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Sell Art on Etsy: How to recognise and start selling what really works

And Show Your Works To The World

How to sell on Etsy-Artguilds

Introduction – Getting ready with your art

With this story, we hope to help those who have decided to make a living from their art. Get the best possible start by moving straight to the heart of what artworks sells the most on Etsy and how its selling mechanisms and rules work. Get ready for these freaking topics!
  • How to Sell Artworks on Etsy (and make money)

  • Art on Etsy: Let’s Analyze what Sells Best?

  • How to Sell Digital Art on Etsy

  • How to Sell Traditional Art on Etsy

  • How to Ship Digital Print and Original Art on Etsy

  • Jumping to Conclusions on selling art on Etsy

art on etsy what actually sells

How to Sell Art on Etsy (and make money)

What do you need to sell art on Etsy?

First things first: to open your own art shop on Etsy, you will always need a credit card and a bank account (with IBAN: International Bank Account Number) in order to handle the money transfers from Etsy to your country (if you do not live in the USA). The credit card is used for Etsy to collect commissions, the bank account is used to collect money from your sales. For the credit card, prepaid cards will do, while for the checking account, you can choose a card with account functionality, as long as it comes with a IBAN code for money transfers.

How much does an Etsy Art Shop cost?

Selling art on Etsy is definitely cheap though, not the cheapest of all available systems, but it has one of the highest benefit-to-value ratios. Opening your shop is free, while listing products on it will cost you a listing fee of 0,20$. It covers site listing for 4 months per listing. Etsy also charges a commission on each sale of 5% ex VAT (excluding shipping costs).
How to Sell Art on Etsy: submission and commission fee

Prepare your Art Shop for your clients and sell art on Etsy

After opening a shop you will have to “dress it up”, so that your sensitivity and artistic taste can be felt immediately. You can insert a photo (or banner) and the shop icon. The cover photo is the image that will appear at the top of your store, above the name, and has a minimum size of 1200x300px (but it is better to be larger here). The image is important because it is the first element that visitors will look at when they find your shop. You can add it or change it by going to Shop Settings -> About & Appearance, then clicking on the orange button above, from where you can add a cover photo, to highlight your work: Art on Etsy_ Michelle Morin Shop_Artguilds  
Etsy page of MichelleMorinShop
You can insert a nice photo of your top artwork, or a drawing that represents your style well, or even the main types of products you will be selling, with a personal signature. Other equally good ideas for using this space cleverly and carefully could be a collage of the different types of products you have decided to sell, or a mini-gallery of your main artworks, or when you have an established shop with more returning costumers, the new featured product/artbook/work-of-art.   Art on Etsy_ Michelle Morin Shop_Artguilds
Etsy Shop of MichelleMorinShop
The other graphic element is the shop icon, a square space that can contain your logo or an image representing your signature as an artist. This icon appears whenever you need to be identified. For example on individual product pages, on the general forum or in team threads. It is a small graphic element that makes you identifiable to customers and members of the Etsy community, so choose it carefully! Art on Etsy_ Jo Rioux_Artguilds
Etsy Shop of Jo Rioux
It is usually a good idea to combine this icon with the same image/design/photo that you have decided to use on Facebook or Instagram. This will on the one hand make it much easier for people to recognise you on Etsy and at the same time give a solid “Brand Image” idea to your potential costumers.
how to sell art on etsy

