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Being an artist is a gift, a talent that many admire.
As a freelance artist, you can perfectly blend your skills and imagination in a visual form such as drawing, painting, or sculpture. Fortunately, while you do need to know how to become a freelance artist before you make money selling art, you don’t need a degree or experience to do this. So now 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 full time or as a side hustle. Here you’ll learn how you can become a freelance artist with no degree.
What is a freelance artist?
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:
Artists create a look and feel for television brands, shows, print, and web media.
Multimedia artists skilled in document layout, books, posters and magazines work for different publishing brands who need their talent.
With several businesses going online, websites rely on artists to create visual impressions for their brands and attract global customers.
Do you need a degree to be a freelance artist?
No, you do not need a degree to become a freelance artist. Art by itself is a natural gift. You may want a little education to improve on this gift, though. As a professional freelance artist, you’ll definitely need 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 may require you to have specific education and training qualifications before hiring you. Many others will not.
Here are some basic education and training you may want to consider to meet the online market.
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.
How much do freelance artists make?
How much freelance artists make varies wildly, depending on a lot of factors. Some of these factors are:
- where you try to sell your art
- 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.
Because how much artists makes is so variable, it’s impossible to accurately give a figure. According to Talent.com, however, the average annual freelance artist salary in the United States is $48,750. This breaks down to $4,062 a month, $937 a week, and about $23 an hour.
How to sell art as a freelance artist
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.
Where to sell art online – top 6 websites
Fine Art America
Fine Art America 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 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, OnlineGallery is a popular global platform for its rich art ulture and designs. Artists pay € 1.95 every month to show their portfolio to potential clients and communicate with them.
Etsy is a very popular platform for artists of all types. Thousands of freelance artists sell on Etsy. 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.
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 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.
Being an artist is a gift. Now that you you know how to become a freelance artist, you have an opportunity to turn your amazing skill into freelance income even if you have no degree.
Want to learn more about freelancing? Take my Get on the Right Path to Freelancing free mini-course.
(This updated post was originally published on December 3, 2020.)
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.