How to successfully sell digital art on Redbubble (and make a sizeable side income)

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Cashing some extra pineapples from a side hustle can be the answer to your troubles but figuring out what side gig you want to rope yourself into can get a little tricky. There are a lot of things you can do to get some extra money – be a pool boy or mowing the neighbour’s lawn – but for artists all around the world, or simply people who have a knack with creativity, maybe it’s about time to use that talent of yours to earn yourself some extra money. Think about it, you’re doing what you love and earning from it!

The internet offers many ways to earn money. I’m constantly searching every part of the internet, looking for an ideal job not just to help myself but to help anyone who’s looking for a way to add more earnings to their average wage. Creativity gives you an edge in the online business world and while there are hundreds of sites available for an artist to earn money from, Redbubble is my personal favourite.

Redbubble is an online market that’s available for artists to reach more people to sell their product to. Founded in 2006 in Melbourne, Australia, Redbubble seeks to help artists make a name and brand for their small business. It reaches a bigger audience and allows an artist to sell their art easily to people so if you’re an artist who’s interested in selling your work.

There’s a wide variety of products available in Redbubble for a customer to purchase. From graphic t-shirts and sweaters to home decors and mugs, there are a lot of things that will attract potential customers. That also means that when you’re an artist, there are a lot of product options you can design. The more designs you make, the more designs you can sell.

Here are some things that you should keep in mind:

Create your store and fill out your profile

Username

When you go to the Redbubble website, there is a Sell Your Art button in the top right corner that you should click first and then click the red Get Started, It’s Free button. You will have to have your own email address and create a unique username to use as your store name. Think of a more creative name that would entice more customers to check out your products. Good art to sell is enticing in its own right, but a username that catches attention can also be helpful.

Sign up to Redbubble

Profile

Within your profile settings, you are able to select if you want to use your username or full name. I went with username as it ties in with my brand. Don’t forget to fill out the Short Bio and Public Profile as this will give your audience the opportunity to learn more about you and connect with you on the platform.

You will also need to confirm your email address and edit your payment details before you are able to start selling on Redbubble.

Cover image and avatar

The cover image and avatar are needed for you to fill out your profile. An artistic cover image and avatar to use will say a lot about you as an artist. It’s an opportunity for you to showcase not only your talent to the customer and welcome them to your page but also introduce your brand. Be sure that it also fits and looks well on mobile since there are users that use the mobile app.

Images must be 2400px wide by 600px high and in JPEG or PNG format

Add a profile cover to Redbubble
Redbubble profile cover and avatar

Payment details

Make sure that you have filled out the payment details because how else are you going to get paid when people start buying your awesome artwork!? Plus, you won’t be able to start uploading artwork until you do this step. Enter your personal details, residential and postal address and the currency that you want to be paid in.


[su_pullquote align=”right”]Not sure which software you can use to create your designs? Redbubble recommends Photoshop, GIMP or Paint.NET (you could also use Sketch or Illustrator).[/su_pullquote]

Uploading your first artwork

After you’ve filled out your profile – you’ve uploaded your cover image and avatar and have filled out the payment details – you can now start to upload your artwork and begin filling your shop with all your designs!

Be sure to have a completed piece of artwork ready to upload.

Add your artwork

  1. By clicking your profile picture from the upper right corner, a drop-down menu will appear. To add the artwork to your profile, click the Add New Work button.
  2. Next, click on the upload to all products.
  3. An upload window will appear and you can choose a design from your computer you want to upload. To upload it, click open and it will automatically be in your product preview section. In this section, you’re allowed to adjust your design.
  4. Give your design a title (try to be descriptive and add some keywords as this will help people find it in their searches).
  5. Add up to 15 relevant tags – Use tags that you think your audience will use when they are searching for your artwork
  6. Give some thought to a good description of your design, this is an opportunity to tell people about the design and the story behind it.
  7. You can translate your title and description into other languages, but I don’t worry about this.
  8. Select which products you want to enable your design on by clicking the Disabled button, this will toggle it to Enabled.
  9. To adjust, click the edit button under each design. You can move, centre and resize the design on the product.
  10. Apply changes once you’re done editing and adjusting the design.
  11. Always make sure to review the design that you want to upload so that it is store-ready.
Add your art to Redbubble

Artwork settings

There are two kinds of media that can describe your art and you are able to choose which one you want. All of my work comes under Design & Illustration and Digital Art.

