Making Money with Colored Pencil Sketches

Making Money with Colored Pencil Sketches

Is making money with colored pencil sketches possible? Is it something you should consider?

Sketching with colored pencils is great for improving eye-hand coordination, exploring potential subjects, or just having fun. It’s also a great learning tool and motivator.

But did you know you can make and sell colored pencils sketches?

Making Money with Colored Pencil Sketches

One of the most challenging things I’ve ever done in conjunction with horse shows is on-the-spot colored pencil sketches. The drawing below is my favorite sketch.

Making Money with Colored Pencil Sketches

It took me an hour or less to create and was an immediate sale. I had the privilege of not only seeing the dog and getting it’s backstory, but of seeing the happiness on the client’s face at the finished portrait.

For many years, I attended at least one major equine trade show a year. Often I had a booth at two: One in the spring and one in the fall.

When I moved to Kansas, big horse shows happened every month within 30 miles of home. I had exhibited my artwork at many of them.

But it wasn’t until I started doing colored pencil sketches in person that work began to sell.

Here’s How it Works

What usually happened is that a horse owner visited my booth to see my portraits and other work. If they were only looking, that was okay. Window shoppers are always welcome!

If they were interested in owning some of my artwork, however, the subject of money always arose. Often, with one specific question.

Do you have anything less expensive?

For a long time, the only answer I had to that question was something smaller, which was often still outside their budget.

Then I started offering quick sketches.

A quick sketch was an 8×10 drawing on colored drawing paper and using two or three colors. The price was suitable to both me and the client. $50 was pocket change for many of them, and since I limited myself to one hour on each sketch, it was more than agreeable to me.

The client either provided me with a photo of their horse, dog or other animal or I took the photo myself. Then I created the portrait sketch, packaged it right there at the show, and it was ready from them to pick up at their convenience.

Have Fun and Make Money

Clients love the immediacy and it’s a great way to supplement the sales of larger paintings and generate interest in more polished portraits.

My favorite part about this kind of sketching was that I often got to draw something other than horses. Dogs, for example. I also drew a cat for someone.

Were these portraits masterpieces? Probably only to the owners who purchased them. But that’s not the point.

The point was that they allowed me to do something immediate, to find a way to give someone a portrait of a beloved animal companion, and make a bit of money for myself.

A Lesson Learned

Beyond that, it proved to me that I could do something that I didn’t think I was capable of at the time. Draw totally freehand and spontaneously on location, and create a decent likeness in an hour.

Even if not all of them were as finished as I would have liked, that learning experience has been invaluable.

You Can Make Money with Colored Pencil Sketches, Too.

After all, if I can do it, anyone can.

Even if you decide not to sketch for income, try sketching for fun and for learning. I’ve written other posts on the subject of sketching, including a sketching challenge from 2021.

They also make great gifts. With Christmas just around the corner, sketches like these may be exactly the ticket for the animal lovers you know. Sketching with colored pencils may be a good place to begin.

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