How to Become a Microstock Illustrator

I believe you are here because you are interested in becoming a microstock illustrator. If you are not heard of this word before then I recommend you read this article about why becoming a microstock illustrator is one of the best business option to earn a passive income. If you wanted to become a digital artist then here are top 4 benefits you get by starting your journey as a microstock illustrator.

This is a fairly simple business yet there are a lot of minute things about this business which took me years to master. When I decided to make my online course, I thought I will be able to cover them all in a fairly short course. However, my course has ended up being over 10 sections with 50+ lessons and has nearly 6 hours of video content. So I am pleased that I have learnt a lot and I am able to share it all with anyone who wants to make the best possible start in this business. However, those who do not have the money to spend on the course, this article will give a detailed overview focus on explaining the the process of becoming a Microstock Illustrator in a detailed yet simple 8 step process.

Step 1 – Register as a Microstock Illustrator: There are a number of online companies who want your artwork for their customers. So the first thing you need to do is to register to them as a microstock contributor. A Microstock Contributor is someone who will contribute/submit different artworks to these companies. As this is a proper business, you are expected to understand the terms and conditions and agree to adhere to them at all times. Below are some of the top online companies that you can apply for.

  1. Shutterstock
  2. Fotolia
  3. Dreamstime
  4. BigStock
  5. CanStock
  6. 123RF
  7. DepositPhotos
  8. Pond5
  9. iStock

Step 2 – Apply as a Microstock Contributor: Once you register, the next step is to apply as a Microstock Contributor to some or all of these companies as a contributor. As each of the above websites are a company in itself, they will have their own qualification process which you have to follow and succeed. For example, ShutterStock wants you to submit 10 of your artwork and at least one of them should get selected for sale for you to get selected. Fotolia and Dreamstime have none. However, I advice you to use the above links to register as you dont want to register as a buyer and if you do then you will have to register again as a seller and hence create more hassles.

“Each company has a different section process. Some are stringent while others are not that difficult.”

Step 3 – Develop Ideas: This is one of the interesting aspects about this business. As most of these websites want you to submit your artworks, you will have to work on developing ideas. If you are already an artist then it is a matter of submitting your best artworks to these companies and check if your artworks are good enough or not. If you are new, then it is a process of developing ideas to express the concepts like love, travel, family or anything you like to create.

If it sounds daunting don’t worry, as long as you like this creative process and happy to try this on a regular basis, it is not that difficult. If an IT consultant with no artistic background like me can do it, you can do it as well. What you need to do is to be alert for inspiration that strike you at different points in time so that you can capture them and work on them later on when you get more time. This is one of the most important steps of the process and will determine how successful you will be in this business. Hence, I have a separate section on creativity in my online course.

“Developing ideas for different concepts is the most interesting aspect of this business.”

Step 4 – Create (Vector) Illustrations: A Microstock Contributor can submit different type of artworks to any of the online companies. It can be photos, images, videos or vectors. If you want to give yourself the best chance to succeed then my recommendation is to start with vectors or vector illustrations. This is mainly because they are easier to create and there is relatively less competition in them. A vector illustration based contributor is known as Microstock Illustrator. This website and my course is designed to help you become a Microstock Illustrator in the quickest possible way but most of the material will also be equally useful to those who create Adobe Photoshop based Illustrations.

For those who dont know know, vectors are unique type of files (those that end with .AI or .EPS) which are created mostly using a powerful software tool known as Adobe Illustrator. It is an awesome software which will take months to master but in order to create simple illustrations, you just need to know some basic functions of it. That is the beauty of the business – as long as your ideas are unique, you can make good passive income from creating simple illustrations. When I started, I needed 3 weeks to learn but you may be able to learn faster. There is a ton of free tutorials out there on the internet but to help those who are starting out to be efficient in your learning process, I have collected the best Adobe Illustrator tutorials of the most important functions all in one place right here. You can always aim to learn more and create more complex illustrations as you get more comfortable with the tool and the business.

“You don’t need to master Adobe Illustrator from the word go. You can start with just what’s needed and then slowly build on it over time.”

Step 5 – Create Vector Illustrations: Once you have learnt the software, you can bring your ideas to life which might take few hours initially but the tool is so good that you will soon find yourself taking minutes to create the same simple illustrations. This has been my experience anyway. In fact, my best selling artwork which has earned me over $1,000 was created within 20 minutes. I dont mean to say that this business is dead easy but rather want to point out that even unique simple illustrations can sell really well.

In fact, my best selling artwork which has earned me over $1,000 was created within 20 minutes

Step 6 – Submit Artworks: Once you have your artworks ready, you can submit them to different online companies. These companies want you to submit them in certain format and with different supporting documents depending on the type of artwork you submit. Vectors generally need the least. I must say that this is probably the boring part of the business where you just have to go through different activities which are critical but not creative.

However, there are tools, techniques and processes you can follow to optimise all the steps that you need to follow after your artworks are ready. These steps give your artworks the best chance to sell well. There is a lot here for you to learn and just to give you an idea, I have 4 different sections in my course dedicated to explaining optimsation strategies that you can follow for your after creation process. So it is too much for me to cover in this high level overview. If you choose not to take the course, you will obviously get the chance to learn from your mistakes but just that it will much longer time to master them.

“Submitting artworks is not a creative process but an important one. You have to learn the tricks of the trader to give the best chance for your artworks to sell. What is the point of all this otherwise?”

Step 7 – Review, Reject & Accept: The online companies review your vector artworks for quality & sell-ability and accept those which meet the required standards. They will reject those which have issues or don’t meet the required standards. When I started, I think I had around over 12 rejections out of first 20 artworks that I submitted. I was clueless and worried and even thought that this business is not for me. However, I stuck with it and managed to learn all the different rejection reasons and how to avoid them or to fix them. Those artworks which do get accepted will be made available on their websites for sale to millions of potential customers they get on a monthly basis.

“Your artworks will be accepted or rejected based on each company’s own rules. Knowing the different rejection reasons help you avoid them as you progress, just like the way you avoid different potholes on the road”

Step 8 – Make Passive Income: The customers who visit these company websites, browse for different artworks based on their need. If they like your vectors and make a purchase then these companies will deposit a predetermined commission for each purchase made. Once your collective commission reaches a set threshold, You will be paid on a monthly basis or on demand. You will typically get the commission paid via service like PayPal or by cheque if you prefer. If you end up creating a good number of unique vector illustrations then they will continue to sell and earn you good passive income for a long time.

“Once on sale, each Vector or artwork is an asset which will continue to work for you regardless of whether you are working or not.”

Well, there you go. You now have the complete overview of the business and can get started right now and that is what I will recommend. The world is more dynamic than ever before so if you delay for whatever reason, you will be going back in the queue and have more people to compete with. So don’t delay, get started today.  All the best.

Inspired by this Business? Want to make a rapid Start?

Rapid StartLike anything else, even the microstock industry has its own set of best practices you should adopt and critical pitfalls you must avoid. I have fallen many times and but in the process, I have learned a lot. So I have used all the learnings I got from brother and from my own experience to create a detailed video-based online course with over 7 hours of content just for you so that you have a really good starting point. This will give definitely give you a big advantage over others who are joining this business on their own. In this world of intense competition, any advantage you can get will significantly improve your chances of success.

So, if you keen to make a rapid start in earning your own passive income stream then you might want to join my online course. If you are keen to avail a discount then Click Here.

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