How to Make and Sell NFT Art in 2022: A Simple In-Depth Guide

By Iva Mikles •  Updated: Apr 18, 2022 •  Guides

I am pretty safe to say that you have undoubtedly heard about the amazing buzz surrounding NFTs.

With NFTs (or non-fungible tokens) selling for millions of dollars, and the overall market for NFTs reaching an estimated $17.7 billion dollars last year 😱, it is easy to understand the hype and to want to be a part of this amazing phenomenon.

But with the news and the seemingly millions of articles on the web all about celebrities, record auction prices, apes and punks, cryptocurrencies, and gas prices, how can you find the straight story of what NFTs really are, and how they can be a part of your artistic endeavors?

That’s just what I will try to do in this article, weeding out the wow and concentrating on everyday artists and NFT creators like us, with Art Side of Life’s guide to making and selling NFT art.

A Brief, but Necessary, Disclaimer!

🛑 I must make it absolutely clear from the start that the world of NFTs and NFT investing is highly volatile, constantly changing, and unpredictable. I do not offer any investment advice in this article, nor do I endorse, affiliate with, or guarantee the performance of any marketplace, currency or financial instrument, financial service, investment or purchasing opportunity, celebrities, podcasts, YouTube channels, or any other concern, either virtual or real-world.

There are many reports of fraud and misrepresentation in dealing with NFTs, and I strongly recommend that you make certain that you are working with the actual and genuine websites of marketplaces, digital wallet services, financial transfer services, or any other sites or services connected with NFT listings and sales. 

If you are considering investing in NFT art, an NFT collection, or any non-fungible token of any type, I also strongly recommend that you consult an established and reputable financial adviser before proceeding. 

Ok, enough said – please, be careful, but don’t be scared – this is really exciting stuff, and it’s happening right now!

Table of Contents

Introduction: Cutting Through The Hype

When I’m writing a new article – whether it be an informational piece like this, a tutorial, a buyer’s guide, or anything else – even if I have a very good grasp of the subject matter already, I like to do some surfing first and see what others are saying and how they are saying it.

And so I did with NFTs, and came out on the other side with two takeaways:

  1. I felt, after extensive reading, listening, watching, and other research, almost like I knew less coming out than I did going in
  2. There are 87 hours of my life I will never get back 😅

Really, NFTs are such a simple concept, but people get so lost in a few aspects of non-fungible tokens – like unnecessary details about the technical aspects of blockchains, the enormous hype around investors, celebrities, and suddenly wealthy digital artists, the astronomical prices that some NFTs are realizing, the (often overstated) issues of ethics and dangers, why exactly the apes are bored – really, on and on and on…

So much so that most of the articles, videos, and tutorials tend to get quite lost, trying to explain things that aren’t important, might not be true, or even that they may not really understand, and so it’s no wonder that their audiences get a bit lost too.

So, let’s put it in simple terms – what is an NFT, and how can you as an artist make and sell them – and we can get into more detailed explanations – and even break down the psychological profile of a few of those apes – at the end of this tutorial. 

NFTs Explained – Simply!

NFT stands for non-fungible token. It is a digital file that has a special encrypted key embedded into it, like a watermark or digital signature, that connects it to a digital database.

This file can be anything, really any kind of digital file you can make or imagine, but we will focus pretty specifically today on digital artwork, like paintings, drawings, photos, animation, etc.

The NFT is, again, connected to, and registered in, a database called a blockchain, which stores information about the file and its creator, the buyer, the transaction, and potentially a lot more.

Because these blockchain databases are visible to anybody, and can’t be tampered with, they can verify the authenticity of the artwork, giving the buyer a great deal of confidence and making the artwork itself more valuable.

The blockchain is the same type of database – often even the same exact database – used for cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum, and blockchains give that currency the same kind of security and verifiability as they lend to NFTs.

And that’s about it! We will get into at least a little more information later, but first, let’s answer the most important question:

How to Make and Sell Non-Fungible Tokens

Because even celebrities are selling NFTs, and individual NFTs and NFT series can sell for millions of dollars, everybody wants in on the fun – and so the question of how to go about creating and selling non-fungible tokens is one of the hottest and most asked on the internet today.

Turns out it’s quite simple, and we will discuss the steps here. In fact, to make it even simpler, I will first simply list out the individual steps, and then we will offer basic instructions for each one.

1. Choose an NFT Platform

2. Create a Wallet for Cryptocurrency

3. Upload a File

4. Set Up the Sale

Wow, really, after all the thousands and thousands of pages that have been written about how to make and sell NFTs, the whole process can be broken down into those four simple steps.

Well, each step isn’t necessarily that simple, but none of it is that hard either, and even if you aren’t the most tech-savvy person in cyberspace you needn’t worry!

I am going to go into specific details of how to by using the biggest and most popular site, and arguably the easiest as well – OpenSea – for my example’s details. I’d say that any of the sites make it quite obvious, and the processes are so clearly laid out and easy to do, that you can probably jump right in and do it on your own. 

Let’s go through each one of these steps individually.

1 – How to Choose an NFT Marketplace

The first step is to find an NFT Marketplace, also known as an NFT platform or NFT showroom, which will work for you.

The NFT platform is a marketplace that hosts and facilitates the sales of your artwork. They connect you to buyers, help you promote your work, let you interact with a large community of other creators, and make minting (minting is the specific process of connecting your artwork piece to the blockchain – that is, turning your piece into an actual non-fungible token) and working with cryptocurrency as easy as possible.

The most popular NFT marketplaces – ones that feature the world’s leading creators and celebrities, facilitate millions and millions of dollars in NFT sales, but still, cater to unknown artists and newcomers – are:

This list doesn’t include the many, many specialized marketplaces which, for instance, may sell only computer game assets, specific collections like bored apes or cryptopunks, or even sports highlights like you would find on the NBA Top Shot marketplace.

I think OpenSea is a very easy-to-use marketplace, perfect for beginners, and I recommend it highly. They have a wide and eclectic selection of all kinds of digital art, can boast huge sales figures and top-tier visibility and are host to some of the top artists of our time.

OpeanSea.io website interface

That said, all of the above platforms look like excellent NFT marketplaces, and it is a great idea to visit a few of them, and get a feeling for the art and artists they host, their layout and their vibe, and how it seems to work for you.

You shouldn’t really go wrong with any of these NFT platforms, and while there are a lot of other choices, including smaller and possibly cheaper options, when you factor in the visibility and integrity of the top marketplaces you often end up making more money and having more success on various levels with them

Once you’ve selected your NFT platform, the next step is to create a cryptocurrency wallet and connect it to your NFT marketplace account.

2 – How To Create a Cryptocurrency Wallet 

A cryptocurrency wallet is a digital program, often in the form of a web browser extension, which lets you send, receive, and keep track of cryptocurrencies like Ethereum and Bitcoin.

Bitcoin came first and is probably the most widely recognized cryptocurrency, but Ethereum is also huge and is the most often used for NFTs.

You don’t need to decide which currency you will use, though, because your new wallet should work with pretty much all of them, and anyway, the platform you choose will have a default cryptocurrency they use for all transactions – again, most likely Ethereum.

Here are a few of the top crypto wallet choices:

All of these, and many others, are wallets hosted by large, reputable, and highly visible financial technology companies, and should offer secure and easy transactions in cryptocurrency.

I think that MetaMask is particularly user-friendly, and setup could not possibly be easier, and it is one of the default choices if you are using OpenSea, but like NFT platforms, you shouldn’t really go wrong with any of these wallet services.

As I always say, check out a couple of them and decide for yourself.

Ok, but how do I set up a crypto wallet and link it to my NFT marketplace?

The platform you are using will guide you through it, and they are pretty much all aimed at and designed for people who have never done this before.

For example, in OpenSea you can simply follow their tutorial here: What crypto wallets can I use with OpenSea

And how do I add money to my wallet? I mean, it is money, right?

Wait, why do I need to add money to my wallet?

Some marketplaces actually charge you for minting your artworks. So, before you purchase cryptocurrency (the money), you may want to check and see how much you will need to mint NFTs on the marketplace of your choice

So, after the link has been made, or really any time after you’ve set up your wallet, you can add currency – for NFTs, Ethereum is the default and most common choice. 

With OpenSea you don’t actually need to pay for the minting – instead, they charge you a 2.5% fee when your piece is sold – so you don’t have to fund your wallet before proceeding with the following in-depth instructions on minting and selling your NFTs.

Once you successfully mint and post your sale, though, you will have to initialize your wallet and pay gas fees for this first transaction (Ethereum uses the word “gas” to indicate processing and transaction fees – which, I’ll warn you, can be a bit steep!) – but you can handle that at the end, and don’t have to guesstimate now.

3 – How to Upload a File

First let’s make it clear that while the title of this tutorial is “How to Make and Sell NFT Art,” the making part of the process is all on you – that is, you will make your own art, whatever and however you’d like, and then upload it to, in our example, OpenSea (or whichever platform you choose).

After uploading, you then “mint” the file and sell it – but let’s not get ahead of ourselves…

To upload the file you want to mint as an NFT and sell, have the file ready to go. It must be, in the case of OpenSea, no more than 100MB in size, and in any of the following file formats:

On OpenSea, you can follow their tutorial here: How do I sell an NFT

4 – How to Set Up Your Sale

You may have noticed that the previous section did not ask for or mention a selling price. This is because with many platforms the process of minting – which we just did – and the actual listing and selling of the newly minted NFT are separate.

First, you need to decide if you want to make this a direct sale item or an auction.

Selling NFTs on OpenSea with a Direct Sale

If it’s a direct sale, simply enter in the amount, specify how long you want the sale to last, click “complete listing,” and you’re done!

You can enter other specifics, like if you want this available only to one specific buyer, or if it is a bundle, which means it will be sold with other NFTs from your account, but those are optional, and the basics are price, length, and post.

Selling NFTs on OpenSea with an Auction

If it is an auction, you have two types of auctions to choose from:

Highest Bidder – the normal, standard kind of auction, where the price starts lower and people (hopefully!) bid the price up over a specific time frame. At the end of the allotted time, the highest bidder wins and buys the NFT.

Declining Price or Dutch Auction – a kind of reverse auction, where you start at a higher price than you might expect, and during the allotted time the price goes down. When a bidder sees a price they’re willing to pay, they bid, the auction immediately ends and they buy the NFT. If they wait too long, though, somebody else may swoop in – very exciting!

So if you are auctioning off your own NFT, choose the type of auction and fill in the corresponding fields.

What is Wrapped Ethereum (WETH)?

In auctions, you will see the prices in WETH (Wrapped Ethereum) rather than the more normal ETH (Ethereum). Wrapped Ethereum has the exact same value as Ethereum but is a kind of cryptocurrency that allows verified auction bids which will be fulfilled when necessary without any further action by the buyer.

Now you will need to initialize your wallet and add enough Ethereum to pay for the wallet host’s (small) transaction fees and (big) gas fees, approve the item for sale, and accept the wallet’s signature request – this all may sound like a lot, but it’s quick and easy, and after these final steps that’s it – you’re in business!

How to Set Up Royalties for Your NFT on OpenSea

One great thing about NFTs and NFT marketplaces is that the information that you securely record on the blockchain – the very thing that makes NFTs unique and so secure and valuable – can include royalties!

This means that you can specify that if an NFT that you’ve created and sold is ever re-sold, once or a thousand times, each time you will get a royalty, or a percentage of those sales.

You can specify a percentage up to 10 percent, which means that if your great masterpiece is sold again to a new owner, for say 50 million dollars, you will make 5 million – hey, we can dream, can’t we?

On OpenSea, you specify the royalties not in the item itself’s details, but in the collection it has been included in.

And That’s It! And That’s It?

Congratulations! You have successfully uploaded and minted an NFT and listed it in the marketplace, and you can now just sit back and wait for the money to pour in – or can you?

Well, really, you probably want to have a more comprehensive and holistic approach to selling NFTs, including social media and all other kinds of networking, like:

This is just a partial list, off the top of my head, but hopefully, you’ve already at least started setting up your own marketing machine…

So that’s it – the process of minting and selling NFT art, in pretty much the most simple – but still complete – form possible.

Now let’s get into a bit more detail about what NFTs really are, why there’s so much hype (and if it will last), what you can do to make your own enterprise more successful, and some further resources you can check out.

More Details, Hints, and Tips on Minting and Selling NFTs

What is an NFT, and How Do NFTs Work?

An NFT is a non-fungible computer file that has an encrypted key that connects it to a blockchain, making it a unique and fully verifiable asset.

Clear as mud, right? Ok, let’s try this again in English…

An NFT is a painting, drawing, video, music file or, really, any other kind of digital file – from a great art masterpiece to a shopping list – that has been digitally registered on a database called a blockchain to verify that it is a one-of-a-kind file. 

The blockchain is a kind of digital ledger, which is fully visible to the public and cannot be altered, and when any file – a piece of art, for example – is connected to this blockchain, it becomes an NFT (non-fungible token) and the seller of that specific token can rightly claim that it is authentic and unique, just as the buyer can be assured of the same thing.

“Fungible” simply means, according to the Oxford online dictionary, “able to replace or be replaced by another identical item; mutually interchangeable.” A unit of cryptocurrency, like Bitcoin or Ethereum, is fungible, in that one bitcoin is worth exactly the same as another, and they can be directly exchanged.

Conversely, a non-fungible token – like, again, a piece of art – is unique, has its own unique value, and cannot simply be exchanged for another token – since they are all different and have their own values.

Non-fungible tokens can be a thing, or they can represent a thing – this can be a little confusing, and is not so important in the discussion of minting and selling NFT artwork, but what I mean is this.

You can have a picture actually be a token – that is, a token is a digital file, and in this case that digital file is a painting, drawing, photo, or another visual art piece. Or you can have an NFT that represents an actual physical “real-world” piece of art, like on canvas, paper, or other physical media.

In that case, the NFT might be considered like a kind of very clear and secure bill of sale, or deed, for that piece, and can have all kinds of information which clearly links it to the physical item it represents – you can do the same for physical real estate, cars, boats, really any physical item.

Similarly, you can also mint an NFT that acts as a bill of sale for virtual assets – again, non-fungible tokens recorded on a blockchain are so very secure, transparent, and verifiable. So you can use an NFT to record the transfer of a web domain, the rights of usage of intellectual/artistic properties, or many other types of usage, ownership, or access rights of any and pretty much all virtual items and assets.

And you can even get into virtual real estate on one of the many worlds and communities that sell cyberland and use an NFT as an iron-clad deed of ownership or access. Along those same lines, you could, as an artist, sell digital art NFTs to those communities for decorating their virtual homes and offices, as well as making virtual clothing and shoes or making and minting any virtual object and selling it as an NFT.

Wow!

Getting back to our main focus, minting and selling NFT artwork, you can upload art and “mint” it on one of many different NFT platforms – that is, connect that specific artwork’s digital file to the blockchain that NFT platform uses – and sell the artwork to people who invest in NFTs – or just people who love and buy art.

And again, an NFT can include in its blockchain ledger entry lots of different information, including who owns the token, who created it and when, and specific ownership rights. This last bit is quite interesting because it means that the creator of the NFT art – you! – can keep the copyright of the piece or sell it, and can also earn a royalty fee each time the NFT is sold in the future.

There are a million more things we could discuss about NFTs, but one burning question on the minds of so many is:

Why are NFTs So Valuable?

Here is the million-dollar question – often quite literally!

People say that the value of NFT art, or any NFT file, is in the flex of having the original, verifiable, authentic thing. Even if a file is made into new NFTs down the road, you can claim, and actually verify, that you have the original edition, or an original edition, of that file, as specified and signed by the creator.

This can be compared to limited edition prints by famous artists. A high-quality lithograph of a contemporary artist’s painting can sell for a very high price, and while other editions may be printed down the road, and you might even be able to buy a cheap poster of that same painting at the mall, that specific limited edition will likely always command and maintain a high value.

In this way, NFT art is just like any art. The value of any piece of art – if we want to break the art down to monetary value – is perceived.

Art is valuable because it is beautiful – or at least striking or attractive in some way, or because it is high quality, because it is effective because the artist is famous because the market is high for that artist, that style, that period of art – tons of reasons, but these reasons are always in the eye, and the wallet, of the beholder. The value of art is always what the buyer, or the market, perceives it to be and says it is.

But the whole thing about NFT art, and its absolutely stunning popularity right now, is also largely down to the phenomenon itself – the hype around NFTs, NFT communities, famous celebrities, business people, and athletes (and, oh yeah, artists!) minting and selling NFTs. 

The huge buzz about non-fungible tokens and the prices they are starting to command on the market makes them get even more on the market, and the speculative lure of making tons of money by buying and selling them – especially since they are often directly connected to the same safe and secure blockchains as cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum (which have their own speculative craze) – makes them irresistible to many investors and buyers, who often get a little lost in the frenzy.

Are NFTs Here to Stay?

People keep talking about the NFT bubble, like they talked about the dot.com bubble, as a thing that will soon burst and leave everybody – save a few nefarious but unidentified hustlers – penniless and crying.

But is the NFT movement really an unsustainable and unrealistically over-inflated bubble that will pop at any moment – even perhaps while I type?

Well, yes, perhaps – I better type fast! – and/or no…

The basic idea is brilliant – a truly verifiable, unalterable, and transparent record forever frozen in cyberspace for any and all to see. A truly secure and valuable token that is, by its own token-ness, unique, and can verify its own creation, provenance, sales history and performance, and a lot more.

And this idea, as great, useful, and valuable as it is – and the fact that it is not only possible but easy to make happen right now – makes NFTs a kind of asset, and in one specific application a kind of digital art, which may last forever, and may always make art more valuable and buyers and investors more confident and willing to pay more money.

9 Tips on How To Get the Most from your NFTs and your Experience!

I admit that even I am pretty wowed by the spectacular speculative explosion NFTs have experienced in the last year!

They are really about 8 years old now – so last decade! – but in fact, NFT is now, really right this very second, and the wild ride is probably just beginning.

So I have written this guide to making and selling NFT art for everybody – those people who want to make millions as much as those people who simply want to promote and sell their art – maybe make just enough to pay for their rent and utilities, or even just their next digital stylus or physical tube of oil paint.

Either way, there are some basic considerations you might want to, well, consider, which might make you more valuable in the market, as well as make your customers more confident and eager initially and more happy and satisfied in the long run. They also can help you maintain a solid ethical foundation as an artist and a seller, which in addition to feeling good can also do tons to increase your reputation, visibility and value.

First, let’s mention some tips which might make your art sell better, and for more, on the various NFT platforms:

1. Choose a good platform

I’ve already briefly mentioned the most popular platforms – OpenSea, Rarible, Nifty Gateway, MakersPlace – but don’t just choose a platform based on their sales volume and performance. 

Instead, check out lots of them and find the ones that are the best fit for you – your style, your energy, your creative vision.

When you find communities of like-minded artists, you can then narrow down further based on the site’s visibility and sales performance, as well as other factors like ease of use, fees, and charges, even intangibles like how you feel visiting the site.

Ultimately you will not just have more fun, but actually sell more and for more money, on sites that fit you and your art – even if they aren’t the biggest thing right now.

2. Use other methods of marketing

Most platforms will offer lots of ways to market your art, probably both within the platform’s community and across the web, but don’t rely on just that.

Just like with pretty much any cyber-success these days, the most successful NFT artists tend to lead a well-orchestrated marketing campaign of social media, clubs and communities, videos, personal websites, and published portfolios, shows, and other exposure – even “real-world” marketing, especially in the art and investment worlds.

3. Engage in the community

That said, make sure to also use the platform’s resources – which are often included free – to your best advantage. And this includes really connecting with other artists on the platform.

Take your time to thoroughly check out the work of other artists, complement the ones you like, ask questions, comment on their posts, ask for feedback on your own work, and help them promote their pieces.

In addition to how good this kind of activity feels, how much fun it can be and how much it can help you learn and grow as an artist, you will be astonished at how it will come back to you, making you and your work much more highly visible and current and increasing your work’s perceived value and its sales.

4. Put your best work out there

This is self-explanatory, because at the end of the day your success, your reputation, and how you feel as an artist and a businessperson will be greatly, greatly improved by minting, displaying, and selling only your best work.

5. Offer a range of art

Everybody needs to start somewhere, and if you only have one or two pieces of art that you are really proud of and that are ready to sell, by all means, mint them and get in the market.

But keep in mind that buyers like to see a wider range of art – it gives them options (so they don’t feel as much need to check out other artists) and it helps them better know you, and have confidence and connection with you as a creator.

Whether you create to make money, or to make yourself happy, just keep creating, keep minting, and watch your buzz grow!

Let me also mention a few other ideas, which may be a bit more philosophical than practical but which can not only make you feel better about yourself and your work, have more fun and get more out of the whole process of making and selling NFT art, but can also have a big effect on your commercial success.

6. Be true to yourself as an artist

Simple cartoons and avatars, clone-like copies of a basic image with slight variations, self-creating or auto-evolving art, crude pixelated images, these all are red-hot – for today, at least – and they can have real artistic value as well, not to mention a much higher level of craft and effort than their often simple appearance might suggest.

But if you are a different kind of artist, who prefers creating more traditional stuff, like beautiful portraits, landscapes or still lifes, abstract or representational – whatever your thing is – keeping to your own style and artistic vision may not seem like the most popular, timely or intensely hyper-sellable tactic, but you will be doing what you yourself value and love, and there will always be others who feel the same.

7. Quality of the art and craft

Whatever type or style of art you end up creating, minting, and selling, the real value comes not just from current trends, crazes, or market conditions, but also from the same enduring values that have set certain artists apart throughout history, like the quality and the level of craft of the art itself.

So whether you are selling scribbles, doodles, transformative blurs, fine art landscapes, or photo-realistic portraits, pixelated avatars, or subtle, sublime anime characters, make your work as good as it can possibly be, something you are proud to display and that buyers will be proud to own.

8. Limited Editions and No Repeats

As I mentioned earlier, you can make a mint selling a limited edition, or even a single edition, of an art piece, and then later on mint another edition of the exact same piece.

The question is, will this really serve you in the long run?

As with all things, customers over the long term will prefer and stay loyal to, artists they can trust and have more confidence in buying pieces they know are truly limited – and those pieces will also hold more value over time.

9. Original Work

It is possible to take the work of another artist and kind of re-mix it, adding elements, morphing or altering aspects of the picture, and then newly mint the results as your own work.

And while this is a thing, and there is a market for reworks and “tributes” and the like, it may not be the best tactic for somebody who wants to be a successful part of the whole NFT scene for the long term. 

Reworking other artists’ work can create doubt about your ethics as an artist, can even provoke hostility among other artists, investors, and the press, and can even raise legal questions. Indeed, some NFT platforms either discourage or have strict policies against, such work.

Creating and minting new and wholly original works, on the other hand, will help you establish your name and creative vision, will inspire confidence on many levels from customers and other artists, and will most likely make you more successful financially as well.

This is a controversial subject, however, and there are tons of NFTs and other forms of digital art out there which are remakes of other original pieces. Some people find no problem at all with such a practice, and the pieces can sell very well – especially because they often already have a certain level of familiarity and cultural cache.

Other Resources on NFTs, Blockchains, Cryptocurrency and NFT Art

Check out my interview with Javier Arres, the world-renowned crypto artist

Because I am not an expert on all of the topics and sub-topics, and because I simply can’t cover everything, I thought I would close this article with some links to articles, videos, and other resources elsewhere on the web.

NFTs – Comprehensive Explanatory Articles

Blockchains – Comprehensive Explanatory Articles

Gas Prices Explained

A Few Examples of Celebrities Making NFT Art

Apes, Punks, and other phenomenons

NFT Videos and Podcasts – General

Thanks so much for reading through this long, long, long article – or at least skipping to the end! I hope it helps you to understand the process of minting and selling NFTs or NFT collections, and to understand the whole hot and crazy non-fungible world better.

Make sure to also check out my website – Art Side of Life – for more buyer’s guides, articles, online courses, and many other resources – the perfect site for any artist!

Hi, I am Iva (rhymes with “viva”). I am an artist, illustrator, teacher, and the founder of Art Side of Life™. I've worked as a commercial artist since 2009. I believe that we are all creative in infinite numbers of ways so I’ve made it my mission to teach you everything I know, to contribute to waking up your creative genius.

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