Drawing is an age-old technique that is the basis of all major forms of visual art. This practice isn’t just limited to pencils and paper, but includes digital and technical drawing as well.
No matter what your skill level or previous experience selling art in the medium, there is a way to turn your love of creating into a lucrative career.
Let’s look at some different methods you can use to make money from drawing!
How to make money drawing
Here are some of the most popular ways of making money from drawing:
1. Make event posters
Many events, concerts, and plays need eye-catching posters to draw in a crowd. Sometimes, a good illustration can be the deciding factor in whether or not people attend.
If you have an eye for design and a knack for drawing, event poster design could be a great way to make money from your art.
You can make your designs as elaborate or simple as you’d like and you can use hand-drawing methods or design the poster digitally.
This is a great option for artists who enjoy typography, the layout of designs, and other elements that require specific design details.
2. Illustrate a children’s book
Everyone has a childhood book that transports them into another world. And if you’re a visual artist, you can create a breathtaking illustrated story that will inspire generations to come.
Illustrating children’s books requires special skills, such as the ability to capture emotion, story-telling ability, and the technical skill to draw characters accurately.
You’ll need to write a story or collaborate with an author, and have it accepted by a publisher for publication. You can also self-publish your illustrated book on various online platforms.
3. Create infographics and illustrations for blogs
In addition to written content, there’s a big need for visual content in the blogosphere. If you’re a good artist (even without any training, like if you’re interested in this option as a way to make money while in grad school) by creating infographics and illustrations to accompany articles and stories.
Infographics are intense visuals that explain complex topics or data points in an easy-to-understand way, while illustrations can be used to fill out stories or add visual appeal to websites.
You can make these graphics by hand or using a graphics program like Adobe Illustrator.
You may also be interested in: 21 Must-Dos For Amateur Bloggers to Make Serious Money
4. Sell prints of your work on Etsy
You can upload drawings and earn money by selling prints on sites like Etsy. Etsy is a great platform to start with because it has a built-in audience who are already looking to buy prints and other artwork.
You can create digital copies of your work, or you can print out physical art in various sizes (and to get some more specific ideas, take a look at this list of the best Etsy shop ideas). Just be sure that the quality of the work is high and the colors are accurate.
If you want to sell physical prints but don’t want to carry inventory, you can use the print-on-demand method. This works by connecting you with a printing service that will fulfill orders for you in an external facility.
5. Create custom portraits
You can make money drawing portraits if you’re particularly good at creating lifelike drawings with great detail. People often commission custom portraits for special occasions such as anniversaries, graduations, and birthdays.
If you have the skills to create detailed portraits, you can make a decent income by taking on commissions. You can use a variety of styles to create portraits, from classical to modern.
You can also draw caricatures, which are stylized interpretations of people’s faces or bodies. These are usually fast to create and can be quite profitable, especially if you offer them in person at tourist attractions or local events.
6. Make doodle art
Doodle art is a type of artwork that has become popular in recent years. It typically features simple line drawings with exaggerated features or details, but it can also be more complex and detailed if desired.
You don’t need to have any special skills beyond basic drawing ability to earn money by doodling. You simply need to create interesting images and post them online or have prints made that you can sell in person or online.
You can also sell them and make money as fast as a woman as graphic designs to other companies and entrepreneurs to add to their websites or products.
7. Create logos and branding elements
Every business needs to have a logo or some kind of branding element associated with them. If you’re a visual artist, you can create unique logos and branding elements for companies in exchange for payment.
Creating logos requires an eye for design and color as well as the technical ability to produce the highest quality results. It’s also important to be able to understand the company and its needs to create a logo that best represents them.
You can offer your logo design services online, or you can contact local businesses directly to see if they need help with creating a logo.
8. Sell stock artwork
If you create artwork that’s generic enough, you can sell it to stock art websites as a way to make money. These sites act as middlemen between artists and buyers looking for generic artwork.
You’ll be able to upload your designs onto the site and other people will buy them and use them in their projects. You’ll typically get a percentage of the sale price and may be able to set your own prices for each design through certain companies.
