Hey guys! If you’ve been online pretty much ever, you’ve probably seen a scammer in action. But did you know there are scams specifically targeting artists and creatives?
I have personally encountered some of these scams and they can be very difficult to identify. I created this post in order to share them with you so you don’t fall prey to them.
Scammers are always coming up with new ways to take your money or intellectual property, so I’m sure this list will be outdated as soon as it’s published. However, I’ve also provided some tips on how to weed out a scam if you think you’ve encountered one.
Ways to Identify a Scam
It’s always exciting as an artist when people reach out to you and recognize your talent. Many people and companies prey on this and find ways to disguise their scams as “opportunities” for artists.
Read every e-mail or message thoroughly. If the language and grammar is very poor and sentences don’t make sense, it’s likely not worth your time and could even just be an automated message.
Whenever you are approached by a person or company find out as much as you can about them before proceeding. Google the company, and read reviews about them on websites like Better Business Bureau. Ask friends or other artists if they have experience with this company. If you can’t find anything about them online that’s usually a red flag.
When a company sends you an offer or contract, thoroughly read the fine print because there could be a catch. If you have to spend any of your own money up front, it’s probably a scam.
Always consider what’s in it for them. Why are they interested in you and your art? What do they get out of the partnership? Not to say your art isn’t good, but no one works for free or without motive.
Here are some common scams for Artists to watch out for
Companies reaching out to you for a “media feature” – Don’t waste your time. You will later learn you have to pay upwards of $5000 for this feature that probably doesn’t reach your target audience at all.
People asking to “collaborate” only to get free content from you, such as a photo of yourself using their product. Unless it is a big company which aligns with your brand, don’t give away your content for free.
Someone asking to use your art for their website or logo. Be very wary and do your research before sending them anything. Do not give it to them for free either. At least create some sort of contract saying they cannot re-sell your art and only use it for a specific purpose so you could take legal action if needed.
People asking for free art or products in exchange for a social media shout-out. I strongly encourage you never to give your art away for free. If the person is a legitimate social media influencer they probably would not be approaching you.
Amateur art shows that are paid for by the artists. These art shows sound exciting but you should not be forced to sell tickets or pay to fund the show yourself. Always research the company, read reviews, and consider what they are getting out of it.
So-called “gurus” trying to you sell you expensive courses to “help your business”. Some of them ask for $20,000 or more! Don’t give up your life savings for the same things you can learn online for free.
People asking to buy your artwork, but want to pay through non-traditional payment methods. ONLY accept payment through Paypal, Cards or E-transfer. Do not accept cheques. Never send files or ship art until after you’ve received payment and it’s in your bank account.
Sellers ripping off your designs to sell on websites like Amazon, AliExpress, TeeSpring etc. Google the keywords of your most popular works every few months to see if it shows up on websites that are not your own. Then submit take-down notices.
Have you ever been scammed or encountered an artist-specific scam? Leave your experience below for others to learn from!
Sometimes taking risks pay off, other times they don’t but we’ll never know unless we try.
People will always be jealous of your success and some will try everything in their power to tear you down. Don’t let that get to you. Just remember, if you have haters, you’re probably doing something right!
When all else fails, sometimes we just need a reminder to not give up. Take a break, step away from something, but always come back and try again.
I hope you’ve enjoyed these motivational quotes! I’m already feeling a little better after creating these.
Let me know which one you like the most by leaving a comment below!
The SIN number (Line 6) is the same as a U.S. Social Security Number. I am assuming most countries have an equivalent personal identification number for tax purposes.
The ____% rate of withholding (Line 10) may differ depending on the withholding tax rate of your resident country. This is where you will use the list provided at the link above.
I hope this guide will be helpful to those of you who are getting started selling your art through Print on Demand websites and are required to submit this form. Let me know your thoughts or questions be leaving a comment below.
Looking for more information about selling your art through Print on Demand sites?
This POD is very T-shirt focused (it is TeePublic after all).
Prices are comparatively very reasonable. Maybe your friends/family won’t pay $30 for your t-shirt but they might be willing to pay $14!
Caters to branded and/or fan art. (Personally I avoid this because I’m not willing to have my stuff taken down due to copyright infringement)
Punny and funny designs also seem to do well.
Ease of Upload
Very quick and simple uploading process. Few steps.
Intuitive tagging (suggestions come up even before you start typing)!
Must use a .png image for the t-shirts (ie. no background).
You can upload patterns for some products like pillows or totes, but you can only use one version of the image, you can’t upload a different file for the t-shirt (so in that case there would be no t-shirt for that design).
As mentioned above, there is no ability to upload multiple versions of the same design to suit a different product type, so keep this in mind.
You can resize and centre your design easily.
Pretty basic. Focus is on the design and T-shirts.
No models, just images of the products by themselves.
Here is a screenshot of my store front:
T-shirt product page display:
Products and Pricing
A fairly small range of products but they are quite affordable.
Basic t-shirts are $14 for the first 3 days after upload, then they go up to $20.
T-shirts go on sale for $14 at least 1x per month. (Other products go on sale too)
A wide variety of shirt styles including hoodies and kids’ clothing are available.
They also have stickers, totes, tapestries, phone cases, mugs, pillows, notebooks and prints.
Prices in USD.
Starts at $5.99 to the U.S. and Canada.
Paypal or Payoneer payment options.
Paid monthly on the 15th for previous month’s earnings.
Affiliate program available, but you have to apply.
They also have a “refer an artist” program, where you can potentially get paid if you refer someone to open a store and they make sales.
There is a Facebook group but it isn’t very active.
No obvious forum.
Ability to follow other designers but not to like their individual works.
Less sense of community than other platforms such as Zazzle or Redbubble.
You will get an e-mail once a month or so letting you know about upcoming sales.
In this email are links to download various advertisement templates catered to different social media platforms, which can be used and edited in Photoshop.
Teepublic advertises their top design picks on the homepage and through e-mail campaigns so if you can get noticed by them, they’ll do the work for you!
If your work is very graphic, and especially if you do fan art, TeePublic could be a great option for you.
Their website and uploading process is simple and easy to use.
Their affordable prices, especially $14 T-shirts, is an excellent way to entice buyers.