If you are interested in creative ways to make passive income as an artist, then you will find these 11 creative passive income ideas helpful.
You may wonder if creating passive income as an artist is doable or realistic. In this article, learn why the answer to that question is an enthusiastic “Yes!”
Passive income is one of those terms which can sound difficult or far-fetched. But it’s totally realistic to build a passive stream of income and make money with art skills.
Passive income is not only about real estate investments, stocks, lending clubs, or any other boring-sounding ideas which conjure up an image of a middle-aged man in a suit.
Passive income can be creative and fun! It’s an excellent way to make money for any artist or creative entrepreneur willing to put in the efforts.
So, let’s talk about passive income strategies for artists. Meaning, exactly how to make money with art skills. And why you should aim to create multiple streams of passive income over time.
**This post contains affiliate links, meaning I may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you for products you purchase via this website. For more information click here.**
The first thing to understand is that creating passive income does not happen overnight.
If you need money immediately, then this is not the article for you. Creating passive income for artists should be thought of as a long-term plan because it can take some time to build that income.
How to successfully create passive income as an artist?
The keys to passive income success as a creative entrepreneur are all about mindset + action.
To successfully create passive income as an artist or creator, you must be able to take consistent action to grow your passive income business.
To take that consistent action, you’ll need inspiration, patience, and a positive-growth mindset. With inspiration, patience, and mindset, you will be able to continue to fuel yourself for action. That is the recipe for success as a creative entrepreneur.
Passive income strategy and planning
A realistic strategy for passive income success as an artist relies on a gentle, steady pace. It’s easy to get burned out or overwhelmed in the beginning, and we don’t want that.
To build passive income as an artist, expect to spend time creating a “foundation” for your business first.
This could mean building up your art inventory, learning new skills, taking classes, learning search engine optimization for your blog or Etsy shop, or experimenting with your brand (aka image, style, subject matter, etc). You might feel like a beginner to the business side of things, but that’s ok. Push past the resistance- it’s part of the process.
Building your foundation is not passive. Expect to put in the work at this point, keeping in mind the bigger picture.
Making money as an artist doesn’t magically happen overnight. However, once we build our foundations, we can enjoy passive income streams that are beautiful, fun, and profitable. Because of the passive income from my online businesses, I can take a week off work (or longer) anytime and still make money.
Generating passive income art ideas as an artist
If you’re unsure which art medium to work in, ask yourself what skills and/or inspiration you already have. Then start to work from that happy place.
Try some journaling around this subject if you’re unclear about what direction to go.
Also know it’s ok if you’re a beginner to any art medium. So long as you enjoy it.
Remember the three keys to building passive income successfully: mindset, inspiration, and action. In other words, find what you love to do for art and do that.
All right, here we go!
11 Creative Ways to Make Passive Income as an Artist
1. YouTube for passive income
If you enjoy being on film, you could create a YouTube channel about any aspect of creating art. Show your viewers how to work with different mediums, how you made that amazing painting, take them on some art studio tours, or take them shopping for art supplies! The ideas are endless, so let your mind wander down that rabbit hole.
Think outside the box about working with different materials creatively on camera. For example, my oldest daughter absolutely loves these videos about making slime by mixing makeup. In a video like this, you only see hands, not the full person.
The passive income component of making videos is that once you’ve made a bunch, (built your foundation,) and you start to gain a following, you’ll make money again and again as your videos are watched over and over.
YouTubers can make money from ads, joining YouTube premium (for people who pay a membership fee to not have ads), affiliate marketing, and more. This article goes into depth about making money from YouTube. Check it out if YouTube is an avenue you might want to explore.
2. An art blog for passive income
Of course, as a blogger who loves blogging, I must recommend creating a blog! It does take work to build the foundation of a successful blogging business, but blogging is an excellent way to make money as an artist, especially passive income. It’s also super cheap to start a blog.
