How to Make a Profit Selling Your Artwork on Ebay as a Self-Representing Artist


The information and skills required to go from making a few dollars vs making a substantial profit when selling your artwork on Ebay is not as complex as you might think. I can provide the information you need, you provide the artwork.

Selling your artwork on Ebay is a wonderful way to make a profit if you love to paint, draw or scuplt. It's great because you can do it from home and the cost of your supplies is relatively minimal when you start out. The sale of just one or more pieces of your artwork can recover the cost those expenses.

Another advantage to selling your artwork on eBay yourself is that any work that sells, you get to keep all the money you make from that sale.  Unlike selling your art through a dealer or an art gallery where they can keep a good portion of your profit for themselves as part of their commission.  Having your work online gives you greater exposure as an artist than any local gallery can provide, although I'm not suggesting to forget using traditional methods of selling your artwork.  When you're starting out as an artist and only have a few pieces to sell, it's a great place to start and make a profit.

Painting by Divya Manian
Painting by Divya Manian | Source

What Supplies Do You Need?

The supplies I'm talking about are not art supplies. If you want to learn how to paint, you're reading the wrong hub! Here is a list of supplies you will need to sell your artwork on Ebay for a profit:

  1. An Ebay account
  2. A PayPal account
  3. A Free Vendio account (recommended)
  4. A Free Auctiva account (recommended)
  5. Digital camera with an optical zoom of at least 4x
  6. Tripod (highly recommended)
  7. Quality lighting (usually 2 photography lights) or access to ample natural light
  8. Black velvet backdrop for flat artwork and/or grey muslin/paper backdrop for sculptures (optional, but highly recommended)

If you have a larger budget:

  • 3D Modeling Program for your computer
  • A custom designed auction template/Ebay store


Your Ebay account

If you don't have an Ebay account, now is the time to open one. If you already have an Ebay account and have used that account for buying and/or selling items other than your artwork, you need a new one.

Why? It's the kiss of death if you decide to sell your original artwork on Ebay along with your purses, toaster or Grandma's knitted scarves. You will never be taken serious as an artist and you will never be able to sell your artwork for a substantial profit.

Buyers on Ebay who are interested in purchasing original pieces of art consider them to be investments. Most buyers are serious about what they buy and want to know they are purchasing an investment that will appreciate in value over time and is of the highest quality.

If you are new to Ebay, you can follow the instructions given on the Ebay website for registering an account.

If you already have an Ebay account, you should sign up for a new account that will only be used for selling your artwork.  You can sign up for a new one without having to cancel your existing account. Both accounts must have different user ID's and different email addresses. Note: the two accounts can't be used in the same listing.

You must create a seller account. This includes 3 steps:

  1. Verifying your identity
  2. Choosing how you will pay your seller fees ie., PayPal, credit card, pre-authorized debit, etc.
  3. Selecting the payment methods you will accept from buyers

A PayPal account is required to recieve money for artwork sold on Ebay
A PayPal account is required to receive money for artwork sold on Ebay | Source

Your PayPal Account

If you don't already have an account with PayPal, now is the time to sign up for one. It's free and it's easy. When you sign up, sign up with a personal account. The Premiere account is for people with their own websites that sell products online. You do not need this type of account to sell on Ebay.

When you sign up you will be able to link to your credit card or bank account. PayPal will require you to verify your account before you can start selling on Ebay.

To link your PayPal and eBay accounts:

  1. Click My eBay at the top of most eBay pages.

  2. Place your pointer over the Account tab, and then click the PayPal Account link.

  3. Click the Link My PayPal Account button.

  4. You'll be asked to log in to PayPal to finish linking your accounts.

An Invaluable Resource to Have

A fantastic book that I highly recommend purchasing is called Starting an eBay Business for Dummies or if you're Canadian like me, Starting an eBay Business for Canadians for Dummies.

It's great if you're just starting out on eBay but also if you would like to set up an eBay store and other wonderful hints and suggestions.  I have it on my bookshelf at home and it has helped me tremendously.

A Picture's Worth a Thousand...Dollars?

 One of the most important steps in selling your artwork on Ebay is taking really good pictures.  You want the pictures to be focused, clear, and bright.  I recommend you invest in some photography lights and a tripod if you're serious about selling your artwork.  They're not as expensive as you think.  If you have a very tight budget, make sure to photograph your artwork in a well lit room using natural daylight if possible.

For sculptures, you want to have a seamless backdrop of neutral color and for flat works such as paintings, black velvet is recommended because it's non-reflective.

For photographing paintings, the painting should be placed upright and should not be slanting away from the camera.  Be sure to remove any glass or matting, and if you have 2 photography lights they should be positioned at 45 degree angles so the lights shine toward the centre of the work.  Make sure your camera faces straight onto your work,

A tripod is highly recommended because it ensure your pictures turn out clear and you can position the camera precisely where you want.


