Passive Income Ideas for Artists

Although the art industry is a multi-billion dollar industry (source), rising the ranks to become a well-paid professional takes a lot of time. However, a disruption in the industry from technology has made it possible for artists to earn an income in new ways that can be made much more passive.

Can you make a passive income as an artist? Artists can make passive income by selling their own artwork, as well as by benefitting from newer passive income opportunities for artists such as blogging, affiliate marketing, print-on-demand, YouTube, eCommerce, and 3D Printing.

In this guide, we look at some of the passive income opportunities especially suited for artists and how you can turn each one of them into a steady stream of passive income. Like most passive income ideas, most of these ideas will require a certain investment in terms of time, effort, and commitment. It is once these streams are made passive and generating revenue that you can tend to them less and enjoy the ongoing fruits of your work. Let’s get started.

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1. Print-on-Demand

Print-on-demand is an emerging trend that can be an excellent passive income stream for artists. As an artist, you can create designs or customize other people’s designs, and have them printed on merch (like t-shirts, pants, shoes, bags, hats, pillowcases and more). Your clients choose the designs, which are then printed, shipped, and delivered by your print-on-demand service like Printful earning you an income. The best part is that print-on-demand is on a growing trend. The market has seen steady growth over the past few years and is expected to become a $1.3 Billion industry by 2022 (source).


Getting started is easy, all you need to do is to open an account on Printful and design your product from there. As an artist, you can make monthly passive income by marketing your designs to your audience (clients, Instagram account and more). This is a very suitable idea for artists to get started selling online as print on demand can expose you to new clients and markets that will help you generate sustainable growth of revenue and income for a long time. Learn more about print on demand in our guide.

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2. YouTube

YouTube is a very popular means for people to make money passively. As an artist, you can share your art skills and knowledge with others on a monetized YouTube channel and earn passive income from it. It is important to make your videos both educational and entertaining to keep people interested in your content.

You can make videos teaching different art skills or any art information that can attract an audience. As long as you stay consistent, generate traffic, and reach 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of watch time, you can become eligible for monetization. You can get started making about $1,000 a month with a monetized YouTube account depending on the number of monetized views and other factors. Learn more about leveraging YouTube to earn passive income as an artist in our guide.

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3. Creating a Niche Site

Niche sites are becoming a very popular way of earning income passively. As an artist, you definitely have skills, content, or knowledge related to art that can be beneficial to other artists and art-lovers. You can share it with others and earn passive income by monetizing a niche site.

Building a niche site takes time, dedication, passion, and commitment. The goal is to answer actual questions people are searching for in Google related to your niche. With a sound audience, you can monetize your site through ads, affiliate marketing, selling products, and more, to start earning passive income. According to Project 24 a well-built niche site can earn about $7,000 passive income per month after following their 24-month methodology. For more details about niche sites and how you can earn passive income as an artist check out our guide.

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4. eCommerce

E-commerce is becoming increasingly popular for people looking to make income passively. As an artist, you can choose to sell your own art products or things that you do not physically stock through online platforms. Ecwid eCommerce allows you to sell on your own website and integrate with Instagram for Instagram Shopping capabilities so you can tag your products in posts and stories. Art being very visual, Instagram is a great place for artists to promote their products. You can also connect your Ecwid store to Amazon and eBay to manage your sales in one central place and reach more online buyers. Learn more about eCommerce in our guide.

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5. Blogging

Blogging is a good way for artists to display their expertise and make passive income. Some bloggers make well over $1,000/month from their blogs. If you want to reach more people with your art, blogging is an excellent way to generate sustainable organic traffic to your website. You can share your knowledge on art with your blog, generate traffic and attract an audience. You can monetize your blog in a variety of ways (placing ads, affiliate marketing, selling physical, and digital products etc.), and make passive income.

Building a successful blog is not easy and you need to follow a proven method to get results. We love Project 24 from Income School to learn how to generate traffic, grow your audience, and monetize your blog content. Learn more about creating a successful passive income blog in our guide.

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6. Selling Stock Photos & Videos

People are always looking for quality photos and videos for a variety of projects. As an artist, you can earn money by selling your photos and videos through online platforms and make some good money doing so. For instance, as an artist, you may have quality photos lying around or just filling up virtual space. You can upload stock photos and videos on some online platforms like ImageSource, Shutterstock, and Masterfile to make passive income.

First, make sure your photos are of high quality. Rick and Jim have a very educative photography course in Project 24 that is ideal for new artists looking to make an income from stock photos. It is also important to choose the right platform. Platforms charge different commissions for photos, some may also ask for exclusive rights to your content. From there it is all about registering your account and uploading your photos. Check out our guide on how to make income selling stock photos and videos.

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7. 3D Printing

Artists can money from 3D printing. 3D printing services are becoming very popular today. As an artist, you can cash in on 3D printing. For example, if you are a graphic designer you can create quality 3D designs and sell them to other people online. Online platforms such as Shapeways, I.Materialise, Sculpteo offer quality 3D printing services for people who may lack advanced design skills. You can combine different 3D designs to make your work unique and more attractive.

3D printing may be a bit expensive for beginners, especially when you have to buy your printer. Luckily, there are so many other ways for you to make money including offering 3D printing training service, offering print-on-demand and more. Click on our guide for some more information on how you can earn passive income from 3D printing.

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8. Affiliate Marketing

There are many people making money by promoting affiliate marketing programs. Artists can make good passive income from affiliate marketing by promoting things they love. You don’t necessarily have to feature products in videos for you to make money. For instance, you can promote products in blog articles or directly to the clients you work with.

Affiliate marketing is not that difficult, all you have to do is look for a product that you would like to promote, confirm whether it is supported by an affiliate marketing company like Amazon associates and then market your product on some of the popular online platforms. You receive income from commissions on the sales you generate. Affiliate marketing is a highly passive means of making an income. Click on our guide for more on how you can make an income from affiliate marketing.

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Related Questions

Can I make a passive income without capital? You can make a passive income without a large capital investment. Some passive income ideas that can cost less than $500 to start include selling prints, affiliate marketing, blogging, creating niche sites, selling stock photos or videos, YouTube, print-on-demand or flipping items online.

How much can artists earn from passive income? Each passive income idea is unique, you can earn a lot from most passive income ideas but the amount you earn will mostly depend on your level of commitment, skill, choice of niche, execution and the quality of the content you produce. Learn more about how much others are making in our passive income guides.

More Passive Income Ideas

Can passive income sustain my needs? It is possible to sustain a livelihood from the income you generate passively. However, generally this takes quite a long time to build, so it is important to be able to sustain yourself while building passive income streams. Some people build their passive income streams while maintaining their 9-5 job.