How to sell your art – Everything you need to know

How to sell your art

As the internet becomes more accessible and more people shift to conducting business online, how art is sold is changing dramatically in these modern times. More and more artists are choosing to sell their artwork online and it is easy to see why. Even the galleries and art fairs are shifting operations online as they look to attract a more tech-savvy art buyer.

Galleries, which were once havens of in-person buying, are reporting more online sales. It doesn’t matter what’s on offer for sale- high-value art or smaller paintings from novice artists- people are getting more accustomed to purchasing online.

As such, if artists want to meet their customers where they are, many are now being forced to consider setting up an online marketplace that allows buyers to easily make contact and consequently purchase whatever it is that they need to buy. Plus, many artists are choosing to bypass intermediaries altogether and sell their work directly online so that they can reap all the rewards.

What type of art should you sell online?

You already know that you want to sell art online, but which art should you sell? In general, when selling online, artists have three primary options:

  1. Sell original work
  2. Sell reproduction prints
  3. Or sell digital downloads

Selling your original works online typically means that the artist has to charge a higher price because of the novelty and originality of the work. The downside of selling original works online is that it can at times be very challenging to attract the right customer, especially when you haven’t been selling for very long. The good news is that you can easily overcome this hurdle with online advertising and quality content creation.

If you choose to sell reproduction prints online, that means that you will be selling them as a curator rather than an artist. In short, you will act as a middleman, selling other people’s art online in exchange for a handsome commission.

Digital downloads, on the other hand, are one of the most effective ways to avoid spending money unnecessarily on shipping costs. Digital downloads can be made up of anything, including scans of recent or old print work and even well-framed stock photos. If you want, you can also sell digital downloads of your work.

How do you want to sell it?

Now that you’ve thought about the type of art that you should sell, the next natural step will involve figuring out how to sell it. The most popular way to sell is through an online store, whether that means using an already existing marketplace like Facebook or designing your website from scratch.

Selling artwork online

If you choose to sell online through your website, that implies that you will be in control of everything from the point of contact to the sale to final delivery. That means that you should be fully prepared to handle all aspects, including packaging and shipping.

If you want as much control as possible over the selling process, it is highly recommended that you design your online store from scratch rather than use an open marketplace such as Amazon or Etsy. That’s because, with your online store, you will be fully in control of the design layout so that it can represent your style or brand in the best way possible.

Selling artwork through a supplier

If handling all the aspects of business, such as packaging and delivery, seem like too much work to you, then your next best option is to sell your artwork through a supplier of your choosing. This might mean working with a print-on-demand service or a drop-shipper so that you can offload them on a per-order basis. For example, with a dropshipping service, the sales themselves will be made on your website. However, everything after that, including printing and delivery, will be handled by the supplier.

Choosing where to sell your art

Selling artwork on Etsy

Whether you are looking for a new customer base or a beginner looking to make their first sale, selling on Etsy is a great option to get started selling online. It is an especially great platform for selling art prints, with thousands of visitors visiting the site daily. As such, if you are a photographer interested in boosting your sales or a sculptor that sells luxury pieces, Etsy can be an excellent platform to get your feet wet when it comes to the online marketplace.

What’s so great about Etsy is that it is incredibly user-friendly and can be set up even if you are not tech-savvy. Most of what you find on Etsy is handmade products, vintage items, and unique and quirky artwork. Therefore, most sellers on Etsy are creative DIYers, artisans, crafters, and designers looking for a customer base that’s located everywhere worldwide.

Is Etsy free?

Etsy is free to set up. However, once you start posting your work and making sales, you will incur some charges. Etsy seller charges are as follows:

  1. Posting an item: $0.20 for the first four months or until the item sells.
  2. Sale fee: 3.5% of the item’s sale value.

How does one ensure success selling artwork on Etsy?

Post quality photography

You cannot underestimate the power of good photography when selling online. Photos are the first thing that your customer interacts with, so if you want to make a good impression, you have to ensure that your imagery attracts your target customer.

With the advanced smartphone cameras that we have access to these days, you don’t even need to invest heavily in professional photography. Just ensure that you have a good background and excellent lighting and you should be able to capture your own images.

Don’t post your artwork too often

It is important to space out your posts on Etsy. That’s because every time you post something, it gets listed at the top of the page for a limited period. So if you are consistently posting new artwork for sale, the Etsy algorithm will detect your frequency and reduce the time it gives each post, which will drastically reduce the chances of customers finding you.