Most people upload their images to several different stock image sites for maximum exposure and earnings. This is a great passive form of income because you’ll continue to earn money from your artwork even when you’re not actively working on it.
9. Start an illustration YouTube channel
People love to watch the artistic process and get a glimpse into how people make beautiful images. So if you start a channel featuring your artwork on YouTube, you can get people interested in your work and potentially make money from ads or sponsorships.
You’ll need to be willing to put in the effort to create videos that showcase your artwork and explain your process. Talk about what supplies you use, how you come up with ideas for pieces, and anything else related to creating art.
You can also make timelapse videos of your drawing process and post them on YouTube. Once you have enough viewers, you can start to monetize your channel and make a passive income through ads.
10. Make an online drawing course
Do you like to teach and share your knowledge? If so, you might consider creating an online course that teaches people how to draw. You can use a platform like LearnWorlds as a great, simple option for creating your course.
You will need to create high-quality lessons and videos, as well as provide regular feedback to students enrolled (but, fortunately, LearnWorlds comes with templates to help you create really professional versions of these).
It can also help to develop instructional sheets or even a workbook that can help guide your students – check out Canva for some great templates for these.
It’s important to keep your content clear and engaging when teaching online and make sure that you explain things in a way that is easy to understand.
If your course is a success, you can create more advanced lessons or offer different drawing techniques to your students to expand your reach and sales.
11. Draw people’s pets
Pet owners love to show off their furry friends, and custom pet portraits make for great gifts or decorative pieces. If you can draw animals realistically, this may be the perfect way to make money from drawing.
People want dog, cat, and even bird portraits, so if you can draw them realistically, you can make a good amount of money.
You can advertise your pet portrait services on social media or contact local pet stores to let people know about it.
12. Design beautiful t-shirts
In a sea of generic t-shirts, beautifully-illustrated shirt designs can stand out and draw attention. If you can come up with creative designs, you can offer them for sale on sites like Printify as a way to make money from your artwork.
These websites will handle all the production of the t-shirts for you, and you’ll get paid a commission every time someone buys one of your designs.
You can also open up your own online store using a platform like Shopify and manage everything yourself, from production to shipping.
Once you find illustrations that are popular, try to make similar items so that you have a cohesive collection for sale. This can help you draw in more customers and make more sales.
You may also be interested in: 9 Incredible Ways to Make Money with a 3D Printer
13. Partner with the local community center
There are plenty of opportunities to work with the local community and offer your drawing services there. Many times, community centers will be looking for someone who can teach classes or create beautiful murals that reflect the local culture.
You can either volunteer your time or get paid to work on projects like these.
You can also partner with schools in your area and provide after-school drawing classes. This is a great way to share your love of art with kids and teach them the joys of creating detailed illustrations.
You’ll also become known in the local community, which may lead to commissions or job opportunities down the line.
14. Offer quick drawing gigs on Fiverr
If you want to make quick and easy drawings that don’t take a lot of time or energy, you can offer gigs on Fiverr.
People are always looking for basic illustrations, and if you can draw simple cartoons or sketches quickly, this might be a great way to make money from drawing.
You can specify your own rates, but most quick drawings will usually cost around $5-$10 dollars each. You may even be able to get repeat business from customers if they like your work.
By offering quick and easy gigs on Fiverr, you can make a steady income from your artwork and also get exposure to potential clients who may be interested in more detailed drawings down the line.
15. Make and sell zines
If you’re more of a DIY artist who wants to create freeform illustrative pieces, you can make zines and sell them online. Zines are small magazines that usually feature comics, illustrations, or stories about a particular topic.
You can make your own zines with your original artwork, print them out, and then put them up for sale on websites like Etsy or Big Cartel. Independent book and record stores also like to support local artists and sell zines.
The best part about selling zines is that any subject matter goes. People make incredibly niche zines about everything from plants to obscure horror movie villains, so you can really have fun with it.
16. Apply for artist opportunities and grants
In the fine art world, one of the most common ways to make money is to apply for artist opportunities and grants. These can range from exhibiting your works in galleries to submitting your art for public art projects.
You can also apply for artist residencies, which provide free housing, a stipend, and creative opportunities. This is a great option if you’re flexible in your location and want to get paid for your artwork.
