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Sell Your Digital Artwork Online

In today’s digital age, artists have a unique opportunity to sell their artwork online and reach a global audience. Whether you are a seasoned digital artist or just starting out, the internet provides numerous platforms and tools to help you showcase and sell your art. In this article, we will explore various methods and platforms to help you create and monetize your digital artwork online. 

Digital art opens new mediums for creativity and income potential for visual artists. This guide covers planning cohesive collections, leveraging marketplaces, pricing works, social media marketing, retaining rights, preventing theft, merchandise opportunities, animation, AR, community building, and more for selling digital artwork successfully.

Researching Marketplace Options and Competition

Survey leading platforms popular with digital artists and collectors in your niche. Compare commission structures, audience reach, content policies, marketing tools, artist communities, and sales data. Analyze competitors producing works with similar styles and themes as you. Discover opportunities and benchmark reasonable pricing levels informed by current supply and demand forces. Let insights guide your positioning and production planning.

Useful Data to Gather About Marketplaces

  • Commission rates on sales
  • Application and onboarding process
  • Tools for managing portfolios and offerings
  • Built in social media and email marketing capabilities
  • Potential reach to target collectors
  • Volume of competing artists and related works
  • Spotlight features and promotion options
  • Community forums and resources
  • Sales velocities and price ranges of relevant works
  • External platform traffic referrals
  • Seller support satisfaction

Defining Your Artwork Focus and Style

Determine the core visual themes and medium specialties you want associated with your artistic brand. Refine a consistent style reflecting your creative strengths and interests. Maintain focus across collections avoiding scattershot variety. While experimentation is great, buyers gravitate towards artists with a defined point of view versus generic dabbling. Articulate what makes your perspective and usage of digital tools unique. Revisit this core focus regularly as you expand into merchandise, licensing, fine art, and other opportunities.

Helpful Steps for Developing Your Artistic Style

  • Make inspiration boards of aesthetics, color palettes, subjects, and artists you admire
  • List adjectives describing the vibe and emotions you aim to elicit
  • Explore a wide variety of digital tools and techniques before narrowing focus
  • Take time privately developing skills and style before public launches
  • Sketch collections planning cohesive themes rather than one-off pieces
  • Write vision statement and biography conveying what makes your art special
  • Ask trusted friends for honest feedback assessing early works
  • Consider developing separate artistic alter egos if branching into very distinct styles
  • Purchase your own domain to uniformly showcase art business online

Equipping Your Digital Toolbox

Invest in equipment and software empowering you to create high-quality works true to your artistic vision. Prioritize versatile tools allowing significant control and versatility as you expand skills. While starter apps may offer convenience, you often get what you pay for regarding capabilities. Build capability with tools fostering both efficiency and creative possibilities rather than limiting them over the long-term.

Core Tool Types for Digital Art

  • Drawing tablets – Key for hand-drawn feel and fluidity surpassing mice
  • Raster graphics editor – Pixel-based illustrations and photo manipulations
  • Vector graphics editor – Smooth resolution-independent logos, icons, and designs
  • Digital painting app – Natural brush rendering mimicking real physical media
  • 3D modeling and animation suite – Sculpting lifelike 3D imagery and motion
  • Audio workstation – Composing soundscapes or music complementing visuals
  • Creative coding – Generative and interactive art via scripting
  • VR/AR creation – Immersive works leveraging emerging mediums
  • Pro photographer lighting – Quality reference capture

Invest in tools elevating production value of your digital art portfolio. Quality tools enable quality results.

Composing Cohesive Collections With Clear Themes

Group works into collections unified under a central theme, style, or fictional narrative. Collections allow showcasing art series within your broader portfolio. Ensure pieces feel visually interrelated through color schemes, symbolism, conceptual threads, or other repetitive motives. Well-constructed collections help viewers quickly intuit your range.

Tips for Planning Collections

  • Sketch ideas for visual motifs and metaphors reinforcing themes
  • Outline hypothetical narratives or world backgrounds if applicable
  • Pick complementary color schemes and harmonious imagery
  • Include textual descriptions conveying inspirations, emotions, or backstories
  • Carry stylistic elements across pieces like textures, effects, etc.
  • Maintain square or consistent dimensions for presentation uniformity
  • Number editions logically and descriptively

Thematically focused collections display the power of your imagination more than scattered one-off works. Let creative concepts link bodies of work.