Related: 10 Things You’ll Love About Blogging
You can create passive income blogging via ads, affiliate sales, selling your artwork, selling digital products on your blog, and more! You can also use your blog to promote your passive income art prints from your Etsy shop.
Essentially, passive income from blogging works because you can create a blog post once, then make passive income from that blog post for years. The passive income accumulates because of ads, affiliate sales, (when someone makes a purchase via a link to a product that you add), your own product sales, and more. I make money mainly from ads over here. There are many types of art blogs you could create.
Profitable art blog ideas for artists:
- Create a craft blog with simple craft ideas for kids or adults. Give step-by-step instructions, along with photos and/or video (which could tie into YouTube). Add affiliate links to art supplies used and products recommended. This could be anything from art books you love to the best art journal supplies to buy.
- Create a painting blog with tutorials and beautiful images of your artwork. Include a link to purchase it on Etsy, or from your website using an eCommerce software plug-in such as WooCommerce. Don’t forget your affiliate links when telling your readers what art supplies you use!
- Make a photography blog that not only showcases your gorgeous photography, but also affiliate links to photography gear used, tips about photo techniques, photography inspiration, studio inspo, and more.
For creating passive income for any of these art blog ideas, you will need to learn how to get high traffic to your blog so that you can make money with those affiliate links, ads, paying customers, etc.
How to get blog traffic to make passive income:
Understand and implement search engine optimization (SEO) as related to Google. I’ve taken a few courses but the course I liked best is called Stupid Simple SEO.
Get a quality keyword research tool. It’s not cheap but I use Ahrefs and I love it.
Keep going and don’t give up. Your blog will keep improving and so will your traffic.
If blogging is something you’re interested in, subscribe and grab my totally free blogging course!
3. Create art courses for passive income
Create an online art course once, sell it forever! For potential students to discover you and invest in your course, it helps to have a blog or a YouTube channel to market your course. But you could also spread the word on Instagram, Facebook, and other social media sites.
To create a class, one way is to sign up on Skillshare.
Skillshare is an online learning platform where people can take or share classes, and it’s a super affordable way for learners to learn. Skillshare is available for free for a one-month trial.
With Skillshare, you can design your course with text and/or videos. You can include affiliate links within your class. You can set the pace and of course, the price. It’s super user-friendly.
4. Create an eBook or print-on-demand book about art
If you have a lot to say about art, then create an eBook!
You can sell eBooks through your own website or Amazon. You can also utilize Amazon’s kindle direct publishing for book publishing, or print-on-demand services, which costs nothing to sign up for.
Books are a terrific passive income product for creatives. Write a book once, and sell it forever.
Some of my favorite books about art that continue to be wildly popular years after being published include The War of Art by Steven Pressfield, The Artists Way by Julia Cameron, and Make your Creative Dreams Real, by SARK.
What are your favorite inspiring books about art?
5. Sell art prints on Etsy
Make an art print once, and sell it forever. (Check out my primary Etsy shop here.)
Here are some ways you could make art prints:
- Use graphic art design software such as Canva, Procreate for iPad, or Photoshop. (Canva is easier for beginners.)
- Purchase commercial-use clip art and/or unique fonts at Creative Market or on Etsy itself to use for your designs.
- Scan your original art using a good-quality scanner. Then upload it and sell.
Sell any art that you digitize as digital download printable art. That means a customer simply purchases your art as a PDF file and prints it themselves.
Alternatively, sell your art prints through a print-on-demand production partner who can print and ship your artwork to your buyers for you. It just depends on your art and how you think it would sell best.
6. Sell clip art on Etsy or Creative Market
In addition to art prints, you can use your scanner to scan your original art and sell it as commercial or personal use clip-art on Etsy or Creative Market.
This would work especially well if you were talented at, say, creating floral watercolor images that another artist could purchase to use for wedding invitations. Or if you created graphic elements for crafters.
To sell clip art, you would have to learn how to scan, upload, and edit your art, as well as list it online. Then you could sell that clip art forever.
