Make lines your livelihood: Three and a half killer weblinks

Inspiring blogposts on making a living from art – to accompany this month’s Big Draw ‘Draw with me’ challenge and our series of posts about drawing


Internet inspiration
Sometimes, what you read on the web can blow your boundaries sky-high. © Laura Eades 2013

Make money from art? That’s just for mavericks and lucky people, right? 

Wrong! It’s within your grasp too, no doubt about it. I’ve had a few visitors to the site recently saying they aspire to make a living from drawing and painting, and I really do believe it’s possible to do.

I also don’t want to pretend to have all the answers on this – since I don’t (yet) make a living from it myself. But I stand absolutely behind the principle that the ideal vocation combines the stuff you can do, the stuff you really love to do, and things that are helpful to other people. Thanks, Chris Guillebeau, for breaking this down so simply. One thing’s for sure: the internet is the world’s largest gallery, the iPad is the cheapest paint and canvas you can buy, and you have the freedom to be your own curator.

I sometimes think that if I had my educational opportunities again I’d go back to illustration school and learn to do it ‘properly’. You never know, I still might. But I’m a ripe old 35, and I’m very impatient, so I’m always on the lookout for the shortcuts. And fortunately, I’ve trawled the internet so you don’t have to: So if you want your hobby to be more than a hobby, here are three-and-a-half things I’ve read that make using your talents seem not just possible, but a breathtakingly exhilaratingly world-storming necessity.


1. Pikaland: A sexy and practical illustration site

Amy Ng teaches illustration at college as her day job. On Pikaland, she not only introduces you to lovely illustration inspirations she comes across, but she also runs online courses (I have yet to do one, but please let me know how it was if you’ve done one, how it was!). It’s a real feast for your eyes.She has also put together some dishy little crowdsourced guides, and imparts industry knowledge.

The full link here:

2. Red Lemon Club: Get commissions and clients

I recently found Red Lemon Club via Twitter (you see? It does have its uses) and it’s a revelation. Alex Mathers starts from the assumption that you are a freelancing arts professional and what you need most is: paying customers. He’s right. The portfolio, the blog, the cv – nothing is as important, if you want to make a living, as finding people who want to pay you to draw. He consistently posts very practical advice on how to get them. It’s as simple as that…. And in case you worried it was all industry and no drooling, he has a contemporary illustration site, Ape on the moon which showcases beautiful things too.

Full links:  and

3. Puttylike: Combine your art with your other passions

Sometimes you’re discouraged from pursuing art because the mummies and daddies and teachers didn’t think it was a really financially stable option. This really encouraging post on Emilie Wapnick’s wonderful site, Puttylike, for people with multifarious interests (‘multipotentialites’, as she dubs them), is a stark reminder that, in this unique historical moment, your means of getting your work out there without relying on galleries, commissions and who you know are more bountiful than ever before.

Emilie Wapnick also has some bright ideas for how you might team your artistic passion with another of your unique interests to create a Renaissance Business of your very own. I’ve read it. It’s a simple to follow and sound guide, and has taken me some of the way towards combining my interests – but I’m a little way off making any kind of business of my own yet!

The full link on Puttylike:

3 & 1/2. Chris Guillebeau: Use the internet to take the world by storm

This is only half a suggestion, and I’m going out on a limb in pointing you towards this book, The Unconventional Guide to Art and Money, because I haven’t read it. I’d like to hear from you if you have. (Chris, if you send me a free copy I’ll happily review it for you! 😉  Why do I feel confident that it’ll be worth a read? Because Chris Guillebeau’s manifesto oozes energy, inspiration for alternative routes to making a living and honing a life purpose, and is also himself one of the most successful probloggers to have hit the planet. So when Chris says the internet can help you, he’s speaking from experience.

Full link:×5/the-unconventional-guide-to-art-and-money

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Have you read Chris Guillebeau’s book? Taken one of Amy Ng’s courses? Or do you have other sites that have helped you get your skills and business head in order? I’d love to hear about them. Open the comments section by clicking on the pale grey dot with a plus sign under the blogpost…