Protecting and Licensing Your Intellectual Property

Take proactive measures securing rights to your creations preventing unauthorized usage or theft. Register key works with copyright and trademark offices. Publish clear usage license terms buyers must agree to. Digital artwork brings infringement risks demanding precautions.

IP Protection Tips

  • Visibly watermark drafts and sneak peeks you share online
  • Document creative processes proving origination
  • Register copyrights for valuable properties and brands
  • Only sell work through reputable, validated marketplaces
  • Don’t publicly reveal high resolution or source files enabling theft
  • Politely request removal if your work gets stolen and reposted
  • Report infringing merchandise or products leveraging your IP
  • Consult attorneys about protections like DMCA takedowns if needed
  • Buy errors and omissions insurance covering litigation costs

While hoping for the best, prepare for the worst. Protect the fruits of your creative labor.

Optimizing Metadata, Titles and Descriptions

Tag works thoroughly with descriptive keywords and enhanced metadata increasing discoverability in searches. Well-written titles and descriptions provide contextual clues into themes and elicit intrigue. Avoid just generically numbering editions without supplemental details capturing interest. Treat textualsupplementary content as seriously as visual creations themselves.

Tips for Optimizing Listing Details

  • Include targeted keywords collectors search for
  • Summarize styles, emotions, and fictional narratives
  • List subject matter, motifs, color schemes prominently
  • Note software, tools, and brushes leveraged in process
  • Describe creative inspirations and story behind piece
  • Use formatting like bold text and bullet points for scannability
  • Feature edition numbering scheme prominently
  • Link related collections for bundled cross-marketing

Compelling titles and descriptions entice collectors, while metadata ensures artwork surfaces during searches.

Pricing Editions and Bundles Strategically

Consider demand, competitive landscape, costs, and platform commissions when pricing artwork. Test a variety of price points and sales models when first launching collections to gauge market elasticity empirically. Entry level prices expand reach, while premium limited editions maximize profit per sale. Bundling multiple related works into discounted packs incentivizes larger purchases. Avoid leaving money on the table needlessly, but also avoid exceeding perceived value.

Pricing Models and Variables

  • Limited editions priced higher for exclusivity
  • Lower cost open editions with unlimited runs
  • Bundles combining editions from a collection
  • Subscription access to entire catalog
  • Usage licensing for commercial applications
  • Patron commissions and custom artwork
  • Production expenses like software costs
  • Market rates for comparable works and artists
  • Platform listing fees and sales commissions

Employ variety of monetization models maximizing earning potential from each work.

Photographing Physical Works

When selling physical artwork, master photographing pieces for accurate representation online. Eliminate distracting backgrounds drawing focus away from the art itself. Use professional lighting eliminating glare, color distortions, blown out hotspots, and dark shadows. Photograph details macro-style to display brush technique. For 3D sculptures, shoot multi-angle rotations showing overall form. High resolution RAW images provide archival references and maximum printing fidelity. Since buyers cannot see works firsthand pre-purchase, great photography builds visual trust.

Photography Tips

  • Color calibration using X-Rite color chart
  • Color space targets like sRGB or AdobeRGB
  • Professional lighting – strobes, constant, and off-camera
  • Post-processing for white balance, exposure, and glare fixes
  • Zoom macro lens for close up detail shots
  • Wireless shutter release avoiding handshake blur
  • Tripod with boom arm for overhead top down capture
  • Rotating turntable for 3D sculptures
  • Seamless backdrop preventing distracting foreground elements
  • Final files in lossless PNG format with layers preserved

Shooting physical artwork well provides lasting digital assets for portfolios, merchandise, archives, and licensing. Master professional product photography.

Building Your Portfolio Site

Establish a portfolio site visitors recognize as your official hub showcasing art collections, limited editions, biography, exhibitions, blog and more in one place. Opt for clean design with focus on artwork itself rather than overly flashy frameworks competing for attention. Link prominently to marketplace profiles and social media. Update with new pieces frequently. Enable newsletter signups. Modern templates allow creating sophisticated sites without coding. Just take care customizing text, imagery, and branding to feel uniquely you.

Helpful Portfolio Site Sections

  • About – Biography, artist statement, style description
  • Portfolio – Galleries organized into collections
  • Limited Editions – Special featured premium works
  • Exhibitions – Events, gallery showings, collaborations
  • Merchandise – Posters, apparel, cases featuring art
  • Blog – News, creative process stories, exhibits recaps
  • Contact – Email, order inquiries, booking
  • Social media profiles – Facebook, Instagram, etc.

