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What Kind of Digital Art Sells Best? Top Selling Digital Art

Digital art has gained tremendous popularity in recent years, with artists around the world exploring its unlimited possibilities. With the rise of online platforms like Etsy, it has become easier than ever to sell digital art and reach a wide audience. If you’re wondering what kind of digital art sells best and how you can succeed in the digital art market, this article is here to guide you. 

Digital art has exploded in popularity in recent years as software has enabled new forms of creative expression. But with many styles to explore, what types of digital art sell best? This comprehensive guide examines popular digital art genres, analyzes market demand, shares tips from successful artists, and provides actionable insights on creating lucrative artwork.

Overview of Digital Art

Before diving into specific genres, let’s define digital art:

What is Digital Art?

Digital art represents any artwork created using digital technology including illustration, photography, animation, 3D modeling, and more. Digital artists utilize software, tablets, styluses, scanners, and other tools to create art digitally.

History and Evolution

Digital art emerged in the 1950s but saw minimal adoption until the 1980s and 90s as home computing became mainstream. Adobe launching Photoshop in 1990 was a landmark moment. Tablets and smartphones have enabled new interaction methods.

Popular Digital Art Tools

Common programs and hardware for digital art include:

  • Adobe Creative Cloud – Photoshop, Illustrator, After Effects
  • Autodesk Sketchbook, Corel Painter
  • Apple iPads and iPad Pro with Apple Pencil
  • Wacom drawing tablets and styluses

Benefits of Digital Art

Reasons artists choose to work digitally include:

  • Flexibility to instantly undo mistakes or edit pieces over time
  • Ability to create complex compositions and manage intricate details
  • Lower costs compared to traditional art supplies
  • Ability to print high-quality physical reproductions
  • Seamless sharing online and potential viral reach

This foundation sets the stage for examining specific digital art styles and their commercial viability.

How can I sell digital art on Etsy?

Creating a digital product to sell is the first step. Whether it’s illustrations, paintings, graphic designs, or photographs, you need to transform your art into a digital format. This can be done using software like Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator.

Once you have your digital art ready, you can start an online store on Etsy. Etsy is a popular online art marketplace where millions of buyers and sellers from around the world connect. It provides a platform for artists like you to showcase and sell their work.

Optimizing your listings is crucial to attract potential buyers. Use relevant keywords, high-quality images, and clear descriptions to showcase your digital art in the best possible way. Consider using tags like “best selling digital art” or “top selling digital art” to increase visibility.

What are the best selling digital art products?

When it comes to selling digital art, there are several popular options. Selling digital downloads of wall art is a great choice. Many people are looking for unique and affordable artwork to decorate their homes, and digital downloads offer a convenient solution.

Creating digital art prints for sale is another profitable avenue. Buyers can purchase high-resolution files and then print the art in various sizes and formats, such as posters or canvas prints.

If you want to establish yourself as a successful digital artist on Etsy, it’s important to offer a diverse range of products. This can include illustrations, paintings, digital collage, or even customizable designs.

What are the popular genres and styles in digital art?

Exploring vibrant illustrations in digital art is always a hit. Bright colors, bold lines, and captivating compositions tend to attract attention and resonate with buyers.

Creating minimalist designs for digital art is also a popular choice. Minimalism has become a significant trend in the art world, and many buyers appreciate the simplicity and elegance it offers.

Understanding evolving trends in digital art is essential to stay relevant and meet market preferences. Keep an eye on emerging styles and techniques, and adapt your art accordingly.

How can emotional and societal themes impact digital art sales?

Appealing to audience preferences through emotional themes can significantly impact digital art sales. Art has the power to evoke strong emotions, and buyers often seek pieces that resonate with them on a personal level.

Exploring societal themes in digital art can also make your work more relevant and appealing. Addressing social issues and expressing powerful messages through your art can attract a wider audience who connects with the subject matter.

Understanding the relationship between art and emotions is crucial for creating impactful pieces. By tapping into the emotions of your audience, you can create art that speaks to them on a deeper level.

What factors contribute to the success of digital art sales?

Identifying the target audience for your digital art is essential. Understanding their preferences, interests, and purchasing power can help you tailor your art to meet their needs.

