Whether you’re a professional artist looking to expand your audience or a hobbyist hoping to make some extra money, online art marketplaces have lowered the barriers to selling your creations worldwide. Sites like Threadless, Redbubble, Society6 and Zazzle offer global reach and turnkey services that take care of production and fulfillment so you can focus on your craft.
Threadless was one of the original crowd-sourced art platforms, launching in 2000. Artists submit designs which are voted on by the community weekly. Approved pieces are printed on clothing and other products, with the artist earning royalties on each sale. Threadless’ curated selection process and sponsorship programs help elevate artists.
Redbubble, founded in 2006, allows anyone to instantly upload designs which are then made available on thousands of customized products from wall art to apparel. With no formal approval, this enables total creative freedom but also comes with more competition. Royalties average around 13%.
Society6, founded in 2008, promotes contemporary, design-focused art for the home. In addition to core products like prints and bedding, they offer limited edition art pieces through collaborations. Artists receive a higher 30% royalty on all sales.
Finally, Zazzle is the longest running marketplace, established in 1998. Their immense product selection presents more opportunities but also a more saturated market. However, Zazzle’s global brand recognition and financial scale provide stability.
All of these platforms handle production, fulfillment, payment processing and more so artists can share their talents without logistical headaches. Read on to learn how each site works and decide which is the best match.
pros and cons: of these platforms
Pros – Well known brand, potential for sponsorships
Cons – Low approval rate, limited to wall art/home goods currently
Pros – Large user base, instant uploads, variety of print options and sizes
Cons – Lower royalties, more competition
Pros – Higher 30% royalties, aesthetically focused community
Cons – More home decor oriented, smaller user base
Pros – Huge user base, variety of print products, long track record
Cons – Saturated market, lower 13% royalties
Pros – Instant uploads, higher 15% royalties
Cons – T-shirts focused, smaller art print section
- Threadless best for exclusive designs and exposure
- Redbubble and Zazzle offer biggest audiences
- Society6 favorable terms for art prints specifically
- Teepublic better if also selling shirts/cases
Overall Society6 or Redbubble to start as an artist focused on art prints given their dedicated print sections, higher payouts and acceptance of instant uploads. Threadless approval is difficult without an existing fan base. Zazzle has a saturated market.
How to Use Online Art Platforms
Setting Up Your Account
Most platforms like Society6, Redbubble and Zazzle allow you to sign up for a free artist account. You’ll need to:
- Provide some basic info like name, email, location
- Upload high-res images of your artwork
- Add titles, descriptions, tags for SEO
- Connect a payment method for royalties
Be sure to optimize your profile with a professional bio and links to your website/social profiles.
Uploading Your Designs
Follow file type, size and content guidelines specific to each site. Common resolution is 300DPI at 5000×5000 pixels or larger for canvas/wall art prints.
Check products are displaying properly across different sizes before publishing live. You can preview mockups.
Driving Traffic and Sales
Promote new designs on your social channels and encourage friends/followers to favorite and purchase your work.
Engage actively with your artist page comments. Consider running promotions for site-wide sales seasons.
Opt-in to be featured in site newsletters, marketing emails or on browse pages to reach wider audiences.
Over time, the most popular designs will receive automated promotions and selling more will boost your artist ranking.
Payout schedules vary but are typically monthly or quarterly via check, PayPal or bank transfer.
Monitor sales statistics and best-selling products/designs to inform your future artwork. Reply to customer reviews.
With practice using these platforms, you can build sustainable global sales of your creative works from anywhere! Let me know if any part of the process needs more explanation.