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A How-To Guide for Artists Looking to Boost their Passive Income

Hello Everyone

I wanted to share some valuable information on how to grow a passive income for artists and anyone else who benefit from this blog post Cat Coq.  Another good way to earn is to sponsor pages containing your artwork from a link, click on this link  Landscaope Prints For sale

My goal for 2016: Maximize my passive income. I knew at the beginning of the year that I wanted to be able to spend less time working and more time exploring the world around me, so I’ve spent the last twelve months working towards that path. I took everything I learned this year about earning passive income as an artist and compiled it into this one guide. I hope it helps all of you out there who are looking to boost your income in 2017.

I recently had the opportunity to partner up with Society6 and Skillshare to teach my own class on this topic. The online class is packed with information for artists and designers looking to broaden their revenue streams. (I’ll update when it goes live in February 2017.) Consider this guide a summary of the basics. Enjoy!

What is passive income?

Passive income is money being earned regularly that requires little effort to maintain. For artists, this can mean generating regular income from the artwork you’ve created.

For example, I painted these alpacas in January, and because of strong sales, have continued earning a monthly royalty rate from them since. All the work was done upfront– now, I just promote them occasionally through social media. I use this method for nearly every piece of artwork I create. Now, I’m selling hundreds of pieces through dozens of outlets.

One of the greatest perks of passive income is the time it frees up, allowing you to focus on other avenues of life. For me, that means working as freelance designer and traveling the world for creative inspiration.

1. Print-On-Demand Sites:

PODs will print your artwork on phone cases, pillows, tote bags, apparel, notebooks, wall art, and so much more. The POD company handles the production and manufacturing, sales, shipping, returns… everything.

POD Examples:

  • Society6
  • Redbubble
  • Casetify
  • Art Crate
  • Threadless
  • Drawdeck
  • Design by Humans
  • Fine Art America
  • Zazzle
  • Saatchi
  • …and literally hundreds of others. There are new POD companies starting up every day.

POD Challenges:

  • It’s difficult to get noticed. With thousands of artists participating, it can be challenging to make a name for yourself and gain traction.
  • Loss of individual branding. When a POD sells to a customer, the branding is a reflection of their company. Sure, they’ll credit you as the artist, but you won’t have an opportunity to include your business cards or collect email addresses from each order.
  • Less control– The POD site may change at any time without notice, which could affect your store, for better or worse. (Keyword tags, search functions, uploading platform, algorithms for how featured artwork is chosen.) A POD site may be going well for you, then totally go under OR get bought out by a company that mismanages it. Bye, profits.
  • Each site has a different uploading process and template requirements. You spend time accommodating for each.
  • Success doesn’t happen overnight. It takes effort to promote your shop, gain followers, push sales. It’s a slow build.
  • Artist profit margins can seem very low. $2.40 for a $24 travel mug means you earn just 10% off each sale. However, it can be worth it if you sell in large quantities.

POD Benefits:

  • It’s easy. You don’t have to fulfill orders, handle production, or manage customer support. You can focus on creating beautiful art. They do the rest.
  • The POD site will invest a lot in marketing, which can benefit you if your work is included in campaigns, Instagram posts, e-blasts, etc.
  • Co-promotion. Society6 has nearly 300,000 Instagram followers alone. Any time they tag me in a post, I gain plenty of new followers.
  • People will notice you. I have a handful of new clients every month that have found me through my POD shops and are reaching out for custom work or wanting to sell my work through their site as well.
  • Sales will grow with time. Month 1 = $. Month 2 = $$. Month 3 = $$$.
  • No web hosting fees or custom design requirements. Everything is ready to go and maintained by the POD site.
  • PODs often promote their own sales events. This always translates into boosted sales for your shop.
  • Once your store gets traction, you get a paycheck every month. This is the reason I get to spend so much time traveling and exploring the world.

2. Art Licensing:

You work directly with an art licensor to license your designs directly to a company. An example of the latter is the work I sold through Urban Outfitters. Similar to POD, you get paid a royalty rate based on sales.

3. Content Producing:

  • Online classes or tutorials through sites like Skillshare or Lynda.com
  • Selling fonts, assets, illustrations, textures, etc. through content purchasing sites like Creative Market

Four questions to ask at the beginning stages of building your passive income:

  1. Do you have unused artwork or existing designs you could repurpose to sell online?
  2. Are you putting all your eggs in one basket? Make sure you’re diversifying your channels of income. One bad month on Society6 isn’t ideal, but it’s not going to bankrupt me. I sell through a variety of POD sites, license my work through various brands and licensors, and work as a freelance designer.
  3. Are you expecting overnight success? I grew my brand slowly over several years before I started making a living wage.
  4. What do you want your brand name to be? I use an abbreviated version of my name. Cat Coquillette = CatCoq

A quick note on contracts…

Read them. The three biggest factors I look for:

  1. Nonexclusive. Because I sell my work through a variety of platforms, I want to make sure I can sell an identical piece of artwork through all of them. This helps me maximize profits for each piece.
  2. Fair royalty rates. Your royalty percentage can fluctuate wildly, depending on the quantities sold, type of product, distribution, etc. This is my go-to guide when I’m wondering about pricing.
  3. I retain ALL copyrights. Even if you’re creating exclusive content to license, it’s vital that you own the copyrights to your work. There are occasions when I do sell my copyright, but it comes at a high price. (Example: If I create custom branding for a company, I sell them the copyright so they own their own identity.)

Deciding Where/How to Sell Your Work

Use past history to project future sales.

  • Be proactive: Create holiday artwork in advance so it’s ready to sell/promote when applicable.
  • Track what’s selling well and create more work in the vein– People like to purchase multiple pieces of artwork that pairs well.
  • Using past records, I can identify coming months with high sales (back to school, holiday) and promote heavily during those times to maximize income.
    • Here’s a snapshot of my December sales statistics with Casetify. I can see page views + sales by day, as well as individual designs that are selling well.
    • Considering where to sell certain works:

      • Know the audience of your POD. Some PODs are catered to specific products, like Casetify, which exclusively sells tech accessories. I upload designs to Casetify that translate well to their specific market and audience: blogger fashionistas who want a stylish phone case.
      • Patterns and quotes sell best on phone cases. While all-out patterns do great as phone cases, they don’t sell as well (for me) as art prints. I make a higher profit margins on art prints, but move product faster on phone cases. It’s a balancing game.
      • Observe what type of artwork sells well for you across the Big Three:
        • Art prints (highest royalty rate)
        • Phone cases (lower royalty rate, but sell in large quantities)
        • Apparel (another low royalty rate made up for with large quantities of purchases)

      Top-selling art prints:

      Common factors for a top-selling art print (for me): hand-painted watercolors or acrylic, quotes, animals, cheerful vibe, limited color palette, light backgrounds.

    • Thank you  for Reading this post and I hope you found it useful
  • Joanne

6 Pinterest Mistakes That Lose You Followers

 

Joanne

Keeping Up Motivation

Hello Everyone

Today I want to share with you about how I keep up my motivation as an artist and business owner when I am going through slow and challenging times. I find it easy to keep motivated most of the time but when things are slow or go wrong I don’t feel like throwing in the towel and that is because art is my true love, my passion, my all, there is no other work for me out there, I should know I have done everything else and hated it, apart from being a nurse, surgeon, policewoman, judge, solicitor, doctor and prison officer.  When things don’t work out how I expect them to i get angry, frustrated and for a few hours or days I have a rest and go out and do something else, and when I feel refreshed I go back to my work.  I do find my inspiration and new found energy is naturally cyclical.  Being able to sit and paint is so exhilirating like it is for adrenalin junkies to dive off the tallest building or mountain edge.  It is part of me, the way I think and see the world and these emotions and mindset are stronger than the emotion of quitting.  I read other artist’s struggles and tales of woe and it is encouraging to know other people go through similar struggles and down times.  I have decided this year is the biggest breakthrough year for my art business, where I make the most money to date and take it to a new level and I can’t wait to get started after the New Year, I already have something in place ready to start the first week in January.  I hope whoever is reading this takes something away from it and if you are an artist, I hope you feel relieved it is not only you in the world who experiences challenges, and no the featured image is not me, and if it was well, I preserved well didn’t I?

Happy New Year and I hope 2017 is a prosperous year for you all, thank you for subscribing and supporting me over the last three years, and long may it last.

Don’t forget to subscribe if you haven’t already for more content, it is posted every Tuesday at 10.00m.

Joanne

x

 

Art Prints V Original Paintings

Sometimes people think they are getting an original painting and they end up getting a print. To avoid confusion, it is becoming important to know how to distinguish a print from an original painting.
Art Prints

 are multiples of the same piece, created through a printmaking technique. One of the most common types of prints is the one produced by a photo-mechanical process. The image is photographically transferred from an original source and is mass reproduced. Do not confuse this with original prints.
Original Prints

 are artwork from a matrix, which is generally a single metal plate; stone block, wooden block or screen that is hand-made by the artist. Each impression is done by the artist or artisan and the matrix is later destroyed. The prints are traditionally signed and numbered in pencil by the artist and generally called “Limited Edition Prints”. The numbering is done in this format: 149/300. Original prints can also be considered investments and bring with them the level of status that mass reproductions do not.
Before you ask a museum curator, art collector, appraiser or other art expert, these tips can help you differentiate a Print from an Original Painting:
  • An Original Painting has textured brush strokes. Watercolor or gouache original paintings will typically be in a rough paper with a distinctive grain.
  • A Print is usually flat and has a dot matrix pattern, the same pattern you find in magazines or book images.
  • An Original Painting has irregular and uneven paint on the edges of the stretched canvas.
  • A Print usually has sharp, even and clean edges; where the buyer typically does not look.
  • An Original Painting examined under a strong light might show pencil lines from the artist’s original sketch and changes made by the artist while painting.
  • A Print frequently has a number of identification and a copyright logo printed in small letters.
  • An Original Painting has rich and vibrant colors, and overall, looks, feels and smells like an original.

How To Hang Wall Art

Having original art in the home is vital to your well being. Art is a key piece of furniture for many reasons and yet it is sometimes put on the back burner in comparison to other home objects. This list is dedicated to the understanding of importance of art from perspectives of interior design, well being, social atmosphere, creating a mood in the home, and more. One quote that stands out about the importance of original art is the following, “You would never put fake books on your bookshelf, so why would you put fake art on your walls?” 
1. Creates Mood 

Brain scans have revealed that looking at works of art trigger a surge of dopamine into the same area of the brain that registers desire, pleasure, and romantic love Click here for more info. Romantic, sublime landscapes provoke contemplation of nature and purity. Such works then create a mood of peace and are good for relaxation rooms such as the bedroom. 
2. Adds Personal Character to the Home
We all love to express ourselves, be it through clothing, accessories, social media – the list goes on! Original art in the home is a perfect way to express your artistic and aesthetic interests in a way different from most, for original artworks are one of a kind. 
3. Makes Memories

Buying an original work of art is an experience. For whatever reason, you were drawn to a specific piece (or multiple). You may have seen it at a show opening, had a nice trip to the ice cream shop before hand. Whatever happened leading up to/during/after the purchase of a meaningful original work will be remembered every time you see it. This will not happen with a poster from Ikea. 
4. Provides a Colour Palette 
When rooms have a lot of colours, or many shades of the same colour, it can become overwhelming. An original work of art is a beautiful, meaningful way to tie everything together and create a general focal point. 
5. Makes a Room Feel Finished 
When walls are empty, a room does not necessarily look bad, but by no means does it look finished. Rooms with empty walls are functional rooms in a house. Rooms with original art work are comfortable rooms in a home. 
6. Inspires and Fosters Creativity 
This one is simple – in rooms with no art, artistic expression is lacking and therefore the need and want for creativity is not very prominent. On the opposite end of the spectrum, original artworks foster creativity, expression, artistic inspiration. This is particularly important in homes with children as being surrounded by artwork will allow creative thinking. This idea is expanded on in reason 11. 
7. Conversation Starter 
As mentioned in reason 2, hanging original art in your home is a way of expressing oneself. That being said, guests will always be curious about the choice of artwork, the story, have questions about the artist, etc. It is a way to show off your art collection while having passionate conversations with house guests. 
8. Supports Artists 
One of the most important things about buying original artwork is that you are supporting an artist’s career. Each time you have a look at a work in your home, it provides a feel-good emotion that you are assisting an artist in achieving the success and recognition they deserve. 
9. It is an Investment 
Building off of reason 8, not only does owning original work in the home allow you to support artists’ careers, but it is also an investment. These artworks can be passed down through family and friends, be shared with loved ones for many years all while increasing in worth. This is never something that will be achieved with a $12 print from Walmart. 
10. Creates a Livable Environment 
Art can make rooms that are not necessarily “home-y” become comfortable working and living environments. A home office, for example, can transform from a place of work and business to one of relaxation and productivity all the with addition of an original work of art. Attached is an article explaining how artwork in office spaces improves employee productivity 
11. Keeps the Brain Active 
Art is very conceptual, artists use it as a medium to express personal thought, political or social issues, and to make us as viewers think. Some people do quizzes or crossword puzzles to keep their brain active, but another way to do so is to own original artwork in the home, to just sit, look, and think. 
12. Relaxation 
In a busy, fast-paced world that demands speed and productivity, home should be a place of relaxation. Coming home from a busy day at work to sit on your couch and stare at a TV or a blank wall is not as recharging or relaxing as enjoying an 

