I Can Draw: How Do I Sell My Pictures
Not everyone can draw pictures that others love to colour in. If you can, congratulations, you have a skill that can earn you a lot of friends and possibly even some money. There are a few ways you could earn money doing this:
- create your own colouring books;
- sell your drawings privately; or
- create PLR.
I will go through each of these in turn.
Create Your Own Colouring Books
You need to decide which age group you are creating these drawings for and what theme you are drawing eg fairies, pixies, woodland animals, trucks, construction machines, unicorns, military, space, etc. Your pictures will need to be created at 300 dpi or 300 ppi. This is a measure of the resolution of your drawing. If you create your drawing on paper and then scan it, you need to make sure you are scanning at high resolution, otherwise when it prints out, it will look fuzzy or pixelated.
The youngest age group is probably those who are 4 to 6 years. (You can create coloring books for 2 years old, with large dots that are filled in using dot markers. This is probably the latest fashion.) Children in the 4-6 age group generally like large, simple pictures, with not a lot of detail. They will probably fill the pictures in by scribbling over them in crayon! To create a colouring book for this age group, you will need a minimum of 20 outline, black and white drawing pictures all on a similar theme. This is because adults generally purchase these books with a particular child in mind and will know what theme the child is interested in.
The next age group is 7 – 9 years of age. These children often like more detail in their pictures. You can use the same pictures as you created for the 4 – 6 years age group but this time, you can add simple line backgrounds (mountains, ships, lakes, trees, buildings, etc) to add more interest. You can also fill in large spaces on the main drawing with patterns that children can fill in, so they have smaller areas to complete at a time.
You can also create colouring books for adults and children aged 10 years and older. These will obviously want much more detailed drawings to complete (although some adults prefer drawings with more open space, so they can use their own judgement on filling with colour tones, etc). Very often these books are created with a single drawing on one side, so that the user can use fibre tip pens. The colour often goes through to the other side with these pens, so that is kept blank so the next picture is not spoiled.
One of the most successful creators of adult coloring books is Johanna Basford, who has literally sold thousands of each of her coloring books for adults, such as “Enchanted Forest“.
Not all created books are flowers or objects. Some are text based, with words to be colored in, including some with “naughty” words and others with motivational or inspirational sayings or Biblical quotations.
Creating Your Book
You will need to create your book as a PDF document. You can do this in Microsoft Word and probably most other document programs on your computer. Many people who create these books use PowerPoint. Put one drawing per page, then export it as a PDF and save.
Probably the easiest place to create your book (for free) is on Amazon KDP. Create an account then click on “create a book” and follow the instructions. You will be able to upload your PDF, choose a cover and put it up for sale on Amazon. Now, it’s obviously a lot more work than I have made out here but it is just a question of going through the pages and filling out the information. There are courses that will show you how to do this and the best ways of doing it, the keywords to choose and the categories to use, etc. This is called “Print On Demand” because the books are not printed until they are purchased. This saves you having a great many printed, then having to hold a large stock until they sell.
You can also have your book printed in a bundle, sent to you, then sell them to a local bookshop or to neighbours or online. There are many printing companies that will do this.
Who Is This For
If you want to create your own brand of colouring book, this is probably the route for you. You will need to market your book if you want it to sell. This includes letting people on your social media know about it, joining various groups, etc. You can also buy advertising. There are various courses that can help you learn about marketing your books.
Selling Your Drawings
If you don’t want to create and sell your own books, there are people who will buy sets of your drawings from you. They will want to purchase the copyright because this allows them to use the pictures they buy in any way they like and as often as they like, eg on a mug or cup, on a tee shirt or as a mouse mat or in a journal, etc. If you are selling these pictures to just a few people, you need to charge an amount that covers your time and also that you are selling the copyright to just a few people. The pictures below are ones I purchased from a local artist, at 300 dpi. She provided some with patterns but I could have added these myself if I had wanted, using a graphics program (free online).I also put some of these pictures in front of backgrounds I had purchased elsewhere. For instance, the bridge background was from another artist altogether.
These drawings will need to be at a high resolution, 300 dpi or 300 ppi. They will also need all the lines joined up and complete, not sketch/ art/ shading strokes. People who buy these pictures may want to fill the spaces with different patterns to make the pictures look “different” or aim them at a particular market. They will do this in a graphics program. If all the lines are not joined up, colour or patterns will flood into places they don’t want them and they will complain.
Who Is This For
Selling privately is probably for the artist who has their own email list of purchasers who like their style of drawing.
PLR stands for Private Label Rights. This is pretty much the same as the previous area (selling privately) EXCEPT that you are selling (or hoping to sell these) to a great many would-be book creators. The set of pictures will be sold at a much lower price because many people will be buying it. It will still need to be sold with copyright going to each purchaser but because you will sell to many more people, you will get less for each sale.
You will still be able to sell a set of 20 (or more) drawings but this time, you may also want to sell (separately) a set of (say) 20 backgrounds that the drawings can be set against. So 20 fairy pictures might prompt someone to purchase a set of 20 toadstool or fairy-house backgrounds in addition to the 20 fairies. The purchasers will mix and match the pictures and the backgrounds to make different compositions. You can also create coloured versions of your pictures or dot to dot versions and sell these for a higher price. These are called OTOs (one time offers) and they form part of what is called a “sales funnel”, where an initial sale prompts purchasers to buy more from you to complete their purchase by making it easier for them to create lots of different kinds of “unique” pictures.
The picture above is of a mandala type pattern that I purchased as PLR, then added a quotation that I liked.
With PLR, it is useful to get on someone’s sales list (there are people who make affiliate sales for this). They will push your offering to their lists and take an agreed cut of the price. You sell more, they get commission and the people on their mailing lists get a new different kind of offering, so everyone is happy.
Who Is This For
Selling drawings as PLR is for the artist who creates drawings or patterns but maybe doesn’t have a list of their own and doesn’t want to get into selling. They are willing to pay affiliates who will do the selling for them. Some affiliates run bundle sales regularly 2 or 3 times throughout the year. This is a very good opportunity for a new artist to get their work in front of a list of people and build their own list or to find affiliates who will promote their work. A bundle sale includes a great deal of different types of material sold in one lot from a number of providers by one affiliate who does the work of collating the bundle and promoting it. The artists and providers do not get any money for this, as it counts as a promotion on their behalf. The affiliate collating the bundle will charge a small amount, maybe $25 or $35 and the purchaser can download as much (or all) of the bundle as they wish. When they download an item, they give their email address; and the artist or provider gets a new addition to their email list. The artist will then try selling to that list. Alternatively, some affiliates may ask the artist to let them sell on their behalf, getting a commission for their sales.
Selling Your Books On Amazon
I have a number of different kinds of books on sale on Amazon, including patterns, coloring books, puzzles and workbooks. For some of these, I purchased pictures or patterns as PLR and changed them Here is a selection: