Arts and crafts: from hobby to career

The First Art Newspaper on the Net    Established in 1996 Monday, June 17, 2024

Arts and crafts: from hobby to career

This year has been tough financially for most people, with hobbies taking a backseat as people scramble to make up for lost work. However, your hobby might be the thing that could help you bring in some extra money or even provide you with a full-time living.

Ashley Longshore is one of the creative people who has managed to turn her hobby into an income. As a lover of art, fashion and pop culture, she found a way to combine those passions, and in 2018 she became the first female to receive a solo exhibit at Bergdorf Goodman.

However, if you’re just taking your first steps into turning your creative hobby into an income, you might want to start off a little smaller.


If photography is your passion, there are a lot of websites where you can sell your pictures. You won’t always need an expensive camera to begin with, but you will need one that takes high-quality photos. There is often a minimum requirement when uploading the photos, so sending low-quality images will result in them being rejected. There’s no guarantee that your photos will sell, but the better the quality and depending on the subject, the higher the chance of them selling. It can help to see the type of photos that others have uploaded and try to offer something different from the more common images so that yours stand out.

Digital art

If your creativity for art extends to creating digital art, you can open up a variety of opportunities for yourself. Many companies look for graphic designers, either as employees or freelance. You can adapt and use photos you’ve taken or create graphics from scratch. These can be used on websites, social media, book covers, in magazines, and on so many more platforms. Although the money may be lower to begin with, the pay can be quite high after proving yourself and your skills.

Arts and crafts fairs

Although there might not be any arts and crafts fairs going ahead at the moment, having something to work towards as you paint or create your products can be inspiring. Knowing that you’ll have an impressive collection available for sale when these fairs start taking place again will give you something to work towards. In the meantime, you can always rely on word of mouth from friends and family who are looking for unique gifts. Likewise, woodworking, painting, resin art etc. are some other options for the creative minds. Woodworking Guide by will help you get some good tips.

Teaching others

If you have experience or qualifications in art or other creative subjects, you may be able to make money by teaching your skills and knowledge to others. This could include several mediums such as videos showing how to make something (monetizing them by having people sign up on Patreon to view your content), writing a book, blogging, or running events and workshops (either online or offline).

Illustrate a book

Lots of writers have ideas for a children’s book but lack the ability to provide illustrations. While publishers may pair writers with an illustrator, many prefer to self-publish. You could therefore offer your services to writers or go directly to publishers that deal with children’s books. They may keep you in mind for future projects.

Selling online

There are plenty of options when selling your creations online – eBay, Etsy, Facebook and Fiverr are just a few. The best thing to do is research each one, and see the items on sale and the prices. You can then work out whether it’s cost-effective to create and sell your art through that method, taking the cost of materials and any fees into account. When you come across websites that you haven’t had experience of using, make sure that you research them to ensure that you don’t get ripped off.

Many of these websites rely on feedback. Therefore, you may have to sell at lower prices to begin with in order to get the feedback and encourage more sales at a slightly higher price later.

Creating a portfolio

Whether you have paid experience or not, you can avoid doing unpaid examples by having a portfolio. Ideally, these should be examples of artwork or items crafted in a professional capacity. However, having an online gallery of work (even as a hobbyist) can give buyers or potential employers a chance to see the quality of your work. It will also mean that you avoid having to create something as an example for each job or freelance position you apply for. In fact, if you’re asked to do this, and there isn’t a good reason for your portfolio not being a good enough example, you should question their motives.

Starting a newsletter

Selling your art is often about reaching the right people, just as much as the finished product itself. Therefore, having a website where people can sign up for your newsletter is one way of being able to inform them when you have new art to sell, when you are running an event, or when you are attending an arts and crafts fair.

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November 21, 2020

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