Don’t forget the categories and tags

Make sure that you include the proper tags on your artwork and that you list your work in the appropriate categories. When customers are browsing Etsy, they find your store by looking it up on the search bar. As such, your tags must be optimized for search so that Etsy can often offer you up as a suggestion.

How to sell your artwork on Instagram

Instagram is a great platform for creatives of all types, not just artists. It is a platform that inspires creativity and when done right, it can allow artists to stand out and make sales. To find success on Instagram, you have to think of it as your gallery, especially if you cannot afford a physical location that people can come to personally experience your work.

So how does one succeed selling artwork on Instagram?

Make full use of your bio

The Instagram bio is one of the most important pieces of real estate for art sellers on Instagram. Even though it is often overlooked, the biography can make all the difference in how customers find you. Using the right words in your bio can help bump you up in the search results, which is exactly what you need to find customers.

Prove your credibility

One of the best ways to get customers to trust you is to prove your credibility. You can do this easily by demonstrating your skills on Instagram. Perhaps consider displaying pictures of your painting in a gallery or a class you’ve taught. Whatever you can do to prove your professionalism or experience will be great for your sales.

Give followers a peek into your process

Rather than just show your finished works, it is a great idea to give your followers a peek into your process so that they can see how you create your work behind the scenes. A behind-the-scenes tour of your studio or a video of your work in progress is an excellent way to tap into people’s curiosity about how you create your piece. Plus, this is one of the best ways to keep your feed consistent and updated.

Create highlights to showcase your portfolio

If there are works that you would like to highlight, perhaps because they demonstrate your style, then you must have them pinned in the highlights section of your bio. Your highlight can serve as a gallery of sorts that buyers can quickly scroll through to get a taste of what is in store for them.

How to sell your art on the Facebook marketplace locally

If you are interested in reaching the widest audience possible, then you need to seriously look into selling in the Facebook marketplace. Facebook is a social platform that is constantly growing. Additionally, mobile users spend more than one hour a day on Facebook, so you stand a great chance of attracting customers to your Facebook art store.

When you sell on Facebook, you can easily integrate your online store from another e-commerce platform within your Facebook page. Better still, you can drive traffic back to your store, whether that’s a website or a physical location, using Facebook ads.

The Facebook marketplace also has a mobile-only buy and sell tab that will allow you to list all your artwork for sale. Facebook marketplace isn’t any different from other selling platforms such as eBay OR amazon, so if you have some experience selling on these other platforms, then you will have an easy go of it.

Better still, you can easily stay connected with your buyers via Messenger, which also supports payments directly within the messenger platform. To succeed on Facebook, you must generate a lot of content that will keep users engaged. Many artists also find success with giveaways and competition, which are both tactics when you need to attract mass attention for your masterpieces.

Tips to help you sell your art correctly online

Write artwork descriptions that sell

The best way to increase your chances of people buying your artwork online is to create product descriptions that sell. Most websites that allow you to sell art encourage artists to craft SEO-friendly descriptions that then attract customers. The best artwork descriptions give a clear explanation of the artwork in question and are free of any grammatical errors.

Make full use of other social media platforms

If you are going to sell online, then you must leverage the power of social media. Social networking is by far the most straightforward way to get as many eyeballs on your work as possible without necessarily spending a lot of money on online advertisements. Some of the best social media pages to showcase your artworks include:


A lot of art buyers browse through Flickr, so it is a great platform to attract buyers. In addition, Flickr has a great search function inbuilt within the platform so buyers can effortlessly look for your art when they need to buy it.


Youtube is great for artists that want to showcase their personality. Youtube works really well for artists who wish to demonstrate how they create their work or for artists looking to show behind the scenes their creative process.


Pinterest is the most effective social network for artists and other creatives. Pinterest allows artists to easily pin their art so that it can be seen at a glance by their followers and stranger alike.

Art forums

Although art forums are primarily used for discussions, they are also excellent for networking. To succeed in an artist forum, artists have to show up consistently and engage with the people in these forums to gain results.

Take advantage of the power of blogging

Numerous blogging platforms help artists get the type of exposure that they are looking for. Most blogging platforms such as Medium, Wix, or WordPress are easy and straightforward to use and they can easily be integrated with various other platforms.

Come up with a newsletter for your customers

Whenever you complete a piece and would like to put it up for sale, then you will need an email newsletter that allows you to easily communicate your offerings. An up-to-date email list will also make sure that you never run out of customers, even during those dry periods when no sales are coming your way.


Making a living as an artist used to be challenging, but not anymore. Artists now have more access to online platforms that can allow them to sell their wares online than ever before. So if you’ve always wanted to sell your art online, there’s no better time to do it.