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Selling Digital Art Online: NFTs, Stock Sites, POD and More

The internet opens up diverse ways for artists to directly sell their digital artwork and earn income. As demand for digital assets grows, new opportunities abound across online galleries, NFT marketplaces, stock image sites and print-on-demand services. This guide provides a comprehensive overview of the various platforms independent artists can leverage to monetize creations and connect with art buyers worldwide.

Assessing Readiness as a Digital Artist

Before diving into sales avenues, take time to build foundational elements:

Refining Your Style and Mediums

  • Focus your creative vision and preferred techniques to build cohesive collections.
  • Master digital tools like Procreate, Photoshop etc based on your style. Take online tutorials.
  • Shoot reference photos to guide compositions if needed. Fine tune photo editing skills.
  • Curate portfolio samples showcasing your range in a consistent style.

Building an Online Presence

  • Create accounts on major platforms – Instagram, DeviantArt, Twitter etc.
  • Establish a website portfolio to highlight collections, bio, andcontact.
  • Engage social media communities with captions about your process and story.

Handling Logistics

  • Obtain licenses needed to sell artwork in your jurisdiction.
  • Set up digital files, organization system, metadata tagging etc to easily locate and retrieve past work.
  • Create graphics like logos, banners, and branding elements.
  • Set up payment accounts to receive earnings from sales.

With the basics covered, you can confidently start monetizing artwork across the range of platforms that exist today.

Selling Digital Art as NFTs

Non-fungible tokens securely establish ownership and provenance for digital art using blockchain technology. Benefits for artists include:

  • Sell directly to collectors without galleries as middlemen
  • No limits on print runs – scarcity drives demand for original versions
  • Attract crypto early adopters willing to pay premiums
  • Fund directly to crypto wallet upon sale completion
  • Set royalty structures to receive a percentage from secondary sales
  • Gain global visibility and launch future projects via funding

Top NFT marketplaces include OpenSea, Rarible, SuperRare and Foundation. Meet communities on Twitter and Discord. Understand environmental concerns but convey commitment to transitioning the ecosystem to sustainable blockchains over time.

Offering Digital Downloads

Many art buyers still prefer owning downloads to view, share and potentially print copies. As an independent artist, you can directly sell downloads of artwork through:

Your Website

Sell downloads for landscape, mobile and social media art directly through WooCommerce or platforms like Gumroad. Offer various file types, sizes and licenses.

NFT Marketplaces

Most NFT sales come with downloadable versions of the artwork. Provide high resolution digital editions.

Stock Image Sites

Leading creative marketplaces like Adobe Stock, Shutterstock and iStock welcome digital artists to list downloads buyers can license.

Print on Demand Partners

POD platforms like Redbubble can list and fulfill print orders on-demand while you handle digital distribution.

Enable easy social sharing while preventing mass distribution with watermarks and licensing terms.

Joining Leading Stock Image Marketplaces

Top stock photo sites provide global exposure and earn passive income from licensing:

Adobe Stock

  • Over 200 million asset library with exclusivity incentives
  • 60/40 split favoring creatives
  • Integration with Adobe’s creative ecosystem

Shutterstock

  • Submission reviews within 1 day and fast onboarding
  • AI tag generation and performance data
  • 55-60% royalty rate

Alamy

  • Distribute to other agencies for added reach
  • Over 69% payout to photographers
  • Specialize in hard-to-find unique content

Review submission guidelines for image requirements, model and property releases needed, editorial imagery restrictions etc. Tag thoroughly for discoverability. Non-exclusive listings maximize distribution.

Leveraging Print on Demand Networks

Print-on-demand enables artists to make passive income from physical merchandise featuring your designs:

Apparel

Upload designs to POD product platforms like Printful, Printify and Gearbubble. Set margins then fulfillment is handled automatically when orders come via an integrated storefront or marketplaces.

Wall Art and Home Decor

Services like Redbubble, Society6, and Fine Art America can print uploaded artwork on canvases, metal prints, wall tapestries and more for a commission.

Stickers and Stationery

Zazzle, Redbubble, Sticker Mule and similar sites produce artist-designed stickers, planners, greeting cards that you design for a royalty.

Phone Cases and Tech Accessories

Add your visuals to phone cases, laptop sleeves, portable chargers and tech accessories produced on-demand by POD suppliers and sold through their marketplaces.

POD opens up passive merchandise revenue with minor effort. Ensure use of licensed imagery only.

Creating Book and Zine Products

Self-publishing print and ebook anthologies of your work is easier than ever:

Visual Poetry and Short Form Literary Works

Compile poems, microfiction or non-fiction essays into themed collections and release as ebooks on Amazon KDP, Apple Books etc. Add graphics and visual elements.

Comic Books and Graphic Novels

Use sites like Blurb or KaBlam to turn artwork into printed comic books and graphic novels. Retain control over rights and distribution.

Coloring Books

Adult coloring books pair artwork on pages with a blank inverse for coloring. Create across Amazon KDP, Barnes and Noble Press etc.

Coffee Table and Art Books

Turn artwork into high-end printed books mixed with creative writing content. Use services like Lulu, Blurb or IngramSpark.

Magazines and Zines

Self-publish periodic magazines that blend articles with visual arts content. Distribute digitally or via print-on-demand.

Bundling artwork into curated collections provides additional value to buyers.

Getting Your Work in Galleries and Exhibitions

While shifting online, fine art recognition still stems from shows in established galleries and coveted exhibitions. Strategies include:

  • Research galleries representing your style and mediums. Reach out about representing you. Have a strong portfolio demonstrating mastery ready.
  • Get connected to curators and jurors through networking and social media outreach. Relationship building is key.
  • Apply to emerging digital art competitions and festivals. Participation builds credibility.
  • Volunteer at nearby galleries to build connections in your local art scene.
  • Once accepted into shows, promote them heavily across marketing channels. Have works, prints and merch available for purchase online for added income streams.
  • Pitch ideas for a solo exhibition once you have a solid portfolio and some group shows under your belt.

Having works shown through prestigious channels elevates your reputation and future opportunities immensely.

Building Value Through Scarcity

As a digital creator, balancing exclusivity with reach maximizes income:

  • Sell original high-res digital works as scarce NFTs commanding premium pricing from collectors
  • Offer limited runs of signed physical prints and merchandise
  • While enabling non-exclusive downloads and licensing to maximize distribution
  • Create Patreon-only works as subscriber perks each month
  • Save master files offline in cold storage for future potential retrospective exhibitions

Judiciously control supply across unique originals, limited physical creations and freely shareable derivatives.

Promoting Your Art with Online Marketing

Treat your art business seriously by investing in marketing:

  • Perfect SEO for your portfolio website – optimize page titles, meta descriptions, alt text etc. Create content around your inspirations, creative process etc.
  • On social media, share works in progress plus finished pieces driving to sales pages.
  • Build anticipation and wish lists leading up to major NFT drops. Leverage giveaways and collaborations.
  • Run Google and Facebook ads driving to your storefront. Target collectors and photography aficionados.
  • Build an email list providing early access to works. Send a regular newsletter.
  • Collaborate with aligned brands and creatives to expand your audience.
  • Guest post and appear on podcasts discussing the evolution of digital art.

Consistent high-value marketing pays dividends in the competitive digital art realm.

Selling creative works online is easier than ever today. With some foundational steps and investing in your brand identity, independent artists can build following and scale sales across these multifaceted platforms. The internet provides direct access to art lovers worldwide 24/7. Now it just takes intentionally pursuing opportunities and maximizing visibility. The possibilities for digital creators today are boundless.

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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