How to sell your art designs internationally and earn $$$

Are you an artist or graphics designer? Can you make cool images off your head and have people go ‘wow’? Do you know it is possible to make some extra money printing your design on T-shirts, mugs, iPhone cases, and selling to a worldwide audience?

Let me show you an example of what I mean,

This is a Nigerian lady that is doing exactly what I talked about above. Her designs (which are very beautiful I must add) have been printed on T-shirts, mugs, iPhone cases and the prices are stated in tens of dollars. Her customers are worldwide and I am very confident she enjoys patronage, no matter how small it might be. What special thing did she do?

She simply put her designs online.

Apart from T-shirts and the likes, it is possible to put up your designs to be reproduced on canvas and sold to art enthusiasts. A very interesting prospect if you ask me.

Whether you want your art to be printed on T-shirts or other household items, this post will explain all you need to know about this business. But first, let us understand some basic concepts.

What is print on demand?

Imagine you want to start a printed T-shirt business on a minimal capital. You’d agree that investing in print and other equipment will set you back millions of naira. Now, someone thought about this and came up with the idea of having a ‘business centre’ for different types of printing. This person has the money to invest in massive printing machines. All you have to do is go to him with your designs, he prints, you pay for the service and everybody is happy.

Now, print on demand services make things easier for people wanting to go into the T-shirt or other print related business. There are everywhere these days, and different print shops exists for different services. In one of my posts, I mentioned Printivo that prints business cards, flyers and the likes. There are also print on demand services for books such as blurb

How it works

Let’s take a look at how it works;

  • Post your artwork. This could be a sketch of yours or a graphics you made using Photoshop. Make sure to adhere to the image specifications of the website.
  • Set your price for your art prints.
  • Choose the items you will like your designs to be printed on
  • Set up your store on the website
  • Promote your store
  • When a customer orders for your products, the printing company handles the printing, packaging and sending to customers while you get paid a percentage of the sales as profit.

Generally, the above steps apply to most print on demand services albeit with slight changes. If you want to sell in Nigeria, you can order your items to be printed in bulk and shipped down. There are many online shops that sell top quality print T-shirts in Nigeria.


Print on demand services generally have their own ways of calculating profit. For most of them you get to pick how much you want to make but bear in mind this affects the final price of the product. On zazzle, you get to choose the percentage of the base price you want. This percentage plus the base price makes up the retail price.

In some other cases, there is a fixed profit for the type of item sold. For example, on society6, for every hoodie sold with your art on it you get $4.20, while for T-shirts it’s $2.40. For Duvet covers profit spans between $8.90 and $12.90. See this society6 page for a full breakdown of profits.

Websites you can do print on demand

Here are some websites where you can upload your art and make profit;








Fine Art America


What you need to get started

The most important requirement is your artistic skill. Whether you are a graphics designer, sketch artist or photographer, you have to be good at what you do. I showed a graphics designer friend one of the websites and he was very excited about the opportunity. You can make simple designs with softwares or use a camera to take nice shots around Nigeria and use. Anybody can be a part of it.

Another thing is you will most likely need to get a PayPal account to receive payments. On a final note, avoid using images online as these may be copyright protected. The last thing you’d want is to have a lawsuit thrown at you for using an image without permission.


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