My First Illustration for Money (6 of them!)

You don’t really know if you can do it until you try to do it. I mean, to make money drawing.

I’ve edited graphics, images, and illustrations, over the last 25 years. I’ve created some of my own graphics. I’ve NEVER drawn something for the graphic, I always find clip art or an image and edit that to get what I need.

I often thought to myself, ‘It’d be perfect if you could draw your own stuff, that way you could stop paying for stock images.’

I just never even tried.

Well, today I spent 9 hours trying to make money by drawing illustrations on the iPad using Procreate. Here’s one of six drawings I did.

I added a couple more of them to my portfolio page here.

I write for a guy who has a fishing website and some other sites. I typically write 3000-5000 word articles for him. I’m good at this, I’ve done it for years. I like it. I love it even, as a career. With ChatGPT it could easily go away though, couldn’t it?

My first art illustrations I sold in April 2023.
I did six different types of fishing rigs to supplement an article I wrote. It was great fun, but challenging to get done well! ©Vern Lovic

I am branching out into some other areas of creativity like drawing, maybe painting, and who knows? Maybe sculpture? Welding metal stuff? I don’t know. I do know that I’m excited to be getting creative in an entirely different way.

This passion is what is behind This site has been a dream of mine for a couple of years, and seriously over the last year as I figured I might actually be able to learn how to draw and design stuff myself. Without editing others’ work.

My First Creative Drawing Job

I wrote a 5000-word article about the 6 best fishing rigs for surf fishing for this website owner. There are no illustrations on the top stock agencies for the best fishing rigs. He asked if I could supply the illustrations for the article. I said SURE. Ha! I was pretty sure anyway.

I told him I’d be done in two hours. Then I started to get into it.

I’m using Procreate on my daughter’s iPad Pro 11″ M1. It’s super fun, but not so intuitive for everything. Layers are a real minefield for me, so I needed to figure that out before I could do much.

I still don’t ‘get it’ but I got a lot done. I watched a couple of tutorial videos and learned some of the crucial bits.

So I finished in 9 hours what would take someone with skill around 90 minutes. Now that I finished them, it would take me about 150 minutes to do them again. Maybe less. I think less.

How Much Money Did I Make Drawing?

I don’t know. I didn’t talk to him about it. I’m sure he knows the art didn’t just make itself. He’s quite good about paying immediately and fairly.

I purposefully didn’t say anything about money because I wanted him to let me attempt it. I told him he was under no obligation to use them if they didn’t turn out great. He agreed they would have to be good – up to the quality of other websites who created their own too.

I just sent him an email talking about what we could do. If he doesn’t want to use them as if commissioned, I’ll just add my copyright to the images and he can use them gratis and I’ll upload them to some stock photo agencies and sell them there.

I told him, if I do it that way there are a lot of other fishing websites that will have the exact same images.

I don’t think he’d like that idea, but who knows? He may go for it.

I told him he could purchase all six for $60 outright. It’s probably fair for him. I doubt he could commission anyone to do it for that amount of money. I may be wrong. If you know, let me know!

Update 16 Apr: He paid the $60. Da*n it!

I’d actually make more money selling the 6 illustration series over and over as stock images on Dreamstime, and some of the other big agencies. I’ve made a couple of thousand dollars over the years with my stock photos, and I’m sure there’s a large market for these types of illustrations. I could do many more.

Anyway, so this is what I did today. Something I wasn’t sure would work out. Something that I’ll ultimately make money in one way or another because I held myself to a high standard. I wanted them to be almost perfect. Don’t misunderstand, I can still go back and edit for another 10 hours and make them more perfect, but they’re quite good already. Especially because I shrunk them to 800 pixels wide. This hides a lot of minute details that could be seen as errors on a bigger work.

Have you SOLD SOMETHING yet?

Can you see any opportunity in front of you that you could TRY FOR?

What do you LIKE TO DRAW? Birds? Cars? Tech gear? Outdoor gear? Jackets? Kids? Adult topics?

There’s a job out there for you. Try UpWork, freelancer, or Fiverr. There are so many opportunities out there. I’m going to check tonight before I go to bed. I’d love to increase my knowledge about drawing something else other than fishing rigs.

See what’s available. What’s it going to hurt?

Get started today! If you know you cannot do anything at a high level, learn how (practice!) today. Practice drawing SOMETHING TODAY. I’ll have a lot of practice exercises you can do soon. Check out more stuff here. I’m writing as fast as I can.

I hope it helps you. What I’m doing has already helped me a LOT.

Best of luck and life to you!!

Is It Easier to Draw with iPad or Paper/pencil? >

Want to Draw Fish? Try a Remora! >

Are you a PHOTOGRAPHER thinking about becoming an ARTIST?