You can choose your design’s default view. It really depends on the design as to what product I decide to select as the default view. Some designs will not work for all products, so it is important to select a default view the design works well on.

For the design’s privacy and maturity settings, this means that if it set on private, you’re the only one who’s able to view the design. If it’s set for mature works, customers who have allowed for mature works to come up on their feed will be able to view this.

Make sure to check the box that will confirm your ownership and rights to sell your design on the platform.

Re-check everything and if all seems good, save your work.

[su_note note_color=”#f0f2f2″ text_color=”#08e08f” radius=”2″]
Success! You’ve just uploaded your artwork!
[/su_note]

Artwork size and file types

When designing a product, one of the things that Redbubble wants you to make sure is that your design format – the size and file type – can be printed well on products.

[su_pullquote align=”right”]The file size is measured by the bytes of the image while the resolution is measured through pixels. In the digital world, pixels are often used.[/su_pullquote]

For the resolution of the design, a usual rule that artist’s typically following is that high resolutions give a better print result. All the artwork I create is created at 300 PPI (pixels per inch). As for the dimensions of the artwork, it depends on what products I want to put it on.

Redbubble have created their own standard dimension for each product type that they have. If you want to use a standard dimension to start with, Redbubble recommends you to start with 7632×6480 pixels which are suitable for their king size duvet product. Note that a file that’s higher than 300Mb or has a dimension of 13500×13500 pixels cannot be uploaded to the site because it will be too large to upload.

As for the file type, Redbubble accepts JPG, JPEG and PNG images, preferring PNG more. They do not accept TIF, GIF and PDF files.

The file type will generally depend on the artwork created. If the artwork has any transparent areas, it will need to be saved as a PNG.


Types of products available on Redbubble

There are a lot of products available in Redbubble. From apparel to home decors and greeting cards to device cases, Redbubble truly has a lot to offer which is good news to you as an artist because you can use your design on a lot of products which would mean more income coming your way.

Here’s a list of the products available in Redbubble:

  • Men’s T-Shirts
  • Men’s Sweatshirts & Hoodies
  • Men’s Tank Tops
  • Women’s T-Shirts & Tops
  • Women’s Sweatshirt’s & Hoodies
  • Womens Tank Tops
  • Kid’s T-Shirts
  • Baby T-Shirts
  • Baby One-Pieces
  • Device Cases
  • iPhone Cases
  • Samsung Cases
  • Laptop Skins
  • Laptop Sleeves
  • Stickers
  • Greeting Cards
  • Postcards
  • Posters
  • Canvas Prints
  • Photographic Prints
  • Framed Prints
  • Metal Prints
  • Wall Tapestries
  • Pillows & Cushions
  • Duvet Covers
  • Mugs
  • Clocks
  • Notebooks & Journals
  • Totebags
  • Studio Pouches
  • Drawstring Bags

Choosing your percent markup

If you want to sell on Redbubble, as an artist, you need to understand how the payment process works. The basic formula that they use is this:

base price + artist’s margin = retail price.

As for the base price, it’s Redbubble’s service fee and the cost of manufacturing. But for an artist, what you should focus on is the artist’s margin since that’s where your income from your design will be taken off of. The artist’s margin also includes the markup which is the percentage that you will get off the sale.

With that said, the artist’s margin’s formula is this:

base price x markup = artist’s margin.

The default markup is 20-25% percent and if you ask me, that’s not too bad. If you want a lower or raise it higher, that’s entirely up to you since the mark up is of your choosing.

Time to dive in!

Now that you have a better grasp at how Redbubble works and the products that it sells, I think that you’re pretty much ready to start your journey on the platform and earn a little extra on the side.

There are a few more things that I know will come in handy for you; a few tips and tricks to keep in mind before you submerge yourself into selling digital art.

Default Markup in Redubble
Redbubble default markup

The importance of tags

One of the things that help an artist with the sales is the tags that you use for your product. The reason behind this is that when a customer inputs words into the search engine, it’s what ultimately leads them to a number of product designs that they’re looking for and narrows their option to that. This means that you have to make sure that the tags you use will allow them to find your product when searching.

Adding Tags will ultimately give your design a better chance of getting sales. Remember that it goes hand in hand with a good design. You also have to consider the number of artists that are also using this platform to sell their designs and the platform’s algorithm.

