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passive income illustration

7 Passive Income Ideas For Illustration

Here we’ll share with you 7 passive income ideas for illustration work.

As an illustrator, the many hours spent doing work sometimes seem to not pay off.

You might have archives of illustrations used once and never again.

Have you ever wondered how you can utilize your work to its full potential?

How can you make money from each piece of work you create?

With digitalization and the web, illustrators are now open to publishing their works to the world.

More than the following you have now, are you wanting to reach a larger audience whilst making money?

Are you interested in having one or more streams of passive income from making illustrations?

As you create, you have the ability to earn more with each artwork you make.

This article will expound on the many ways an illustrator can make passive income.

Passive income will come through these streams as you publish your artwork and wait to generate larger audiences that buy your artwork or services.

As a creator, your choice depends on what is most suitable for you and your goals.

You can even create multiple streams of income across different platforms for optimal revenue.

Let’s dive right in!

Ways to Generate Passive Income from Illustration

1. Create a Patreon with Tutorials

Patreon allows member artists and creators to monetize their work.

It is widely known and used by creatives on Youtube, Instagram, and more. 

By creating a “pay-to-access” platform, you will be able to release exclusive content to a group of people who truly value your work.

You will be able to predict your monthly revenue from the number of pledges to your Patreon.

Build a unique community where you will be able to post content such as illustration tutorials, imparting your knowledge whilst earning a passive income. 

You will also be able to give subscribers a look into your creative process.

As Patreon is only locked for members, you will have the ability to create freely for your supporters, not conforming to current trends and tastes.

As your platform grows, you will also be able to utilize the tier system, charging as you deem fit for different levels of membership.

You are fully able to control what you release for each tier.

Being on Patreon will also challenge you in your content creation and managing your following.

If you already have a following online, creating a Patreon might just be the next step for you!

2. Release a Children’s Book

According to statistics, up to 1 million children’s books are published a year in the United States alone.

This shows the large demand for such books.

Furthermore, there are countless types of children’s books ranging from picture books to coloring books, showing their diverse nature and endless possibilities.

But one thing remains in common in all genres of children’s books.

They all contain a wide array of illustrations. 

Every page is filled with interactive images to enhance learning and visualization.

Illustration helps bring the narrative to life and supports development.

As a book publisher, you won’t even have to spend copious amounts of money on printing books.

There has been a steady rise in parents employing digital gadgets in their child’s development.

As such, E-books are a good option for publishing your illustrations.

It is a fuss-free method, where you do not have to worry about printing issues and inventory,

You will even have a larger audience for your books as you can reach people all across the globe.

This will be a good way to build your brand and business, possibly even jump-starting a career as a book publisher.

Are the illustrations you create already fresh and colorful?

Do you want to release a book but don’t know where to start? 

Releasing a children’s book is fit for you!

3. Create Merchandise with Print on Demand

As the name suggests, a Print on Demand service is where you work with suppliers to print your design on products as demand comes. 

These products come in the form of T-shirts, Caps, and many more.

You will be able to create and sell products under your own branding without having to buy in bulk or hold any inventory.

This is a feature heavily utilized by various illustrators now who, more than creating illustrations, want to further provide products with their designs for their followers.

Simply create a design, upload it onto Print on Demand sites and set your price.

Your suppliers will print products for you as well as handle payment and shipping to customers.

Do you think your designs would look good on cards, stickers, clothing, and more?

Do you currently have a following and demand for creating merchandise? 

Then this idea is for you!

It is also easy to use, simply upload your designs to any Print-on-Demand website!

Here is a list of the Top 10 Print on Demand companies for selling your own custom products.

4. Sell Graphics on Shutter Stock, Adobe Stock, and More

People are always looking for graphics online to use for their marketing.

The web has an extensive range of stock photos, illustrations, and vectors.

As an artist who might already be publishing your illustrations online, why not use them to earn income as well?

With websites such as Shutterstock, you will be able to monetize your illustrations every time someone buys and uses them from the website. 

Individuals and corporations alike will flock to stock image websites where they can create accounts whereby they will be able to obtain graphics at a price.

Sign up as a contributor and earn money with every download from a customer.

As every person creates their own unique art, you will be adding further to an online database.

Stock image websites reward you by quantity, so creating illustrations in bulk will increase your chances of downloads and earning revenue.

This means that every single illustration produced by you will be a potential earning source. 

Illustrators are constantly producing different pieces of the work day by day.

If you are an illustrator that has already produced a sizable amount of graphics, why not monetize it by publishing stock images?

Use it to your advantage by publishing on any of these sites today!

5. Create a Blog

Blogs are a good way to express yourself and your interests. 

You will be able to create content and give it meaning through your blog, or even produce articles for tips on any topic you are interested in.

There are various means of generating income for your blog.

The main avenues are promoting ads, selling products, and affiliate marketing.

Good marketing is key.

As more people flock to your blog and site traffic increases, your revenue will increase with the number of views and products sold.

For illustrators, you can teach your craft to a multitude of people – the possibilities are endless on the web!

This is also a good way of increasing your following, not limiting it to certain platforms and people groups.

As you express yourself through blogs, it is also an opportunity for you to reflect on your journey as an artist.

As you make your content unique, people will also recognize you more for your style and expressions.

Unsure of how to start blogging?

Learn how to start writing a blog here!

6. Sell Tools and Templates for Other Illustrators on Design Cuts

The online marketplace is good for selling tools and templates in this digital age and is a very lucrative source of passive income from illustration.

Design Cuts is an online database for digital design assets.

Digital illustrators are always on the lookout for tools such as brushes, fonts, and presets.

Are you an illustrator with experience who is constantly creating products? 

Do you create unique tools and templates that other illustrators can utilize?

Package your products and monetize them easily on the Design Cuts marketplace.

This is a sure way to reach other creators who are in need of these products.

You will be able to create a sustainable business through such means.

As there is various software used for creating illustrations such as Photoshop, you can also create tools and templates unique to that platform, giving you specialization and an advantage.

There is even a learning platform on Design Cuts, where you are able to create design tutorials for all users. 

Simply join the community for free and sign up today!

7. Create a Paid Community on Discord

Discord allows users to join servers of their interest and chat.

It allows features such as voice calls, video calls, and text messaging.

For many creators, discord is where they have begun to build an interactive community.

It is a platform that allows servers that are active day and night.

For many content creators, this is a space where they can also interact with their audience on a more exclusive level.

An upside to the app is that you are able to appoint moderators within the community to moderate your account.

This comes in handy when you are too busy to run the server.

It also helps create a server that is safe and friendly for its users, further boosting the attractiveness to join your community.

You will earn money with a paid community on Discord.

Private chats can also be enabled, giving members direct access to their favorite creators.

This paid community includes premium content that is locked for non-paying members. 

This content can range from paid commissions, sharing the inspiration behind your work, and even one on one assessments for any subscribers that are interested in learning from you.

You will be able to engage your followers personally and create more helpful and preferred content as they pay for your service.

This option is best for you if you are an illustrator who enjoys interacting with followers in the closed setting of a chat room.

Creating a paid Discord community is simple with these few steps and the interface extremely intuitive. 

Even a beginner to the platform will be able to navigate it with ease.

What are you waiting for, create a paid community on Discord today!

Final Thoughts

As listed, there are various ways to create passive income from illustration.

Most of the ideas are easy to start and require little to no start-up capital.

This is a big advantage if you are starting to explore earning passive income streams for yourself.

The risk is little for you and your business.

Explore the options and have the autonomy to create your own unique branding and streams of income.

You are not limited to any one of the options.

Diversify and keep your options open.

After all, the world is your oyster.

Generate passive income from illustration for yourself today!

For more helpful articles, do check our list below.

10 Best Art and Design Podcasts to Listen To Now! (2022)

Five Best Online Communities For Designers to Learn, Grow & Share

How To Sell A Logo Design To A Client

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