7. Create passive income designing merchandise
Along with art prints and clip art, you can put your art on products to sell on places such as Etsy or Shopify. Think tote bags, cell phone cases, notebooks, stickers, clothing, and more!
Market your merch via your blog, Instagram, or YouTube channel. Sell your products on Etsy, Shopify, or via your blog using an eCommerce selling plug-in. Check out some T-shirts I just started selling in my second Etsy shop.
8. Sell household printables
Besides art prints, you could design wine labels, spice jar labels, gift tags, printable planners, calendars, and more!
Use your original artwork, clip art, and/or special fonts to create printable home products using graphic design software. As mentioned, Canva is great for beginners in graphic design. Create whatever inspires you and looks beautiful! Have a look at Etsy itself to get some ideas.
9. Create stock photos and mock-ups
If you’re a photographer, there are many types of stock photos you could take to sell online, from photos of people working, to still life photos, to product mockup photos (a mockup example would be an empty 8 x 10 frame an artist could use to digitally showcase an art print on Etsy.)
You can sell your photos on your own website, on Etsy, Creative Market, or to companies such as Adobe Stock or Shutterstock.
10. Monetize your Instagram to earn passive income as an artist
Spend time curating a gorgeous Instagram filled with art and inspiration, stay active on the platform, and grow your Instagram following!
With a large, engaged following, you can make passive income on Instagram through affiliate marketing, sponsored products, or selling your own photos.
Of course, you can also sell your own original artwork, promote your art blog or Etsy shop, promote your art courses, and more!
11. Art licensing
You can create art to license to retailers who sell clothing, housewares, decor, kitchen gadgets, etc. Think of places like Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, or Target.
Although most companies have in-house designers and artists, many utilize the art of freelance artists as well. And new designs are always needed.
If this is a passive income idea you want to try, focus on creating collections of artwork that go together as a strategy for success. Work on your social media followings and self-promotion. Create a cohesive image for your brand, like this talented artist.
To learn more, you can also check out this helpful article on art licensing for beginners.
Strategically create multiple streams of passive income as an artist
As artists and creators, each passive income stream we create builds our total income to allow us to make a living as an artist.
It’s a good idea to diversify your passive income streams as much as possible, and not to rely on just one or two income sources. For example, don’t focus solely on affiliate marketing from Instagram. Or from ad revenue from blogging.
Build each passive income stream bit by bit, over time. Rome wasn’t built in a day, but it’s a beautiful city!
The same can be said of your art brand and business; it won’t happen overnight, but you can create a decent living as an artist using passive income and additional income-generating methods if you start now!
The future of creating passive income for artists and creatives
In addition to these 11 creative ways to make passive income as an artist, there are probably more I’m not thinking of, and more that don’t exist yet but will exist in the future.
The idea of what might exist in the future for art always fascinates me- after all, most of the passive income ideas for artists on this list didn’t exist 20 years ago!
Never give up hope or stop trying to “make it” as an artist, however you define success. Keep following what makes you curious, what’s fun, and what challenges you in a good way.
And if you ever doubt yourself as an artist, (who doesn’t?) know this: the world cannot exist without art. The world needs your art and your content because the world needs content and art, simple as that!
Passive income art ideas conclusion
Being an artist and creator is a mindset and a lifestyle commitment. You put in the hard work building your foundation because you are committed and because you know you are an artist primarily. (Rather than primarily, say, a teacher who loves working with kids. We all have that main primary driver of inspiration.)
So even if you‘re working as a waitress now… you ARE an artist and creative at your core. You deserve to yourself to create your own daily happiness by doing work you love.
If you’re not sure what kind of art to make and sell, try new art mediums- there are a lot of art mediums and techniques you probably haven’t experimented with yet. You might just stumble upon something super creative and fun that you love.
So many ideas exist in the unseen realm, just waiting for a host (you) to pull them into this dimension and make them real!
I hope you enjoyed these 11 Creative Ways to Make Passive Income as an Artist. Please let me know what you think in the comments.
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