How to Sell Your Art Online and Make Money in the UK

Selling your work online is a great way to earn some extra cash, but mostly it’s a passion-boosting exercise. Whether you’re an established artist or illustrator looking to break into the industry, or you just want to make a few extra bucks to fund your hobby, you can benefit from the growing number of markets available online.

Whether you choose to focus on traditional markets such as galleries and auction houses or more contemporary platforms like online art stores, you can sell your work and make money online in the UK.

Here, we answer some of the most common questions about trading and selling art online.

How Do I Start Selling My Art Online?

Selling your artwork is a huge step into the world of alternative funding and self-expression, but it doesn’t hurt to have a little bit of knowledge beforehand. There are several different routes you can take to get started, so let’s dive in and explore the various options.

Sell Your Work On A Traditional Market

If you have an established reputation as an artist, you can explore the various galleries and auction houses that exist in your area. These are the traditional markets, and while they might not offer the best conditions for an artist to thrive in, they’re definitely a great place to sell your work. If you’re passionate about your art, it’s likely that you’ll make connections with the curators that exhibit your work, and in turn, that could translate to getting your work into more prestigious galleries and even selling it there for higher prices. Keep in mind that these markets are more suited to selling high-quality works. If you’re looking to sell your work for lower prices or just to generate some extra cash, you might end up in a bit of a catch-22 situation.

Sell Your Work On A Platform Like Etsy

As the saying goes, “no man is an island”, and this applies to artists too. If you don’t have an established reputation as a professional artist, you can still sell your work on a platform like Etsy. Etsy is a great place to sell your work because it allows artists to flourish regardless of their reputation or previous experience. If you’re looking to sell your work on a digital market, Etsy is the clear choice. You can set the price for your work, upload a portfolio of your previous work, and find potential buyers who might be looking for original artwork for their personal collection or as part of an interior design project. If you decide to go this route, make sure to find an artist friendly platform such as Etsy to make the entire process as streamlined as possible.

Sell Direct To The Public On A Blog Or Website

Another great way to sell your artwork is to put up a blog or website dedicated to showcasing your work. Once you’ve established a small audience, you can begin to sell individual pieces of artwork or full-blown designs for products such as purses, aprons, and hats. If you’re new to the art blogging scene, make sure to build a solid foundation of content to attract and engage your audience. Once you’ve got a decent-sized following, you can explore the various corporate and creative clients that might find your work interesting. In addition to product design and blogging, you could explore different revenue streams such as ads, affiliate marketing, and sponsorships.

How Do I Trade And Sell Art On A Digital Marketplace?

If you’ve got a large or well-rounded following on social media or a previous connection to an established artist, you can explore the myriad of online markets that allow art enthusiasts to buy and sell original pieces of artwork. These aren’t necessarily geared towards professionals, so if you’re looking to establish a reputation as an artist, you might find that the lack of galleries and auctions makes a big difference. However, if you just want to make some extra cash, these markets are great places to do so. The only caveat is that you need to be aware of the various platform policies and restrictions that might pop up. For example, a lot of digital markets including Etsy and Artsy have a no-resale policy, which essentially means that once you sell a piece of artwork on one of these platforms, you can’t sell the same item for higher prices elsewhere. This is typically for the benefit of the artist, as they have a much greater chance of seeing the price they set for their work and not having it discounted by the platform. While this can be great for the artist, it might not work in your favor as a seller if you want to generate income elsewhere.

Do I Need A Lawyer To Start My Business?

There are several different routes you can take to establish an online art business. Some of the more popular options include Etsy, Redbubble, and eBay. In order to legally operate as an online art business in the UK, you’ll need to register with the UK government as a business, set up various bank accounts, and deal with shipping. Even after all that, you might still find that the overhead of running a business can be more than what you’re used to paying as an individual. Being an entrepreneur is never easy, but with a little bit of research and preparation, it’s a lot easier to thrive in the business world as a solo trader or entrepreneur than as an employee.