artwork purchased with the means to create a positive mood. 
13. Curating Your Own Gallery is Fun! 
Last but certainly not least, curating a gallery is fun! Attending show openings, going to galleries, chatting with artists even, it is a fun experience! After a while you will start to notice a theme, in subject matter, colour, concept, etc. Playing with moods, composition, placement in the home, of all these reasons why to have art in the home, let’s not forget the fact that it is simply something fun to do.

13 Reasons Why An Original Painting In The Home Is As Important As A Bed

Having original art in the home is vital to your well being. Art is a key piece of furniture for many reasons and yet it is sometimes put on the back burner in comparison to other home objects. This list is dedicated to the understanding of importance of art from perspectives of interior design, well being, social atmosphere, creating a mood in the home, and more. One quote that stands out about the importance of original art is the following, “You would never put fake books on your bookshelf, so why would you put fake art on your walls?” 
1. Creates Mood 

Brain scans have revealed that looking at works of art trigger a surge of dopamine into the same area of the brain that registers desire, pleasure, and romantic love Click here for more info. Romantic, sublime landscapes provoke contemplation of nature and purity. Such works then create a mood of peace and are good for relaxation rooms such as the bedroom. 
2. Adds Personal Character to the Home
We all love to express ourselves, be it through clothing, accessories, social media – the list goes on! Original art in the home is a perfect way to express your artistic and aesthetic interests in a way different from most, for original artworks are one of a kind. 
3. Makes Memories

Buying an original work of art is an experience. For whatever reason, you were drawn to a specific piece (or multiple). You may have seen it at a show opening, had a nice trip to the ice cream shop before hand. Whatever happened leading up to/during/after the purchase of a meaningful original work will be remembered every time you see it. This will not happen with a poster from Ikea. 
4. Provides a Colour Palette 
When rooms have a lot of colours, or many shades of the same colour, it can become overwhelming. An original work of art is a beautiful, meaningful way to tie everything together and create a general focal point. 
5. Makes a Room Feel Finished 
When walls are empty, a room does not necessarily look bad, but by no means does it look finished. Rooms with empty walls are functional rooms in a house. Rooms with original art work are comfortable rooms in a home. 
6. Inspires and Fosters Creativity 
This one is simple – in rooms with no art, artistic expression is lacking and therefore the need and want for creativity is not very prominent. On the opposite end of the spectrum, original artworks foster creativity, expression, artistic inspiration. This is particularly important in homes with children as being surrounded by artwork will allow creative thinking. This idea is expanded on in reason 11. 
7. Conversation Starter 
As mentioned in reason 2, hanging original art in your home is a way of expressing oneself. That being said, guests will always be curious about the choice of artwork, the story, have questions about the artist, etc. It is a way to show off your art collection while having passionate conversations with house guests. 
8. Supports Artists 
One of the most important things about buying original artwork is that you are supporting an artist’s career. Each time you have a look at a work in your home, it provides a feel-good emotion that you are assisting an artist in achieving the success and recognition they deserve. 
9. It is an Investment 
Building off of reason 8, not only does owning original work in the home allow you to support artists’ careers, but it is also an investment. These artworks can be passed down through family and friends, be shared with loved ones for many years all while increasing in worth. This is never something that will be achieved with a $12 print from Walmart. 
10. Creates a Livable Environment 
Art can make rooms that are not necessarily “home-y” become comfortable working and living environments. A home office, for example, can transform from a place of work and business to one of relaxation and productivity all the with addition of an original work of art. Attached is an article explaining how artwork in office spaces improves employee productivity 
11. Keeps the Brain Active 
Art is very conceptual, artists use it as a medium to express personal thought, political or social issues, and to make us as viewers think. Some people do quizzes or crossword puzzles to keep their brain active, but another way to do so is to own original artwork in the home, to just sit, look, and think. 
12. Relaxation 
In a busy, fast-paced world that demands speed and productivity, home should be a place of relaxation. Coming home from a busy day at work to sit on your couch and stare at a TV or a blank wall is not as recharging or relaxing as enjoying an 

