Saturday, 11 February 2017

What Else Can You Do with Your Paintings?

Have you ever thought of how can you present your pictures to the general public and reach a wider audience apart from selling your paintings in the usual way? If you just started your artistic career, you know how hard it can be to sell your art. It takes time to establish yourself as a professional artist and the possibility of getting into galleries is almost inexistent when you have nothing to put in your artistic CV. But if this is the path you want to follow then apart from dedication and practice you also need to pay the bills. How about making cards, pendants, bookmarks and other items using your designs and artistic skills? They are easier to sell and perfect for craft fairs and local gift shops.

Artist greeting cards

Artist cards by Teodora Totorean

The card market is never supra-saturated and the companies are always looking for fresh designs and new artists for their portfolio. You may think that this market belongs exclusively to illustrators, but this is not entirely true. Whatever your style and medium, you can always consider selling cards whether you print them yourself or you apply to card companies.

If you choose to print them at home, you need a professional printer, a cutter, blank cards, envelopes and cellophane bags. You can order all the materials online at reasonable prices. Then you can sell the cards in gift shops that support local artists, in online shops like Folksy or Etsy or various events that you are hosting like open studios or workshops.

If you don’t want to invest in all of the above, you can use printing companies to do the cards for you but you still need to sell them yourself. You can find them using Google search and typing “printing company or printers” followed by your county/town if you consider supporting local businesses. You can also use business directories like Yellow Pages or Thomson Local and find “printers”. They offer trial runs of 4-5 designs so if you are happy with the quality, then you can order some more. Remember, the more you order, the cheaper the cards will be per unit and greater your profit.

Alternatively, you can apply to card companies like UK Greetings or Abacus Cards just to name a few. There are also galleries that make their own range of cards without requiring you to be a selling artist with them like Mulberry Tree Cards for example. Also if you want to go internationally you can try Calypso Cards based in the US. They all have an artist submission guideline easy to follow through. In finding the cards companies, you can use Google search “artist submission cards” and find the companies that your designs are best suited for.  

Links that you can try:          

Storage/jewellery boxes and decorative items

Trinket boxes by Teodora Totorean

You can find wooden boxes in craft shops and you can either paint on them in your usual recognisable style or you can mount a print of your painting on top and paint the rest of it in one colour. There are also storage boxes, hearts, stars, Christmas decorations and other decorative items made of cardboard that could act as painting surfaces for your projects.


If you want to make bookmarks, you will need a printer and a laminator then you can use segments of your paintings suitable for such project. Also, you may have narrow paintings so you won’t have to alter the image. You can use the bookmarks as little presents when you send your paintings or other items to your customers for that extra personal touch.  


Thinking as a business person and apply the knowledge to your art is not a compromise. These little projects could be perfect to work on among your biggest and more ambitious ones. They can lead to regular commissions, a regular presence in local gift shops and invitations to lead workshops in your area. Before you know it, your artistic CV gets bigger and you could run a successful business doing what you enjoy. 

Book marks with art prints by Teodora Totorean

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