Do some research on what’s available in your area and make sure you meet any eligibility criteria before applying. If you’re accepted into a gallery show or win a grant, you’ll be able to make some money and gain exposure for your work.
It can also be beneficial to join artist networks or organizations, as they often provide resources about upcoming opportunities that you may not have heard about otherwise.
17. Crowdfund an illustration project
Crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo can be a great way to earn money for illustration projects. You can set up a page where people can donate funds in exchange for perks, and then you use the money to create your artwork or publish it in book form.
Make sure you have an engaging pitch, perks that will spark people’s interest, and a timeline for your project. It will take some effort to promote the project and get people interested in donating, but if you can reach your goal, it can be a great way to make money from drawing.
You can also create a Patreon page for your artwork, where people can donate recurring payments in exchange for exclusive content. This subscription model is best for prolific illustrators who can consistently create new content for their fans.
18. Start an artist newsletter
Another way to make money from drawing is to start your own artist newsletter. You can write about art-related topics, share tips and tricks, or offer sneak peeks of new artwork or upcoming projects.
After offering consistent value and entertainment to your audience, you can start to monetize your newsletter with offers to purchase your art, affiliate links or sponsorships.
An email list is a powerful way to reach potential customers and keep them updated on your art. It’s also a great way to build an engaged community around your work, which can lead to more sales and collaborations down the line.
19. Draw at live events
Live art at events like conventions and festivals is becoming more popular. If you have more gestural styles of drawing, such as using large charcoal sticks or watercolors, this can be a great way to make some extra money.
You’ll need to bring your own supplies and be prepared for long hours of drawing in front of an audience. But it’s a great opportunity to meet new people and get exposure for your work.
You can also create live art at parties or corporate events. This can be a fun way to make some money while drawing and interacting with the crowd. Make sure to have promotional materials such as business cards or a portfolio book to hand out.
20. Sell your drawings at craft fairs and markets
If you have many prints and originals to offer for sale, consider attending craft fairs and markets. This can be a great way to get exposure for your work and make money.
There are usually vendor fees, as well as display supplies you’ll need to bring, so you’ll need to factor that into the cost of selling your pieces.
You should also promote the event beforehand on social media or with direct mailers if possible. Have plenty of packaging materials on hand, along with a point-of-sale system where people can quickly pay for their purchases.
21. Become an animator
Another great way to make money from drawing is to become an animator. Animators are responsible for creating animated films, television shows, video games, and other media forms that use motion graphics.
Animators need to have excellent drawing skills and can usually get started with just a computer and animation software. With the right combination of talent, hard work, and dedication, you could make a successful career out of animation.
22. Teach paint and sip classes
If you want to make money from drawing and painting, why not teach others how to do it too? Paint and sip classes are a fun way to bring friends together, enjoy some drinks and learn something new.
You can either conduct these classes in person or virtually over Zoom. Ultimately, all you need to start a paint and sip business is the right supplies, an interesting curriculum and a good sense of humor.
23. Make a comic book
If you’re trying to make money drawing cartoons, why not try creating a comic book? You can make money drawing anime or other styles of cartooning.
Start by developing characters and a storyline that people will be interested in. Once you have your story, it’s time to turn it into visuals.
You’ll need to get familiar with software such as Adobe InDesign or Photoshop to create the panels, background, and other elements of your comic book. Don’t forget to promote your finished product and get it out there for the world to see.
24. Design tattoos
Tattoo artists are always in demand, so why not add graphic flash drawings to your list of services? If you have a steady hand and an eye for detail, you can start making money by designing tattoos for people.
You’ll need to market yourself properly and create a portfolio of your work. You can then network with local tattoo parlors to get the word out about your services.
25. Become a calligrapher
Are you good with hand lettering and calligraphy? If so, you can make money by becoming a freelance calligrapher.
You can take on commissions for custom pieces that people need for special occasions such as weddings and baby showers.
You’ll need to get familiar with different calligraphy styles and practice your lettering until it’s perfect. You should also create a portfolio of your work so you can show potential clients what you can do.
Can I earn money from drawing?