The correct way to photograph art

Notice where the lights are positioned in relation to the painting
Notice where the lights are positioned in relation to the painting | Source

Sample Picture of Painting in Poor Lighting

Notice the uneven lighting of the painting?
Notice the uneven lighting of the painting? | Source

Sample of a Good Close-up Picture

In this close up you can see the textures and colors clearly in the painting
In this close up you can see the textures and colors clearly in the painting | Source

Your Asking Price

Never list your artwork in an auction with the starting price at $0.99 EVER!

That said, your best bet is to search on Ebay for artists selling work in the same category as yours with regard to subject, medium and style of work.

What price do their auctions start at? Who is getting bids on their work? This will help you get a general idea of what a reasonable asking price should be.

It's common practice to list at a price that is significantly lower than what you feel your piece is worth and have a reserve price listed. This sends the message to the prospective buyer that your piece has value to it and that you're not willing to accept just any price for it. Perceived value is very important.

Some pricing factors to consider are:

  • The size of your work (larger paintings tend to sell for a higher price)
  • The subject matter
  • Medium (oil paintings have a higher price than watercolor)
  • Artistic value
  • The amount of exposure your work has received
  • The state of the economy


The About Me Page

Making the most of the Ebay "About Me" page is the smartest thing you can do. You don't need an Ebay store to capitalize on this feature. It's free.

Include a photo of yourself and talk about your background in art, courses you've taken, and anything else you think would demonstrate to everyone that your artwork is a worthwhile investment.

This is the page that sells you to other people.

Free Tools that Can Make a Big Difference in Your Listing

Artwork that consistently sells on Ebay and for a good price usually have listing templates. For those who can afford it, a custom made template for your artwork always looks professional. However, you can get around that in the beginning when you're still a starving artist.

Auctiva offers a 30-day free trial of their services that includes unlimited image hosting, unlimited listings and access to 1700+ listing templates. If you decide you like what they have to offer, you can continue using their templates and listing service for as little as $2.95 a month.

Another free tool that is very valuable to your listings is the Vendio gallery that showcases any other artwork you have for sale on Ebay. They also offer a Buyer Appreciation service that allows you to automate personalized customer communication and this service is also free.


Copyright and Certificates of Authenticity

Copyright in Canada regarding works of art:

  • In Canada, the creator automatically owns the copyright to their "artistic work"
  • Copyright registration for artworks is not required. If you still wish to register, you can at the Canadian Intellectual Property office website.
  • The online fee for registering your artwork is $50

Copyright in the United States regarding works of art:

  • Visual artists MUST register a copyright of their artworks and install the copyright symbol on all their works.
  • The website to register a copyright in the United States is
  • There is a $35 fee to file

Certificates of Authenticity

Every reputable artist on Ebay includes one of these with every piece of artwork they sell. It's a bit of a pain in the neck if you have a large amount of artwork for sale, but it's worth every penny.

A website that offers art registration is
The price to register each piece of art is $15 US and they offer a variety of other benefits as well.


Shipping Your Artwork

If you are selling paintings that are not stretched on a frame, you can easily do the packing on your own with cardboard tubes available at any post office.

For any other type of art it's best to have it professionally packaged and shipped. If you take a look at successful artists on Ebay, they have their artwork professionally packed and shipped.

A place that specializes in packing and shipping artwork is UPS for example. Here in Canada, UPS Stores are very popular, there is one down the street from me. Their pricing includes:

  • 24" X 5" X 18" at $17.95 plus labour and taxes
  • 24" X 6" X 36" at $24.25 plus labour and taxes
  • 30" X 5" X 24" at $24.00 plus labour and taxes
  • 29" X 6" X 38 3/4" at $29.00 plus labour and taxes

When customers require an expert customized packing service, they have the
art work packed by a Specialized Professional Art Gallery.

Check into what kind of packing and shipping services for artwork are available in your area.

Why have your artwork expertly packed and shipped?

  • Because you want to have your artwork arrive when you say it will and in perfect condition
  • It ensures that you will receive positive feedback
  • It saves you time from having to do it all yourself when you could be making more artwork to sell

Beyond Basics for Your Listing

Ebay Store:

If you have numerous pieces of art to sell and by numerous I mean a dozen or more, you may want to consider opening your own ebay store.

It's not free to have an eBay store. To have a basic store you're looking at $16 a month, so it's more beneficial if you have plenty of artwork to sell. You may still be better off waiting until you have sold some of your artwork before opening one so that you're not paying that monthly fee with no income coming in.

Your Own Website:

If you want to establish your presence on the web, the best way to go about that is to have your own e-commerce web site that links to your site on eBay.

