Every artist dreams of the day that they can start making money off of their work.

We all draw and create because we love it.

It drives us and gives us a natural high that we cannot get enough of.

But at the end of the day, we artists have bills to pay.

And maintaining a full-time job while creating art on the side isn’t easy.

That’s why we all aspire to reach the day when we can live off our art alone.

In this post, I’m going to teach you how to sell art on Instagram.

It’s never been easy – this process.

It takes a while to build a brand as an Artist and then get clients and customers.

But thanks to social media, and the ease with which we can sell our art online (physical or digital), we have reached an age where selling art on Instagram is indeed possible!

I am super grateful to Instagram because I started as a comic artist on Instagram and it helped launch me as an Artist.

Instagram will help you launch yourself as an artist. Girl on a rocket

I got to work with so many companies like Dove, Wella, Himalaya, and so on, and I even got to experience what it’s like to create illustrations for clients. It’s been a heck of a ride, and Instagram helped me launch my online business!

I explain my whole story of Stray Curls here, but in this post, I want to cover how you can build a Brand on Instagram and start selling your work there!

Let’s begin!

If you don’t already have an art blog (but really want to start one), please check out my step-by-step guide on starting an art blog from scratch. 

This post includes affiliate links to products I truly (from the bottom of my heart) recommend, meaning at no extra cost to you, I may earn a small percentage which I will use to feed my sweet, adorable pups.

Stray Curls Angela has two adorable labrador girls.

Want to develop your art skills and make money with your art and drawings? Take this free email course

1. Decide on a niche for your art type

You cannot hope to sell art on Instagram if you’re all over the place and your style keeps changing.

It’s not going to work because people will not be able to recognize your work and follow you.

Everyone likes consistency.

Look at the iPhones – they have a standard shape and follow a lot of rules. We can instantly recognize an iPhone if we see someone using it, and their OS is also pretty recognizable.

Likewise, develop an art style that’s uniquely yours.

Take your time – don’t rush.

Be extremely patient when you’re developing your art style.

It’s okay to try new things and take multiple online courses to become better at creating art.

I highly recommend taking Domestika Courses because they have some pretty beautiful classes that will help you understand how to draw better.

Stray Curls Domestika Coupon

Look at other artists in your field to understand what techniques or shortcuts they use to become better.

For instance, when I was learning how to create digital illustrations using ProCreate, I’d take multiple online classes to watch how other digital illustrators created their illustrations.

This helped me learn a lot of ProCreate shortcuts, and it also helped me understand what I needed to know to get better.

I got better and faster at drawing, and my art style developed nicely.

I also picked up graphic novels and drawing books to help me become better.

Picking a niche involves a lot of research and practice.

And it’s okay to take your time to do both.

I highly recommend these two books – The Art of Pernille Orum and Sketch Every Day because they helped me develop a relatable art style and draw and color better. The tutorials in both these books are super detailed and exceptionally well illustrated. I cover more drawing books I use in this post here. 

The Art of Pernille Orum is one of the best books I've ever read about art.

 

Start by drawing what you love.

And you can use multiple references.

Over time and with practice, your art style will begin to form like how mine did.

Here’s an example of how my art style evolved and became better with time: This is an eBook cover for my Creative Workbook I kept updating over the ears.

You can learn my tools and process here. 

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2. Develop a Brand on Instagram

Learning how to sell art on Instagram is a lot more than just creating an Instagram profile and then just posting your art.

You are no longer just an Artist.

You’re a Marketer and a Businessperson now.

So, your Account is your business.

It’s your Online Business.

This means that you need to know how to market yourself as an artist. 

When creating your Instagram account for your art, you need to be meticulous about how your Instagram profile reads.

Here are a few things you need to remember:

1. Set up a proper Instagram Business account

When you set up a Business account, you will be able to use Instagram Analytics.

This will help you understand what posts resonate with your audience and which stories and reels pull in more followers.

This is super beneficial to you because you will be able to create more similar posts, which will help you grow your Account faster.

Make sure that your Instagram name is very easy to remember and is something that people can type in the search bar without much thought – try to avoid underscores and dots in your username.

Keep your brand name very cohesive so that people can find you on Facebook or Pinterest the same way.

This helps you maintain a cohesive brand.

Make sure you set up a Business account to use Instagram analytics and other excellent features.

When writing your bio, make sure that you use relevant keywords to help the Instagram algorithm understand what your Account is about.

In my Account, I wrote “curly hair comics” and “comic artist” to help Instagram know that my Account was all about comics.

Look at some famous artists in your niche to understand how to draft your Instagram Bio. Here’s Magalie Foutrier’s Bio to help you understand what you need to be doing with yours:

Instagram bio of an artist

Her bio is very clear. She’s included:

  • Her author bio saying she is a French Illustrator
  • Her email ID if you have any requests
  • Her shop link
  • Buttons to message and call her

Here’s what you need to remember when you’re crafting an Instagram Bio:

  • Make sure it’s in points instead of a paragraph so that it’s easier to read
  • Add emojis to make your bio more fun!
  • Specify your shop link if you have one to redirect traffic to your shop
  • Mention if you take commissions or not
  • And keep your contact button visible so that people can reach you directly and know that your communication line is open.

2. Post consistently

Instagram has already stated their preferred number of posts, reels, and stories, but don’t feel discouraged if you can’t keep up.

Please don’t try to overdo the posts because you’ll burn yourself out eventually.

Art isn’t easy to create. So, go at your own pace and slowly increase the number of posts as you grow. Try to set up a schedule at the beginning of each month and week to understand your art plan for the month.

set up a schedule for your art posts on Instagram

I keep all my ideas in my Notes app.

Whenever I get an idea (no matter where I am), I write it down so that I will never forget it!

Also, try to post simultaneously every day – use your Instagram Analytics to find out what time your audience is most active.

I stay In India and in my country; my audience is most active at 5:00 pm for my niche. Other comic artists also post at the same time. I experimented with different times before posting at 5:00 pm every day, which dramatically upped my game.

If I was gaining 100-200 followers usually, Instagram Analytics helped me gain 1000 followers daily.

Please note that this was back in 2017 and not now. I no longer post comics. 

Cross-promote your posts and reels on stories. It helps get more traction.

3. Use hashtags wisely

A popular hashtag like #artistsoninstagram might have 11 million posts under it. So, using this hashtag when you’re just starting out is not going to help you in any way.

Meaning, even if you manually visit that hashtag and scroll at the speed of light, you may not be able to discover your post because there will be so many new ones being generated under the same hashtag.

Therefore, use at least 10-15 hashtags with just under 1000 posts. The more specific you get, the easier you will find it to be discovered.

See the screenshot below:

For example: Look at the hashtags under 1000 posts above, and they don’t have many posts under them. Use at least 13- 15 hashtags in this range.

Use about 10 in the range of 2000-3000 posts.

And the last few can be hashtagged with a broad range like 40,000 to 50,000 posts.

Now comes the time-consuming bit: Monitoring your Instagram post after you post it.

Monitor your instagram post so that you can increase engagement to your posts.

After 15-30 minutes, see if your post climbed up to the Top Posts in the smaller hashtag range. If it did, you could start increasing your range to hashtags with 2000 posts.

Yes, it’s time-consuming and cumbersome. But like I said before, your Instagram account is your business now!

Want to develop your art skills and make money with your art and drawings? Take this free email course

Basically, you need to make it to the Top Posts for a few hashtags that you use. The longer you stay in the Top Posts, the more likely you’ll be discovered. And the more popularity your post gets, the more likely it is that you’ll make it to the Top Posts in the hashtags (of the higher range).

Get it?

Here are a few ways you can increase your Instagram post’s engagement:

  • Write a short story in your description/caption to garner interest
  • Ask a question to your followers regarding their experiences with a particular topic
  • Hold a poll by asking an either-or-question. This usually gets people talking!
  • Reply to followers within 30 minutes of posting so that you keep getting more comments.

This helps build your brand.

This is grueling work – I know.

But you need to spend at least 60% of your time promoting your work. This is how you get people to notice your art!

4. Have a very cohesive feed

Your art or photos of your art will make or break your profile.

Instagram is a very visual platform.

Instagram is a very visual platform, so learn to present your art beautifully in your platform.

If you don’t know how to photograph your art, you’re not going to gain traction or gain Instagram followers. The quality of your art is as important as your photos.

And remember, you’re competing with people who will do anything for followers.

So, up to your game.

If you’re struggling with this, take this course to understand how to take good-quality photos with your phone camera.

Likewise, make sure that your feed is easy on the eyes and follows a friendly visual theme.

Check out Karoline Pietrowski’s feed.

Curate your instagram feed so that your art looks uniform and your feed is cohesive.

She draws women primarily, and she uses a specific color palette for her work. If you see her art anywhere else, you’ll know she makes it.

This is what you need to aim for when you’re curating your feed.

5. Build a strong base of connections

Follow other artists in your circles and constantly support them by leaving lovely comments and liking their posts.

It is easier to grow when you pay your kindness forward.

Once you start growing, you can snowball your growth by doing fun collaborations and cross-promotions.

Personal message your favorite artists and tell them how much you love their work.

Do it without expecting anything in return. Focus on building relationships in the beginning.

Give love to other artists on Instagram and show them the same kindness you expect.

You want them to remember you and associate you with happy thoughts.

Just pass the love. Like their posts, comment on their work.

Even though I stopped posting comics a long time ago and am no longer on Instagram, my friends from Instagram still keep in touch with me because our relationship transcends Instagram.

Just be kind and supportive. You will grow much faster.

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3. Decide how you’re going to monetize your art on Instagram

Now that you know how to start and grow your Instagram account as a professional artist, you need to decide how you want to monetize your Account.

There are several ways you can do this. Here are some popular methods:

1. Start a Patreon account

You can start a Patreon account where people can support you in return for:

  • Behind the scenes drawing videos/sketches
  • Art tutorials
  • Stickers/prints/merchandise
  • Newsletters

You can start a Patreon account and then ask your followers to support you in exchange for multiple goodies, depending on what you create.

Patreon is a lovely opportunity for you to give goodies to people in exchange for money.

Once you create a Patreon account, you can create stories to remind people what they will get in exchange for supporting you on Patreon.

Take @adesignerlife, who offers multiple goodies in exchange for supporting her on Patreon. This is how she creates her stories.

Create Instagram stories advertising your Patreon page.

2. Selling your art

You can sell your art as prints or merchandise on your website or a platform like Etsy and RedBubble.

Here are a couple of things you can sell your work on:

  • Merchandise like cups, clothes, tote bags, and so on
  • Art prints
  • Digital files like brushes, Instagram icons, clipart, and so on

I cover more ways you can make money as an artist here.

This is an excellent way to make a passive income as an artist because people will continue to buy your work. You just have to keep directing traffic to your shop via your Instagram posts.

Take @wowocomics, who talks about her merchandise in her Instagram stories once in a while.

You can even advertise your merchandise on Instagram. This is one of the best ways to sell art on instagram.

You can even add it to your Highlights so that people can see it at any time.

If you have an Etsy shop, you can link to your Etsy shop via your Stories and Highlights and mention that your art is now a print in your store every time you release a new post that will be sold separately as a physical item.

Take @hannahgoodart, who links to her Etsy store from her stories!

You can link to your Etsy store from your instagram account to sell your art on Instagram

To get more sales in your shop, you can do the following:

  • Offer special discounts or hold sales during holidays and special events
  • Offer discounts to people who sign up to your mailing list
  • Hold contests on Instagram (to get more followers) and offer your merchandise as the prize

3. Commissioning your work

You can take up commissions and draw portraits for people who want art in your style.

If you’re doing this, make sure that you constantly advertise your work in your stories and your posts (as the last slide) so that people know that you’re accepting commissions.

If you have a very relatable drawing style, you will get a lot of commission requests via email and Instagram DMs.

Make sure you have streamlined your process so that people find it easy to pay you and get their work.

You can read this post to learn how to get more clients. 

Take @essasketch, for instance, who takes commissions for her art. She includes prices in her stories and her highlight under the name “Commissions,” This is a great idea because people will know exactly what it will cost to get a portrait or drawing from you.

You can offer commissions on your Instagram stories as well.

There are several ways you can make money as an artist. 

If you have multiple links because you’re monetizing your Instagram art account via several ways, then you can create a Link Tree and post your links there like how @litterboxcomics does that:

You can also use Link Tree to attach multiple links to your Instagram profile

Conclusion

I hope this post taught you how to sell art on Instagram.

The tedious part of this whole process is building a brand that people will fall in love with. But if you love drawing and creating art, it will be easy for you.

Do you have an art profile on Instagram? Let me know what your Instagram handle is, and I can take a look and offer you some advice! If you have any questions related to Instagram or art, do let me know, and I’ll try to help out as much as I can.

Resources mentioned:

Courses for Artists

I highly recommend checking out Domestika’s Courses because they have courses on almost anything you want to learn, and they’re structured beautifully.

It’s very well organized, and its website is super fast. Their app is lovely too. You can download the classes and watch them offline, and the best part?

Once you buy the course, you own it forever!

Online courses speed up your growth, and I’ve been able to learn so much in the last couple of weeks just by taking these courses. They’re not expensive either!

Here are some of my favorite online courses:

Draw kawaii illustraitons

Kawaii Illustration: Create Charming Characters by Ilaria Ranauro

Delve into the world of Japanese kawaii and create lovable characters with their personalities. Illustrator Ilaria Ranauro aims to tell stories through the images and characters she illustrates. She sells her stickers, prints, washi tape, and more via her online Etsy shop and creates children’s illustrations for clients worldwide, including Penguin Random House Mexico.

This course teaches you about kawaii culture and how to illustrate unique characters of your own ready to be printed and shared with the world in sticker form. Create a unique character that sparks joy and leaves people with a smile on their faces.

Check out the course here. 

Female cartoon character with Procreate by Isabella Agosti

How to draw female characters in ProCreate

Female characters do well on Instagram, and if you’re looking to gain more followers on Instagram, taking this course will help you do that!

Isabella loves to weave the stories behind her female cartoon characters into her artwork, and, in this course, she shows you how to use Procreate to bring everyday heroines to life. Discover how to create vibrant illustrations from start to finish using photos for reference. Check out the course here. 

You can check out all the other illustration courses here. 

Books for Artists

For making comics:


For drawing:


You can check out my detailed list of drawing books I suggest for beginners here. 

Need more help? Check out my Creative Bundle for Creators

The creative bundle includes the creative guide, the productivity planner and the self care planner!

My Creativity Bundle has helped Creators from all over the world become better creators and just create.

It’s the answer to beating your creative blocks and is the best-seller in my creative section.

The Creative Guide for Creatives includes:

  • Tips for harnessing negative energy to create constantly. It also includes hacks to self-introspect and get past creative blocks.
  • They have detailed sections and exercises to get past the fear of imperfection, imposter syndrome, the fear of rejection, and more!
  • Specific hacks to set smart goals, break them into actionable mini-goals, and stick to them till you’re done creating your project.
  • The essentials of a business including making money online and gaining clients. It includes a fun Business Plan template that you can use to get started as an Entrepreneur.

You can see the Creative Bundle here for $29, or get the Creative Guide by itself for $17.

Here are some more posts related to illustrating and drawing that you may enjoy:

If you need some inspiration for your creative journey, take my free creative skills email course that will help you tap into your creativity and push you to excel!

Want to develop your art skills and make money with your art and drawings? Take this free email course