What sells best?
Our Allies share what sells best among the various artwork + products they offer.
They also talk about a theme that turns out to be far more common amongst different artists than any of us thought:
Artists are not generally good at judging which of their pieces will be best sellers.
It seems that almost without fail our Allies said that the pieces they personally love and connect with the most are often the pieces that go unsold. And then the pieces they don’t even like (and sometimes almost didn’t even show at all) end up being the most popular.
So if there’s any takeaway it’s that you should probably show pretty much everything you have because you just never know what people will like!
It’s all pretty even, honestly. There’re things that I really like to sell, like the paper prints where the margins are huge. It’s like printing money. But I’ve also been really fortunate to have really good sales with some of the new original stuff too.
So yeah, I think it’s pretty much all the same, though obviously you have to sell way more $20 prints to get to one big original.
I’ve actually sold most of my original paintings, which was pretty surprising. I have a lot of small watercolor ones that I was doing for a while. I figured small prints would be the ones to sell, but it was actually my original paintings.
I would say my original paintings are why I get contacted by most people and what ultimately makes the bottom-line happen.
If somebody doesn’t want something that big or maybe doesn’t want to spend the money on an original, then it trickles down to canvas or metal print reproductions.
On the Society6 site I hardly make any money but it’s just fun products that they use my images with and I get a little teeny cut off of everything. I mostly like ordering things for myself or presents for other people.
I mean, I can’t emphasize enough: Stickers sell so well. Stickers are a really amazing and almost surprising product that moves very quickly and very well. I think it’s got a good price point and it’s something that people can collect. There are so many artists up here who are making stickers that it turns into a collection thing.
There are certain [print] images of mine that sell very well. Mama Moose and baby moose with mountains in the background, that’s my best-selling print, followed by the belugas. We do get a lot of visitors from out of state, and people in Alaska, who are quite drawn to something that’s Alaska but also just a little bit different — because there are flowers blooming from the moose’s antlers and flowers spouting out of the beluga’s back.
So I have certain images that do really well. Sometimes I have a hard time predicting what those images are going to be with prints. There are some things that I think people are going to react to really well and then they’re not quite as excited as I am about it. And then there are other things that I get very surprised that people are so excited about and usually that’s something that I’ll turn into a sticker or a card.
I like to test the market a little bit before I decide on new stickers just because the more you order, the less expensive it is, and I don’t want to be sitting on a certain type of sticker. I mean, everything moves eventually, but some things move more slowly than others.
Different events bring different sales of different items. I try to have a variety of price points, so that way somebody who wants to support art and be an active purchaser can do so with a $5 sticker or card.
I do some stripe paintings that a lot of times look like birch trees and those definitely sell. But I get tired of doing them and so I’m like, Only a few a year. Because I want to explore other things and I want to look around and respond to what is going on, either that I see or what’s happening in my life or things just happening on the news, you know? So I’m not just creating for the market.
Everything I’m creating really. But I’ve only really done originals, prints and stickers.
The weird thing is a lot of my favorite ones that I’ve ever drawn in the past 10 years don’t sell. I’ve put some of them in art shows a couple of times and they still come back to me. It’s so weird but rad because then I have my own favorite pieces.
Another weird thing is I’ll have an art show and there will be a piece where I don’t like it so much that it almost doesn’t make it to the wall and get hung. But I hang it and opening night people are coming up to me left and right talking about it. And I’m like, Wow, that’s the one I didn’t like the most. It’s so weird. What does that mean? [Laughter]