There's several online stores which allow artist to create a page, upload their work as prints or assign them to products like cases and apparel. Royalties and commission then get paid to the artist after the store sells, prints and post orders which use your work.
It seems like a great idea to earn from your artwork without needing to develop and run the platform from which you sell it on- you just spend a little time putting the art (which you probably already have created) online and then wait for the money to begin rolling in! In practice, it's not so straight forward and not as easy as it seems for the vast majority.
I spent about a solid week to set up an account, edit then add around 30 artworks as prints, shirts, skins etc. I watched a few people, promoted some art, got my store indexed on Google and waited several months. I got my first sale recently- made $3.50! Woohoo!
I appreciate I'm not the greatest artist in the world and manga and comic inspired characters aren't going be everyone's cup of tea, but obviously it wasn't worth my time.
Society6 is essentially a popularity contest. Fair enough if work is good and popular, then it deserves to be featured. But Society6 does not feature a fair system of promoting and featuring new art on it's home page or at the top of it's search results. I've seen some awesome artwork on that site which simply doesn't gain the love and recognition it deserves because it's buried under a pile of work which came before or overshadowed by established artists on the site who've already gained a following. Popularity on the site can be artificially generated or is circumstantial- perhaps an artist was fortunate enough to acquire some popularity early on before the site gained more members and while there was far less competition. Or perhaps they are an artist who has whored out thousands of 'likes'/'promotes'/'favs'/'watches' with the expectation of having the same done in return. I'm, sure there are other loop holes or strategies which can be exploited to increase popularity. Most of the artwork on S6 is of an amazing standard, and with so much competition, it's never going to be easy for a newbie to stand out at the best of times.
The people that seem to have success on S6 (and similar sites) are either/and/or:
- Very talented at a top-end professional level and hence automatically built a reputation for themselves
- Good at self promotion. They have some Ok designs, but are promo and/or SEO experts so get noticed.
- Creating what people want. Either intentionally or because they also like it. For example animal based stuff goes down well, as does pop culture references i.e. Star Wars, Bat Man.
If you have all those three ingredients nailed, you're gonna make some good money, be it at Society6 or similar stores. For the rest of us, it's gonna be very hit and miss and you will just have to try it and see what happens, as I have. The hardest part is taking some time out (in my case, a week) to see how well you're art sells (or doesn't sell!). Trying it for yourself is the only way to know for sure.
Feel free to check out my store here: http://society6.com/BenKrefta