from art journaling to professional artist – when to take the leap

For so many art journalers, art journaling is a personal thing. We do it as a form of self-expression, to exercise our creativity, to relax, to grow as an artist, to have fun, and so much more. There are probably as many reasons to art journal as there are art journalers. But for some, at one point or another, they may decide they want to start selling their art. To make that leap from art journaling to professional artist. 

Because art journaling frequently starts as a hobby, many art journalers don’t feel worthy of the title “artist.” But let me tell you, if you’re dedicating your time to creating art, even if (at least to begin with) it’s just for you, you’re an artist. 

So making the jump from art journaling to professional artist might seem scary. It might give you a major case of imposter syndrome. But don’t let it! 

You can make a side hustle with your art… and maybe even your career! 

If you think you might be ready to start making money with art, here are just a few ways you can do that…


A lot of new artists and crafters who want to start selling their work will start out with an Etsy shop.


Well, it’s easy to get started on Etsy, and there is a very minimal cost to get started. (Each new product listing is just .20 cents. There are other fees, however, but not until you start selling.) 

Another reason is because people know and like the Etsy brand. Almost everyone has heard of Etsy! From the fact that they now advertise nationwide in the U.S., and also just word of mouth. With over 4 Million sellers on Etsy, you’re likely to already know a person (or three!) who sells there. 

You may have also heard some horror stories about Etsy, and if that scares you off, I have other suggestions below. But if you want to learn how to get started on Etsy, creating product listings that sell, I suggest taking this Skillshare class, “Etsy Listings: Learn to Create Etsy Product Listings That Get Seen. For beginner Etsy sellers“. If you’re already a Skillshare student, the class is included in your subscription. And if you’re new to Skillshare, that link will give you a free 1 month trial. 



There are many advantages of selling art on your own website, using an e-commerce platform like Shopify, like being able to keep in contact with your customers, and so much more. In many cases, the costs are lower, too. Even though you pay $9 to $29 monthly for Shopify, if you’re selling a lot, it may end up being less expensive than selling art on Etsy. 

But it’s also a bit more difficult. If you already have (or have had) your own website that you built yourself, you probably have the tech-savvy to set up a Shopify shop. 

Again, I want to refer you to a Skillshare class to learn how to do this. It’s a thorough and helpful class called “Build Your Site & Shop: Beginner’s Guide to Shopify & Website Design“. 


If you don’t want to deal with packing and shipping your art, you can sell prints (on high-quality paper, poster paper, and even canvases, and more!) with the help of a print-on-demand company like Printful. 

Basically, you set up an online shop (it can be on Etsy, Shopify, or other e-commerce platforms) and when someone places an order for one of your prints, it automatically goes to Printful (or other print-on-demand dropshippers) and they print and ship the item(s) for you! They even “white label” it, so it looks like it came directly from you. 

You can learn exactly how to do that with this Skillshare class, “Art Sales on Autopilot: Learn How to Start an Online Biz Selling Prints w/ Help From a Print Partner“. 


This might be the biggest leap of all for some art journalers, but it can be another option. 

If you want to sell your work in an art gallery, a couple of things you should note: you’ll need a cohesive, large body of work in order for a gallery to decide if your art is a good fit for their space. 

But actually, you should do some of that work for them. In that, if you create mixed media collages you don’t want to submit your work to a gallery that only shows sculptures or pop art, etc. Do your research and only approach galleries you think would be a good fit. 

Also, under stand that galleries typically take a 50% commission. So your work has to be priced high enough that you can make a decent profit from it at 50% of the retail price. 

If you want to explore the gallery route, I suggest reading ““Starving” to Successful | The Fine Artist’s Guide to Getting Into Galleries and Selling More Art“.


There are so many ways to make money with art, without selling it directly! Here are some quickfire ideas:

  • Teaching art classes (online or in person)
  • Sell on sites like Redbubble, Society6, etc.
  • License your art works. Learn more here (this class starts out silly, but trust me, these women know what they’re talking about when it comes to art licensing!)
  • Blog about art/art journaling/creative pursuits and make money with ads, affiliate marketing, and sponsorships. Learn more about that in my blog post here.  
  • Create and host art journal retreats
  • Start a YouTube channel
  • Become a creative coach
  • Write books about art (I do this! Check out all of my art journaling books here!) 
  • Become a children’s book illustrator
  • Create a TikTok account talking about art history
  • Start a podcast about art
  • Create something to sell to other artists (handmade paper, SVGs, art-making tools, small batch watercolors, etc.) 

I’m so grateful, every day, that I get to make a living with art. And I do a combination of many of these ideas.

I hope this has helped encourage you to go from art journaling to professional artist! There are so many ways to do just that, and it’s really up to you and how you want to spend your days.