Wednesday, August 29, 2012

money-making schemes

I have a question for anyone out there with advice on selling artwork online.  Is it a viable thing to do?

For example, a friend of mine wants to try to sell artwork online. Like the following piece he made for me below, based on my steampunk interests and a photo I showed him of my purple hair phase from last year:

My questions are these:
  • Would there be any interest in drawings like the one above that he did of me?
  • What would be the best website on which to do this? DeviantART, this blog, Facebook, or some other method we haven't thought of yet?
  • What's the best way to generate interest online?
  • How many pieces would he need to display online to start out?
  • What would be the asking price for these sort of drawings (even if it's as low as $5.00)?
I know nothing about the retail art world, so any help would be greatly appreciated.

Also, I am making the colossal decision to use Blogger's AdSense option- something I have been trying to avoid doing since they first offered it.  But I have spent so much time on my blog in my spare time, and have had so many friends and acquaintances suggest that I take advantage of it, that I finally caved.  The main reason is that I am broke.  Not that I expect to be reeling in any big bucks from AdSense, but a little extra cash to help me pay for the expenses I incurred in the month that I was in between career-type jobs would certainly be a help.  Despite my straitened circumstances I ended up spending more money than intended on things I needed for the in-person interview I had for my current museum job, an upcoming wedding in which I am a bridesmaid, and health insurance and medical costs when I was in-between jobs.

What are your thoughts on AdSense?  Yay or Nay?


  1. Etsy might be good, since this is pretty much the thing it's made for: decent unique, handmade things.

    No idea about price though, I struggle with this myself.

  2. I also think etsy might be a good option, but it seems to me that being successful selling art online is very dependent on advertising and getting your work out there. Just putting it up on etsy or deviantart isn't enough to gain the level of interest to make it worthwhile. Joining deviantart might be helpful if your friend can build a network there, but unless you really stand out from the crowd I'm not sure how helpful that site is for selling originals. Their forums can be helpful for getting commissions (I got a few that way when I was active there) but it requires constant maintenance- re-posting your ads and so forth. I guess it also depends on whether or not your friend wants to sell originals, take commissions, or sell prints of originals (or some combination of the three). Deviantart seems to have a fairly good platform for prints, although I haven't tried it personally. There are also sites like Imagekind and society6 where you can sell prints. For selling originals etsy is probably your best bet, although again I think he would need to get involved in groups there that are relevant to the theme of his art to get it noticed. It also helps to keep in mind who might buy his art- younger fans of similar genres (steampunk, Victoriana, etc.) who probably don't have much money to spend, or adults looking for something to decorate their walls.
    As for pricing, I'd look for what similar types of artwork are selling for and aim for a similar price range.
    Sorry for the lengthy reply, I've put a lot of thought and research into this myself haha. Also, personally I think using AdSense is fine,especially if you put a lot of time into your blog.