17 Ways to Monetize Your Craft

make money with art

There is no reason why you can not be a rich eccentric artist weirdo. I promise you if you work hard and smart, you can be.

This blog post is about all the various ways you can monetize your craft and passion.

bob ross

1. Stream Art on Twitch

Be Bob Ross. Now, I think most people do not really care for his art, however the man was charistmatic squared. He was the father you never had. Back in 2015, on the 29th of October Twitch.com launched Twitch Creative.

They hosted a 9-day marathon of Bob Ross's The Joy of Painting and the response was insane. Me and my best friend would just have him in the background even if we didn't watch him. Twitch reported that 5.6million viewers watched the marathon.

So now you might be wondering how does the monetization work? In order to get a partnership with Twitch you need 100 concurrent viewers. You will need either amazing art or style that people love or a personality that's just enjoyable to watch regardless of the art. If you want to know the specifics I suggest you google for more information. It's not complicated.

2. Custom merch

There are a variety of POD websites and services

3. Street work- commissions

Do I need to explain this?

4. Youtube/Google

Write or produce "how to" content in either video or text format. Example look up the video "How to draw a rose". Think you could do something like that or exactly like that but better? 

5. DeviantArt Prints

Self-explanatory. Make it visible that you're looking for work.

6. Tumblr

Infiltrate a passionate fandom with your artwork. Open up commissions.

7. Commercial Galleries

Commercial galleries typically sell artists’ works at a commission. The typical commission that galleries take is somewhere between 40% and 50% of the sale of the work. This is determined by the contract. Whether you submit your work for sale by consignment or enter into an ongoing relationship with a gallery, the parameters should all be written down in a contract.

8. Non-profit Galleries

Nonprofit galleries typically show work that is young, edgier and cutting edge. Depending on the gallery, they will take a commission – usually not more than 30%. Nonprofit galleries typically do not “represent” artists or enter into contractual relationships with them.

9. Co-Op Galleries

A co-op gallery usually involves a group of artists who work together to show their work, promote the gallery, and sometimes offer community art classes or workshops. Some will even have studio space available for their members to create artwork on site. A spin on this is to host a gallery event for other artists and add your own work too.

10. Make your studio public and sell out of it


11. Sell your art online

Make your own art blog where you'll be able to get 100% of the commission or use 3rd party sites to help with the sell. Send me an email if you're interested in your own art blog otherwise I'll list 3rd party sites you can use.

12. Public Commissions

Artists are commissioned for public art usually in connection with a new building or construction project. Many states have a law that specifies that 1% of the total building cost go to art for the building. Usually state and city art groups have the latest information of what program is currently accepting applications.There are also private funds for public art like The Public Art Fund and Percent for Art. When artists get a public work commission, they typically get 20% of the total cost of the project as an artist’s fee.

13. Grants

There are many grants for artists. They are very competitive to get, but as one mentor of mine advised me, “Don’t give up until you have applied ten times.” Grants vary in how much money they award. Some grants are privately funded and some are publicly funded. Some are given for a specific project that you propose and some are given outright for the work that you do.

14. Residencies

There are many residencies for artist to get “away from the world” and focus on their work. The length of the residency varies and the amount of money granted to the artist varies too. Some residencies actually charge money. But many will cover at least some if not all costs. You must apply for these residencies and have a flexible work schedule to go.Many times the most valuable asset of a residency is not the money granted, but the professional network an artist forms while there. The network may include other artists, guests, curators, and other influential people in the art word.

15. Talk to Museum and Art Center Curators

Museums and Art Centers Artists generally don’t see a cent from exhibits in a museum. In some cases, however, they do make money. Installation artists are typically given an artist fee for creating a temporary installation. The fee can be set by you or the museum. Find other ways that museums can help an artist’s career and hear what a curator has to say about the business of museums.

16. Teach

I already partially touched on this in the youtube section (how to guides). Teaching / Guest Artist ProgramsOne of the most popular ways to make money as an artist is to teach. Teaching opportunities at a college level are competitive, but don’t overlook guest artist programs. There may be ways to get a teaching job that you have not thought of.

17. Platforms for selling your skill



This post will get updated as I learn and have time to update it. It's currently not a priority. Sadly. But I look forward to making this a go to resource for artists. Having said that, choose what you want to do and do that. If you can't find find something you want to do then do what you can do. I'm a firm believer in hard work. You're not entitled to enjoying your work. The best you can do is minimise the pain of doing work that does not move the needle.

About the author

John Thatch

John Thatcher is a computer science educated artist. He uses technology to solve artist problems. His friends don't like it when he speaks of himself in the third person. But John does it anyway, because he's a rebel.

Leave a comment: