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How to Become a Freelance Artist

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Being an artist is a gift, a talent that many admire. As a freelance artists, you can perfectly blend your skills and imaginations in a visual form such as drawing, painting, or sculpture. It’s time to turn your rare gift into a money-making opportunity.

With the world appreciating the beauty along with the emotional power of art, you have a huge market when you start freelancing as an artist.

Whether you are a cartoonist, painter, graphic artist, modeler, or illustrator, you can earn more cash by doing what you love, either part-time or full-time. Here is how you can become a freelance artist.

How to Become a Freelance Artist

How to become a freelance artist - plus the top 5 places you can sell art online

What exactly does a freelance artist do?

Freelance artists create and sell their art on their terms. They can create physical artwork and sell it offline or online to many clients. They also create digital art that they sell in ‘prints.’

You can sell your work online through your website or digital marketplaces. Many freelance artists are self-employed, and some may regularly work with agencies and clients.

Freelance artists can work with just any company. Here are some examples:

Television Networks – Artists create a look and feel for television brands, shows, print, and web media.

Publishers – Multimedia artists skilled in document layout, books, posters and magazines work for different publishing brands who need their talent.

Websites: With several businesses going online, websites rely on artists to create visual impressions for their brands and attract global customers.,

Do successful freelance artists need any type of education or degree?

Art by itself is a natural gift, and you may need very little education to improve on it. But to become a professional freelance artist, you need additional skills that will help you build your presence online and maximize your opportunities.

While you can sell your artwork offline, there is a vast marketplace online and you  have to know how to reach it and appeal to it.

Many clients you will meet online also require you to have specific education and training qualifications before hiring you.

Here are some basic education and training you should consider to meet the online market.

Computer Skills – Computer skills are a must-have when you want to market yourself. These skills will help you create an online portfolio and use designing software such as Canva to develop and improve your work through photoshop. Computer training also will equip you with the ability to manage your website, blog, and social media.

Training In Specialized Fields – Many artists find education and training help to sharpen their skills and cause many clients to consider them.

More than 63% of freelance artists hold a Bachelor’s degree and 7% have a Master’s degree. A specific field like 3-D animation requires a Bachelor of Arts degree. Besides getting a university education, post-secondary schools of art and design offer training in different fields of art, such as studio and multimedia.

Dozens of small paintbrushes in paint-dabbled glass jar used by a freelance artist

How much money can I earn when I become a freelance artist?

As of November 25, 2020, according to ZipRecruiter, the average annual earnings for a freelance artist in the United States was $53,300. This breaks down to $4,400 a month, $1,100 a week, and $25 an hour.

ZipRecruiter reports that some artists earn as high as $124,000 a year, while others make as low as $14,400 in the same period. The majority earn between $28,500 to $62,500 every year.

You need to note that the amount you can make as a freelance artist depends on several factors:

  • the kind of art you make
  • who you work with
  • how long you choose to work
  • the demand for your services
  • your negotiation skills
  • how you market yourself.

As a freelance artist, expect your income to rise and fall as these factors change. What you earn today is not what you will earn tomorrow.

How do I sell my art?

Like any other freelancing profession, there are several ways you can sell art online or offline. Perfect the methods that work best for you, and this should help you find more clients, sell more of your art and increase your income.

Create an online portfolio – A portfolio is the best way to show your talents and abilities to clients online. Create and update your website gallery regularly. Divide your artwork into small categories so your visitors will view them according to their preference.

Remember to tell them your story and include your CV and contact details. Tell your story through your blog page and take your visitors behind the scenes of your artwork.

Team up with existing platforms and sites – This is one of the best ways to find clients for your art. The sites already have an existing audience and sales tools to help you communicate and sell your art to clients. If you decide to join several platforms, make sure you have the same prices on your work.

Top 7 websites to sell your art online

Fine Art America – This is arguably the largest digital art marketplace globally. This site is home to hundreds of artists making a living by selling anything from paintings to home decor and wall art.

ArtPal – ArtPal is a free gallery to sell and buy art. Its thousands of artists pay no membership fees and sell various forms of art like prints and originals. – Based in the Netherlands, this site is a popular global platform for its rich art culture and designs. Artists pay € 1.95 every month to show their portfolio to potential clients and communicate with them.

VSUAL Artists working on VSUAL are dedicated solely to selling their prints, and it’s a free platform.

Etsy – Etsy is a very popular platform for artists of all types. You can read how artists can earn money on Etsy here. Etsy charges a listing fee of 0.20 USD for each item you list for sale. They also charge a 5% transaction fee as well as any amount you charge for delivery and gift wrapping.

Learn how to become a freelance artist and earn money using the colorful paints in the small bowl in this photo


Saatchi Art – Saatchi Art boasts of being the “world’s leading online gallery” that features new artists, helping them to promote themselves. It has more than 500,000 original artworks from more than 60,000 artists.

On Saatchi Art you can sell your unique artwork ranging from $125 to $100,000 and prints from $40. You will receive 65% of the sales proceeds via PayPal or Wire transfer two weeks after your work is delivered to the buyer.

Art Finder – Art Finder is another online art gallery site with over 10,000 artists who have displayed more than 300,000 works. It has more than 500,000 subscribers. You can sell any kind of art through this site. Prices range from as low as $13 and as high as $11 million. You will get 67% of the sales proceeds.

You’ll find even more sites where you can sell your art here and here.

Being an artist is a gift. Freelance artists have an opportunity to turn this rare skill into a money-making idea. Follow these tips and you can be on your way to earning more income.

Images by Free-Photos Rudy and Peter Skitterians

How to sell your art online as a freelance artist Pinterest image

How to sell your art online Pinterest image

Peter Otieno, freelance writer
Peter Otieno

Peter Otieno is a full-time freelance writer and a contributor to different websites. He has provided articles for blogs and business on several topics over 3 years. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Statistics and worked as a sales representative before shifting to freelance.

You can find Peter on Upwork here and Fiverr here.

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