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Selling Art on Etsy | An Artist’s Guide to Making Money Online

As an artist, you’ve got a unique skill set. But as an artist selling art on Etsy… well, you’ve got a great opportunity to turn your creativity into a serious moneymaker.

That’s because artists are naturally creative and gifted in their preferred art mediums. Whether you’ve been practicing for years or you have an innate artistic ability, you’re a creator. You might create paintings; maybe even digital art. Or, you could even be into sculpting. 

Whichever medium you choose, your creativity shines through it.

But here’s the thing: Your creativity doesn’t prepare you to sell your art. That’s because selling something requires an entirely different set of skills… Entrepreneurial skills that anyone can learn, even artists.

For you artists out there, where is the best place to put those entrepreneurial skills to the test? Etsy, of course. It’s an online marketplace dedicated to artists just like you. So if you’re looking to sell your unique, one-of-a-kind art pieces, Etsy is the go-to marketplace to sell your art to a growing, global market.

Here’s why. 

Is Etsy a good marketplace to sell art?

selling art on etsy - artist paints abstract art in his studio

If you haven’t sold your art online before or haven’t sold anything online, Etsy is a great place to start. 

From the moment you set up your Etsy shop, with just a few simple clicks you can have your first listing mostly ready to go. It’s actually a simple and straightforward process to get your listings set up and start sharing them with your friends and social media followers.

But if you want your Etsy listings to quite literally sell while you sleep, well, you’ll need to put in a little more time and effort to learn the finer details of selling on Etsy.

The simple truth is that many artists turn to Etsy to try and sell their art to a global marketplace. But not all of them do it successfully.

Sure, friends and family might buy your art to support your business, but that’s not the full extent of your potential! With this beautiful thing called the internet, there’s an endless number of shoppers just a few clicks away from buying your art.

So whether you’re an artist selling custom pieces or you’re cranking out multiple designs at a time, here are several tips to help you get the most out of selling art on Etsy. 

Get organized to sell more art on Etsy

woman holding stack of ceramic art

To start selling your art on Etsy, you need to have a few things laid out. Of course, you want to sell your art, but how many pieces? An entire range or one specific piece? What price? Will you ship locally or globally? Are you trying to make a name for yourself or just make some cash?

As obvious as they seem, the answers to these questions can help you plan your Etsy art strategy a little more and solve minor problems at the onset of your new venture before they become larger ones. 

Do your research before selling art on Etsy

There’s a plethora of information online about selling on Etsy. Best practices, tips, advice – it’s excellent stuff. But you’ll learn a lot more (and learn quicker) by learning from those already doing it. 

So spend some time browsing through Etsy. And really hone in on listings of art pieces similar to yours. 

Take note of the following from others selling art on Etsy:

  • What are their images like?
  • How do they describe their art?
  • What’s their pricing structure?
  • Do they share their personal story as an artist?
  • What are their unique selling points for their art?

Use this information to see how you can better your own art and your own Etsy listings. Take, for example, your listings may be lacking in certain details or maybe they’re priced wildly different. Well, your buyers are only a click away from purchasing from your competitors instead of you.

Staying on top of your competitor’s every move will give you that edge.

And remember, you’re using this as a learning exercise for your business. By simply looking at what sellers are doing in a similar niche, you’ll expedite the learning process and lay a stronger foundation when it comes to selling your own art on Etsy.

Think like a business to sell more art on Etsy

selling art on etsy - woman cleaning art brushes

You’re selling your art on Etsy to make money. That’s the bottom line.

Even if every penny you make goes directly back into your art… The more pennies you make, the better for your business, and your art.

So it pays to think like a business from time to time. There will be elements of marketing and promoting your artwork that might be a little foreign at first, but it’s essential to learn if you want to make more sales.

Similarly, Etsy has its own set of technicalities that you must sort out before listing your items. Sales taxes, shipping fees, Etsy labels, insurance, certificates of authenticity, and valuations – these are all factors that need to be considered while selling your art and operating as a business.

Don’t forget about Etsy Fees

Etsy fees are complex, to say the least. Listing fees, sales fees, transactional fees – they all add up. It pays to do your research and consider these fees when listing your artwork for sale on Etsy. 

Related: Learn more about crunching Etsy’s seller fees

Keywords are key to getting sales while you sleep

There’s more to “research” than simply looking at your competitors on Etsy. Like, how in the world are people supposed to find your listings on Etsy in the first place?

Well, that’s where keywords come in. Etsy’s search engine uses keywords to populate search results with the most relevant products. And by using effective keywords in your product titles, descriptions, and other parts of your listings, you’ll increase the chances of high volume traffic coming to your store. And ultimately, increase the likelihood of a sale. 

But keywords don’t just stop there. Finding effective keywords for your art depends on the type of art you sell, how competitive your market is, your buyer demographic, and so on. That’s why it’s so important to invest a good portion of time and energy into Etsy keyword research for your listings.

