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Making Money with Your Art: 5 Lucrative Side Hustles for Creatives


Monetizing your artistic talents takes some creative hustling. While pursuing your passion, generating income from your skills is crucial to turn art into a sustainable career.

Beyond just selling finished works, there are many ways to leverage your creative gifts financially. This guide explores five lucrative side hustle opportunities for capitalizing on your abilities as an artist.

We’ll cover turning your art into income through:

  • Offering personalized commissions
  • Teaching workshops and classes
  • Selling printable artwork
  • Merchandising your brand
  • Entering contests and competitions

Diversifying income streams from your art helps support your practice while allowing you to profit from doing what you love. Let’s dive into art side hustles that can add up to serious cash.

Offer Personalized Commissions

One of the most lucrative ways to monetize art skills is by offering commissioned custom pieces. This allows you to charge premium rates.

Promote Your Services

Get the word out by listing commission availability prominently on your website, portfolio, social profiles and business cards.

Set Expectations

Provide commission guidelines addressing your pricing structure, process, timeline, revisions policy and other expectations.

Offer Questionnaires

Have prospective clients fill out questionnaires about their vision, preferred style, purpose, specifications and other requirements for the commissioned piece.

Price Strategically

Factor in your hourly rate, complexity, rush fees, usage rights and other variables when pricing commissions for profitability.

Promote Examples

Showcase testimonials, photos, videos and case studies of successful past commissions as social proof of your skills.

Retain Rights

Specify in contracts who owns the artwork and retention of rights for prints, merchandise, commercial use etc. Require attribution.

Develop Relationships

Provide excellent service to turn one-time commission clients into recurring collectors of your work.

Teach Workshops and Classes

You can monetize your skills while giving back by teaching others. Possibilities include:

Private Lessons

Teach students one-on-one or in small groups at hourly rates tailored to your expertise like portrait techniques.

Adult Education

Approach community colleges or recreation centers about teaching adult continuing education art classes.

DIY Workshops

Host specialized technique workshops teaching skills like macrame, calligraphy or watercolor blending.

Art Camps

Develop summer camps for kids teaching a variety of artistic mediums, projects and skills.

Online Tutorials

Record online video courses teaching your artistic process from concept to completion.

Arts and Crafts Events

Rent vendor booths at local craft fairs and festivals to sell your art while offering quick lessons.

Panel Discussions

Participate in convention panels, community forums, and expert talks about your craft.

Sell Printable Artwork

Offering printable artwork provides passive income while building your brand and audience. Types to create include:

Wall Art

Design stylized prints, posters and wall hangings people can purchase and download to print at home.

Coloring Pages

Create intricate line art illustrations ideal for coloring that art therapy enthusiasts will buy.

Activity Pages

Design fun activity pages for kids featuring your characters, designs and themes.


Offer illustrated stationary templates for invitations, greeting cards, labels, calendars, planners and more.

Craft Patterns

Sell patterns for your original art that crafters can use for quilting, sewing, wood burning, embroidery and other projects.


Turn your illustrations and motifs into sticker sheets people will want to decorate laptops, journals, and scrapbooks with.

Design Assets

Sell repeatable graphics, backgrounds, brushes, textures and other resources fellow designers will value.

Merchandise Your Brand

Leverage your artistic style to create sought-after branded consumer products. Potential merchandise includes:


Partner with print-on-demand companies to offer t-shirts, hats, hoodies and other apparel showcasing your designs.

Home Décor

Work with manufacturers to produce pillows, blankets, shower curtains, tapestries and other home accessories with your motifs.

Gift Items

Create mugs, phone cases, notebooks, keychains, badges, calendars, bags and other gifts your fans will want to display.

Office Supplies

Offer pens, pencils, planners, notebooks, clips and tech accessories like mousepads featuring your prints and characters.

Toys and Figurines

Approach companies about licensing your characters and worlds for plushies, action figures, dolls, games and puzzles.

Pet Products

Capitalize on pet owner fandom by merchandising leashes, bowls, beds, apparel and toys for dogs and cats.


Number and sign limited edition collectible prints, coins, figurines and other rare items for true fans.

Enter Contests and Competitions

Competitions offer chances to win exposure, cash and prizes while showcasing your skills.

Grant Programs

Apply for art and culture grants from foundations, governments, non-profits and corporations.

Juried Exhibitions

Submit works to prestigious juried gallery shows and festivals across mediums like painting, sculpture, ceramics and more.

Industry Awards

Enter your designs, illustrations and creative projects into industry association and guild awards programs.

Calls for Entry

Browse art competition listings and enter ones matching your niche like animals, portraits, landscapes, etc.

State and County Fairs

Attend state and county fairs featuring art categories you can compete and win awards in.

Student Competitions

Leverage student status for entry into university and youth art competitions if eligible.

Participate in branded art contests like designing logo concepts, guerilla ads, illustrations for social media contests etc.


Beyond just selling finished works, creative artists can generate significant income through commission projects, teaching opportunities, printable artwork, branded merchandising, contests and more. Diversifying into these lucrative side hustles allows you to profit from your artistic abilities across multiple channels while building your brand and skills. With smart monetization of your passion, you can sustainably fund the artistic career you love.

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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