How to get attention while selling art on Etsy

There are millions of products of art for sale on Etsy and the number is growing every month. If you try to do any search by product, you will find that the number of results is sometimes exorbitant, with hundreds of thousands of results for each search. With so much choice, sellers on Etsy can only rely on one look. It is in fact unthinkable to open and read the description of every single product! So having great photos is probably the only way you can attract the attention of your potential customers who are already browsing the site. The mistake many sellers make is underestimating this aspect, or in the choices on how to present the product or which images to upload, only personal taste counts. However, the photos you choose for your products must have certain characteristics to be effective, which cannot be ignored. First of all, the subject you are shooting, the product, must be clear, avoiding overfilling the composition of the photo which makes the subject ambiguous. If potential customers click on your image it must be clear that they see a specific product that they want to buy. If they then discover that it is only part of the scenery, they will be annoyed and run back to the search page. This is where the rules of photo or image composition come into play! Art on Etsy_ Artguilds
Etsy: attract the attention of your potential customers is vital
The second element to consider when creating photos for your artworks is quality: there are no excuses nowadays, with smartphones that have a resolution equal to or higher than that of many SLRs, it is almost impossible to deliberately take blurred photos or photos with noise errors. Learn the features of your camera or smartphone to make the best use of them and always take quality photos and attract more Etsy clients. However, having few products with good photos is not enough on its own. If you only have four products with great photos in your shop, you don’t have much of a chance of getting into the general search results of potential customers. These chances change a lot depending on the type of product you have created and the number of competitors in that product category. For example, the total number of pencil artworks for sale on Etsy, present as I write this, counts on 49k results while the number of canvas artworks for sale on Etsy, paintings and prints, is 1.2 million! The problem for art creators is often related to production capacity: If it takes 3 to 15 days to finish a painting, it is difficult to fill your Etsy Art Shop with 200 products in a short amount of time. Or if you always create the same type of work, it is difficult to get noticed by a wide range of potential customers. So what can we do? You can diversificate. Art on Etsy_ Artguilds_postcards  
In her Etsy Shop Michelle Morin offers Art Prints, but Greeting cards and Gift Bags
With different art formats, techniques, or subjects. Some will take a lot of time, some a lot less. Also Create different types of products with the artwork, taking advantage of the reproducibility of printing techniques, maybe using print-on-demand services. This way you don’t need to start from scratch every time you want to upload a product to the shop and even if you sell larger originals, you can count on a quick restock. Start with a dozen products and try to reach at least a hundred products for sale in 3 months. A shortcut to speed up this process is to create an artwork listing of the same product several times, changing the photo angles, description and title. If for example you decide to sell a T-Shirt with your artwork, you can decide to change the base color, or the type of design and then create a product page for each kind of variation.

Art on Etsy: What Sells Best?

To get an idea of what mainly sells on Etsy we can use two ways at our disposal. Firstly, we have a specific page on Etsy that allows you to view the products that are currently selling the most: More specifically, this page shows the current trends, i.e. the products that are experiencing a boost in sales during the period. However, we can’t divide or search them up by type. You’ll definitely find artworks, as well as prints, accessories and digital products of various kinds. Although these can still give us ideas on what to develop or how to adapt these ideas to our products, it is not very specific as data. So we turned over other kinds of research tools, specifically made for marketing. We made a deep research using Semrush on the main results of those who have searched for art products on Etsy. This way we can see what is currently in strong demand on Etsy (in the Art category):

-Most searched art products on Etsy (not in order):

  • Canvas & Wall art

  • Art prints

  • Paintings

  • Artwork

  • Pet Portraits

  • Digital & Downloadable prints

-These are instead the main types of art techniques that are primarily sought after for art products on Etsy (not in order):

Art on Etsy_ Artguilds_artworks  
  • Abstract art
  • Watercolor
  • Resin art
  • Botanical Art
  • Digital Art
  • Oil painting
If the oil technique interests you and you would like to learn the basics, you can read this article:Oil painting basics: Professional suggestions to improve faster

Getting the right product for the right costumer

Not everyone can afford to spend the money to buy an original work of art, or rather has not yet become that kind of collector. Therefore, it becomes essential to reproduce one’s artworks on media such as prints, postcards, canvases and the like. Here, however, you have to be careful not to get carried away. There are hundreds of art products that you can recreate through P-O-D (like printiful), however I don’t think it would be nice to see your own artwork on sale as a shower curtain. If you do funny artwork, of course, it might be a good idea, but in general, the types of products you choose to sell should relate to the type of work and customers you are targeting. First try only to sell few art products, the ones more relevant to your niche, then consider whether your customers are really interested in them (by the number and type of products sold). Variety remains a key element in ensuring that an Etsy customer who is interested in your art will visit, see and buy a product that 5 min before, he wasn’t even thinking buying. Art on Etsy_ Artguilds_single artwork  
Etsy: Getting the right product for the right costumer – Shop of PRRINT
Regarding the production of canvases and prints, specifically, another idea could be to choose different sizes and types of media, so as to satisfy both the customer who wants to spend very little, as well as the one who is willing to spend a little more for a quality product.


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