So take some time to find high-performing keywords associated with what you’re selling, and use them strategically in your listings. A great way to do this is with Marmalead.

Selling art on Etsy with Marmalead

using marmalead to sell art on etsy
Marmalead is the best way to find top-performing keywords for your Etsy listings.

Marmalead is an Etsy SEO tool designed to help you find the best keywords for your listings, at any given time. Since shopper search data fluctuates, trends change, and seasonality affects buyer behavior, Marmalead is the best way to keep up with the most effective keywords for your Etsy listings. All the time.

Marmalead shows you real keyword data including search traffic, shopper engagement, Etsy competition, and more. And once you’re armed with appropriate keyword data for your listings, you can make strategic decisions to improve your Etsy listing performance.

Try it out: Marmalead helps Etsy sellers find real shopper keywords so you can sell more art!

You don’t know what you don’t know. So if altering the way you describe your product can bring in more traffic, then doing keyword research with Marmalead is worth it!

Master your product photography

People are visual creatures, and we consume so much with our eyes. In part, that’s also what so many people enjoy about art. The right kind of art for the right kind of person is visually pleasing and speaks to them on an emotional level. All by the way it looks.

So you’ll need to make sure your product photography lets your art shine through as it deserves. That means high-quality images with pleasing angles, appropriate use of scale, and close-ups of its unique characteristics.

Take it a step further by doing some actual research on photographing art. Here’s a great set of step-by-step instructions from the Associated Artists of Pittsburgh. Essentially, it all comes down to a neutral backdrop, appropriate framing, and great lighting. Which any artist can accomplish with whatever equipment you already have lying around your home or studio.

selling art on etsy starts with taking great product photography

Should you pay a photographer?

If you’re asking for more than a few hundred dollars for your artwork, it might pay to invest in a professional art photographer.

Potential customers want to see your artwork as authentic as possible. They’ll want to see the full-scale, close-ups of intricate elements, certificates of authenticity, and any other details that help justify your asking price.

So you can either invest in the camera, lighting, and equipment yourself or shell out some money to hire a professional. But at the end of the day, the importance of quality product photography when selling your art on Etsy cannot be understated!

Be aware of plagiarism

Etsy is constantly combatting copyright infringement and forgery. For example, if anything other than genuine vintage merchandise is listed as “Star Wars,” it’s quickly removed.

For this reason, we see so many “Star Wars-inspired” products on Etsy. At best, this is a shady copyright workaround that may or may not work. And it should really be avoided.

But for your art, you’re probably not painting images of Han Solo repairing the Millenium Falcon. And since your art doesn’t infringe on any copyrighted material, this shouldn’t be an issue for you.

However, some sellers may use your creations to inspire their own creations. Creating designs that are difficult to distinguish from your own. 

Therefore, it’s important to occasionally lookout for other listings to make sure other artists aren’t making designs that are a little too close to your own work. If you find anything that’s a blatant rip-off, report it to Etsy.

Perfect your shipping to make more money selling your art on Etsy

selling art on etsy - person paints landscape art from phone

Whether your artwork is the size of a shoebox or a giant mural, many sellers new to the Etsy marketplace often overlook the resources needed for safe and secure shipping – both time and money. 

If your artwork is being sold for more than a few hundred dollars, it might pay to offer insurance on the item, either through your courier service or a third-party art insurance policy. 

Similarly, once the product is sold, will you be the one wrapping it in bubble wrap? Or will you outsource this job? Again, the answer to this question may depend on the size of your art and where you’re shipping it. 

The main point is this: Should you decide to use the Etsy marketplace as a way to sell your art, you’ll need to ship that art safely and securely once it’s been purchased.

UPS offers a service where they put your art in the hands of Certified Packing Experts® to wrap it, pack it, and ship it. And while it doesn’t look like this service includes any additional insurance or guarantees, you can at least rest easy that an “expert” is handling your art.

If that doesn’t help you sleep at night, here’s a full, in-depth guide on how to package and ship art all over the world.


To sum up, yes, Etsy is a great place to sell your art. It’s one of the best, most highly frequented mediums to sell artisan and individual creations. Which is precisely what you create!

But figuring out how Etsy works and how to thrive (not just survive) takes a little time and effort. That’s where our blog comes in. Stick with us every step of the way, and start making more money while working full-time on your most passionate hobby, your art.

With the information included above, go ahead and open up your shop, list your artwork and start selling your art on Etsy!

Grow your online business, develop your SEO, and launch your sales into the stratosphere.

Read The Squeeze each week to see what’s new with Etsy and the growing industry of eCommerce. There’s a lot of noise out there getting in the way of your success. Cut to the chase with tips and tricks you can implement in your business right now. Let The Squeeze be your guide.


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