So your wondering how to make money with your art?
1) Digitize your Portfolio
I will assume you have a good collection of finished pieces
and you have them digitally captured as a portfolio. These images are saved in .pdf format and .jpeg format.
If you dont have this done yet, It should be your highest priority, take shots with the best digital camera you can get your hands on and crop and edit the digital pictures. On smaller images do a direct scan. If you just cant handle taking photos yourself, try to recruit a student or friend who is a photographer, try using Craigslist to find or hire this person.
Your best bet for editing is Photoshop, but if you had that then that step would have been old news for you.
My recommendation,a program that I still use myself for quick edits, has a great image cataloger interface and easy edit features is Googles, Picasa Program. Its free, it incorporates directly to mail and has a web album and embeddable slideshow feature
Get it here: Picasa 3
2) Create a Web Presence:
You will need an online base of operations, I suggest multiple. So go ahead and get yourself a myspace account, a facebook account and a deviant art account. This is your minimum.
No matter what you want these as promotional and networking tools, in short to get your art out there.
Be sure to give yourself the exact same username on each site, whether it is your own name or a business name that you create for yourself.
You really should have your own domain (a web address) i.e. www.yournameart.com , they cost 7.50 a year and will absolutely be the easiest way to tell people to look at your art, buy from your stores or see your next gallery showings.
I use GoDaddy for all my domain purchases:
Domain Sale! $7.49 .com at GoDaddy
Because of their 7.49 deal, setting up a domain is very easy.(the deal is only though partners like me, if you go to their page directly its 9.95)
There are a bunch more sites we will sign up for, but this will suffice for now.
So you now have a web presence, reserve the domain and forget about it for a little while. Focus on developing your free profiles, your artist, make them visually appealing, SIMPLE in Design, and make sure all of your art is posted. We will work on techniques, and do and dont's in later columns.
SO at this point people can find your art online contact you and request to purchase work or commission your skills, not nearly good enough and you will just be one of millions but your better off than most.
People like to pay online with respected processors, just sending you checks or money in the mail wont fly with most, and will totally remove the all important impulse buy.
So How do I get paid ?
Well your best bet is a Paypal account, its respected and you can get paid instantly.
With a Paypal account you will be able to place buy it now buttons near items you offer, or services you sell. You will also be able to invoice customers via email, including ones who work with offline.
Congratulations you now accept Credit cards! Now your twice as Professional as most of the artists out there, you can bring a laptop to any of your shows and directly charge customers on the spot.
What am I selling?
Good question, Personally I hate selling my originals and I rarely do it, so I sell prints instead, but if you really want to make a profit, think like the music industry, the money is in merchandise! At my shows I sell a couple of prints to art collectors, but the the major sales is T shirts, wall clocks, mousepads etc. (Those are my top sellers) that everybody (not just art collectors) have a desire for.
Get a free POD account (Print on Demand) T- Shirt Store
Spreadshirt gives you a T shirt store with its own unique web address, remember to use the same username as all your other pages. Now you can link this store to all your pages and possibly get sales online, keep your prices low, dont get greedy.
I buy in bulk from myself at a discount then sell high in person at shows, $25 looks cheap for a t-shirt compared to a $500.00 painting!
You also want to be able to create and market merchandise like mousepads, clocks, posters etc. using the same type of service.
You should now have 6 marketplaces/profiles with your works and items available for sale. All with the same name, so they can be easily googled by interested clients and word of mouth contacts.
This will be the end of this installment for now. Remember you are a business! Keep good organization of your sites, have a good professional contact email and check it regularly. Keep your art supply costs low! Try buying off of ebay , definitely get a dick blick catalog, cheapest retailer I have found so far, especially if you grab from the clearance collection.
Free 624-page Art Supply Catalog!
Shop on eBay for art supplies:
eBay will take pages to explain but it is also an excellent resource to sell and buy from.
Research ACEOS, ATC's - quick, light,salable works for eBay
Networking and Networking thats whats going to get you the exposure that will lead to sales!
Why Picasso outearned Van Gogh