NFT artists are nothing new; in fact, the earliest ones began their digital art selling career as far back as 2015. However, since the adoption of major auction houses like Sotheby’s getting involved and selling in the millions of dollars, NFTs have become way more mainstream.
This has opened some major doors for digital artists and even alternative movie poster designers. Now such artists can sell their digital artwork online without the need for a gallery to represent them, plus they will receive a commission for every secondary market sale.
We should also note, art collectors, are lining up and searching for the next big-time digital artist. Major art collector whales are making moves (but if you too want to start collecting, you should start here.)
Sound like a good deal to you? Well, you might as well jump on in! In this article we explain how you can do it!
What is an NFT Digital Artist?
Well, this would be an artist that firstly specializes in creating art in digital formats, and secondly, that sells such digital artworks as so-called non-fungible tokens (NFT).
Okay, but what is a non-fungible token?
While all units of a specific cryptocurrency have the same value and are therefore interchangeable, each non-fungible token has its own value, which is determined by the highest bid or purchase price for that particular NFT.
Each non-fungible token is one of a kind and can only be traded for objects (tangible or digital) of a different nature. A less abstract way of understanding it is thinking of NFTs as digital files whose authenticity and ownership can be proven because they are registered in a public, digital, and highly secured ledger (called a blockchain).
NFTs are not restricted to art alone, they can be all kinds of digital files, but they are particularly revolutionary for the world of digital artwork.
Because in the real world, there are millions of copies but only one original Mona Lisa painted-by-Leonardo that belongs to the French Republic, but up until now, the same could never be said for digital artwork.
The digital artist keeps the copyright, the reproduction rights, and the equivalent to some royalties, but the ownership of the digital artwork can now be transferred, thanks to NFTs.
And speaking of copyright it may be wise to check out this article on fan art and copyright.
Now let’s consider that, as a digital artist, if you want to mine NFTs to sell your artwork to the highest bidder, you have to make an investment.
Basically, you need to pay a price (gas fee) for having the information regarding the ownership and authenticity of your artwork registered on a blockchain.
Let’s also consider that, even if a copy of the Mona Lisa can be incredibly close to the original in aesthetics, it still lacks its historical value; meanwhile, a digital copy of a file is in every way identical to the original.
So you, as a digital artist, may be wondering why you would take the trouble of making a quite expensive copy of a file that you can copy an unlimited amount of times for free, or why would someone actually take the trouble of buying that expensive copy of yours. There are several reasons:
Selling digital art is hard
Like, really hard. So hard that most artists that regularly upload their work on digital platforms such as Instagram or personal websites do it mostly as a way of advertising their style and creating a fan base, loyal enough that they will buy physical products related to said artwork such as books, prints, t-shirts, stickers, etc.
These artists do not really attempt to sell digital copies of the posts they do online because they know that any fan can just take a screenshot and use the image anyway.
Some artists get around this problem by offering custom art commissions, but many artists just want to express themselves freely and not by demand. NFTs provide a way in which those artists can still get revenue out of their work.
If making money is your motivator you will want to check out this article here which explains essentially how to make money with your NFTs.
A second reason
Even if you’re used to selling your art online in digital formats, you must have felt annoyed at least once about the fact that your client only pays for the artwork once but can then reproduce it, use it, and share it as many times as they want.
If they are dishonest enough, they can even resell it and get the whole payment for it. The buyer of an NFT can resell too, but this time you actually get a percentage every time your artwork gets a new owner.
NFTs artificially but efficiently introduce the concept of scarcity to the market of digital art. Historically, scarcity is the thing that makes financial value (and even royalty payments) possible.
NFTs also have a beneficial flipside regarding clients; they don’t only protect you from the clients that could be potentially dishonest or harmful.
They also help the clients that are kind and committed to supporting your art honestly. Many fans get a real emotional response to certain artworks and would appreciate the opportunity to help the maker get some economic benefit for it.
We spend so much time on the internet that it’s not crazy to make some investments in the online world to help someone else make a living in the real world.
Before, often the only way of doing that was to make a donation to the artist without getting anything in return. Now fans get an NFT that they legally own and legally have the right to use for non-commercial purposes.
Art collection as investment & power
And then, of course… There are some less idealistic reasons involved. This is the art market we’re talking about, remember?
Art collection has always been as much about cultural appreciation as it has been about power.
In the past, if you wanted to build a fortune out of speculation and chance, your options were kind of limited to either the stock market or gambling.
But today, people can also invest in several kinds of cryptocurrencies, and among them, in NFTs.
