Art Marketing That Doesn’t Suck



Why Should You Read This Post?

I’ve been selling my art for most of my adult life. I’ve sold my work on prints, t-shirts, stickers, and mugs, just to name a few. My original Copic drawings sell for nearly $1000 each, and my work is collected around the world. I even have work in a museum. I know how to sell art. But to tell you the truth, up until now, I’ve been doing it the hard way. I want things to be easier for you.

Is this post for you?

Having someone tell you what worked for them is one thing, but will it work for you? We all have different styles and do different things. Is there really a system that will work for everyone? Yes there is, and this is it. Let me show you.


Copic/fan art/anime/manga artist
This system will show you how to sell your fan art or original drawings to tons of fans who are willing and eager to buy.

Digital artist
Yep, works for you too. Since you create your art digitally at high resolution, you’ll be able to put your art on tons of products at a price that everyone can afford.

You know those intricate drawings you work out to do a tattoo? Color those up with traditional or digital media and you have another product to sell. Imagine a heart and dagger “mother” tattoo printed on a child’s t-shirt.

Imagine your images on throw pillows, blankets, shirts, and mugs. Your friends and family are gonna love it, and other people will too.

Basically anybody who makes any type of two-dimensional art can use what I’m going to show you to generate (and nearly automate) making money with their art.

Selling Your Art is Hard

Look, I get it. Selling your art is hard to do. Sometimes it may even seem impossible, and there’s not a lot of help to be found. If you do a google search on “how to sell your art”, you’ll find that the best advice the internet has to offer are things like open an Etsy store, get listed on Society6, try to get into a gallery, or build a website and start a blog. The problem is, most of these options suck.

Opening an Etsy store gives you a place to sell your art, but doesn’t help you actually sell it. No good. Getting listed on Society6, Red Bubble, Zazzle, or any other “art commerce superstore” is the worst thing an artist can do for their career. (More about this below.)

As for trying to get into a gallery… yeah, good luck with that.

The problem with all of these suggestions is they only tell you where you can show your art, but if you don’t know how to sell your art, you’re in trouble. Showing your art or letting people know it’s for sale is simply not enough.

What’s Wrong With Sites Like Society6

On the surface, services like Society6, Red Bubble, or Zazzle seem like an amazing opportunity for an artist. If you’re not familiar with these sites, they are essentially art mega-stores. They allow the artist to upload their work into a personal gallery, and then put that art on all kinds of products. You can then create a profile and offer your work for sale. They also manufacture all the items and ship them to the buyer after purchase, and then credit your account with the funds. Sounds great, doesn’t it? Well it’s not, and here’s why…

When a customer receives an order from one of these companies (Zazzle for example), they open a Zazzle box, check out their Zazzle receipt, and unpack the art that they bought from Zazzle. Even if you did an amazing job on the art they bought, all those other things reinforce the idea that if they want great art at a great price, they should buy it from Zazzle.

Good god.

These companies are in business to sell stuff, but they are not in business to sell your stuff. When you join a site like this, you’re just another face in the crowd. But that’s not the worst of it. The worst part is that if you do happen to get an order, these companies package your art in their packaging, and then steal your customer and add them to their mailing list so they can spam them with emails and special deals. These guys are in business for themselves, and they are using you to help them get more customers.

What’s “Wrong” With a Website?

Ok, so let me start by saying that having your own website is not in and of itself a bad thing. The problem is, most people don’t really understand what a website is supposed to do. You might think you need a website so people can find your art online. But let me ask you something – with over 1 BILLION websites worldwide, how are you going to get them to find yours? Oh sure, you can push your site on your social media, or hand out business cards to anyone who will take one, and a few people may pop over to see what’s going on. They may even take a few minutes to take a look at your art. But statistically, they seldom buy anything, and are gone without you ever knowing they were there.

Here’s what you need to know about websites – unless you have a way to constantly drive people to your website, hundreds at a time on a daily basis, and then get them to actually make a transaction by either exchanging their email for something you have, or buying something, a website is absolutely worthless.

If you have a website or think you need one, please understand that in order for any website to work, it must do these three things:

  • capture emails
  • build trust with your audience
  • make sales

If your website isn’t doing at least two of these things right now, as you’re gearing up to do the third, it’s never ever going to work the way you want it to. But the good news is, with this system, you really don’t need a website. At least not yet, and maybe even never.

Note: The subject of how to structure a great website and what the hell to do with it once you’ve got it is a HUGE topic. If you’ve got one, or are still convinced you need one, and want to hear more on the subject, let me know in the comments below and we can talk about it.

What’s “Wrong” With a Blog?

Let me be clear. You do not have to have a blog. They aren’t a bad thing, but just like a website, most people don’t really understand what function they actually serve. Contrary to popular belief, blogging in and of itself will not get you hundreds of new followers. It will not dramatically increase your google search page-rank. And it will not in and of itself ever make you money. Ever.

A blog is good for two things only. Building trust and getting people off your blog and on to your sales page. The blog should never be thought of as a way to make money.

Note: Again, this is a deep subject. I’m only touching on it here because I’m trying to get to the good stuff. If you want to talk more about this subject, sound off in the comments below!

There is a Better Way

What if there really was a way to have your art on all those products and have them made and shipped anywhere in the world in YOUR packaging, from YOUR personal store, where you have dozens of customers going each day just to see YOUR art? Now that would be something special. Well guess what? I have figured out how to do just that, and you won’t need to build a website or write a single blog post.

Sound good? Good. Let’s get to it.

I’ve been working for months now to try and figure out an easy way for the individual artist (that’s you) to get tons of people to buy their art without having to build and manage a website or write a weekly blog. Why? Because artists need time to art, and that other stuff takes too much time, and if the truth were told, building a website and writing a blog will not really help you sell your art. What will help you sell your art is a plan, and boy do I have a plan for you. I’m super excited about it.

The Plan

So how can you get the exposure you need and actually turn that exposure into income?

Just like this:


You really should print this out and hang it somewhere you can see it.

The diagram above is called a sales funnel, and if you don’t have one you need one. The big idea is this: you use your various social media sites (which ever ones you have) to get your fans and followers to go to your eCommerce store where they are amazed by your art and can get everything they like on anything they want. And because you’ll be able to have stickers, prints, and shirts, etc, you’ll have lots of different price points from low to high. That means anyone can afford to buy something no matter what their budget is.

So, they buy as much cool stuff as they can afford, and your eCommerce store bills their Paypal, then pays your Paypal, and places the order with a print on demand company who prints your art and then packages it in your branded packaging and ships it anywhere on the planet. All while you’re sitting on the couch in your underwear, sipping on a refreshing beverage.

Let me show you how it’s awesome.


You use your social media to show your work and generate interest and build trust. The more work you post, the more your followers get to know both you and your art. Through this exposure, they come to trust that you make great art because they see it every day. The most amazing thing about social media is it allows you to gather together tons of people who really love your art and have already interacted with you through likes and comments. These are your customers. Now all we gotta do is get them to your store. (More on this later.)


When your fans and followers get to your store, you dazzle them with shock and awe. That cool drawing or tattoo design, or card or stamp that they saw on your social media is also on t-shirts, stickers, mugs, phone covers, etc. How cool is that? Plus, the phone covers and stickers are cheap. They can get the art they love at a price they can afford, and it’s actually useful too! After they finalize their purchase…

they are taken to a thank you page that tells them their order is being made on demand just for them, and will be shipped to their front door soon. It also encourages them to enter their email for shipping updates and to get sneak peeks at the new works you’re making. This step captures their email and gives you permission to email them with new products or YouTube videos and other art goodness and puts them back into the top of your funnel so you can have another chance to show and sell them great art they will love.

The print on demand service gets the order from your eCommerce store, makes the products, and packs it up in your branded packaging, and ships it out. The cool thing is, you don’t pay for anything up front. No minimum orders, and no stock. Everything is made on demand and after you’ve already been payed.


Get paid, make more art.

How awesome is that?

Ok, so here’s the deal. I am really very super excited about this funnel. (Maybe you haven’t noticed.) If you still don’t understand it, or have questions about a step, please go over it again. This really could change everything for you.

Still have questions?

I’m sure you do. Like…

Guess what? I’d freaking love to answer all of those questions, but it would take at least ten more posts to actually do it, and I don’t want to bore you with a bunch of posts if you’re not really interested in the concept. So if you want me to explain this in detail, and show you step by step how to do it, with clear instruction and video, all in this blog, without charging a cent for the information, you’ve got to let me know in the comments below.

Seriously guys, I need to see a lot of comments to justify the time it would take to explain it all. So sound off, or next week I’ma do a tutorial on how to draw AIR. Step. By. Step.

One more thing

Just to be clear. For those of you who know a thing or two about digital marketing. I do know that a fully fleshed out marketing funnel that includes landing pages and lead magnets, tripwires, core offers, profit maximizers, email segmentation, product splintering, and return paths, driven by social media, blogs, and paid ads, is the ultimate way to create sales online. But it’s complicated with a huge learning curve and expensive paid services. The funnel outlined in this post can be done for less than $50, and applies the core elements of a professional funnel, in an awesome and easy to understand way. Just sayin.

How helpful was this post?

1 Star: Oh man, that sucked… 5 Stars: Good God, it’s brilliant!
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (73 votes, average: 4.74 out of 5)

Share with a friend :)


  1. extremely helpful. My personal attraction for a future post is to the best options for print on demand. also hi Chris 🙂

  2. Would definitely like to know more about ecommerce sites and on demand printing. Which ones are the best to you and what are the initial costs for something like this? I have a page but I’m sure this is what you mean about they don’t help you sell your art I suppose.

    • Hi Xavier, thanks for the comment! All that info will be forthcoming and actually Bigcartel isn’t horrible (it’s not the best either.) I have a basic Bigcartel that I get people to go to all the time. I’ll show you how to do it next week! I would recommend switching sites but what you have now will do until you decide you’re ready. Hang in there, answers are coming.

  3. You sure know how to create a cliffhanger lol

  4. Awesome write-up – truly hope that you continue this series. Perhaps detailing the e-commerce sites and on-demand printing or how to generate the sales. Really appreciate all of your tutorials, Mr. Kerry!

  5. Great post! So informative, I will use this funnel concept!
    I would really like to know the best eCommerce platform, as I have used RedBubble in the past but don’t like it. At. All.

    • Thank you Alissa! I’m glad you’re going to use this! When properly applied it will make a huge difference for you! I’ll be adding all kinds of tips and tricks to maximize its effectiveness!

  6. Yes, sir! I’m very interested in hearing more. Thanks so much!

  7. Heck yeah I’d love to know more! Also thank you so much for these in-depth articles. They’re so informative and engaging, I always make time to read them as soon as I see them in my inbox.

  8. Lead on Captain! We’re excited to learn more !!

  9. This is a FANTASTIC post. 5⭐️.
    I am ecstatically looking forward to your future posts. And personally, I am very grateful, as I am the stereotype Starving Artist. Gone done the RedBubble route 4 years ago, and followed all the traditional small business advice. $$$ spent on Facebook ads, post boosting and google ads. Number of sales? Zero. It’s very very heartbreaking pushing so hard to get ahead only to find you fallen further behind than could ever be anticipated.

    I’m a photographer though, so I’m apprehensive of giving up my website as I still need portraiture clients to find me/book me.