An owned portfolio site provides your hub bridging all online properties showcasing artwork professionally.

Distributing Through Social Media and Email Marketing

Promote new works and availability through owned social media channels and email lists. Share creation processes giving fans behind-the-scenes looks into your artistic journey. Facebook groups connect niche artist communities. Use analytics to assess performance guiding where to focus energy between platforms. Sync email and social advertising to maximize exposure at launches. Hashtags expand organic discovery, while paid boosting reaches existing followers consistently. Provide previews directing fans to sales pages for limited editions.

Promotional Best Practices

  • Teaser previews building interest before drops
  • Polls surveying fans on new direction ideas
  • Behind-the-scenes works in progress
  • Limited time sales and giveaways
  • Live streaming creation sessions
  • Reposting and reusing evergreen content
  • Pinned posts highlighting important announcements
  • Encouraging user-generated content and discussions
  • Paid ads to followers of similar artists
  • Retargeting recent site visitors

Social media and email nourish steady fan engagement between major releases. Prioritize owned channels giving you control reaching followers directly.

Enabling Limited Edition Reservations

Allow collectors to reserve upcoming limited edition releases before the general public. Early reservation windows reward loyal followers with exclusive early access and guarantees on high demand works. In turn you gain indicators gauging interest before finalizing editions. Reservations require just a small upfront deposit with the balance due on launch. This provides mutual assurance reducing risk for both artists and collectors. Market reservation windows only to existing followers rather than publicly to avoid overselling. Reservation announcements themselves can build further hype on social media through comments and tagging from reservers.

Reservation Process Tips

  • Announce windows through email and social media exclusives
  • Limit reservations to email list members or social followers
  • Collect small non-refundable deposits securing orders
  • Share reservists’ enthusiasm and tags to build further buzz
  • Set short 1-2 week windows avoiding long delays
  • Provide numbered reservation certificates creating collectability
  • Follow-up confirming final editions and balance due

Strategic reservations facilitate highly anticipated launches rewarding top fans.

Offering Limited Edition Extras and VIP Experiences

Consider enhancing limited edition releases with bonus extras elevating collector value. Signed and numbered certificates add prestige. Packaging works in luxe presentation boxes rewards collectors proudly displaying pieces. When possible, host live signing events allowing owners meeting artists. Virtual video chats provide lower-friction alternatives. Even simple touches like handwritten thank you notes show appreciation for top supporters.

Limited Edition Value-Added Examples

  • Numbered edition certificates with artist signature
  • Event tickets giving first access to releases
  • Packaging in rigid archival quality display cases
  • Personalized custom artworks only for limit buyers
  • Invites to live or virtual meet and greets with artist
  • Patron credits in descriptions and portfolio
  • Early previews of works in progress

VIP extras make limited runs feel more special, while inviting interactions strengthen artist-collector relationships.

Repurposing Artwork Into Merchandise and Apparel

Beyond standalone art sales, unlock additional earning opportunities licensing artwork onto products. Online print shops simplify producing items featuring images like posters, phone cases, apparel, mugs, bags, stationary, and more. List merchandise prominently on your portfolio site. Merch provides additional touchpoints showcasing your work to fans while diversifying income. Ensure terms allow you to fulfill orders using any printer. Reserve rights to reuse imagery freely. Require approval before items get produced featuring your art.

Merchandising Opportunities

  • Posters and wall art
  • Canvas photo prints
  • Apparel – t-shirts, hats, sweatshirts
  • Device accessories – phone cases, laptop sleeves
  • Drinkware – mugs, tumblers, water bottles
  • Stationary – notebooks, greeting cards, calendars
  • Bags – totes, messenger bags, backpacks
  • Home goods – pillows, blankets, shower curtains

Entrepreneurial artists treat their portfolio as an asset driving sustainable revenue through varied products and channels.

Animating Artwork and Exploring Motion Graphics

Bring static works to life through animation and motion graphics. Time-based media like video and cinemagraphs open new mediums for showcasing artwork innovatively online and at installations and events. Experiment adding subtle motion like flowing clothes, flickering lights, smoke, and other repetitive physics. Work in graphic overlays and text. Set vibe with background audio tracks. Export high resolution video preserving quality when played back on large screens and projectors. Watermark preview renders defensively since animation is easy to steal online once revealed.

