How I turned my art into a business

horse and figure paintings
Photo by Dom J on

When I first got into art, it was just a hobby. It was something to do to take my mind off losing a loved one and I taught myself using YouTube video tutorials, books and reference images.

Fast forward to the present and I am selling my art through carious outlets.

My art business has grown through the years and I still have goals to help it grow even further.

This is my journey so far

1/ Master of one medium

Having tried many mediums like acrylics, watercolours and graphite pencil. It was one medium stuck out as my favourite and I have chosen that as my go-to that being: Coloured Pencils.

there have been quite a few artists that I have followed but it was #kirstyPartridge on YouTube that taught me the most. I even invested in an in-depth coloured pencil tutorial last year whilst we were in the midst of a lockdown and it was that course which took my art to the next level. I have even created my own tutorial for beginner coloured pencil artist to learn how to create hair and texture.

You can purchase the full tutorial here:


2/ Develop skills

The more you practice, the better you get. So once you find the medium that you want to excel in, then you need to consume it. There are many places that you can go to fine tune your skills. Here are just a few:

  • YouTube for tutorials
  • Skillshare for tutorials
  • Patreon for inspiration and tutorials
  • Amazon for books

3/ Create great work

Take your time when creating art. In the past I have been guilty of rushing an art project just so I could complete it and move on to the next. Nowadays I break it down into bite size chunks. For example:

I could be working on an animal, say, a brightly coloured bird. It can become time consuming so I will do a section at a time and jump between other simple projects. Another project could be finding a new reference photo to work on in the future or I could create a sketch outline of a future project. If I do find myself wanting to rush my art I will put it to one side for a day or two.

4/ Who is your ideal client?

It is a good idea to know who your ideal client is before you open the doors to your business. This helps you create the right content for the right audience.

For instance if you are drawing lots of cats then your ideal customer would be a cat lover and not a formula one racing enthusiast (even though some will like cats). If you love drawing cars then that racing car enthusiast would be a great ideal client.

5/ How do you want to sell?

Most people think that being an artist is all about being represented by an art gallery. But that is not the case. Sure, there are some artists that would love this but for me it wasn’t one of my goals. Take into consideration if you want to sell locally, nationally or internationally. Other things to consider are:

  • How big is the local, national or international market?
  • Who is your competition? (Artists who use the same medium as you)
  • Will your art fit in this marketplace?
  • Where will you be showing your art? For example, local fairs, online galleries?

6/ Grow your audience

You need to be showing the world the art that you are creating. Take photos of it and get it online via social media. Posting regular on your favourite social media channels will get more eyes on your work. You could even start blogging about your art journey or create a website to sell your art. I use WordPress because it is so simple to use but do your research to find the right blogging platform for you.

7/ Side hustle

Don’t give up your day job just yet. Do it as a side hustle to test the waters first. When you start making more than your day job it would be a good time to go full time.

8/ Create a business plan

Yes, even artists create business plans. When you have it all written down in one place you can be reminded of how you want your business to be and all your future plans. It will also help if you want to secure some funding or business loans. Questions to ask are as follows:

  1. Your mission statement: “Why do you want to be an artist?”
  2. Your vision statement: “Where do you want to be as an artist in the future?”
  3. Goals: Write down your long term and short term goals so that you can stay on track. Set goals for the next 3 months, 6 months, 1 year, 3 years and 5 years so you can your way to achieving them.
  4. Who is your ideal client:
    1. How old is he/she?
    2. What problem can you solve for them?
    3. Where do they buy their art?
    4. Where do they hang out online and offline?
    5. What are their hobbies and interests?
    6. Why do they buy art?
    7. What type of marketing would reach them. For example, social media, email etc.
  5. Who are your competitors?: The ones that are similar to you. Figure out their strengths and weaknesses.
  6. Finances: What are your expenses? What supplies do you need? Do you need to rent studio space? Do you need funding for supplies and equipment? How much are you going to charge so you can make a living?
  7. Marketing: Based on your ideal client, how are you going to market yourself?
    1. Social media
    2. Email newsletter
    3. Art fairs
    4. Galleries
    5. Blogging
    6. Commissions
    7. Friends and family
    8. referrals

I hope this blog post has helped you to decide to turn your passion into a flourishing business.

if you would like to keep up to date with me and my art projects then click the following link and receive a freebie:

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