5 Tactics I Used to Grow my Redbubble Print Sales from $20 to $300 per month

Dear Reader,

In 2007 I started selling my original paintings on eBay, and through local art galleries. My paintings of well endowed women in swimsuits proved very popular at that time, but I couldn’t keep up with demand and eventually, you guessed it, I ran out of original paintings to sell!

I was in a quandary, what to do next? It was obvious to me, that I really needed to sell printed reproductions of my paintings, that way, I didn’t need to put the pressure on myself to create so many original paintings to sell on eBay. At that time, I had no idea how to go about creating reproductions of my paintings.

Here are the tactics I used to create a passive income of $300 per month on average (and much more over the Christmas period). It isn’t as lucrative as selling original paintings, but has the benefit that even when you’re not selling your original art, you are receiving a passive income, you can paint at your leisure, without the pressure. This was definitely an appealing prospect, however I had no idea how to go about it.

In 2008, there weren’t a lot of print on demand sites around, or if there were, I didn’t know anything at all about them.

1. Printing for Reproduction, Scanning Techniques etc

The first thing I did was to research what was necessary to product good prints of my paintings.

I found out it was important to have really good scans of the paintings, or if the paintings were too large for scanning (as in my case) I would need to have professional photographs taken of them. I started out by paying to have my original paintings photographed by a professional photographer with a Hasselblad camera. Over time, I was able to earn enough money through sales of my prints, to purchase my own camera and learnt to take photographs of my own work for print reproduction, which saved me quite a bit of hard earned money. It also had the added benefit of giving me a brand new hobby, photography.

2. Goal Setting

I signed up for a course that taught me how to attain your goals, by writing down your major goal, then using a series of smaller goals, including every step necessary to achieve those goals step by step, in minute detail.

For example, if the final goal was to be selling my prints to earn a living, I’d need to decide what that amount would be, then work out how to get there, by ascertaining the first step, the second step, etc.

It’s not that hard, and it gives you a bit of a road map. Grab a piece of paper, start jotting things down, starting with the end result you’d like to achieve. Once you begin your first step, it all starts unfolding as to what your next steps will be. In my case, my steps looked a bit like this:

1. Photograph and colour match all viable paintings.

a) Choose which paintings
b) Find a professional photographer who specialises in photographing art for print
c) Research printers, giclee, limited edition, etc
d) Decide who will create printed reproductions of your paintings
e) Find an outlet to sell your print reproductions – research art licensing, art galleries, online print on demand sites

It might seem overwhelming at first, but breaking your goal down, into small achievable steps, is a great way to reach your end goal. In fact, it removes the overwhelming feeling, or feelings of hopelessness, because you are able to tackle it in small steps and tick them off. You might not reach the exact end goal, but you will be so much closer to it, by taking these steps.

Having a dream is great, but if you really want to achieve that dream, you have to take little steps every day toward it. That way, each day, you will feel as though you are achieving, and this is a rewarding feeling in itself. It can be a long journey, so it’s important to feel that sense of achievement all the way through, and to congratulate yourself and celebrate small milestones along the way.

Goal setting worked for me, and I’d encourage everyone who has a dream, to write it down and the steps you’ll need to take to achieve it, then go for it. At the start my goal was to make a living from print sales, I ended up changing my goal to something smaller that was more achievable.

Some Sales Insights

I wanted to make $200 per month. I achieved that goal, and decided it was important to at least sell 10 items per day, which is my current goal, and $300 per month, which I’ve achieved. My next goal is going to be to grow that amount to $500 per month. In the month February to March 2019, I had 61 sales at Redbubble and earned $302.83. It’s even better around Christmas time, in the month November to December 2018 I had 160 sales and made double my goal of $647. In all I’ve made 14,199 sales since 2008 and earnings by sales totalling $43,385.44 Although that seems a lot, if you break it down into annual earnings it’s around $4,000 per annum. Not enough to live on, but it creates a nice buffer for myself and family for those little extras we would otherwise go without. This money has also purchased items to assist me with my art, my iPad and iPencil, software programmes such as Photoshop and Procreate, an iMac etc.

3. Who, What, When and Where?

Decide which outlet/s you’d like to pursue, ie print on demand, art licensing, eBay, Etsy, art galleries and make contact, learn everything you can about who will be representing you and your art reproductions.

In my case, I researched and outreached local art galleries and galleries further afield, I wrote snail mail letters and followed up with phone calls, and personal interviews. Through this, I began to sell my originals and prints in a couple of local galleries, and shops, including a cafe and a pharmacy.

I kept looking online as well, and one memorable day in February, 2008 I came across Redbubble I knew immediately that I wanted to sell my work through Redbubble

At the time I began uploading art to Redbubble I was unaware it was also a community of artists who were in contact with each other on a regular basis. This was a bonus.

In the very first month at Redbubble I started selling prints of my paintings, sales were mainly cards. This encouraged me greatly to continue to produce paintings and illustrations solely for Redbubble I eventually learned how to create T-Shirts, after purchasing Photoshop and teaching myself how to use it, because there was more money to be made selling various other products, than just cards.

Bonus Tip:

Ensure you tag your work appropriately and enter appropriate titles and descriptions of your art works, this will help you be recognised by search engines. By appropriate, I mean use search terms that directly relate to your creation. I also use different spellings and incorrect spellings, for instance "colour and “color”.

