Art Jobs, Selling Art

How to Promote Your Paintings

May 30, 2014

how to sell paintingsIdeas for Selling Your Art
By Alina Bradford

So you’ve painted your masterpiece and now you want to sell it? Here are some tips to find people to buy your art.

Most artists start out just wanting to create. Then, time goes by and they realize that they want more; they want a career.

The only problem is, most want-to-be pros don’t realize how much time, determination and spunk it takes to make it in the business. Oh, and not to mention connections. Selling art is all about networking.


Surely this word used by high powered executives has nothing to do with artists, right?


Networking has everything to do with anyone wanting to make money off of a product. Your art is your product.

You’ve heard the term, but what does it mean really?’s definition:


1.a supportive system of sharing information and services among individuals and groups having a common interest: Working mothers in the community use networking to help themselves manage successfully.

Networking is meeting others in the hopes of making connections with others that will bring you profit later. So, how do the pros network and still have time to create?

The answer rests in the use of some pretty common business tools and how they use them.

Cataloging Your Art

The very first thing you should do is catalog your art. What I mean by this, is, art needs to be recorded by photograph and these images should be put into a form that can be accessed by people that may want to buy your art.

Photographing your art is very easy to do. For the basics, the article Photographing Your Artwork by Cecilia H. Lee is a good place to learn how. When getting your film developed, make sure to pay the extra few buck to get the images put on a CD. These digital images will come in handy, as you will see.

You can also scan smaller works to get good, high-quality digital images of your work.

Now that you have your images, you need to do something with them.

A traditional portfolio is always good place to display your work to potential clients. This doesn’t need to be anything fancy. A simple, black, hardbound three ring binder with plastic sleeves will work just fine. Line all of the sleeves with a sheet of plain, white paper and center one photo on each page. You may want to include a small card at the bottom of the page listing the name of the work and the price.

Another good thing to do with your images is to make an online portfolio. You can send potential buyers from all over the world to an online portfolio. There are some very nice websites out there that will host your art for free. Here are some of the better ones:

Now that you know what networking is and how to make a portfolio it is time to start spreading the word about your art.

Business Cards

Before you say, “Duh, having business cards is a no brainer!” there are some things you should know.

First, you should have cards that stand out and attract attention. The best way to do this is by using an image of your art on the card. A good place to get affordable, professional business cards is (In fact, you can get all kinds of nice promotional items for your art at this website. Many creative professionals use Vista Print.)

Don’t forget to put your online portfolio address and email addresses on the cards. This way people not only have that nice image of your painting on the card, they also have a way to look at more and contact you.

Once you have your cards, use them!

  • Whenever you mention being an artist, slip that person a card.
  • Whenever you sell a piece, give the buyer a card.
  • Leave a card with your tip.
  • Put a card in the frame of all your works so that others will know who created it.
  • Give several cards to family and friends so they can give them out to people they know.

Net Networking

Networking is easy when you do it on the internet. Here are some quick ways to start:

  1. Make your email signature your name and link to your portfolio like this: Joe Shmo, Artist
  2. Join business forums and groups on the web. Meet others there, ask questions, and make friends. Remember to make your post signature like your email’s.
  3. Join artist’s groups and learn where you can advertise your art, find artist job boards, and more.
  4. Write! Write articles about how you create your art, or just art in general. Post them on a blog or free article service along with your bio and a link to your portfolio.

Shows and Contests

Probably the easiest way to get your art seen by the most people locally is by entering an art show or competition. Your town, no matter how small, should have some kind of art show, craft show, or art contest every year for local artists. To find out about them contact your chamber of commerce. Don’t stop there though. Find out about all the nearby towns’ events as well.

Most of these are free to enter or require a small entry fee. Besides winning money for best of show, most events allow browsers to buy the art they like (though you can usually opt out of selling a piece). The show or contest usually will take a small cut of the profits you make by selling a piece.

As you can see, there are plenty of ways to get your work seen by those who want good art. It takes persistence, but you can succeed.

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