These new digital art markets (such as Rarible, Nifty Gateway, OpenSea, SuperRare, or Foundation) are so exciting that a lot of people are seeing the potential of earning a lot of money in them (if they make the right calls early on, are not afraid of making some bold moves and have just a little bit of luck!).
It’s the future whether you like it or not
Last but not least, some artists really want to jump on this wagon because it is actually going places.
Here and there around the globe, we’re getting more and more success stories of creators that were tired of accomplishing public recognition without financial retribution, and tried to get into NFTs even if they weren’t certain of its legitimacy or fairness, and guess what?
Now they’re regularly earning thousands of dollars. Workers from the art world know how hard it can be to make a profit out of passion-fueled efforts.
For the first time in a long time, there’s a new guiding light on the horizon, promising us that we will finally see a regular source of income in our creative future.
The sectors of the art industry in which an artist can find economic stability have always been so limited, those creators were forced to see each other as competition.
But now with NFTs, there’s a new sense of abundance that allows everyone to feel like they have a fair chance at succeeding as an NFT digital artist.
Ok, so how do I become one?
This is a really good time to ask yourself that question, because the market is growing nonstop, different blockchains are trying to climb to the top by offering better NFT services, and new platforms are appearing often too.
So the first thing for you to do is research a little about the different available platforms and blockchains, and choose the one that fits your profile as a creative the most.
SuperRare specializes in digital artwork while Rarible offers digital collectible items in general and OpeanSea goes as far as declaring first off that they sell CryptoKitties.
So you need to choose: Who are you? A sophisticated artist that wants to be a part of the evolution of art collection? A chill illustrator looking for new clients? Or a fun contemporary creator that will collaborate with the next internet trend never mind how random it is?
All these options are equally valid but a number of them are more welcomed on some platforms than on others.
Whoever you are as a digital artist, there’s an NFT market out there that matches your profile perfectly.
Each platform offers a slightly different process of registration; some will charge larger transaction costs than others. In Foundation, you can find a complete guide to becoming a creator in that specific platform; in Nifty Gateway, you need to apply in order to sell a project as an NFT, and in KnownOrigin, you can choose three different ways of connecting for the first time.
But in any platform you choose, don’t worry; the process will not be as technical and scary as it may sound at this point. Actually, creating NFTs can be straightforward enough.
The digital piece that you want to transform into an NFT can be an illustration, a video, an animation, a comic, a meme, a sticker, etc.
Once you’ve chosen what your first NFT will be, you can move on to creating a crypto wallet. With that wallet, you’ll be able to not only store and administer digital currency but also to register on NFT marketplaces.
If in the real world you use dollars to produce, buy and sell artwork, in these marketplaces, you will use digital money for the exact same purposes.
Again, there are many options to choose from when it comes to creating a crypto wallet, such as MetaMask, Atomic, Rainbow, etc.
Most of them are free of charge, too, and will interact just fine with major blockchain apps.
Make sure to google if the crypto wallet of your preference will be useful in the NFT platform that you want to be a part of. For example, MetaMask is a good option for OpenSea and Rarible, while CoinBase is recommended for KnownOrigin or SuperRare.
As soon as you sort that out and get yourself a brand new crypto wallet, the next step is obvious enough: send some cryptocurrency to it.
You can choose because not all NFTs belong to the Ethereum blockchain, but if you are new to these things, then Ethereum is the easiest way to go.
The price of Ethereum constantly varies, so it is more about investing a certain amount of dollars than about buying a specific amount of Ethereum.
Your initial investment won’t have to be crazy high because creating an NFT shouldn’t normally cost much more than 200 dollars at the very most. It’s very volatile.
After you’ve chosen your digital marketplace, your cryptocurrency, and your crypto wallet of preference, and once you’ve acquired said currency in the said wallet, then you can finally create an account in the preferred platform and connect your wallet to it.
When you become a member of a digital art marketplace, you get the chance to transform your artwork into an NFT (for a gas fee, but that is what you bought cryptocurrency for).
Common files such as JPG, PNG, MP3, and GIF can become an NFT no problem. You can also choose if the NFT will be a unique piece or a collection, and you can select the original price it will have in either case.
Once your NFT artwork is published and minted on the platform, people will see it and potentially bid for it, so with some luck; the original price will be lower than the final one.
However, just because your art is listed doesn’t mean it will sell. You really need to market yourself and the art. Start working your marketing skills on both Twitter and Instagram and join NFT related Facebook groups. Those are the basics.
Good luck out there!