Animation and Motion Creation Tips

  • Animate limited pieces and layers non-destructively
  • Use After Effects for keyframing movement and transitions
  • Add camera pans and zooms revealing details gradually
  • Apply subtle looping motion to elements like wind and water
  • Develop a graphical logo animation intro for your brand
  • Score with your own music or atmospheric soundtracks
  • Export 4K or 1080p video for online and installation playback
  • Provide WAV stems enabling others to re-score tracks

Motion expands artistic possibilities and audience engagement dramatically. Embrace opportunities of temporal mediums.

Creating Augmented and Virtual Reality Digital Art Experiences

Emerging AR and VR mediums enable immersive art exhibitions transcending physical spaces. Reach expanded audiences through mobile apps and headsets. Design virtual worlds tailored to your aesthetic visions without real world practical constraints. Craft fantastical scenes combining 2D, 3D, and time-based art. Adapt works cinematically reacting to user presence and actions. Code interactivity and multi-user shared experiences. Support experimental headsets and devices reaching early adopter audiences. Participate at the ground floor of new medium adoption curves.

Tips for Exploring AR/VR

  • Develop 3D models and environments for use across devices
  • Animate and activate models responding to viewers
  • Texture 3D objects and scenes with concept art
  • Incorporate portals to impossible worlds
  • Enable Easter egg discovery moments through interaction
  • Provide social tools for shared virtual experiences
  • Follow platform-specific technical guidelines
  • Join AR/VR artist communities pushing creative boundaries

AR/VR empower evocative art passengers transcending physical world limitations in powerful ways.

Networking with Other Digital Artists

Connect online and in-person with fellow artists to exchange tips, collaborate, cross-promote, and more. While the market is competitive, community elevates the industry together. Participate in each other’s artistic journeys through sharing knowledge and mutual appreciation. Foster goodwill actively supporting peers rather than complaining. Share wisdom with emerging creators still learning business practices. While some details remain proprietary, many insights can benefit fellow creators generally.

Ways to Engage Artist Networks

  • Comment respectfully on peer works appreciating craft
  • Repost and highlight exceptional pieces by others
  • Provide feedback and encouragement on works in progress
  • Attend gallery openings and events to connect locally
  • Join online communities and forums sharing advice
  • Follow a diverse range of creators inspiring you
  • Share development insights peers may find helpful
  • Collaborate on complementary co-created works
  • Exchange cross-promotions and product trades
  • Avoid toxic jealousy – success is not zero-sum

Healthy artistic communities multiply opportunities through support over competition. Seek camaraderie over isolation.

Optimizing SEO for Artwork Discoverability

Enhance organic search visibility through keywords, alt text, quality backlinks, and metadata optimizations. Ensure portfolio site meets technical SEO best practices. Populate image titles and descriptions richly. Provide transcript text alternatives for multimedia works indexed by search engines. Publish unique descriptions for every artwork avoiding duplication. Interlink related works contextually within narratives. Max upload image dimensions without compromising page speed. Earn reputable news coverage and directory listings recognizing your work. Link prominently to portfolio from social profiles driving referral traffic.

SEO Visibility Opportunities

  • Target niche art terms with low competition but buyer demand
  • Create shareable online media and profile assets others can embed
  • Provide unique “About the Artwork” descriptions search engines index
  • List collections and offerings within niche directories
  • Follow image SEO tactics for alt text and metadata
  • Publish artist interview guest posts within popular outlets
  • Secure applicable arts grants and awards merits

Gaining visibility remains crucial long after establishing marketplaces and outlets. SEO opens new discovery pathways organically.

Diversifying Income With Patronage and Commissions

Seek patron sponsors funding production of ambitious passion projects beyond commercial market limitations. Pitch high net-worth collectors willing funding large works in exchange for exclusivity. Offer custom commissions taking special requests from individual clients. Auction prestigious commissions for nonprofits at fundraisers. Expanded sources of funding support investing into bolder independent visions and concepts with less concern for immediate monetization.

Alternative Commission Models

  • Crowdfunding support for large collections
  • Custom artwork for interior designers and architects
  • Album artwork and merch for musicians
  • Set decoration and concept art for television and film -Logo design and branding for new products and startups
  • NFT artworks leveraging blockchain technology
  • Decentralized patron platforms like Patreon
 

Where can I sell my digital art?

