Sales Tips


I wanted to share some sales tips when it comes to art.
In college I never, not once, was given any real education on how to sell art. I went to two very highly rated art schools and no teacher gave us a way to sell our art.

Teachers DID tell us to make good portfolios. This is pretty basic though. You want to be a singer, you better know how to sing and be able to show people.

But how many people do you know who know how to sing but are not singers?

It’s because they can’t sell that to others. You HAVE to be able to sell.

Selling art is easy.


People will tell you it’s hard.
People told me it was hard to be an artist, it was hard to live off art, it was hard to sell art, and it was hard to make art. I do all of those on a daily basis and I’m able to sustain my life.

Now the first up: if you don’t know how to draw, learn how to draw and paint. But even then all you really need to do to make art is to communicate to people.

Art = communication

If you’re not telling someone something it’s not art.

A bad painting of a cat, still communicates cat.

So the job of the artist to to communicate in an aesthetic way, in a broad way, and in the most effective way.

This does not always mean you need to have the greatest technique. I certainly don’t, and I sell hundreds of dollars worth of paintings. But that is a topic for next time.

#1 Learn to make art. Learn to communicate. 

Next tip is to put your art anywhere people can see it.
This seems obvious but most don’t do it well or at all.

The internet is your friend.
Post everywhere, everything you’re doing.

Also do shows.
Art walks, galleries, senior shows, local competitions, conventions, and farmers markets.

I try and do all and it pays off. Even if I don’t make many sales I usually make a commission which is my bread and butter.

#2 Be everywhere.

The next tip will make being everywhere a lot more fun. It’s sucks to put yourself out there and make no sales. It happens. Eat over it and do it again.

So what you need to do to nip that in the bud: learn to sell.

“Sell or be sold”, “The 10x Rule”, and “Closers Survival Guide” by Grant Cardone have double maybe tripled my sales and that’s reading them once through.

Find a friend, partner, parent, anyone who supports what you’re doing and drill sales with them. Have them be shy, difficult, rude, uninterested, too nice, too mean. Learn the communicate. I’ll keep repeating that one.

The benefits of having someone you trust help you get over your fear of sales if immense.

Try stuff like this:

A) I see you like that piece, I’ll wrap it for you and get you a bag.

B) No! No, no, no! I’m broke. I’m poor. I have no room for art. Art is a luxury. I’ll have to see once I’m paid. I’ll think about it and come back. It’s not my type. You’re rude. You’re pushy. You’re the WORST! I CANT BELIEVE YOU WOULD SPEAK TO ME! I CANT HAVE ANY ART EVER!... etc etc etc.

A) You’re totally right, but you deserve it because you love it. Is that cash or card.

Now this isn’t how you handle every objection and I’m not gonna write that all out because I’m not a sales coach. You need to read the books above and drill what’s in them. It makes a difference. I’ve run across all the above and still managed to make sales because of what I read in those books.

#3 Learn to sell.

This tip is really simple and something I still need to explore.

You need to have a wide variety of things to purchase. Put your art on canvas, paper, bags, wallets, watches, purses, shirts, walls, cars, glasses, bodies, sidewalks, stickers, pencils, food! Make lessons, make videos, have classes, have coloring books, speak publicly, give things out for free.

But make sure you’re charging for everything. Even the free stuff should get you something, even if it’s not money. Could be a returned customer, a new friend, exposure (only if it is REALLY exposure. You should be reaching mass audiences who want your product and have a way to contact you. A good example of this is sending fam art to celebs that you know are going to show it off or to people in power you want something from: a job, an interview, a gig, a commission).

#4 Have a variety to sell.

The last one is simple:

#5 Don’t give up.

If you ever feel like giving up, message me! I’ll help you out. It’s not worth the world losing another artist. Too many people quit on this amazing profession, and I’ll tell you, the world is severely lacking in artist. No matter what anyone tells you.

To review:

#1 Learn to make art. Learn to communicate

#2 Be everywhere.

#3 Learn to sell.

#4 Have a variety to sell.

#5 Don’t give up.

Go make something!



Christina Oliva Art


Spidey Process

The process behind my spiderman was very similar to my other alter ego pieces but this time around I had a lot more difficulty with the face. I'll walk you through the process. 


Step 1) The face. 

I had to figure out how to really capture Tom Holland's face so I could draw but also so I could but the spidey costume over top and still have it look like him. After that came the inking stage which is essentially tracing. 


Step 2) I went in with the base color. 3) I added shadowing details and highlights.


4) I added the finishing touches and the background.  


For a more in depth look, check out my behance profile,

Business of Art #1: why and how to have a sellers permit.