    • Hi Mike, glad you’re here! Just so you know I don’t believe any artist should be a starving artist. I will tell you everything I know in an effort to help you solve that! It sounds like you’ve had a hard road, I really believe these posts are gonna help you a ton.

  10. Would love to see what you recommend for Print on Demand and ecomm.

  11. Honestly man, I really don’t care about marketing funnels in the way that I have understood them in the past. But what your talking about would create a way for me to make money off of selling my prints, and possibly just coloring my drawings that I have and it would be automated with no sending out boxes like I do all the time. Fuck yeah I’m in… I was in when I clicked on the button in my email wanting to know more. So even thought the idea of learning to draw air sounds intriguing… post the next damn article already, I feel like I just got blue balls from a hot chick I was super into.

    • You crack me up man! Put some ice on it (won’t change the color but will help with the swelling) and yeah you got it just right, this is gonna open up a whole new revenue stream for you and support customer relations for the shop. It’s also gonna give you a list of people who love your art and most likely will be interested in a tattoo as well! So win win.

  12. I’d love to hear more, especially on which platform is best! Looking forward to a future post. 🙂

  13. Excellent. Well written. Very informative. Keep up the good work.

  14. Yours are some of the only e-mails I bother reading anymore. This entire process you’ve outlined sounds an awful lot like the icky one that the big boys have been using to control us for years, which means it works. I suppose getting myself a bit out of the rat race is reason enough to attempt shilling my work out and pushing my brand. Tell me more, stud.

    • Thank you Levi, that means a lot to me. I know exactly what you mean! I get so much crap in my inbox with promises that never pan out. I can see you’re in the same boat. I can also see you know a thing or two about digital marketing tactics and you’re right, this system is a stripped down, easy to implement version of what the big boys use to hook us and spam us. You’re also right when you say it works. Clearly it’s worked on both of us. The upside is this, what we are going to use it to sell is our art, not big expensive useless get rich quick schemes. We are also only going to sell to people who are genuinely interested in our work. At the end of the day our goal is to exit the rat race so we can make more art but we gotta learn to sell before we can do that. Trust me on this, I understand your trepidation and that’s one of the reasons I’m doing this thing for free.

  15. You’ve peaked my interest! Glad you found me on IG….. It lead me here! Look forward to hearing more!

    IG meghanshea3377

  16. Oh yeah, I wanna know!!! E-commerce platforms and print on demand etc would be supercool info! Keep it comin’!

  17. Appreciate your willingness to share your experience, Christopher. Artists to often operate in silos and are forced to recreate the wheel. Love the simplicity of the system you described…and yes, more info on the ecommerce platform and POD that allows customizable, branded packaging is of huge interest. Keep up the great work!

    • Thank you for the kind words, Brad, I really appreciate it. I think you’re right, too often artists keep the hardest won info to themselves to the detriment of the whole. I’ll keep em coming as long as you guys keep reading them. A question for you if I may? How did you stumble across this blog? My impression is that you are a well trained oil painter without much exposure to Copic markers.

  18. Wow this is extremely helpful. I’ve been trying to sell my artwork for a while and I think this just might help me. Thank you ?

  19. Would love to hear your suggestions about print on demand.

  20. But I really want to know how to draw air… step by step…
    Laughed hard!
    Great post. Exactly what I needed right now.
    Very interested in knowing more of the details.
    Thanks man.

    • Lol you’re not the only one who has requested the air tutorial! 🙂 in any case, all the elements eluded to this post have been covered extensively in subsequent posts, so you should have everything you need now!

  21. Love the post. I was actually thinking and thinkin which print on demand company I should go for and it all depends which one then which ecommerce I will to comes after. Yes I would be appreciated if you pick the best ones for me 🙂 then I don’t have to order milions of samples. Lol. Anyways. I am looking forward to see your update blog posts!! Xx unky

    • Hi Unky 🙂 all of the follow up posts in this series have already been written and posted except for the final store post! Just click on “blog” in the navigation above to be taken to the full post list!