3D Modeling Software:

If you have the know-how or know someone who uses 3D modeling software, you can use it to show how your art would look with different colored backgrounds and settings.

Not all successful self-representing artists use 3D modeling, but many of them do. It's helpful for potential buyers to see what your art will look like with different backgrounds. This can be done for both paintings and sculptures.

Patience is Key

 Many artists who sell on Ebay will tell you the same thing when you start out; be patient. 

Because your feedback score will be zero when you start out (you're using an Ebay account just for your artwork, remember?) people will be hesitant to place a bid in your auction.  Eventually someone will bite, just keep creating art and putting it up on Ebay. 

Once you have generated a few sales and received feedback, the chances of more people placing bids greatly increases.  It's the snowball effect.  You will also have regular customers who will purchase your artwork.

Stay positive and believe in yourslef.  You can do it!

Where do you prefer selling your artwork?

  • eBay
  • Etsy
  • Other online website
  • In person to a real art gallery
See results without voting

Comments 31 comments

ripplemaker profile image

ripplemaker 5 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

Joyful Announcement: This hub is a Hubnuggets nominee!

To vote for the Hubnuggets:

Participate in the Hubnuggets Forum to celebrate your nomination:

elayne001 profile image

elayne001 5 years ago from Rocky Mountains

You have really laid it out for us artists. I really appreciate your sharing this information. Congratulations on your nomination and I hope you win.

renegadetory profile image

renegadetory 5 years ago from Ottawa, Ontario Author

Thanks elayne, and thanks for the nomination! I appreciate it!

suziecat7 profile image

suziecat7 5 years ago from Asheville, NC

This is an excellent and detailed Hub. Good job.

renegadetory profile image

renegadetory 5 years ago from Ottawa, Ontario Author

Thank you for your comment Suzie, I appreciate your feedback!

chspublish profile image

chspublish 5 years ago from Ireland

Really good advice here. Thanks.

justom profile image

justom 5 years ago from 41042

I've sold things on Ebay for about 10 years and I don't think selling art or photography is a good idea at all. Almost no one is going to pay you a fair price, even if you have quality stuff. I've actually tried to sell a photographic print (and yes it is a good one) of Bruce Springsteen that I shot at a show back when he was just starting and that got 0 bids. Just my opinion. Peace!! Tom

Darlene Sabella profile image

Darlene Sabella 5 years ago from Hello, my name is Toast and Jam, I live in the forest with my dog named Sam ...

Okay, now this is an excellent hub, I am adding to my favorites so when my big computer is back running I can print it out follow it step by step. I love you diagram of the layout work space it's really awesome and useful and of course I will rate up up & peace your new fan, darski

renegadetory profile image

renegadetory 5 years ago from Ottawa, Ontario Author


I agree that it's hard starting out on eBay as an artist. You'll most likely list things over and over again before you may get a bite, however, that's how many of the artists started on eBay.

It could be that prints weren't selling on eBay for some reason. Just because something gets listed on eBay doesn't mean it will get lot's of bids and sell for a good price. I think this disappoints lot's of people when we hear in the news how something silly like a bun that looks like Justin Bieber sold for $5,000.

How an artist can make a good profit on eBay is when their art works sell, they get to have all the money, they don't have to pay an art gallery's commission or any other middle man for showcasing their work.

Christy Zutautas 5 years ago

This is an excellent hub! Thanks for sharing this fantastic advice:)

justom profile image

justom 5 years ago from 41042

Well, I guess we'll just agree to disagree. I think the word "artist" is subjective anyway. There are many folks who call themselves that and it just dilutes what good art is, in my opinion. I wish everyone luck with selling art or photography on Ebay but I think that's exactly what it would be, luck. Peace!! Tom

David Stone profile image

David Stone 5 years ago from New York City

I'm with Justom on this, although this hub is exceptionally well-written, and if anyone is going to sell on eBay, this is how they'd do it.

That said, all the statistics show that artists are fleeing eBay in droves. The prices are too low, and art is a very hard sell online anyway. Buyers want to actually see the art, not just a great picture of it, before paying a price acceptable to the artist. The best way to do this is to present the work with a link to a contact for discussion. eBay does not make that easy to do.

So, good luck, anyone who wants to try, but Etsy seems like the choice of late, and if your work really qualifies as "handmade," Etsy is an exceptionally supportive community with increasing sales in all kinds of arts and crafts.

renegadetory profile image

renegadetory 5 years ago from Ottawa, Ontario Author


You make very good points, and I appreciate your comment!

I don't think that selling your artwork on ebay is the necessarily the best way to make money, but if a person was considering to seriously sell their work, I wanted to provide the best information I could. Sometimes just the smallest adjustments here and there can make a big difference when selling on eBay.

From a personal perspective as an artist, I think it's best to try a variety of methods to get your work out there whether it's in local art galleries, your own website, or juries.

