Arts & Culture Lifestyle

5 Ways Artists Can Earn Some Extra Income

Art can be expensive, but being an artist is perhaps even more expensive. Whatever your medium, there is a significant startup cost that keeps renewing itself whenever your paint runs out, you need a new sketchbook, or your art tablet breaks down. If you’re trying to support yourself off your art (which most consider nearly impossible in today’s world), then living expenses will eat their way into your savings very quickly as well.

What you need is a way to make some extra cash without committing to a regular schedule. As such, below are a few methods of making some extra cash, online and offline, you might want to consider:

1) Take on a Few Side Hustles

You’ve probably heard of the idea of the side hustle in the modern sense before, and quite possibly you’ve dismissed most of them as scams or not for you. And there is truth to this. Yet there are dozens of legitimate options and as the internet grows more opportunities to make a little extra cash are being invented every year.

We recommend you look at this list and others like it and see what might suit your means, time considerations, and natural inclinations. Some you might just want to try once or twice. The best part of most of these is that the commitment level is low, so you can stick to your art when neck-deep in a project.

2) Hold Classes or Workshops

You’ve probably seen other artists do it, but if you think you have the right personality and level of skill for it, you can probably make some money teaching a class or hosting a regular painting event. All you need is a venue (places such as libraries and colleges might be willing to offer or rent you a place for a low cost) and enough potential students that are willing to work with you. You can arrange it any way you would like, from more serious classes to a wine and painting event where you easily guide the participants along. Study your market.

Better still, not only will you be making money, you will be growing a small audience for your work as well and establishing yourself in the local community. We recommend checking to see if there is already a class in your area, and then trying to determine a demand for one if there isn’t. When planning this, don’t forget that scheduling could make or break this option.

3) Sell Some Old Stuff

This obviously isn’t a sustainable method, and we don’t encourage you to sell every last thing you own for a few dollars, but the decluttering trend has given people a lot of new ideas. It might be a good idea to sell some distracting electronics and things you no longer use to give yourself some extra cash and clear out some additional space in your home or apartment. It might even be possible that you clear enough space to give yourself a better dedicated studio or even downsize your living space, saving more money in the long run.

4) Consider Various Types of Freelance Work

You might already be looking for freelancing work related to your art, and you should continue to do this. You may want to branch out into things such as graphic and website design. If it can use a creative eye, you can at least make a case for your expertise.

Do you have additional writing or programming skills? They’ll likely be in demand and you can make enough to keep going for a while after a few good projects. Keep your mind open and be willing to keep at it for awhile and eventually you’ll catch a break.

For this strategy, you’ll not only be getting money to work and live with, but you’ll also gain experience in managing the business of yourself. You’ll want to become more financially savvy and business-minded when your art finds more success. Giving yourself that experience so you’re less likely to get taken advantage of is one of the best things you can do for yourself.

5) Advertise Commissions

Many artists make money through commissions, but are you currently advertising that fact? Make efforts to put yourself out there in that realm, especially on social media where people might be looking. Commissions can even become your bread and butter while you pursue your passion projects and gallery work.

There are, however, a few things you will want to note if you are just starting out:

  • Don’t get bullied down to a price that is too low. Your time, expertise, and supplies are valuable. Do realistic calculations when you get an offer, and don’t be afraid to say no. Exposure in most of these scenarios will be worthless.

  • Be realistic about your timeframe. If you rush into the night to get a commission done quickly, you won’t have time for anything else and it’ll be unlikely that you are able to put your best work forward.

  • Beware of scams, and make sure you get either upfront payment, partial upfront payment, or some guarantee of payment such as using an escrow service for the larger items. In real


    this isn’t too likely a scenario, but online there are plenty of scammers looking for free art.


Artists don’t and likely will never have it easy when it comes to supporting themselves and keeping their artistic endeavors going at the same time. There are only so many hours in the day and unexpected expenses can cause major setbacks. Whether you have a full-time job and need just a bit more for supplies or are trying to make it as an artist and want to pad your savings, we hope you find something that works and that you enjoy.

Have any other ideas on how artists can make some extra money? Any tips or thoughts on the options listed above? If so, we would love to hear what you have to say, so please leave a reply below.

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