If you love botanical art (like I do!) and want to make money doing what you love, then this is the post for YOU! Keep reading for tips on commercial products, product photography, and how to sell and ship your own products.
Create Original Botanical Artwork
Nature is full of wild inspiration! Start by selecting any live plant subject. Study your chosen friend, and investigate your curiosities. How does your new pal grow? What parts do you find most intriguing? Beginning your drawing from this angle effortlessly ensures that your enthusiasm will be your focal point. Sure, anyone can draw [insert botanical subject here], but no one else can draw [insert botanical subject here] from YOUR unique perspective.
Pro Tip: Post progress on social media! Whether time-lapse videos, a collection of short videos of various strokes, or still photos, everything can be content. Posts to any social media platform introduce new folks to your audience. (If you want to learn more about how to utilize social media to sell your work, please leave a comment or email firstname.lastname@example.org)
Commercial Illustrations / Illustration Commissions
There’s no telling what compelling projects are coming your way. You never know what brand, magazine, or author is looking for art like yours. Here is an example:
Gills Onions was in search of branding materials to convince food-service operators that their approach, using both technology and the art of farming, produces onions that are distinctively higher quality than their competitors.
“Design thinking: We wanted the work to mirror Gills’s approach to farming as it is equally dedicated to innovation and heritage. We took inspiration from old-school scientists like Darwin, who used detailed drawings to illustrate flora and fauna. These drawings reflect both science and craft, which represents Gills’s process.” Read more about the process of designing ads here
Create High Resolution Scan of Artwork
Scan your work at 300-800 DPI for quality resolution to avoid grainy/blurry images. My scanner (Epson Expression 11000XL) can scan up to 12×18 inches. For larger artwork, I scan in sections and then piece them together in Photoshop.
Note: If you don’t have a printer or scanner at home, find someplace like Staples where you can pay to scan and print.
Adjust Art in Photoshop (or similar program) as needed
+ Piece together sections of large artwork
+ Text (Be sure to include your name somewhere on your products!)
+ Templates can be downloaded from online printers and used in creating accurate sizes and layouts for products like note cards, wall calendars, etc.
Note Cards are a great way to make your work widely accessible. I’ve found that it can be fun to package note cards in sets designed around a theme. My latest note card collection is Plants in Place, designed for Frederich Church’s Olana Historic Home. Read more and purchase Plants in Place Note Cards here.
Print artwork, or upload to a printer to print products.
For high quality fine art prints up to 24″ wide on canvas and paper, I use an Epson Surecolor P7000 Printer in my studio.
It can be difficult to source proper scanning and printing services for colored pencil/watercolor art. I have been professionally printing my artwork for several years using top of the line equipment, and I want to offer that service to you!
Get YOUR ARTWORK as High Quality Fine Art Prints (9″x12″ or 12″x16″) on Somerset Enhanced Velvet Fine Art Paper 255gsm with archival Epson inks.
Use your scanned digital images to print onto various products including shirts, napkins, dinnerware, and more. There are numerous online printers through which you can create custom products including Bags of Love, Spoonflower, and PS Print.
Start with one product that most excites you. Test it out by making some gifts to give away to friends and family. Holiday cards can be a great place to start! (Find FREE tips on creating compositions for holiday cards here.)
Package and photograph products to sell on website.
To frame my rustic canvas prints, I drill a hole into one wood strip and insert a hook before using small screws to attach it to the top of the canvas and to secure another wood strip to the bottom of the canvas.
If you want to frame your prints in traditional frames, try Etsy for reasonably priced, good-looking frames available in many sizes and colors.
Product photos are likely to be your customers’ first interaction with your product, so make sure their first impression is a good one!
You can choose to use a plain, white background, to use a green screen and remove the background later, or to design a “set” for your photoshoot to evoke the right vibe. No matter what, when someone sees the photo, they should recognize your product instantly. You want your photo to entice your audience, to tempt them with thoughts like, ” Ooh, that would look so nice by my coffee table!”.
Your photos will likely need some adjusting after your shoot to really capture your audience. Example: When presented with the unedited photo on the left (above), you might scroll right past it without a second thought, but the brighter, edited photo on the right (above) might spark more curiosity (and, ultimately, more purchases!).
Pro Tip: To get the brightest photos with minimal shadows, you may want to invest in studio lights, or you can wait for the perfect overcast day and shoot outside! You can also set up your photoshoot next to a window to utilize the natural light in your space. The hard light of direct sun rays can result in tricky photos with lots of shadows and highlights that are too bright, but clouds disperse those rays into soft light, allowing visibility of your subject without worrying about too much contrast.
Take photos (bonus points for videos :)) of your product from all angles to capture every feature. You can only have one feature photo, but you can always put other views into the product’s image gallery.
(Extra bonus points for editing those photos and videos into a <30 seconds promotional video!)
Where & How to Sell products
+ Website with Selling Portal (WordPress, Squarespace, Wix, etc.)
+ Etsy shop (or somewhere similar)
+ Social Media
– It’s easier than ever now to sell products directly on social media like Instagram and Pinterest.
– Even if your products are hosted somewhere else, social media can be a great tool to generate new audience members to get fresh eyes on your mailing list.
+ Email Marketing
– While social media can be great, it’s not technically yours. This means that if you get locked out of your account for any reason or if something happens to the platform, you could lose your whole “following” and not be able to contact them again.
– Using a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) or mailing list software (ConvertKit, Monday, Mailchimp, ActiveCampaign, Constant Contact, etc.) ensures that your marketing messages end up directly in the inbox of your most motivated audience.
+ In Person Sales – Physical Stores & Craft Fairs, Farmer’s Markets, etc.
Invest in whatever shipping supplies you may need, depending on what and how much you’re shipping. A tape dispenser and some material for padding/protection may be really handy. For framed prints, I ship them between two pieces of flat cardboard to minimize damage. (Watch this video for tips on how to package your artwork.)
When orders are placed on my website, they are automatically sent to a shipping program called ShipStation, so I can easily package products and print shipping labels. Packages are then picked up from the Post Office, UPS, or FedEx.
For perfect presents at perfect prices, see our Gift Guide.
Want to know more?
Leave a comment or email email@example.com to ask your questions and let us know what you want to hear more about.