Key Takeaways Table (TLDR):
|Best Tools To Make AI Art
|Midjourney, Stable Diffusion, Leonardo, DALL·E 3 are among the top tools for creating unique AI art.
|Best Print-on-Demand Marketplaces
|Redbubble, Zazzle, Threadless, and TeePublic are some of my favorite avenues for selling AI art online.
|Optimize Your AI Art For Sales
|Ensure your listings use the highest quality uploads of your artworks, create art that matches popular trends, tag and title your listings properly, to give it the best chance of being seen.
|Building Your Brand
|Put your own unique twist on your designs to make your art stand out and build a social media following to help promote your artwork and send additional traffic to your art listings.
The rise of AI art generation has opened a new frontier for people to make money selling art who might have never been able in the past.
Let’s talk about how you can get started and sell AI art online using print-on-demand marketplaces to minimize your upfront costs and mitigate any traditional risks there are with starting a new business.
How To Create Your Own AI Artwork
To sell AI art, you first need to know how to create your own AI art (obviously).
Experimentation is key. Explore each option and try them out to see which aligns best with your artistic aspirations.
Here is a quick overview of my top picks and what I like about each:
This is the first AI image generation tool that I ever used and so I will always have a soft spot for it. You interact with the tool using a chat bot through Discord.
The downside with Midjourney is that it is a paid tool and can get quite pricey with it’s monthly subscription. I also feel that the sticker designs that Midjourney generates are not the best, so there is also that.
This is another paid option but I feel like it is currently making the best for making good sticker art, easily. To use this option you need to have a ChatGPT Plus subscription and then you simply interact with the chatbot and ask it to make whatever stickers you’d like.
The integration with ChatGPT also makes it extra easy for beginners because you can simply converse with ChatGPT and it can give you ideas for how it can create better stickers, all in one place.
The downside to this option is that the image generator integrated within is heavily censored. I often found that my generations would be blocked “due to the content policy” when I was making anything that was even slightly offensive, such as zombies.
To use Stable Diffusion, you will need to be a bit more tech savvy. Even installing and using the more simplified web UI’s such as Automatic 1111 can sometimes be difficult and frustrating, with unknown bugs seemingly popping up constantly.
However, if you can manage it, Stable Diffusion offers the ultimate option for those that want image generation without limits. You can download custom models that will change the way your images look, you can also download custom extensions for web UI’s like Auto 1111 that will upscale your designs to be super high-quality and print-ready from within. It can do everything.
Another big upside to going this route is that it is completely free! If you want to learn more about Stable Diffusion check out our guide for beginners here.
The Leonardo web application is constantly getting new features added and is incredibly impressive, some of the best AI images that I’ve seen have come from this app. This might also be the most accessible and easy-to-use AI image generation tool for beginners in my opinion.
The downside once again comes from it being a paid tool. If you don’t mind that then I highly recommend checking this one out, it is seriously good.
The Best Print-On-Demand Marketplaces For Beginners
As a beginner, you don’t want to risk creating product yourself and holding inventory because you don’t yet know if you will even be successful and you might end up losing that investment. For this reason I recommend beginners choose a POD marketplace where they handle everything for you and all you need to do is upload your artwork and choose how it will look on the products you decide to sell.
All of the POD websites that I recommend below are set up this way and so I highly recommend starting with one of them. If you begin to gain some traction and are making sales, you can move on to more advanced marketplaces such as Etsy or even setting up your own website with a shop front.
Doing this will require a bit more work including holding inventory and managing shipping. However, if you are already seeing success and building a following, your profit margins can be substantially higher by going this route.
But back to the beginner options!
Some of these platforms work better than others, but it is hard to tell which will work best for you until you give them each a try:
Redbubble: A popular POD marketplace that many people know about. It’s a great place to start although I’ve had to drive my own traffic to my listings through Pinterest pins because the organic traffic that they fed to me was very small.
Zazzle: Zazzle is the next option that I would try either in addition to RedBubble or as a great first alternative. It might not be quite as well known as RedBubble, but it seems that some people have better luck getting organic traffic to their listings with Zazzle.
Threadless: Another great option for beginners, Threadless offers a bit more of a community minded POD marketplace. They host design contests frequently which can help you gain much needed exposure and stick out in the crowd.
TeePublic: TeePublic tends to give great organic traffic and their art upload tool is better than RedBubble in my opinion. Another excellent option for beginners.
Optimizing Your AI Artwork For Sales and Increased Visibility
When preparing your art for sale on any POD marketplace you should always ensure the following rules are met:
- Ensure your uploads are of the highest resolution (and look good at that resolution) to guarantee premium print quality and turn buyers into returning buyers.
- Preview your artworks in CMYK to ensure that what ends up being printed out is up to the standards that you expected. We have a blog post on why this is so important here.
- While the artwork you generate is your property and you have the right to sell it, ensure that your designs are not infringing on any copyrights. In other words, do not create stickers of Disney characters and try to sell them.
- Craft descriptive titles and utilizing effective tags for your uploads is what will get your artwork found! Do not skimp on this step.
Marketing Your Masterpieces To Build a Brand and Following
You might find that the organic traffic that these POD marketplaces deliver is subpar. You most likely will need to be driving some traffic of your own to your listings to boost sales.
Active marketing can significantly enhance your online presence and sales. Be sure to do the following for a successful POD business:
Social Media Promotion:
It is almost essential now to use some form of social media to drive additional traffic to your listings and build a following.
Since print on demand is very visual I recommend Pinterest as your number one source for social media traffic. It is basically an image search engine. Use it!
Cultivate relationships with your audience to transform viewers into loyal customers.
This does not so much apply to beginners as it does to those once an established following is built. Once you have that, however, attract buyers with limited-time discounts or bundle deals to incentivize purchases.
Understand Your Earnings:
Familiarize yourself with each platform’s pricing structure to effectively manage your pricing strategy and earnings expectations.
Success varies widely among artists, with some enjoying supplemental income and others achieving substantial financial gains and can make a living in this field through strategic marketing and a diversified product portfolio.
Navigating the POD Marketplace with Confidence
Selling AI art prints through POD marketplaces offers a unique opportunity to monetize your digital artistry. By leveraging AI art generators for creation, choosing the right platforms for sales, optimizing your product listings, and engaging in active marketing, you can establish a successful online presence in the art world.
The key to success lies in creativity, persistence, and strategic planning.
Just remember that the digital art marketplace is ever-evolving. Stay adaptable, continue exploring new creative avenues, and seize the opportunities that this new field has created.
For more insights into selling AI art and exploring the world of digital creativity, check out our comprehensive guides and tips:
- 6 Sublimation Tips For Beginners
- Generative AI and Image Diffusion Introduction for Beginners
- Understanding Paper Types and Their Impact on Print Quality
- The Best Fabrics for Sublimation Printing
- Complete Guide to Sublimation Printing For Beginners
Explore these resources to further your understanding and mastery of AI-generated art and its commercial potential.