17 Easy Passive Income Ideas For Artists 2024

Passive income gives artists more time to work on what they love without stressing about where their next payment will come from.

Whether the goal is to achieve economic stability and security or financial independence, artists are generally looking for ways to have multiple sources of income.

There is a growing assumption that artists can hardly make good money. This was perhaps true in the past but definitely not today when the boom of remote and freelance working has led to increased opportunities to generate more income.

If you too have creative skills, you can quickly turn your talent into a lucrative occupation that would bring you additional income.

In this article, we shall look at some of the easy passive income ideas for artists and how these ideas can boost your financial prospects.

Easy Passive Income Ideas for Artists

1. Print-On Demand Sites

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Print-on-demand is a business model that allows you to sell customized products without keeping an inventory. Your artwork can be printed on selected products, including iPhone cases, tote bags, wall art, and wall clocks.

Print-on-demand can be a great source of steady income, especially when your artwork is good. The beauty of print-on-demand sites is that there is no risk of slow-selling items, as items are only produced when there is an actual order from a customer.

You can list as many items as you want on your storefront, and to make your artwork the star of the show, consider curating to look premium. You can create a niche by creating artwork for a specific product line, such as eco-friendly mugs or apparel.

Print-on-demand companies handle almost everything for you, from marketing, selling, shipping, refunds, and more. You can make good money with print-on-demand sites if you have the right products, partners, store platforms, and marketing tactics.

2. Teaching Art Online or Face-to-Face

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Establish the teaching method suitable for you and hit the road looking for students, which shouldn’t be a problem if you are an extrovert and overly proactive.

Your neighborhood is full of opportunities for exciting niches like street photography, calligraphy, or astrophotography.

Offer face-to-face painting classes or workshops to kids, adults, or high schoolers at a local community center. Organize an exhibition and invite other artists to participate.

You can also organize open-air painting workshops in nature or offer art workshops for corporate parties and events.

The demand for art professionals is steadily growing. Teaching art online can help you reach a wider audience. However, maintaining a more significant online class can be more challenging than face-to-face teaching. But you can still earn passive income by selling art courses.

You can create and sell courses on platforms like Udemy and Skillshare. Selling guides and tutorials on your website can also be a great source of income and can be in the form of eBooks, video tutorials, or guides with images.

3. Applying for Grants and Competitions

Image Source: Artwork Archive

Local communities, non-profit organizations, and many international programs offer grants for artists.

These grants, in most cases, support and promote culture, support young artists, or address a specific problem. Local institutions might also need art pieces to decorate buildings or an event.

So, go online and search for contests or grants for artists. Narrow your search to your specific country, state, or city. Settle on programs you qualify to enter and win prizes. Stay updated by following an artistic and professional circle, artists association, or NGOs on social media.

The best thing about grants and contests is that they can be substantial to give and allow you to invest in new skills and materials.

They are an excellent way to gain recognition and exposure for your artistic work, as participants and winners are mentioned in mainstream media and official publications.

On the downside, grants and competition are not constant. Hence, artists may need more reliable sources of income.

4. Licensing

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If you create something trendy or believe you are a good enough artist, you might benefit significantly from art licensing.

Through licensing, you grant a company or an individual the right to use your art for a particular purpose. You then get a cut off the sales every time an item with your artwork is sold.

This agreement is embedded in a licensing agreement, which sets out terms under which the “licensee” may use your creative piece and your compensation. You can license a logo, photographs, paintings, graphics, or any other artistic creation.

Licensing is an excellent marketing tool and a vehicle for selling and promoting your work. If you are lucky to get a licensing deal with renowned companies and brands, you stand a chance to make a lot of money passively.

But before you commit, make sure that you understand how licensing works.

The good thing about licensing is that you have complete control over the quality of products, as you are at liberty to choose who to work with and approve samples.

However, it can take a lot of work to get licensing partners, especially when you are starting and you have to learn how to negotiate prices and terms of the contract.

5. YouTube Art Tutorials

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In addition to your website tutorials, you can earn income by filming art tutorials or creating speed painting videos for your YouTube channel. YouTube has over 2.5 billion users, making it a perfect platform to promote your artistic talent, as people love visual learning.

