A young friend of mine recently decided to use her artistic abilities to make money.  She previously only drew for the love of her craft and just gave her work away to friends and family.  She loved to draw and people praised and treasured her work, but she never saw it as a way to make money.

Until a boy in her second grade class started selling his drawings to other kids in the class.

She knew she was at least as good as he was and decided it was time to cash in. Her first “sale” was actually a trade, drawing for drawing, between the two budding entrepreneurs.

This story is new and ongoing.  It is too early to tell if she will become rich and famous, (at least by second grade standards) or if the pressure of demanding clients will drain away her joy in the simple act of creation.

Every artist faces this choice at some time in their life.  Anyone and everyone can create art.  Few people continue to do it past the second grade.  For those that continue to create, who have a passion to draw, a question will always come up:  Can I make money doing this?

For most people it isn’t a question of greed.  Making a living by drawing means spending more time doing what they love to do.  It is a simple equation with a complex solution.  Finding someone to pay you to do what you love to do is not easy.

If you want to make money as an artist how do you connect with the people willing to pay you?

What do people actually pay for in the way of art?

Do changing public tastes mean you have to change as an artist?

How much can you change before art is just another chore for you, just a job and not a dream?

This column will examine the various ways that comics artists can market their work to a paying public.  We will look at everything from giving away work to build recognition to full-time employment from a major publisher.  We will look at publishing trends to see where the market is going and what types and styles of art are selling, and what isn’t.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to actually making money from your work.  There is no one path.  Different approaches fit different people, but by looking at the many ways people can and do make money, you may find an approach that fits you.

Bill Love – Sketch Magazine Senior Editor