How to make money as an artist

You’re a creative. Although expressing yourself through your art is your top priority, being a creative person is something of a superpower. And tapping into this creativity can open up a variety of avenues for additional income.

Online options are making it even easier for artists to connect with enriching opportunities. Below we’ll highlight a few of the side hustles that creative people are using to generate additional income.

Freelance design

As an artist, you probably have a decent handle on digital tools that enable you to create and edit artwork. At the very least, you have an eye for what looks good, and you boast an established style. This is a great skill — and many advertising firms and small businesses are looking for great designers.

If you’re looking for quick one-off projects, a platform like Upwork might be right for you. A website like FlexJobs is more specifically aimed at freelance designers looking to supplement their income. Meanwhile, many firms out there are looking for in-house designers, even on a part-time basis.

Teaching

I think we all agree that art should be open to everyone. Even if someone has never picked up a paintbrush before, they should have the opportunity to express themselves artistically. That’s why art classes are so popular. They enable all sorts of people — young and old, beginners and experts alike — to improve their skills and show off their work in a communal setting.

Local community centers, schools, and libraries are all popular sites for art classes. And the demand for people who can teach these classes tends to be fairly high. After all, it isn’t always easy to find experienced artists.

You’ll likely find that teaching isn’t simply a satisfying way to supplement your income as an artist. It’s also a way to reconnect with that earlier version of yourself who was learning. By putting yourself in the shoes of your students, you can relive those early days of artistic wonder — and maybe even learn something yourself.

Teaching online

The digital world has opened up new classrooms — virtually — all over the world. This means there are more opportunities for artists looking to be art instructors.

Teaching online on a platform like Coursera or Udemy works for students and teachers alike. One obvious benefit? You can work from home. And the variety of classes is always growing. You can teach anything from sculpture to digital art to electronic music production. The options are nearly endless.

E-book covers

The market for e-books is booming. Marketplaces like Amazon connect readers with writers — and more writers are using these platforms to self-publish. But writers write and might not be the best ones to design covers for their self-published books. That’s where a talented artist comes in.

Websites like Ebook Launch and BookBaby are easy-to-use platforms that connect writers with designers. And websites like Upwork and Fiverr are popular freelance platforms that help artists nab e-book cover jobs.

Paint nights

Businesses that enable a group of friends to hang out with an artist, paint a bit, and drink some wine are popping up everywhere. Their popularity is understandable: These paint nights are pretty fun! Of course, someone has to teach these classes.

The best part of teaching a paint night class is that they connect you with all sorts of people you might have otherwise never met. You also get to experiment with your own art, giving classes fun prompts that get the creative juices — and the wine — flowing.

Street art

If you live in a busy urban area, setting up in a park and creating art is a great way to get some fresh air and create art inspired by the people and places around you. Sitting down and painting a landscape in real time is sure to draw attention — and maybe even potential buyers. And making caricatures or fun portraits of tourists is a great way to make extra money while practicing your skills.

Finding out how to make money as an artist isn’t as tough as it seems once you’re aware of the opportunities around you. After all, you bring skills to the table that very few can. So put them to the test and find some fulfilling ways to supplement your income. After all, the best side hustles do more than just earn you money as an artist — they also help you meet new people and practice your craft.

Struggled as an artist in her youth. Went digital. Never looked back. Generative art is her passion.

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