All you need to start YouTube tutorials is filming equipment and the willingness to put your work out there for the world to see. But before anything else, define your niche and target audience. Research keywords and competition, and start uploading videos at least twice a week.

You can use a smartphone, video camera, or DSLR to film your videos. In addition to speed art videos and tutorials, you can also upload reviews on your art varieties or start a vlog of your life as an artist.

YouTube can help you become an online authority in your niche and gain more subscribers.

YouTube can be challenging, especially if you are camera-shy and filming and editing is time-consuming. But overall it can connect you to a broader audience and is a great source of passive income.

6. Sell at Art Fairs, Conventions, and Festivals

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Earning passive income doesn’t have to only happen online. Going local can also be an excellent source of revenue if you connect with the right people.

You may argue that most young people prefer shopping online, but a good percentage still prefer seeing products in person before purchasing.

If you are lucky to live in an extra engaging and interactive neighborhood, look for festivals and local art fairs and register to participate.

Remember to bring your business cards featuring your band name and logo, items to decorate and personalize your booth, and ready-to-sell artwork and handcrafted items.

The best part of selling your work at local fairs is that if your people love your products, you can earn local fame and stand a chance to make more money in subsequent art fairs. You can also increase your sales in a day, mainly if the fair attracts many people.

7. Writing a Blog

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Try writing a blog if you need help selling on other platforms or are tired of packing and shipping items. You may argue that, as an artist, you are more into visuals and not words. But thanks to online guides and courses, anyone can become a writer.

You can make your blog more interesting by incorporating imagery. For instance, if you are teaching your audience a particular painting technique, use text only to support the visuals or explain the actions images are demonstrating.

You can write tips on becoming a master of art in your area of specialization. Review some art supplies, interview local artists, create videos showing how you paint, or report on new galleries or exhibitions.

You can earn through blogging through affiliate marketing, creating commissioned reviews and paid ads, and promoting your other products through your blog.

A blog offers unlimited opportunities to express yourself and what you do, and you can also interact with your fans and know their opinions.

8. Sell Your Art on Etsy and Sellfy

Image Source: Etsy

If you have been considering selling your artwork on the online marketplace, Etsy or Sellfy are excellent places to start.

Sellfy is an easy-to-use eCommerce platform that allows creators to sell digital products or merchandise. You can create your store on Sellfy and start selling within minutes.

Artists have made a steady income selling on Etsy. You can sell almost anything and everything artistic and creative, including clothing, visual arts, wall décor, jewelry, accessories, and art and collectibles.

Etsy is diverse; hence it attracts different types of customers, which can work in your favor.

The best thing is that these platforms are easy to set up. Incorporating promotion aspects such as free shipping can give your items a competitive advantage to rank even higher on the platform.

9. Subscription Services

Image Source: Patreon

Subscriptions can work for you if you have a solid social media presence and following. Through subscription, you can grant access to things like exclusive previews of work and new videos.

Once you set up subscription services, let people know on social media and start generating income as an artist.

Common platforms for subscription services are Patreon and Podia. Do your homework to identify the best subscription service to use. You can also take payments to your websites.

10. Create Informative eBooks

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One of the excellent ways to earn passive income for artists is by compiling your knowledge, expertise, experience, and techniques in an eBook. You can then sell the eBook and profit passively to people looking to learn your craft.

You can publish your book on Amazon or do it from your website. You don’t have to worry about upfront publishing costs, as your books will purely exist in PDF form.

Based on your specialty, you may need to hire a copywriter and a graphic designer to help you put things together.

Your sales will entirely depend on how well you market your eBook but based on where and how you sell your products, you can set prices and retain all the profit.

11. Sell Art on Instagram

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Instagram is steadily becoming the number one social media platform for artists and art lovers. Meaning as a beginner artist, you don’t have to wait until you climb the ladder or wait for big names to call the shots.

You can easily connect with buyers willing to pay for your craft worldwide. However, there is a catch. Your success on Instagram will depend on how engaged your followers are, how popular your account is, and the higher the demand for your art.

To make the best out of Instagram, post high-quality images, choose clean backgrounds, use creative captions, and write an attractive bio.

Post on a regular basis, say twice per week, and whenever a customer messages you showing interest in your craft, redirect them to your sales page. You might not get a significant income immediately, but all will work in your favor with time.

