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Passive Income for Illustrators, Photographers, and Animators

Make moneymoneymoney!

Passive income is awesome. You do the work, upload it to the interwebs and then sit back and watch the money roll in. I have made some good money this way, and so can you. I'm not promising you'll make "I quit my job" kind of money; but this a great way to make some extra bucks on the side. Having this extra money has helped me save and invest aggressively, take better vacations, donate to my favorite cause and have a little extra in case of emergency expenses. Instead of leaving projects just sitting in your hard drive gathering what I call "pixel dust" – get your work out there. Not only will you make more money, you will also learn in real time what sells and what doesn't.

Selling your photos, videos, animations, and vector illustrations on stock photo/video sites

There are a lot of stock photo/video/illustration sites out there. The one I've used the longest and made most money in is Shutterstock. The great thing about them is that you can upload your photos, vector illustrations, and animations/video all to one platform. The least they'll pay you for a download is $0.10 for photo/illustration, but I've been paid up to $32 for a single download. Plus the money adds up quickly, my photos and vectors have been downloaded over 1,750 times. Shutterstock doesn't charge you for uploading, and their user interface is really intuitive.

It's also a great way to see what kind of work you should be focusing on. For example: this swan
illustration below had been downloaded 42 times; this clued me in that an animated version of it would probably sell as well – and sure enough, three days after I uploaded an animated version of it (with help from my good buddy, James Austria), it got downloaded. Important note for videographers and animators: you will get paid more for your work, (one download of the swan animation paid $23).


Other stock photo/video sites where you can sell your work include: Bigstock, Pond5, and Getty Images.

Selling Your Art on T-shirts, Stickers, Art Prints, etc.

I originally uploaded the fox illustration below to Shutterstock. After several downloads I realized that I could probably put it on a t-shirt and other goodies – you can't pay for this kind of market research, I've sold several shirts and mugs featuring this critter. These kinds of sites take care of all the printing, shipping, etc. It definitely pays to advertise whatever you upload on your social media accounts. My three favorite sites for selling my work in t-shirts, mugs, phone cases, art prints, and stickers ( people love stickers) are: Design by Hümans, Red Bubble, TeePublic, and society6.

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Art for Commercial and Residential Spaces

There's only one site I use for selling my art for commercial and residential spaces and that's Turning Art. If you know of other sites like Turning, please contact me and let me know . They "rent" your art out to people/businesses that want to try it out. Your art will hang on the wall there as they decide whether to buy prints or not (or maybe just to have beautiful art rotating on their walls), and you'll get paid a cut however long they keep it. Clients can also purchase a giclée print from you; Turning Art takes cares of all the logistics such as printing and shipping, and you get a really fair cut from the sale price. Clients can even buy originals, but I'm not sure how that process works since I've only sold prints through them. Here is a picture that the kind folks at Turning uploaded to their instagram showing my work at Techspace in New York City:

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Get paid for Navigating the Web Securely

This is good for everyone, no matter whether you're a motion graphics designer or an archeologist. Check out the Brave browser. It's a faster and more secure way to browse the internet with fewer ads and trackers. With other browsers, your personal information is constantly being picked apart, monetized, and shared without your consent. Brave puts you in the driving seat and if you do see adds, then you get rewarded in a cryptocurrency called BAT (Basic Attention Token) which you can either donate to other creators as tips, or you can convert to dollars and pay yourself!

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Create, Upload, Promote!

Lather, rinse, repeat! The more you create and upload, the more you will sell. But don't forget to promote your work as well. Let the world know your work is out there, don't be shy! Good luck and go make money!