the time of signing and 50% upon completion of the job.  If you can manage to secure several commissions per year, you will likely be earning a comfortable wage.

Art Commissions

But how can you work out how much to charge for a commission? As a rule of thumb, follow this process:

Firstly, pay yourself a decent hourly wage for your work. Next, gather together all the materials you need, then add them to your hourly rate.

For example, if your materials cost $70, and it is likely to take 25 hours of your time, and you’re charging $30 per hour, then your commission charge will be $820. Not a bad deal?

But how do you even get the ball rolling to enable you to negotiate commissions with potential buyers?

Keeping abreast of changes in the art world, what’s working and what’s not, as oftentimes timing is key.

Advertising your work to potential buyers is often about being in the right place at the right time, and you can only do this if you are constantly promoting your work in every avenue available, especially online. 

Another important factor is to be sure to state your terms at the beginning for the sake of transparency. Although there is always room for negotiation, don’t be talked into going lower in price than the lowest rate you have decided.

In addition, always ask for a portion of the payment upfront. You don’t want to be in a position where you complete the work and some difficult clients complain and won’t pay up. (this is rare but can happen). 

Following on from above, be very clear about what the client is asking from you. Ask lots of questions for clarity, so you have a clear understanding and objective. This can minimize any potential issues later on. 

Do your best to keep hold of good clients and be loyal to them by offering discounts when you can. You can also ask them to help promote their work to help build your reputation and attract new clients. 


It’s true that Artists are generally more into visuals than other media. However, thanks to technology and internet courses nowadays, anyone can try their hand at being an author. Besides, your blog site will be richer in images than words.

For instance, if you teach your visitors a certain painting technique, the messages will only need to explain the visuals and describe the actions portrayed. So, if you don’t frown at the idea of writing completely, below are some suggestions for an art blog site:

  • Tips or tutorials on how to master a technique and create something beautiful.
  • Meetings with local artists 
  • Reviews of new art products
  • Articles giving information about new trends in the art world. 
  • Tips and tricks about how to become a successful artist
  • Visual video demonstrating how to paint and how to achieve certain results. 

But how do you actually make money, you may be wondering? 

There are many methods to earn extra income by blogging. A few of some of the most popular ones are 

  • associate advertising and marketing, 
  • paid ads, 
  • producing commissioned testimonials, 
  • promoting your various other items through your blog.

Another way to make money as an Artist is to sell your art online. Etsy is a great platform for this.  This option gives you the opportunity to display your art to a broader target market and take your company to the next level.

Lots of sellers, including Artists, have actually been able to make a stable income by selling on Etsy. What makes Etsy so great is that you can sell anything creative or artistic, such as:

  • Fashion jewellery 
  • Paintings
  • Visual arts 
  • Photography etc 

Not only is Etsy known as a site for discovering one-of-a-kind handmade things, but it’s also amazing for electronic art. Etsy’s diversity draws in various kinds of consumers to their industry, which can really operate in your favour.

Art Tutorials

YouTube Tutorials 

How often do you turn to YouTube if you want to learn how to do something? For many, it’s the first port of call. 

Video clip tutorials are highly searched for because individuals benefit from visual learning. All you need is good quality recording equipment (not necessarily expensive) such as a smartphone or video camera.

You should also have a willingness to record yourself in a confident way for people to watch. 

Of course, YouTube is a competitive platform with millions trying to get noticed at the same time, but there are several ways to make yourself stand out from others. 

Firstly, define your area of expertise and be clear about what you are trying to achieve. Research and watch the people who are doing something similar to you and do it better! Research keywords and make sure you upload new content every week. 

Final Thoughts

With the right business head and a positive outlook,  being an Artist can make you money, and you have the joy of doing what you love for money! Living the dream indeed! 

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