How to Make Money Drawing Portraits

Street portrait business is tough and you need the prerequisite skills. The remunerations are small however you can earn regular income.
The artist is capable of earning higher fees based on commissioned portraits. Startup capital is low and you need adequate working material such as paints, canvas, pencils and brushes.
An artist walkway is his studio and pedestrians his subjects. Clever ones create portraits of famous or influential people to attract patronage. There are a few things to consider before venturing out with your canvas and brush.
Become a Qualified Artist
The success of your enterprise depends entirely on your proficiency. You need to master the art of portrait drawing and painting.
To develop the artistic skill, enlist in an art schools or bag an art degree. There are many institutions that offer art subjects and workshops. Develop your skill and technique through constant practice and practical experience.
Locating the Studio
Although the streets are your workshop and sales outlet it is not that simple. Some governments and states frown on artists painting by the road side.
So they face constant harassment from the authority. Luckily there are some locations accepted by the authority.
Zoned or designated areas are usually tourist areas, parks and recreational locations. Understand the government requirements and locate an area with heavy human traffic. You need huge audience interested in art to bag regular gigs.
Best Locations for Street Art
  • Tourist area
  • leisure parks
  • airports
  • Famous monument locations
  • Shopping areas
  • Art venues
  • Art fairs
  • Museums
Regulations and Licensing
Try to approach your local authorities before establishing the street-studio. Find out the areas acceptable for such practice.
You should get a permit from the same local government. You are not required to incorporate however you need insurance. Get an individual identification number for tax purposes.
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Startup Capital
Funding requirements are geared towards inventory. You could try target savings or borrow from friends and family. It is very unlikely you get a bank loan as a street artist.
Art Equipment
Although art equipment is expensive you only need the basic items. Purchase different brush sizes, oil paint colors, pastel paint and water color. The type of paint medium depends on your specialty and mode of painting.
You need charcoal pencils, pencils, colored markers, inks. Other things to buy are art pad, canvas, art paper and sketching pad.
Purchase only the equipment you need to launch your enterprise.  You can always purchase additional items when you get commissions.
  • Brushes
  • Oil paint colors
  • Pastel colors
  • Water color
  • Charcoal pencils
  • Paint Stand
  • Pencils
  • Colored markers
  • Inks
  • Art pad
  • Canvas
  • Art paper
  • Sketching pad.
Street Artists Services
The street artist earns money based on commission work. You might decide to do fast pencil portraits of subjects for a small fee.
Charge according to the scope of work such as head drawings, head-bust, full length portrait. Offer picture framed portraits to your customer and give them a reasonable time frame to meet deadlines.
Common commissioned portraits you get are wedding pictures, anniversaries, milestones, family/couple portraits and birthdays. Commissioned works attracts better earnings while street portraits regular income.
  • Head drawings
  • Pencil Sketching
  • Charcoal Sketching
  • Painting
  • Framing
The only type of marketing available to street artists is onsite adverts. Display many art pieces at your location of choice.
Pedestrians would make a spot decision based entirely on your portraits. You could use low cost methods such as shop notifications, business cards and posters.


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