First off, what's a Seller's Permit/License?: This is from the California Board of Equalization's (BOE) website, "A seller's permit is issued by our agency and allows you to make sales in California". There is a version of this in every state, so if you're not in California make sure to google sellers permit in (your state). This permit will allow you to be making sale in your state, you need to have one of these to sell art and art prints legally. I never ran into trouble when i didn't have one for the first few years of my business, granted I didn't know I needed one, but still you want to make sure your business is protected because it's your income and future.  This permit also comes with a perk: it also allows you to get a resale certificate. 

What's a resale certificate?: Also from the BOE's website "Once you have a seller's permit, you may issue resale certificates to your suppliers to buy items you will sell in your business operations. Issuing a resale certificate allows you to buy these items without paying tax to the seller." Basically you can then order prints from suppliers and not get hit with sales tax (which is VERY high in California) so this can save you a lot of money by the end of the year. Some suppliers don't have this deal. Places like staples and smaller printing place who don't specialize solely in printing don't tend to offer this, BUT if you start selling larger quantities and better quality prints you're going to need to get a better printer. This is where your seller permit comes in handy. On these printers sites when you sign up they usually give you the option to enter your sellers permit account number, they then don't charge you sales tax. NOTE: you still HAVE to charge your customers sales tax if your state has sales tax! You will owe the sales tax at the end of the year when you file taxes. So either up your price so it includes sales tax or let your customer know they'll be charged tax just like if they were at target or amazon. 

What's the process for getting these?: Go to you states site that issues these permits, it may take some googling depending on your state, for California it is the BOE's site. There you choose to apply for a sellers permit and fill out all the info. Most of you won't qualify for a lot of the options. Just specify that you're seller art and prints and don't want to pay the sales tax to your supplier. Then you should be sent an email with a copy of your permit, save this and save copies and make prints to keep with you at shows and for taxes. 

Comment if you have any questions or if you're having trouble getting yours and I'll help you out. 


Pin Up Process

For this piece I started with a pencil sketch that I scanned in using my Epson Perfection V39. I scan in my documents at 300 dpi or higher. From there I uploaded it to a photoshop document and changed any of the anatomy errors made.


From here I color in the whole ink using a flesh tone. I use a hard and round brush and outside and make sure it covers the whole character without going past the black lines. Then, this is what I do with every piece, I select the skin tone using the magic wand tool, make sure you skin tone is on a different layer than the ink, and below the ink layer. After I've selected it I go to the select tab, select>modify>contract and then contract by 2 pixels. Then I start a new layer and I can't go outside the lines of the flesh tone so I can shade and color without worry. 


I repeat the same process as above with the hair, clothing, accessories and tail. I make sure my shadows are the bottom layers, the warmth or "blush" the mid and highlights and details on top. 

Next I made a layer below the mermaid and added the water. I started with a regular blue and added the indigo for depth and the white highlight and streaks of light coming from above. The bubbles I then made the top most layer, even above the ink. That was it for this one. 


Deadpool Process

Step 1) I drew out Ryan Reynolds, then duplicated and flipped the image to build on top of. 

2) After I costumed the character I inked the image. 

2) After I costumed the character I inked the image. 

3) Next I made a layer with red making sure to stay within the lines. Then while on that layer I used the magic wand tool (you'll see the selected area enclosed by "marching ants" line) and selected the red, then you go to select>modify>contract and then contract by 2 pixels. Now when you start new layers you'll stay within the red selected bit. From here I do the shading and the highlighting without worrying about being messy. 

3) Next I made a layer with red making sure to stay within the lines. Then while on that layer I used the magic wand tool (you'll see the selected area enclosed by "marching ants" line) and selected the red, then you go to select>modify>contract and then contract by 2 pixels. Now when you start new layers you'll stay within the red selected bit. From here I do the shading and the highlighting without worrying about being messy. 

4) Next I repeated the same steps as above but with a flesh tone and then built the face from there. 

4) Next I repeated the same steps as above but with a flesh tone and then built the face from there. 

5) Next it was just adding the background, under the deadpool layers. Simply laid down a black layer and then with a soft brush and fade I added the red. 

5) Next it was just adding the background, under the deadpool layers. Simply laid down a black layer and then with a soft brush and fade I added the red. 

How and why to have a Behance account.

Behance is the best online portfolio site, besides a personal website, but it is for people with an account with adobe. Most everyone I know has photoshop, or the suite, so I suggest you get a account because it's an amazing networking tool and it's a very professional place to send clients. 


1) Keep track of your process. Take photos of your process or save your file as jpegs as you go along. One of the biggest ways to draw people to your profile is showing how you went from A to B. 

