How to sell art prints online – 2020 Guide
One of the classic ways artists sell art online nowadays is through selling prints of their artwork. We’ve done some research and interviews and we’ve put together a guide on how to sell art prints online.
Before we start, I’d like to make one little disclaimer about this article. We are working hard to help artists such as yourself get the information they need in order to succeed in the art market. In this article we will go over the steps you need to learn how to price and sell your art prints online but in order to get the full learning, you should come back to it when we would have created the content that goes deep in each section. If you’d like to keep in the loop and receive personalized help (I personally respond to all messages and emails I receive) make an account on our platform! We have so much content that will help you!
Why would you learn how to sell art prints online?
We live in the digital age, there’s no doubt about it. The question is not why your shouldn’t learn how to sell art prints online but rather… why not? It offers you an international reach and there’s so many tools we’re going to discuss in this article that will show you just how easy it easy to sell art prints online. On the other hand, until we get to the actual moment where you will get the money in your account there’s a few things we need to go through first.
How to price your artwork?
After running a small scale survey and understanding how other artists are pricing their artwork I’ve come up with a formula that you might find helpful. Here’s how it looks in Microsoft Excel but don’t get scared! I’ll break down everything and make it super easy for you to understand:
There are a number of variables present in the formula. We’re going to break everything down and then bring everything together at the end.
This one is self explanatory. When somebody buys your artwork you’re going to have to package it and ship it using one of the providers of the platform you are using. You will normally find the shipping cost in the terms and conditions of the platform of your choice.
Another variable that is self-explanatory. Art doesn’t materialize out of thin air and unfortunately the canvas, the paint or whatever materials you are using to create your work costs money! You can usually find the cost of the materials from receipts on online transactions. More often than not you aren’t going to use all of the paint tube. This is where you’re going to have to estimate and make an educated guess. Even if you are a digital artist, the software that you are using costs money. If you are paying 365 dollars (or whatever currency) for your software subscription and it took you 7 days to make the piece of art you are trying to price; then I’d put the material cost for the software as being 7 dollars. Follow this process with any other materials you might be using (electricity bills, printing paper for the original piece, etc.)
Here it becomes a little bit more complicated. Each artist has a different hourly rate and it is quite a process for you to find your hourly rate if you’ve never thought about it in the past. Here’s a good and simple way of doing it:
- Think of a desired yearly salary. Take in consideration stuff such as your degree or training, your experience in your field, the status you have on the market and the social and organic influence of your marketing efforts. At the end of the day, what is a yearly salary you need could live for a year?
- Take this number and divide it by 365. That’s your hourly rate.
- Take your hourly rate and multiply it by the amount of hours it took you to finish your product. And we don’t mean the hour you spent talking to your friends on Facebook. It should be the hours you’ve actively spent working on your piece.
Overhead – AKA the profit
Up until this point you’ve been covering the costs of making the product you are trying to sell. Material costs is money you will never get back and your hourly cost is time you will never get back. The overdraft is the fun part: your profit!
There’s one major thing you should keep in mind when coming up with your overhead number. Did you produce it on one of your good days? Be realistic when you come up with your profit. It will take 15 (we’ll get to this in a second) sales of your art prints in order to achieve the number. On the other hand you could possibly make hundreds! That is extra profit you didn’t even account for.
Pricing your art prints for international sales – the final formula
Now that you have all those numbers here’s the formula again:
Before we move on to finding out which platform is the best for you I’d like you to play this mental imagination game. You are looking to buy some art for your new house. You have a decent job but you are paying a number of bills every month. You stumble upon a beautiful artwork priced at the number you just came up with on Saatchi art. Does it seem overpriced? If it is, try going over the formula and lower some of the variables. The world is not black and white; find the grey that works for you.
How to make my artwork into a print?
If you are working in a digital medium (collage, digital illustration, photography, 3D) then you can skip this step. On the other hand, this is probably one of the most important steps in selling art prints online.
Scanning is the best way to get the best quality of your artwork. On the other hand, it would be quite risky for the quality of your original artwork to scan if it is something with texture or that can be damaged by contact. In this case we suggest you take a high quality photo with a DSLR camera in a good light environment. DSLR cameras offer a raw representation of the subject matter which is exactly what you are looking for when selling art prints online. If you are using a natural light source make sure it hits the artwork uniformly. If you are using artificial lighting I’d try to blast out any shadows that may appear on your piece without over exposing your artwork.
We will hopefully release a new article that goes into this section more in depth. Sign up on our platform to keep updated with tips and guides on how to become a successful artist and easily navigate the scary world of the art market.
How to sell your artwork prints online?
Now that we’ve covered the pricing and digitizing of your art piece we can go into some general information about the different platforms that allow you to create an online gallery to display and promote your artwork.
Selling art prints online using your own website
Before we go on and look into the details of all the platforms we signed up for and checked out ourselves we would like to urge you to consider building your own online gallery. This has an endless stream of advantages that will require a separate article to enumerate. (we’re working on it! Sign up to be notified when we finish!)
None of the platforms enumerated below guarantee you 100% success in managing to sell your artwork or prints.
Ugallery has an insane commission fee of 50%! The area they are unique is the fact that they only accept listings from art students or graduates. This may attract art dealers and collectors that care about the quality of the work as opposed to other platforms. On the other hand, it’s been rumored that they will NOT allow you to list your artwork anywhere else besides their platform so be careful.
Saatchi art is probably the most famous platforms out there. The commission is quite high at 35% but what they do better than any of the platforms on the list is their ability to help you with your artist journey! If you subscribe (paid, of course), they will offer you the possibility to attend networking events and exhibitions where you will be able to meet possible people interested in your artwork
ArtFinder is very close follows right after Saatchi Art when talking about commission fee. The biggest difference between ArtFinder Vs Saatchi Art is probably the fact that ArtFinder requires you to make an application before you are accepted to have an account on their platform. This offers some exclusivity and art collectors might prefer this sense of elitism when looking for artwork. On the other hand, this is completely useless when you are trying to sell art prints!
Etsy is very much about hand-made work. It doesn’t necessarily empower the word artist very much. It attracts audiences that are interested in hand-made jewelry and accessories. On the other hand it does offer the possibility to list your art prints.
ArtFido concentrates on photography and video work. If that’s your medium make sure you check it out.
When something is too good to be true it usually is too good to be true. ArtPal is a new platform with very few users visiting it. On the other hand, if you are confident on your ability to get traffic from social media or organic reach make sure you check it out since it’s 100% FREE! Just a quick note… businesses that operate on a free model usually don’t last. Vango used to be an art platform that offered an amazing 10% commission fee and they struggled to make a return on their investment. They are now out of business and all the efforts done by artists to create their online art gallery is now gone! Proceed with caution.
We would like to leave you with one important piece of advice. Most of the platforms that offer promotional help for artists are after money (that’s how a business operates). The only way to be completely independent (and even then you have paypal, website hosts and the algorithm games to worry about) is to host your online gallery on your own website. If you choose to use one of the platforms please make sure you read their terms and conditions in great detail and don’t hesitate to ask for help if you are feeling doubtful. The art market is a difficult world to navigate!
If you have any questions you’d like us to go over in more detail please drop us a comment below!
I’m a digital marketer and video editor by day but my heart lies in the world of art and film psychology. Having worked with art galleries and artists I noticed a gap between artists and customers and a lack of experience and knowledge on how to close that gap. The EscapeArt project aims to help emerging artists navigate the art world as well as combine the arsenal of digital tools that can help you become a successful artist.