5 Ways to Earn Money as an Artist (Without Selling at a Gallery)

By Steff Metal in Art Business Advice > General Art Advice

So often we get stuck thinking that galleries are the only way to formulate an artistic career, that we forget about the myriad of other money-making opportunities available to artists.

While a select few lucky artists can make a living selling their art through galleries alone, the rest of us need to come up with new and interesting ways to make money while still following our passion.

Quick announcement - EmptyEasel is giving away 50 custom-built portfolio websites to deserving artists this June. Click here to learn more or grab your spot!

So here are five ideas for earning a sweet living as an artist:

1. Sell art at craft fairs

Craft stalls are making a comeback in a big way, especially over the holiday season. People are tired of buying their loved-ones disposable crap from big-box stores, and are flocking to craft fairs in droves. If you’re selling beautiful handmade art, most people will happily pay a fair price for it.

There are craft fairs to fit every theme and art market. In my town alone, there are vintage-themed fairs, steampunk fairs, geek fairs, mom and baby fairs, old lady fairs, eco fairs and even “affordable fine art” fairs.

2. Paint murals on commission

Many people are looking for something different to adorn their home. If you’ve got a knack for larger-scale artwork and figure-drawing, why not go into mural painting? You could do everything from zoo animals in a newborn baby’s room to replicas of the Sistine Chapel on the roof of an opulent bedroom.

3. Teach an art class

Some people say that “those who can’t do, teach,” but you know that’s ridiculous. Many successful, professional artists supplement their income with teaching—whether that’s holiday kids’ classes, adult community classes, or development workshops for arts professionals.

Figure out your area of expertise then pitch the idea to your nearest institution. Soon you could have a whole class listening to your every word.

4. Write for artist magazines or art blogs

There are hundreds of magazines and blogs dedicated to artists and crafters, and each one needs a regular supply of articles. Most of those articles are written by practicing artists—just like you.

So next time you begin a project, document your progress and see if you can create a tutorial or article. Pitch your idea to the editor of your favorite magazine or online art blog, and go from there.

5. Create wedding art

Weddings are one of those events where people are happy to splash out on mementos. You could create a line of wedding-related products—for instance, handmade chalices for a wine/sand ceremony, art-inspired invitation and thank-you card sets, or couples portraits.

Try advertising on local wedding blogs and publications, contact wedding planners in your area, or just use good old-fashioned word of mouth, and you could be creating unique art for weddings in no time.

Now it’s your turn. . . how do you earn money from your art?

For more practical (and often hilarious) advice from Steff, visit grymmandepic.com.

NOTE: You may also be interested in EE's step-by-step drawing guide for artists. Click below to learn more!

This post may contain affiliate links.