2) When you order the images, put your final image at the beginning and end. Seeing what the final is at the beginning lets people know what they're in for, and then you show the process shots, and then the final again just to complete the thought. 

3) Add description. Make sure to write even a little on how you achieved the piece, the more detailed and lesson like the more people can get from your work. People want to know how something was done not just bask in the aesthetics. 

4) Tag your work. Label what tools you used and the fields the art is part of when the site asks you for. This makes it easier for people to find you. 

5) Share. When you're done publishing you're prompted to share to different site, share to all of them. If you don't have a art account on every social media platform, go get one now. Then link them all together. Then post like your life depends on it. 

You need to be everywhere.

My following plateaued at 650 on instagram. I couldn't figure why it would change. I followed all the rule. 1-3 posts in a day every few days. I used hashtags. I like and followed other artist. I put up aesthetic images. I posted about my life to seem more "real". None of it mattered because in a sea of billions of online personas I was post 1-3 times in a day, every few days. 

1-3 posts. 

Every few days.   

Of course it wasn't working! I had to revved up my posts. I had to be everywhere. I was so boring and lack luster to my few followers, and I wasn't out there enough to get any new ones to bore. I was being boring and taking the least amount of actions, I might as well have been doing nothing. It took more effort to be worried about my following than it does for me to post more. 

I increased my posts to 10 times a day, linked to all my other social media, and it's only been three weeks, but I finally moved past that hurdle and I'm seeing sales and site visits in countries outside the US for the first time. 

You need to do more and be everywhere. 

Wonder how I made my "Wonder Woman"?

I was so invigorated by all the love and support I've been getting in these last few weeks, for my business and for my newest "upside down" piece, as Jim and I call them. The "Wonder Woman" upside down was a real challenge as I actually started the piece last year and gave up on it for some time. I was in a dark place with my career, unsure of how to proceed and what to strive for in regards to art and life. I had just quit my job, left my school, moved to LA, and given myself the task of making art my one source of income. Did it work? NO! Wanna know why? 

I didn't change ANYTHING. Change is NOT bad. I just went back to regular (normal, lazy, not worthwhile days) without guiding that energy it took to get through a regular day (which is a lot of energy actually, when you're worried and have no security) toward something that will actually grab attention and cause you to have newer and bigger problem. That lack of change is bad. So that's the why, no change. No REAL change. I changed all those things in my life: my location, my income, my group, my safety net; I did not however change the amount of action I took in regards to art. I repeat I changed all those things listed above, but I did not change the amount of action I took in regards to art.

And I hated it. 

"So what did change that made you happy?"

I got this book. "10X" by Grant Cardone. (I'm just going to skip to the part where I tell you that this book is what made me happy, and brought on change, and got me taking more action. So here's the link to purchase the audio book. Go buy it, and take on a life that is ten times greater than you ever imagined it could be.)

I started making more art in days than I did in months. I've been promoting more in two weeks that I do in six months. And I doubled my income this week. (Keep in mind I'd only finished the book 5 days ago and all this has happened. I'll check in next week to tell you what other great things have happened to prove to you that this works.) Best of all I'm not scared anymore. I've made it my responsibility to make this go right and not wait for someone to come along and hand it to me. Because 1) they wont, and 2) I'm no longer willing to wait.  

So, before I get ahead of myself and try to explain the whole book to you (which I won't, just go buy it), this post is about how I made "Wonder Woman". 

Step 1) Based on images of Gal, I made this template sketch that I would then ink over. 


Step 2) I inked the image to my liking (or so I thought, this would actually change a lot along the way. Notice the hat is too high and the lips are a little to large and wide. I also a base color on it's own layer for the skin and then added the form and cast shadows. Form shadows are those that are made by light circling around a form until it can no longer reach the other side. These shadows are soft and give you an idea of how 3D an object is. Cast shadows are shadows that fall on an object because something is blocking the light, say a nose, or an eye lash, or a street sign casting a shadow on the street, see? Cast. 

I then added the warm parts of the skin, where is naturally flushes, and the highlights. 

Step 3) I added the detail of the face in the same way I did the skin. For eyes: I do the base color, the cast and form shadows and then the highlights. Same for lips and the hair. 

Then I added the clothing and followed the same pattern. 


Step 4) I then changed the background. It definitely needed it. 

I added the clothing in the same process as before: ink layer, color base, form shadows, cast shadows, highlights and then details. 

I also did my editing at this stage. I took the lips down a notch, and the highlights and edited the shadows.


Also for fun and to give you all some hope, I made this Wonder woman piece in June 16, when I was still getting used to my wacom products. Practice does pay off.