2019 Recap as a Fulltime Artist Posted on 2 Jan 14:08 , 13 comments

2019 was a tremendous year- actually my best income year as a full time fish artist. I will try to go over just where my sales came from- at least some good examples of what worked for me, and at the end I will go over my plan to really boost my income in 2020. 

So a percentage break down of my income in 2019 might surprise you, and here it is:

  • 43% = Apparel design
  • 33% = Pet portraits
  • 12% = Online Store
  • 9%   = Original Art
  • 3%   = Original Art Hats

To break these down further, I will go over how I generate business in each area.


Apparel Designs

  • I generate these types of commissions through Instagram and word of mouth. 
  • Basically by posting old designs I’ve done or put out new designs when I don’t have time. I can just put these in my portfolio and it generates content for my Instagram and companies will email and send DM’s inquiring about my pricing. 
  • Most companies normally buy more than one design, and a few have me doing several designs per season.

Pet Portraits

  • These are heavily based on word of mouth. Although I generate a lot of pet portraits from Instagram, Facebook, and forums- I still have a ton of inquiries saying they knew me because their friend had one done by me.
  • Note that pet portraits are 90% given as gifts. So the busiest time of the year is Christmas and a sporadic amount through the year based on people wanting to give one as a birthday gift.


Online Store

  • My online store generates extra income passively. Meaning I set up the products and don’t really mess with it after that- which is one reason why I forget to update it from time to time.
  • If I have a new product I will let my Instagram followers know through a post or my story.
  • My biggest sales on my website have been extremely random- no marketing.


Original Art

  • You probably are thinking: you’re an artist but only a small percentage of your income comes from freely made art that isn’t commissioned.
  • Well, to be honest it’s hard to make a living that way! You have to adapt if you want to make being an artist a full time thing. At least until you are selling paintings for thousands of dollars and are in high demand at that rate- I still haven’t cracked that one yet.

Original Art Hats

  • I recently have been trying these out. So not much info on these yet! But they have been popular whenever I do post them.


SO.... 2020 thoughts and ideas for increasing my income as a full time artist:

  • I updated to an iPad Pro and an Apple Pencil in order to design more efficiently and at a higher level. 
  • I will continue to have a portfolio of new and fresh designs.
  • I am getting into murals this year. Fly shops, businesses, cities, homes.
  • I will figure out a way to get more dog portraits throughout the year.
  • Also, and finally- will be practicing painting in oils in order to get into the Southeastern Wildlife Exposition.

At least that’s a small insight into my thoughts for 2020. It is extremely fun as an artist to have full control over where you want to go and what you want to do. As long as you can develop your skill in it and find enough business in it- you’re set!


Leave a comment if this blog post was an interesting read!

Thanks, Jay