If your passion is art and writing, and if you have tried creating comics, why not try and make money from it. In this article, I will go through some of the ways how you can make money drawing comics.
Comics are a great way to tell stories set place in your world. You can convey a lot of your worldbuilding through little details, and you can showcase your world visually through your art. The dialogue in the comic can serve to tell an amazing story that will leave the readers wanting more.
Creating a comic is a complicated and tough process, and I will delve deeper into it in another article, but in this one, I would like to focus on making a profit from your hard work. If you already have a comic in progress, but you don’t know where to release it and you’d like to have some sort of side profit from it, you’ve come to the right place.
Before we dive into the different ways to make money from comics, you have to note that it’s very improbable you will be able to start drawing full-time early on in your art career. At best, it’s going to be a nice side income.
And now, without further ado, here are some of the best ways you can make money with your comics!
Get an audience
Unfortunately, the vast majority of the ways you can make money drawing comics require you to have an audience. You have to have a ton of people actually reading your comic. They have to like it, they have to crave for the next episode, you have to have a good relationship with them, and they have to be willing to support you. Getting that is definitely no easy task, and it will take a lot of smart work and maybe a small bit of luck. Here are some ways you can work on increasing your audience:
Perhaps the best way to get noticed on the internet is to use social media, such as Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest. These sites are free to use and offer you a way to reach millions of people. However, it’s not that easy to stand out in the sea of other content creators. Be sure to identify your target audience (the type of people you want to be your comic’s readers), find out where they hang out, and then create content for them to see. Ideally, this would be your comic, because it’s best to give the actual comic to readers for free, but it can also be other things – you could post illustrations, your insights into the comic-making process, everything really goes, as it helps you find your audience and get them invested in you and your work.
Another way to find your audience in the comic-reading population is to self-publish your comic to a platform like Webtoon. Here you gain access to a ton of readers, which already go to the platform to look for comics to read, so the chance of someone liking what you have to offer is much higher than on social media.
Building an audience takes a lot of time and dedication. It will probably take you months, even years to build one. In the meantime, you can already start thinking about the different ways you can then monetize your comic.
One of the best choices for creatives to get money is Patreon. On Patreon, your fans can donate money in exchange for various bonuses, like a shout-out, exclusive content (such as character illustrations from the comic you made specifically for Patreon), etc.
To create an account, simply go to Patreon’s site, register as a creator and fill out your entire page, including goals, tiers, and if you can, a video explaining what you do. Be sure to post exclusive stuff to Patreon consistently, even if you don’t have any Patreons yet – it will motivate people to donate more.
If you want to run a successful Patreon, you obviously have to have a great audience that wants to support you. You can release your comics on social media, or on platforms specific to webcomics, such as Webtoon.
If you have an audience, you should consider selling merch tied to your comic. You can create t-shirt designs, mugs, stickers, pins, art books, whatever you think your audience might want. Feel free to ask them in some way – they will be your best guide as to what to sell because they will be the ones buying the merch.
This option can bring you a huge profit, but you have to have a pretty big audience to sell anything, and you have to give some money into it upfront.
You can choose platforms that will help you sell the merch, but take cuts (usually up to 30%). Some platforms print the merch for you and take the cost out of your every sale. This is, for example, Teespring – you submit your design, they print the t-shirt, ship them for you, and take around $10 from every sale.
If you don’t want to use third-party platforms and have a website, you can sell your merch there. Just be sure to get a professional developer to create the eshop for you, and a lawyer to write all the legal documents – you don’t want to get in any trouble.
While this is not really a way to earn money from your original comics, you can get hired to draw/write someone else’s comic. This can be a nice side hustle if you love creating comics but don’t yet have the audience necessary to make money from your own ones.
You can set up a portfolio on your website or on a platform designed to host portfolios, and then start advertising on social media like Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest. You can also set up a profile on freelancing sites like Fiverr and Upwork. Be sure to showcase some of your best work. If you do everything right and stay determined with your advertisements, someone will hire you to help them create their comic.
If you want to go more traditional, physical comics, and you want to keep your creative freedom, your best bet is to self-publish. Once again, you do need a quite large audience for this to work. If you do, you need to format your comic into a comic book, buy an ISBN, design a cover, and find a print-on-demand company that will print your comics. You can then use a company like Amazon to handle all of your shipping.
This option is probably the toughest one of the list, and you might want to do it after you have amassed a huge following, maybe even some Patrons. Ensure you have the money for publishing physically and be sure to advertise early on in development. You also need to confirm with your audience if they even want a physical copy of your comic.
In conclusion, there are several ways you can make money drawing comics, but, if you want to have creative freedom, you have to have a considerable audience before you start monetizing. However, don’t worry; it is very well possible to make a living out of comics, although it is hard. I’m sure you can do it!
Feel free to ask any questions in the comments, and I’ll do the best to answer them. Also, if you are working on a comic, and are posting it somewhere on the internet, be sure to mention it in the comments too, so we can all help each other and give feedback!