artwork purchased with the means to create a positive mood. 
13. Curating Your Own Gallery is Fun! 
Last but certainly not least, curating a gallery is fun! Attending show openings, going to galleries, chatting with artists even, it is a fun experience! After a while you will start to notice a theme, in subject matter, colour, concept, etc. Playing with moods, composition, placement in the home, of all these reasons why to have art in the home, let’s not forget the fact that it is simply something fun to do.

Tips On Buying Directly From The Artist

Tips On Buying Art Directly From The Artist

Buying art from an artist can be much more casual (and, often, complicated) than buying artwork from a gallery or at an auction. Each artist may handle the transaction differently, and may include different things in the sale. To make the process simpler and ensure that you aren’t missing out on anything important, you should enter the situation with a few key things in mind:

1. You don’t need to buy the art right away. Typically when purchasing art, you have the luxury of time. Take a photo, bring it home, take measurements of the space where the work would go. It is rare that you would have to buy the artwork right then and there. There are some exceptions to this rule. If you are at a temporary event, like an art fair or an auction, or if you know that there is somebody else also considering purchasing this piece, you may need to expedite your decision ­making process. That’s why it’s a great idea to get the contact information from the artist and find out how long this work will be available.

2. Always get the facts. Whether you’re purchasing the artwork on the spot, or taking time to think about it, there is vital information you should get from the artist.
Name
Website
Contact Information
Price Information
Obviously, the course of the conversation will naturally allow you to discover certain other important elements ­ like their motivation, the stories behind their artwork, and their artistic history. All of these will help you form a deeper emotional connection to the piece in question. However, if you do not receive the artist’s personal information, it may all be for nothing, as you may miss out on the opportunity to buy their work.

3. Artists are often willing to negotiate. If you see a work that is above your budget, be sure to inquire about the possibility of a discount. Tell the artist what about the work speaks to you, why you want it, and where you’ll hang it. For artists, knowing that their work is going to be appreciated can make all the difference.

4. Obtain a signature and documentation. Even if you are not planning on selling the work later on, it is important that you make sure the artwork is signed and that you have the appropriate documentation. You should have a proof of purchase and a certificate of authenticity. Make sure that these have the artist’s signature, date, and the amount of money that you purchased the work for. This will be valuable in the future, whether you end up re­selling the work or if you want to buy insurance for it.

5. Inquire about materials and care tips. Some works, especially sculpture and mixed media, need special care instructions. Even for common media like paintings or photography, the artist may have some special instructions for the works. By taking the extra measure and asking early, you may end up extending the life of the artwork.

6. Stay connected. There are many advantages to staying connected with an artist after the purchase. For one, they may come out with more works in the future that will be of interest to you. Having multiple pieces by the same artist can unify a space and give it a great voice.
Additionally, when you stay in contact, you’ll be the first to know if this artist begins to receive international success. There are several ways to stay connected with an artist these days. Follow them on social media. Set up a Google Alert for their name. Some artists will have a newsletter that you can subscribe to-just ask, or you’ll never know!
Once you buy your artwork…
Enjoy it! Store the sales documentation somewhere safe, hang the work somewhere it will be appreciated, and relax.