12. Seek Commissions for Your Original Work

Image Source: Artfinder

Earning commissions is an excellent strategy for newbies to earn passive income offline and online. Start by showcasing your work on social media, and remember to mention in your bio that you accept commissions on portraits, artistic art sessions, and other art forms.

Your first customer will spread the word and within no time, your next customers approach you by themselves. You can also visit online platforms that unite artists and people looking to commission artworks, like Art Please, ArtCorgi, Artfinder, and Artists & Clients.

If you are still determining how much you should charge, find people with similar skill levels to see what they charge.

Original artworks sell higher than prints. So, use this analogy to explain your prices to customers. It might be hard to deal with some customers, but it’s equally rewarding when you earn a living selling your original artwork.

13. Lease Your Art

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There is a sleep period between the time you create your piece of art and the time you actually sell it. During this period, you can do more, including leasing your art. Leasing your art is no different from renting any other goods or services.

You can lease your artwork through an art leasing company or do it yourself. Rent out your art for a certain period to a paying party, and you create a new marketing opportunity for your work through renting.

Businesses can rent your art to display it in public places. Individuals and companies renting your work can also recommend you to friends within the industry, increasing your leasing potential.

By leasing your art, you also know more lessees that are likely to become permanent buyers in the future.

14. Have a Website

Image Source: Squarespace

As an artist, you need a website to gain credibility in your art. A website also opens up a host of opportunities to help you earn more income of all kinds.

You can use most passive income ideas with your website and monetize your audience from Google, social media pages, and other search engines.

You can also link your shop to your website and make it a central place to market your work, no matter what it is.

Luckily, there are a number of platforms where you can build a website. You can use Squarespace to create a website with all the admin and back-end work already taken care of.

WordPress is also an excellent website-building platform when using the Blue host as your hosting. It is a great platform, especially if you want to have complete control of your website, and it can help you gain website traffic from Google.

Weebly is also a budget-friendly website-building platform. But if you are looking to create a website that is dedicated to your eCommerce store, Shopify is the platform to consider.

Shopify does all the backend work for you, and it also has apps and themes that you can easily integrate into your store.

15. Affiliate Marketing

Image Source: Amazon

Affiliate marketing involves affiliate links to products you can recommend to your audience. When someone visits the affiliate link and buys through it, you earn yourself a small share in the form of a commission.

Some of the affiliate marketing programs you can join include the Amazon affiliate marketing program by AmazonShareasale for Lulus, Minted, Blick, or StudioPress, Awin for Etsy and Aliexpress, and FlexOffers for Creative Bug and Joann.

Most of these programs require you to have substantial followers on social media or an outstanding method of promoting products. Amazon stands out as the most reliable affiliate program and an excellent platform to earn passive income for artists just starting out.

16. Ads

Image Source: Ezoic

Display ads can help you earn passive income from the arts audience you already have. This idea would work best if you already have a website, YouTube, or a blog audience. You’ll be paid based on how many people see the ads.

If you have a wider audience, ads can help you earn a substantial amount of passive income. While most ad companies require you to have a minimum traffic of 50K, you can still monetize ads before the 50K monthly visits threshold through platforms like Ezoic.

17. Stock Photos

Image Source: Shutterstock

You can create passive income by selling stock photos if you love photography. People are always buying stock photos, especially if they want more cohesive, unique, and on-brand pictures as opposed to non-copyrighted free images.

You can sell your stock photos on platforms such as Getty Images, iStock, Shutterstock, Adobe Stock, and your website.

Final Words: Don’t Sell Yourself Short

Your art career is an adventure and an opportunity to pursue your dream.

While the easy passive income ideas for artists discussed above might not give you impressive results immediately, don’t sell yourself short. Be patient with your endeavor.

The golden rule is to have multiple sources of income. That way you can be sure that if one source is not bringing in a steady income, you can safely rely on other sources.

To get better, try new things, think outside the box, and spend more time and effort on your art.

About Author

Tom loves to write on technology, e-commerce & internet marketing. I started my first e-commerce company in college, designing and selling t-shirts for my campus bar crawl using print-on-demand. Having successfully established multiple 6 & 7-figure e-commerce businesses (in women’s fashion and hiking gear), I think I can share a tip or 2 to help you succeed.