  22. Just wondering….There was no mention of canvas wrapped prints, metal prints or framed and matted prints. What is the cost of each, and what type of investment is this for me to receive this type of POD? Thank you!

  23. Wow, so exciting. Yes I want to know more, everything in fact. Met you on the TAA facebook group.

    • Hi Dawn, glad you made your way here from TAA. Super happy you like what you see! The rest of this series has already been written and you can find everything you need in the art marketing tab at the top of the page. If you cant find what you’re looking for or still have questions, please let me know! I’m here to help you as specifically as I can.

  24. Where do I go to see the rest of this series Christopher?


  25. I’d love to know more about this. I do caricature work and illustration and have built my own website and rely strongly on social media ie Instagram, twitter, tumble, etc. I’m sorry to admit that I have a society6 account and in the three years ive had the account ive sold a total of two shirts for a profit of a whopping $4. I’d love to find out more about how to use the ecommerce, email service provider, and the pod. I work mostly digital but after seeing some of your copic tutorials and starting to do more traditional pieces. Thanks.

    • Hi John, you’re in the right place. Be sure to check out the rest of the articles in this series. Please let me know if you have any questions specific to your situation, I’m always happy to help when I can. Oh, by the way, you’re gonna love Copics 🙂

  26. Can you name some print on demand sources, as you named Society6, Zazzle and Red Bubble?

  27. I would really like to know the best eCommerce platform, email service provider and print on demand service.
    Thank you for the post, it was helpful:)

  28. Hi Chris, just heard your interview with Angela Treat Lyon and headed right on over here- your story Is so inspiring and here you are offering even more inspiring goodness. Thank you. I’m very interested to learn about the sales funnel. I like how you break down the salient points of website/no website /no need to blog at all if you don’t want to approach. I read the article about the three sales sites which is very useful too. I signed up to big cartel but your profile of shopify is making me rethink my options. The deterrent is the cost. I already have a blog – Can I link to my shopify shop from my blog ? Thanks

  29. I would love to see you do an art marketing series in more detail, there is a serious lack of information for creatives. Love your tutorials!

    • Hi Lynn, I couldn’t agree more. It’s discouraging to me that as artists we spend most of our time learning to create, and usually have no idea how to market our work once it’s created. We’re doin’ our best to help solve that problem. Have you had a chance to check out the rest of the posts in this series? Would love to hear your thoughts on those. Eventually I’d like to flesh this out into a full fledged course. Any input you might add would be invaluable 🙂

  30. Chris, I have been working my way through your entire series! I love your site! I’ve never used a Copic marker because they’re so pricey, but I may have to start collecting them one by one. (If I don’t win them in your awesome giveaway!) I think part of the problem many artists suffer from that is the lack of confidence. We rarely think our own stuff is good enough, and we regularly underprice what we do sell. (I think you covered that pretty well in your “Is my Art Good Enough to Sell?” article. Artists (and writers, to some extent) tend to be perfectionists and will agonize over every last detail. I think that’s inherently a good thing, to a point. I try to think of Bob Ross’s “happy little trees”. Oops, it’s a bird now! Lol

    • Thank you for the comment, Lynn. The Bob Ross part actually made me laugh out loud! I couldn’t agree more with what you’ve said here. I do think it’s something that nearly every creative person in every industry struggles with.

  31. I am actually reading your posts, because I am finding many subjects I am interested in know ing more about. Things that really matter to artists and help us out. I, for one, appreciate the effort your information, articles and videos take. Thank you!

  32. Would be very interested in hearing all about how to funnel sales. Thanks for an excellent series of articles.

  33. hahahaha 😉 I would absolutely looooooooove to hear more about the things you listed!! You’ve got some great insights here and i’m falling over myself to begin implementing them so thank you!!

    • Hi Renee, I’m glad you liked the post 🙂 This was the first in a series, and if you haven’t already, you can find the rest of this series in the “art marketing” section of this website. Would love to here your thoughts, and would love to hear more about your particular application.

