Starting selling art prints. Suggestions?

So, I got to show my art this week at a city function. It was not a big thing, but I’m really psyched because I can put this on my CV for my artist resume.

I met some people there who wanted my prints. My cousin came by to see my set up and he ordered two prints himself.

I felt some initiative after downing some energy drinks, sarcosine, piracetam, and choline bitrate (last three are nootropics meant to boost “productivity.” So anyways, I was all amped and focused so I started a paypal business and now I have a little business account with credit card reader, debit card, and an IRS tax identifier. I might have been slightly manic, but whatever, now I technically own and operate a small business, somehow. I’ve only made like 100 bucks this year (sold 1 painting, 2 prints, and 5 greeting cards with custom artwork), but I am going to open a wix website online and also build a facebook page for it.

I want to get liability insurance for my “business.” Is it even a business if I only make like 20-100 dollars a month doing prints and art commissions? It’s more like a side hobby, but I have to get all my business facts straight so that I can feel confident about handling new customers.

Any business owners here? Any tips for a start-up?? What accounting software do you use? How do you market customers? How do you deal with angry / demanding customers?

Thoughts? Feedback? THANKS!!!


That’s great! Would love to see your artwork!

Paging @anon31257746 for business tips :wink:


I’ll have to paint something especially for this forum!! Will find something and post it here
Thanks for the support

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Use quick books for accounting. Or get a small biz accountant that is a certified accountant.

Get an e-commerce site like shopify
Use a scanner to scan prints for digital sale.

Have fun :blush:

In Canada if you make less than 30k then you don’t have to charge tax.

Don’t incorporate unless your profit after expense is over 50k. So do a sole proprietorship

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thanks so much!! scanner sounds like a great idea, it’s now on my to-buy list!

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Wow what a great development! You should be really proud of yourself @HQuinn! Well done on selling so much art. I’m with Minnii, I would love to see some of it.

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That’s great @HQuinn. I’d love to see some of your artwork.

Have you considered selling your prints on I’ve bought really cool art directly from artists there.

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i’ll look into etsy, thank you!

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Here’s a quick sketch I did of my 90 year old grandma a few years back.
It’s not a painting, but it was on this laptop. It’s a quick sketch made with vine charcoal. I think she was just sitting, looking out the window, so I sketched her for my community college art class (I took about four classes in drawing and that’s it). I consider myself an outsider artist, in that I do a lot expressionist/abstract stuff and I am a self-taught painter.

Also, slightly paranoid about bystanders (normals) finding out my identity through matching the images of a painting to my future website. Is that a little too paranoid? I dunno. I will paint a painting for forum, especially, though, and post it here, just for you guys!

Thank you for all the support everyone! I just inquired an event promoter about being a vendor at a vendor arts and crafts fair, so keeping my fingers crossed!


It’s very good. The shadows are great :slight_smile:

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That’s amazing.

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Well guess what? I get to sell art prints/greeting cards at a vendor fair next month! I am shocked at the sudden opportunity!

So, now I have a small venue to show art and also a small venue to sell art stuff!

My uncle said that I wouldn’t be able to live off the earnings, but me, I’m like, well I have zero dollars. If I can have 3 dollars off a sale of a greeting card, plus the pleasure of knowing that someone was attracted to my art, how can I feel like I wasted my time? I can’t!

fyi feeling much better after a weekend of deep sleep. no more foia’ing myself anymore. :slight_smile: (reference to that post where I foia’d myself in a frenzy and fell into a tizzy about it)

I also want to show my art at this gallery specifically for mental health diagnosed artists, but I cannot due to paranoia that people will avoid buying from me if I expose myself as a mental health patient. Gr…rr, so instead I am sticking with my two opportunities and just kind of daydreaming that one day, mental health stigma will go away and I can paint about having a mental illness and still manage to sell art prints to people.

fyi, there is a category of art called Outsider art that is primarily made by people who have been/are in mental hospitals and who have mental health diagnoses. In general, the term is used for people with little to no art training, but usually the ones that get anything sold wind up being mental patients who draw during art therapy or whatever.
Case in point:
Martin Ramirez, a mental patient from Mexico who wound up in a US mental hospital with limited English…but his imagination let him communicate, despite the language barrier and schizophrenia he had!


DO NOT USE ETSY! I help my friend sell jewelry through her small business. When she started out she used etsy, but their credit pay function is obnoxious, and it’s pain to enter in new sales unless you have literally everything in your inventory already on the site. Plus, PayPal charges less $ per sale, and you can include tax in the final price, so you can deal with all whole numbers.

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Oh thanks! I was looking around at that! Right now I actually only have paypal, so I’m glad you mention that service! I got my credit card reader in the mail so I can swipe cards and use their app to take payments in-person!!

I don’t have any experience selling on Etsy but I buy things on Etsy using PayPal. Artists from all over the world sell on Etsy and there is a broad global customer base on Etsy as well.

As a customer, I love Etsy. I have purchased both vintage items and handcrafted items. I have also purchased custom art on Etsy and the transaction was pretty straight forward from the customer’s side anyway.

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From a customer’s perspective, Etsy is great. I love buying things on Etsy. And for shops that primarily do their business online, I see the appeal. Lots of customers know Etsy, so they get some free advertising. But we do most of our business in person, using credit card readers. And the Etsy credit card reader and app are both a nightmare. Also, Etsy’s credit card reader only works on Apple or Android phones, but PayPal works on all phone types.


The first thing you need is a powerful and user-friendly website to sell your art prints. Of course, you can sell your works on Etsy, however, I doubt it would be as effective as a stand-alone website. Even being technically unskilled, you can build a website on your own using WordPress. To make your website look and function perfectly, subscribe to the newsletter of this blog - . Good luck, friend!

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I like Etsy for selling digital images and sold some copies of my dad’s art on it. I don’t like it that they nickel and dime you for maintenance fees.

For marketing it’s hard to beat Facebook: In addition to family and friends who can spread the word, a $7 ad shot seems to get a lot of exposure. Also very good to market your stuff on various forums if it isn’t against their rules.

I have a relative who used and although their stuff is extremely pricey, it is very cool that they will transfer stuff to handbags, pillows, shower curtains for you and ship it directly to your customers.

Wordpress is cool but it also helps to have business cards (I like Vistaprint) with your website printed on it which you can hand to people you meet. I have made a lot of friends in my town because it is such a great conversation starter. It helps too if you have copies to show them on your cellphone (I use Dropbox).

I don’t worry about too much of the accounting stuff right now because I am not really turning anything that looks like a profit and if it’s under $50 a month I doubt anyone would really care anyway plus my wife has large medical expenses which would probably be a tax writeoff for us anyways. On the other hand, running a microbusiness is incredible experience for someone like me who has never had the courage to work for oneself and will probably look good to an employer since they know you will have a deeper appreciation of how hard it can be to make an honest buck.

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Congratulations - I’m impressed

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