Researching market demand for specific art styles is crucial. Analyze best-selling digital art pieces on platforms like Etsy and identify trends and popular themes that resonate with buyers.

Utilizing effective marketing strategies is also vital to boost art sales. Promote your work through social media, collaborate with influencers, or even consider running paid advertisements to reach a larger audience.

Top Selling Digital Art Styles

While highly subjective to personal taste, these digital art styles consistently attract interest from buyers and collectors:

Digital Paintings

Digital paintings involve creating artwork from scratch using digital brushes and tools reminiscent of traditional painting. Artists leverage layers, blending, filters, and more to achieve realistic or expressive styles. Subgenres include:

  • Landscapes – Natural scenes like forests, oceans, deserts
  • Portraits – Realistic renderings of faces and figures
  • Fan art – Paintings of characters from popular franchises
  • Concept art – Imaginative environments, vehicles, architecture

Price Range: $5-$10 for small prints up to $100-$500+ for original high-res files.

Digital Illustrations

Illustrations encompass any hand-drawn digital art featuring people, objects, scenes, patterns, characters and more. The range of styles is vast. Subgenres include:

  • Vector art – Precise graphic illustrations made from scalable shapes
  • Whimsical – Playful, imaginative character illustrations
  • Anime/manga – Stylized Japanese illustration styles
  • Concept art – Exploring product designs and fictional worlds
  • Pattern art – Repeating backgrounds, textures and motifs

Pricing: $10-$50 for basic commercial rights up to $300-$500+ for exclusive rights.

Photomanipulation

Photomanipulations blend photography with digital illustration and post-processing effects to create surreal or conceptual imagery. Techniques involve:

  • Combining multiple photos into montages
  • Inserting illustrated elements into photos
  • Using filters, distortions, textures, and more for desired looks

Pricing: $5-$20 for small prints, $25-$100+ for full resolution files.

Matte Paintings

Matte paintings create fantasy or sci-fi landscapes and environments by blending real photos with painted elements. Uses include:

  • Film production backgrounds like distant cities or alien planets
  • Concept art for games, books, and other media
  • Album covers and musical artwork

Pricing: $100-$500+ based on commercial usage rights.

GIF Art

GIFs (Graphics Interchange Format) are short, looping animations popular online. GIF art styles include:

  • Pixel art – Retro graphics and characters rendered at low resolution
  • Cinemagraphs – Mostly still photos with minor animated motions
  • Glitch art – Surreal distortions achieved through code injection
  • Plotagraphs – Adding movement to specific regions of photos

Pricing: $10-$50 for web rights, more for exclusivity.

This covers some of the most lucrative digital art forms to explore. But almost any genre, style or subject matter can attract buyers if artwork strikes an emotional chord.

Tips for Creating Profitable Digital Art

Here are tips from successful digital artists on how to produce artwork that sells:

Choose Trending Subjects

Zom Osman, a full-time digital artist since 2017, analyzes trending Google searches around TV shows, celebrities and pop culture to create fan art likely to go viral. She capitalizes on surges when new Marvel movies or shows release.

Utilize Social Listening

John Wentworth, a photomanipulation artist, uses social listening tools to identify trends gaining momentum across TikTok, Instagram and other platforms. He then creates related art to ride the wave.

Tap Into Nostalgia

Illustration artist Ashleigh Corzo creates character art and scenes capitalizing on nostalgia for 80s and 90s properties like Mario, Pokemon, sailor moon and more. Leveraging nostalgic IP helps build an instant connection.

Explore Emerging Aesthetics

Isometric illustrations and vaporwave aesthetics are examples of developing trends that savvy artists recognized and helped popularize early. Keep tabs on emerging visual styles.

Offer Print Fulfillment

Amy Smith sells her botanical paintings digitally but also prints and ships orders. Offering prints expands her audience to those not needing digital files. She uses Printify to fulfill orders.

Share Timelapses on TikTok

Andrea Reyes gained a following by posting TikTok timelapses of her digital painting process from start to finish. This engages viewers in the creative journey.

Provide Licensing Options

Alex Chen allows buyers to purchase Standard or Premium licenses for his landscape illustrations. Standard allows print usage only. Premium enables clients to use the art digitally on websites, merchandise, etc.

