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Freelance artists are self-employed, and they often work with multiple clients concurrently on projects that can include illustration, graphic design, photography or interior design. Their clients may include book authors or publishers, video or board game developers or film companies. Freelance artists commonly work remotely — and some create their art digitally, emailing it to clients for review and approval.
Earning a living as an artist these days is more attainable than ever, thanks to social media — yet having a lucrative art career might still be difficult, especially for those just starting out. Being successful as a freelancer requires strong money management skills, including budgeting your money and having enough funds in savings to cover periods when business may be slow. Key statistics for freelance artists:
The average annual salary for all types of freelancers in the U.S. is $68,549, which is around $17,000 more than what freelancers who are artists earn per year on average, according to data from ZipRecruiter. The jobs website lists openings for artists that include graphic artists, technical artists, 3D artists and mechanical artists.
Here are some 2022 key statistics regarding artists who freelance, sourced from ZipRecruiter, Talent.com and Zippia: Average salary for a freelance artist : $51,237
Average salary for entry-level freelance artist : $40,950
Percentage of employees in creative fields who are freelancers : 75 percent
Percentage of freelance artist designers who are men : 51 percent
Percentage of freelance artist designers who are women : 49 percent
Average age of freelance artist designer : 37 years old
Location of majority of freelance artist designers : New York, Los Angeles
When it comes to race, more than three-quarters of freelance artist designers are White, while Latinos, Asians and Blacks make up less than 10 percent each of this type of freelancers — according to job-finding website Zippia. It reports Asian American freelance artist designers earn the highest average annual income ($56,787), while those who are Black or African American earn the lowest average annual income ($50,692).
Of the 59 million people in the U.S. who do freelance work in general, 21 million — or 36 percent — do this work on a full-time, long-term basis, according to Zippia. Average freelance artist salary, per field
Average salaries can vary among the various artistic freelance fields, with illustrators — the top-earning field on the list — earning an average of over $8,000 more than the lowest-earning role of painter. Illustrator $61,544 Digital artist $60,161 Interior designer $58,744 Makeup artist $55,591 Photographer $54,971 Painter $53,124 Source: ZipRecruiter (2022)
In addition to the artistic field, where freelance artists live can affect how much money they earn. For instance, the average salary is highest in the states of Washington and Maryland, while those in Louisiana and North Carolina earn the least per year, on average. Ways for artists to advance their income
If you’re a freelance artist looking to make more money, there are various steps you can take, such as furthering your education. More than half — 59 percent — of artists hold a Bachelor’s degree , according to Zippia. Degrees in fine arts programs often allow you to specialize in fields such as animation, film, painting, drawing, photography and graphic design. Certification
While it may not be required, certification is another way for artists to show proof of skills and knowledge in a particular art field. Examples of certifications include ones in art education, art therapy or forensic art. An exam may be one of the requirements to obtain a certification. Business classes
Artists and other freelancers who are self-employed might consider taking some business or personal finance classes — whether they count toward a degree or aren’t taken for credit. Such courses may help freelancers learn about filing taxes , generating invoices, budgeting money , and reinvesting in one’s business. Commissioned artwork Commissioning is when a client hires an artist to create a piece of artwork. As an artist, you can negotiate the commission amount and payment structure with the client, with the artist commonly requesting half the payment up front and the other half upon completion. Artists may seek out commissions by posting photos of their work on social media — with a mention in the bio that they accept commissions — or through platforms such as Artfinder or ArtCorgi. Online marketplaces Artists often look to online marketplaces like Etsy, Sellfy and Redbubble to earn passive income by selling their wares, such as paintings, jewelry, furniture or digital art. These platforms […]
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