Online Marketplaces

One of the most common and effective ways to sell your digital art online is through online marketplaces. Websites like Etsy, Redbubble, and Society6 allow artists to create their own shops and list their artwork for sale. These platforms provide a ready-made audience of art lovers and collectors, making it easier to reach potential buyers.

Art-focused E-commerce Platforms

Another option is to use art-focused e-commerce platforms that cater specifically to the needs of artists. These platforms, such as ArtPal and ArtFire, provide tools and features that are tailored to artists, making it easier to showcase and sell your artwork.

Print on Demand Services

If you prefer to sell physical products rather than digital downloads, you can use print on demand services. These services allow you to upload your artwork and create a variety of products, such as prints, canvases, mugs, and t-shirts. Platforms like Printful and Zazzle handle the printing, packaging, and shipping on your behalf, allowing you to focus on creating art.

How can I start selling my digital art?

Create an Online Store

One of the first steps to start selling your digital art online is to create your own online store. You can either use e-commerce platforms like Shopify or WordPress with an e-commerce plugin to set up your store. Customize your store with your branding, upload your artwork, and start promoting your art to attract customers.

List your Artwork on Online Marketplaces

In addition to having your own online store, it is beneficial to list your artwork on popular online marketplaces like Etsy, Redbubble, and Society6. These platforms have a large user base and can help expose your art to a wider audience. Be sure to optimize your listings with keywords, high-quality images, and detailed descriptions to attract potential buyers.

Offer Digital Downloads

A popular way to sell digital art is by offering digital downloads. This allows buyers to purchase your artwork as a digital file that they can download and use for personal or commercial purposes. Websites like Gumroad and Sellfy provide a secure platform for selling your digital downloads and handling the transaction process.

How do I market my digital art?

Use Social Media Networks

Social media networks like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter are powerful tools for promoting and marketing your digital art. Create an engaging online presence by regularly sharing your artwork, progress shots, and behind-the-scenes glimpses of your creative process. Engage with your followers, participate in art communities, and use relevant hashtags to reach a wider audience.

Build an Email List

Building an email list is an effective way to stay connected with your audience and keep them updated about your latest artwork and upcoming sales. Offer a free digital download or an exclusive discount in exchange for signing up to your email list. Use email marketing platforms like Mailchimp or ConvertKit to automate your email campaigns and send personalized messages to your subscribers.

Collaborate with Other Artists

Collaborating with other artists can be a great way to cross-promote your digital art and reach new audiences. Consider partnering with artists in complementary art styles or with a similar target audience. You can collaborate on joint art projects, host virtual art exhibitions, or even create limited edition prints together. By working together, you can tap into each other’s fan bases and expand your reach.

What are the best places to sell digital art online?

Etsy

Etsy is a popular online marketplace for handmade and vintage items, including digital art. With millions of active buyers, Etsy provides a global platform to sell your digital artwork. Customize your shop, optimize your listings, and participate in Etsy promotions to increase your visibility and attract buyers.

Redbubble

Redbubble is a print on demand marketplace that allows artists to upload their artwork and create a wide range of products. From prints to clothing, Redbubble provides a platform to sell your digital art on various products. Take advantage of Redbubble’s built-in audience and global shipping to reach customers worldwide.

Society6

Society6 is another popular print on demand service that specializes in art prints, home decor, and accessories. It offers artists the opportunity to upload their artwork and earn royalties on each sale. Society6 also facilitates the production, packaging, and shipping of the products, allowing artists to focus on creating their art.

How can I make money selling digital art?

Create Limited Edition Digital Art Prints

Creating limited edition digital art prints can add exclusivity and value to your artwork. You can limit the number of prints available and offer them as signed and numbered editions. This scarcity can entice collectors and increase the perceived value of your art.

Offer Custom Digital Artwork Commissions

In addition to selling pre-existing artwork, you can offer custom digital artwork commissions. This allows buyers to request a personalized piece based on their preferences and specifications. Custom commissions can be a lucrative way to monetize your artistic skills.

License Your Digital Art for Commercial Use

If you are open to commercial use of your digital art, you can license your artwork to businesses and individuals for use in various projects. Websites like Creative Market and Adobe Stock provide platforms for selling commercial licenses for digital artwork.

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By Dani Davis

Dani Davis is the pen name of the writer of this blog with more 15 years of constant experience in Content marketing and informatics product, e-commerce niche.

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