Whidbeywriter profile image

Whidbeywriter 5 years ago from Oak Harbor on Whidbey Island, Washington

This is an excellent hub and you certainly did your research, but I have to agree with some of the above comments who stated this is not a very good idea. Ebay buyers want a "deal" or to "steal" anything on ebay, so as an artist this is very difficult for me. Hope others have better success and cheers!

Manna in the wild profile image

Manna in the wild 5 years ago from Australia

I liked this article. Maybe one day I will put my art on ebay.

PWalker281 5 years ago

This is one of the most comprehensive articles about selling ANYTHING, much less artwork, on eBay that I've ever seen. Thanks so much for all the detail. Definitely book marking this hub and rating it up! Congrats on your nomination as well.

renegadetory profile image

renegadetory 5 years ago from Ottawa, Ontario Author

Thank you for the comments and for the support!! I appreciate all the feedback! In all my hubs I attempt to write as best I can.

Ben Zoltak profile image

Ben Zoltak 5 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

Heya Tory, boy, eBay, long time since I've considered selling there. I once tried it for about a year, and sold maybe a half dozen pieces. Mostly very large, 2x2' up to 4x8'. I often had to ship via Greyhound Bus as that was the only cost effective way to ship. I don't think I ever sold a painting for more than it cost to ship it, it was disappointing, but on the other hand, it was stock I was really trying to get rid of. Since my paintings are usually large, I thought of selling signed prints, but it's not the same.

You offer good advice, especially with the purses comment (made me smile***) but unfortunately eBay always felt like a wholesalers market not a retail market to me. I didn't have very good luck for all the effort that went in to it. They never had Auctiva either, still not sure what that is? Maybe an auction marketing tool? Either way, interesting article, caught my attention.

Ben Zoltak

vox vocis profile image

vox vocis 5 years ago

This is an excellent hub! I really found useful information for myself. I have got so many acrylic paintings (two of us in the family paint) and have always wanted to try selling them on ebay. Thanks for the motivation!

renegadetory profile image

renegadetory 5 years ago from Ottawa, Ontario Author

You're very welcome vox! Thanks for sharing!

networkandy profile image

networkandy 5 years ago from Connecticut

selling paintings is really hard but hey I guess there is a way to succeed at something. The internet is an awesome place to sell your stuff because well everyone in the world has access to it

Awesome hub I vote this up

Eclectic Mix profile image

Eclectic Mix 5 years ago from UK

Excellent advice, I especially like the picture example of how to set up a shoot. Personally I agree with one of the comments, whereby this type of business seems more suited to Etsy, as they do have a support system for this market.

Nevertheless, your follow-up comment makes sense in terms of having multiple online stores, although I think Ebay would work, if you are having an auction/sale and can market it to an existing client base,(consumers or galleries) who are familiar with or own your work. If they maybe were unable to attend a gallery exhibition or are based, nationally/internationally, therefore visiting the artists studio would be impractical.

Mike King 5 years ago

You know I do a lot of Pen and papper work and spend a lot of time on it . I even posted it on ebay had a lot of bids and sold a couple things. Then noticed it on some tattoo flash page, which really was frustrating. So how do You stop reselling?

renegadetory profile image

renegadetory 5 years ago from Ottawa, Ontario Author

I'm not entirely sure... you would have to look into your copyright laws.

Evan Zerhusen profile image

Evan Zerhusen 5 years ago

R., thanks for the info, this was actually pretty interesting. I started painting last year but have set it aside to concentrate on more practical ventures. This makes me think it's still worth pursuing as a hobby and, who knows, maybe more!

Treasure Tweet profile image

Treasure Tweet 5 years ago from United Kingdom

A cracking hub here.Great job.I like the way you laid it all out.A good artist,I am...I think I'll give it a try-out.

renegadetory profile image

renegadetory 5 years ago from Ottawa, Ontario Author

Evan and Treasure, I wish you all the best in your artistic pursuits, I hope this Hub helps!

PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 5 years ago from Dallas, Texas

This is a great way to start of marketing art creations, or at least bring in some sales while the art galleries are lining up. Thanks for the good instructions. I sold quite a few vintage items on eBay a couple of years ago and was pleased at the results.

renegadetory profile image

renegadetory 5 years ago from Ottawa, Ontario Author


You'd be surprised at how improving on a few little things on your ebay ads can make such a big difference in your sales!

albertboudin profile image

albertboudin 4 years ago from China

Hi again, seems that you are not only a good artist, but also a good artworks marketer, really need a help if possible.

Rebecca Smith 2 years ago

This is one of the meaningful articles about selling anything. Great Job. Thanks for providing us such kinds of information. It will definitively help during the process of selling products on sales channel.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.

    Click to Rate This Article