4. Getting Involved and Giving Back, Featuring Other Artists, Advice etc

Redbubble had a great community and I got involved in helping people find their way around, and troubleshooting, until I became a recognised RB Community Helper (we used to get a red dot beside out name so newcomers would know who they could refer to if they needed help). I’m sure that this also helped my work become well known, as well as having my work featured on the front page a number of times during the first few months.

I would feature other artists regularly in my journals and my blog, give advice on how to maximise profile pages and do interviews, as well as this I became a moderator in the General Discussion Forums. I also took part in many of Redbubble’s Art Competitions, especially the collaboration with Stefan Sagmeister, “The Happy Challenge” which was most memorable and rewarding, as I was one of the selected winners with my spiritual self portrait painting Affirmation and received my own personally signed copy of Sagmeister’s inspirational book “Sagmeister: Made you Look”. I also took part in Solo Exhibitions, a wonderful group at Redbubble hosted by beautiful artists and creators, and had a fantastic experience with my own Solo Exhibition, a wonderful experience!

I’m certain this sort of exposure, through becoming involved in competitions, really helped me to increase my online profile.

Bonus Tip:

Create a blog where you add original content and share it on as many social platforms that you can to appropriate readers. In doing so, you help raise your profile, while helping others.

5. Create only what you love

During the past 11 years, my paintings have changed enormously, my subjects have also changed, according to what I love and am interested in at the time. My subjects have covered a wide range including:

traditional asian costumes and geishas
love and romance
whales, koi, dolphins
angels and fairies
nursery and childrens themes
people enjoying the beach and seaside
birds and owls
tie dye
meditation, peace and wellbeing
cute animals
motherhood and parenthood
butterflies and insects
sympathy and hugs
transport, adventure and travel
mandalas and dreamcatchers
to themes I wanted to explore from my childhood, etc.

I always try to centre my work around subjects that are meaningful to me, because I have noticed over time, that these subjects are also meaningful to others, and somehow, the impact my subject has on me, will rub off on others.

Bonus Tips:

  • Journal about your sales
  • Be as authentic as possible
  • Buy and test the products yourself
  • Journal about the products with photos of them (you’ll need to host your photos somewhere like Imgur or Photobucket in order to do this)
  • Always reciprocate, respond when someone likes or comments or faves, thank people, go out of your way to take a look at their profile
  • Learn how to format text and images for journals and your profile, image dimensions requirements, uploading and everything else you need via Redbubble’s own Help Desk area here

6. One Final Bonus Tip

Lastly, I encourage you to explore your full potential, to take time to play and just enjoy yourself. Whenever I’ve done this, I’ve discovered a new way of doing things, that I can incorporate, that is original and personal to me.

Every now and then, I take time off, when I feel empty. I don’t chastise myself about it, and I don’t call it artist’s block. I believe there is a natural ebb and flow with creativity, and when you are running on empty and exhausted, your creativity will reflect that.

Make sure you take time to enjoy other creative pursuits and activities too. I love taking iPhone macro photos and my other hobby is beach walking, observing and exploring nature. I love watching nature documentaries and reading artist biographies.

Always take the time, to nourish yourself.

If you’d like to know more about my art, prints and processes, please check out the following links:

My Online Print Shop

My Book Beyond the Stick Figure now available as an eBook, hardcover and softcover here

To touch a heart, to spin a dream, to share a thought, a love, a special memory, these are the things that make life meaningful.

I create nostalgic designs to give a sense of harmony. May Gibbs, Holly Hobbie and Margaret Keane are strong influences from childhood.

h3. About
As a child I loved fantasy illustrations I found comforting, and that took me on imaginary journeys and daydreams. I try to create art that has a similar effect on people.

My paintings might appear at times simplistic, but come about through lots of processing, combining things I’ve seen and heard, stories and images. I often draw on paper first, painting in layers over the drawing in Procreate for iPad. Other times, I draw and paint straight onto my iPad without any drawing underneath.

In a timepoor world, my intention is to relieve tension and support a restive transcendent moment where peace is found.

Some of the themes that run through my work include friendship, love, connection, beauty, balance, wellbeing, motherhood, childhood, nature, meditation, mindfulness, Australian landscape, melancholia, peace, transcendence, happiness, motherhood and wildlife.

Beach walks give me lots of inspiration and perspective.

Nature, the ocean and good news stories

I’m descended from John Constable and John Milton.

To live in a lighthouse on a remote mountain, leading a simple life with my best friend Scott.


Expressions of Interest

Interested in one of my images for your business needs?
Please direct your enquiries through my agent Viscopy
Phone: +61 (0)2 9394 7600 Fax: +61 (0)2 9394 7601
Toll free (within Australia): 1800 066 844

Links to some of my products below

Cards . Calendars . Canvas Prints . Posters . Framed Prints . Metal Prints . Art Prints . Photographic Prints . Tshirts & Hoodies . Kids Clothes . iPhone cases & skins . Samsung Galaxy cases . iPad cases & skins . Laptop sleeves . Throw Pillows . Tote Bags . Drawstring Bags . Mugs . Travel Mugs . Scarves . Pencil Skirts Leggings . Spiral Notebooks . Hardcover Journals . Studio Pouches or Pencil Cases . Stickers poetry and Writing

Journal Comments

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