For example, you have a coffee design and you add that design to all products available in the site – which is also a good idea because that means more chances of getting a sale if you have a design available on a lot of products – and you’re about to add the tags for that design. Let’s say you put the keyword coffee as a tag. What I like to do is open the Redbubble homepage in a new tab and do a search using the tag coffee. Take a look at the first few products and see what tags they are using that you could add to your new product.

Related search tags

There are also the related search tags that you will see whenever you search for one keyword. You can use these related tags to add to your products. Remember that you can add 15 relevant tags so make sure you use all of them, the more tags, the more people are likely to come across your design and the higher the possibility you have for making a sale.

Bear in mind that your design will most likely not be found if you do not have good tags. If you don’t use good tags that will ultimately lead the customer to your design, then you’re going to struggle to make any sales. Like I said, good tags and good design go hand in hand.


The importance of building a following

Anyone on the socials such as Instagram can see why having a lot of followers is important. The thing in Redbubble, when you have people following your page, they will be notified when you have a new design which means more eyes on your artwork.

Here’s a few things that might help you:

  • Have a target audience.
  • Promote yourself within the Redbubble community. Comment on other artist’s works and follow them. They might return the gesture.
  • Promote yourself outside the community. Use social media as your advantage to share your design and artworks.
  • Use the tags wisely. Making good use of tags will give you good sales. Always keep that in mind.

How to promote your store

As mentioned above, promoting your store is a necessary way to earn followers and earn sales. Self-promotion is something that, as an independent artist, you should be doing and with so many artists on the platform with you, you need to be able to market yourself in order for you to make a sale. I think that it wouldn’t be too hard to do so because, in today’s world, there are so many things that you can use to spread the word since social media has taken the world by storm.

Sharing on social media

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and even on YouTube, if you have a channel, can be the social media platform that you use to share the word that you have a store in Redbubble that they should check out. Add the link to your Redbubble account to your other accounts in social media so it would lead them to your store page.

Pinterest

Pinterest is a social media site that allows you to share pictures that can be linked to other sites. It uses a pinboard-style sharing that will allow the user to create and manage photos according to themes and add them to their collection.

Redbubble is linked with Pinterest so there’s a Pin it button on your works that you can use to share your design to the Pinterest platform. Sharing and promoting your work through Pinterest is a great way to up your sales because a lot of people happen to use this platform.

Tags

I’ve mentioned this lot of times already. A good design is nothing without a good tag because a good tag will lead you to a good sale. Always remember that.

Title and description

Always keep in mind that you need to have an enticing title and description to your product to gain the interest of customers to purchase the product with your design. Customers will want to know the story behind the design so that’s your chance to write out a description that will entice the customer to make a purchase.


Tips & tricks

  • Make sure your design looks good on dark colours (black). A large portion of my clothing sales have been on dark colours.
  • Understand the size of the product and resize it if needed. Some people are into really big prints while others are minimalists who like to keep it simple.
  • Make sure to enable your design on all products. This way, you will have your design available on all products which will increase your sale chances.
  • Increase your commission. If you think that you’re selling well at 20%, then why not change it into 30% and see where it goes from there? I increased my commission to 30% on stickers and I now get more sales.
  • Know what sells well. If you have an idea on what kind of design will attract customers more, use that to your advantage. Merge patterns with quotes and use that as your artwork if that kind of design sells more.
  • Upload more designs. The more you upload your designs, the more design options a customer will have to choose from. Generally, the more designs you have, the more chances you have of making a sale.

What are you waiting for?!

I, personally, believe that Redbubble is a great platform to use to sell your artwork. Getting compensated on doing what you love and that’s always a win-win situation with me. As long as you know the do’s and don’ts of the site and have an idea of who your target audience, then selling on Redbubble is a fantastic side hustle to earn extra cash. Use your creativity and give some time to promote your page to reach more audience.

The internet offers everyone a lot of opportunities when it comes to searching for a part-time job or even becoming a full-time online freelancer. However, if you’re a graphic artist or you simply have an affinity for the arts, Redbubble offers you an opportunity to do what you love and make money. For me, it’s a great feeling to be able to use my talent and skill and show it to everyone else, and have the option to sell it as well. For those who do not have the artistic flair, there are always offline side hustles to consider.


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Thanks for stopping by! Hit me up on Instagram with any questions, always happy to help where I can.

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