Auction Exclusive Pieces

Marissa Lang occasionally auctions off 1-of-1 original files as NFTs for patrons seeking exclusive ownership. Scarcity and exclusivity help drive bidding wars.

Print Limited Editions

For select high-value paintings, availing limited edition giclee canvas prints increases perceived value by imposing artificial scarcity. Number prints 1-25, 50, 100, etc.

Consider these perspectives from working artists when developing ideas and pricing strategies. Analyzing market demand and recognizing emerging trends are crucial skills.

Where to Promote and Sell Digital Art

Once you’ve built a compelling portfolio, promoting your art across the best platforms and communities is essential to sales:

Online Marketplaces

Top marketplaces for selling art include:

  • Etsy – One of the largest handmade and vintage marketplaces
  • Redbubble – Focused on prints, apparel and products with art
  • Society6 – Similar to Redbubble, features wall art and home decor
  • FineArtAmerica – Higher-end marketplace for art prints and canvases

These platforms make it simple to upload artwork that gets printed on-demand when orders are placed. Artists earn commissions on sales.

NFT Marketplaces

NFT (non-fungible token) marketplaces like OpenSea, Rarible and SuperRare allow selling digital artworks, illustrations, GIFs, photos and more as verifiable digital assets. NFTs enable collectors to own exclusive original copies.

Social Media

Promote artwork across major platforms:

  • Instagram – Post portfolio pieces and Works In Progress (WIPs)
  • TikTok – Share speed paintings and timelapses
  • Twitter – Engage with art communities using relevant hashtags
  • YouTube – Upload process videos and marketing tutorials

Use profiles to funnel followers to online shops and NFT listings.

Direct to Collectors

Build an email list to promote new pieces, auction events and limited releases directly to engaged collectors and followers.

Leveraging a combination of these platforms, communities and outreach methods is ideal for maximizing exposure and sales of your digital artworks.

Digital Art Niches With Room For Growth

While saturated genres like characters and landscapes are popular, the following digital art niches have room for new artists to establish themselves:

Architectural Renderings

Highly detailed 3D architectural renderings and floor plans for real estate listings, contractors, developers and property management companies. Useful for virtual staging.

Medical Illustrations

Anatomical illustrations, medical diagrams, healthcare infographics and more for educational resources, pharmaceutical marketing and doctor’s office artwork.

Infographic Design

Infographic creation spanning data visualization, instructional how-tos, process flowcharts and informational graphics on behalf of brands and publishers.

Logo Design

Logo, icon and branding design services for startups, small businesses and organizations needing a custom visual identity.

Architecture Concept Art

Speculative 3D modeling and scene illustration of futuristic building exteriors and interior spaces for sci-fi books, videos and games.

Real Estate Staging

Virtually stage home photos by editing in custom furnishings, wall colors and decor. Helps buyers visualize properties better.

Tattoo Design

Custom tattoo illustrations tailored to clients’ interests from original sketch to final print-ready vector art.

Courtroom Sketches

Recreate courtroom scenes and trial moments as illustrations for news publications unable to use cameras during proceedings.

Augmented Reality Art

Interactive AR art experiences blending physical and digital elements into engaging installations for events, museums, and public spaces.

Pursuing niches with less competition provides more opportunities to establish a unique personal brand and style.

Key Takeaways

  • Digital painting, illustration, photomanipulation, matte art, and GIFs are among the best selling forms of digital art across major online marketplaces.
  • Capitalizing on trending pop culture, nostalgia, emerging aesthetics and niche interests can help make artwork more marketable.
  • Providing high-resolution files, different licensing tiers, physical prints, limited editions and NFT originals expands monetization potential.
  • Promoting across online marketplaces, social media, NFT platforms and directly to collectors helps maximize visibility for artwork.
  • Finding developing niches related to industries in need of visual content offers additional avenues to monetize artwork.

The possibilities are endless for creating compelling digital art that people connect with on a personal level. Passion for the craft, understanding target buyers, intelligently leveraging promotion channels and constantly expanding skills are keys to success. Any creative willing to put in consistent effort can build a sustainable business selling digital art.

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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