Yes, with several options at your disposal, you can make money from drawing. You could become a freelance illustrator or work with a company in a dedicated role. With the right combination of hard work and dedication, you can turn your love of drawing into a successful career.
You’ll need to choose how much money you want to make with your drawing skills. Are you looking for occasional earnings, a part-time job, or a full-blown career? The answer to this question will dictate the path you should take to success.
Despite the stereotype of the “starving artist”, beautiful and interesting drawings are still highly sought after. You just need to adapt to the changing world, develop your own style, and integrate technology into your process.
How much money can you make by selling drawings?
You can make as little as a few hundred dollars to six figures of income with your art depending on your strategy and how much effort you put in. Your earnings will depend on several factors, like the size, quality, complexity and uniqueness of the drawings.
Most artists, including illustrators, make their money from a variety of sources. This means you should focus on creating a diverse set of income streams such as stock images, online, prints, and custom commissions.
This way, you’re never reliant on just one income stream, which can be more secure in the long run.
Can I make a living as an artist?
Yes, although the best way to make a living as an artist is by staying persistent and being willing to try new things to make it work. It’s important to remember that success won’t happen overnight, but with time and dedication you can make a living from your art.
The basis of success for most artists is to have a recognizable style and consistent product. You should also network with other creatives, build relationships with potential clients, and showcase your artwork in different places. With the right approach, you can turn your passion into a sustainable income.
How should I price my art?
When pricing your artwork, consider the amount of time and effort that goes into it, as well as the cost of materials. You should also research what similar art pieces are going for to get a better understanding of the market rate.
Lastly, don’t be afraid to adjust your prices if you feel you’re not getting enough money and need a more sustainable income.
The most important thing to remember is that pricing art is subjective and there’s no single way of doing it. Your prices should reflect the worth of your artwork and what you think it’s worth in the market. With time, you’ll be able to better understand how much people are willing to pay for your work.
Do pencil drawings sell?
Yes, there’s a large demand for pencil drawings and illustrations. People use them for various purposes, such as home decor, logos, website design, and book covers. You can make money from creating original pencil drawings or selling digital copies of your artwork depending on your personal preference.
Can I sell my drawings to tattoo shops?
Yes, it’s possible to create a relationship with a tattoo shop and make money from selling your drawings. Tattoo shops often look for artists that they can work with on a long-term basis so that they can promote a specific design style.
You can start reaching out to local studios and start getting your artwork out there.
There are specific types of illustrations that tattoo shops usually look for, such as highly graphic and eye-catching designs. Make sure to practice and learn how to draw these styles so you can make sure your work stands out and people will see your images as great candidates for tattoos.
How much do sketch artists make?
If sketch artists are able to get a high volume of commissions, they can make a decent living. The average pay for sketch artists is around $20-$30 an hour and more experienced illustrators can command higher rates depending on their skill set.
Being able to complete sketches quickly will help increase your rate to a higher amount per hour, so it’s important to practice and hone your craft. Developing a unique style will also help you stand out from other artists and potentially make more money.
Make sure to always promote your services and ask your customers to recommend you to others who may like your work. This can help you get more commissions and increase your chances of becoming a successful sketch artist.
How do I sell my doodle art?
The most straightforward way to sell your doodle art is by setting up an online store and creating digital products. You can share your artwork through social media, use print-on-demand services to create physical products such as stickers, t-shirts, mugs, and posters with your designs.
It’s easy to make doodles and keep them locked up in journals or on your laptop, but you won’t make any money if people don’t see them. Instead, make sure to showcase your creations online so that potential customers can find and purchase them.
Make a habit of sharing them right after you make them and also let people know what you were thinking, feeling, or experiencing while creating them.
About the author
Anna is the founder of LogicalDollar and a personal finance expert, having been featured in Forbes, HuffPost, Reader’s Digest, Bankrate, MSN Money, Yahoo! Finance, CreditCards.com and many more. With more than 10 years of experience in the financial and legal industries, bachelor’s and master’s degrees in these fields, as well as her own journey in turning $60,000 in debt into a thriving investment portfolio, she’s committed to helping others get on the path to financial freedom. Find out more.