  34. Hi Christopher! Thank you for your post! Yes, I would like to know the answers to all those questions : ), especially to the one about how you would get people (i.e.: your “fans”) from social media sites to come over to your site. With an irresistible offer?

  35. Pingback: An Artist’s Guide to Print on Demand

  36. Pingback: Big Cartel/Shopify/BigCommerce: Which is Best for Artists?

  37. Yes! I would absolutely love to know more about this! I’m presently trying to decide which POD service to use and whether or not it integrates with squarespace. In your model, you stated you would use 3, but I’m confused about how you would get them to combine on your website. Thanks for all the insights you’ve shared; I’m looking forward to more!

    • Hi Sharmon, no worries about the image size, it’s a nice image 🙂 Have you read the other articles in this series? We spend a lot of time on PODs as well as email service providers, and you may find the answers you’re looking for there. If you don’t, just follow up with me and we’ll see if we can’t get you squared away.

  38. Sorry about the size of this image; I thought it would go where the profile image is. Embarrassing!

  39. Hi Christopher,
    Thank you for your detailed articles, they bring speedy clarity and are an incredible time saver resource.
    I don’t know when they were published so I apologise if I’m writing an “old” thread.
    I’m new to selling art online and would love read/get to your answers about your “still have questions” section in the above article. A podcast, video series or indeed a mini online course would be fantastic!
    Thank you again!

    • Hi Franca, thank you for the kind words. I’m super happy to have you here. We answer all of the questions posed in this article in the other articles in this series. I’ve taken the liberty (actually based on your comment) to make each of those questions link to the relevant followup article, so now all ya gotta do is click ’em and they’ll take you where you wanna go 🙂

  40. I found your blog a few days ago and have been reading the articles. I’m interested in this: how do you combine the online approach with your ‘pricing originals’ article?

    Basically, cheaper merchandise can work well if you get high volumes. Selling originals gets you a higher margin.

    Well, I understand the basic theory, but have never done either… One of my favorite marketing guys, Grant Cardone, says to start with a goal in mind and do the math first.

    Let’s say, grossing $2,000/mo. (Or $24K/yr.) This is about a minimum wage job in 2017.

    Between selling a lot of cheap stuff and selling originals that comes to selling about:
    100 – 200 cheap, high volume items / mo
    or 3 – 10 originals / mo

    For someone like me who has sold $0 of art, this would be a worthy starter goal to switch from a free hobby to something I can live off of – and I’d really love to get there! After all, making and selling art is more noble than flipping burgers. (but seems 10 times as hard for some reason…)

    So what kind of balance do you try to achieve between low price and high price items? And how much do you emphasize each side?

    • Hi Adrian. Again, great questions. You’re taking a very serious approach to this – I like that. I think you’re right on track establishing and setting goals the way that you have. The next step is to begin to build an audience. This can be done on any of the social media sites, so which ever one you’re most comfortable with is probably the right choice for you. Once you’ve begun producing regular work and are building an audience of people who enjoy the work you do, you can determine the price points your market will bear by analyzing your audience. Careful analysis should give you a really clear picture of who your audience is, how much money they have, and how much they spend on items similar to what you are producing. In the mean time, keep the day job. Once you have an audience and products to sell, you’ll be able to determine how best to make the transition. Hope this helps.

  41. How do we get more info about setting up a store?

    • Hi Richard – we have several other articles in this series that detail our recommendations for choosing a store. As for setting one up, each store has its own requirements so it depends on which one you decide to go with.

  42. I am enthralled in your articles. Thank you very much.

  43. I’m enjoying your articles so far and they seem to make the most sense. I’m looking forward to reading and trying more.
    Thanks 🙂

  44. Pingback: An Artist's Life, Part 3 |What We Really Do All Day |Sharmon Davidson Art

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *