This Guy Sells Drawings of Pizza and Sharks Online (and Earns $2,000/Month)

Abbas Husain all the time doodled. Within the corners of notebooks, napkins, no matter he might discover.

However he by no means imagined he might actually make a residing from it.

Even after finding out artwork in school, he discovered himself working a collection of company and restaurant jobs.

He was depressing. And at age 30, he determined he’d had sufficient. He began sharing the artwork that had been relegated to the depths of his creativeness.

Sharks holding muffins. Dinosaurs sporting excessive heels. Watermelephants.  

And other people ate it up. Husain now earns round $2,000 monthly promoting his artwork on-line at Bagman Studios.

Giving the ‘Grownup World’ a Strive

Although Husain centered on drawing and narrative arts in school — a choice that most likely didn’t supply “the quantity of worth [he’s] nonetheless paying for” — he graduated unconvinced he might become profitable from artwork.  

So he entered the “grownup world”: He held a supervisory position at a T-shirt printing firm, then finally returned to handle the bar the place he’d labored in school.

Nothing felt proper.

“I ought to’ve all the time recognized I wouldn’t be joyful if I wasn’t doing art work,” he says. “However it took me type of some time to determine.”

In February 2016, he noticed a means out.

His mother wanted assist shifting out of her home — assist he might present in change for a free place to remain. He stop his job and headed residence to make artwork; he simply didn’t know which type but.

“I went to speak to my profession steering man from artwork faculty,” he says. “His first piece of recommendation was ‘don’t stop your day job.’ I used to be like… ‘What’s the second piece?’”

Beginning to Display Print

a girl holding artwork
Abbas Husain’s work depicts animals as you’ve got by no means seen them earlier than. Carmen Mandato/The Penny Hoarder

At first, Husain centered on merchandise: pins and hats, issues he “thought individuals would want.” Then, on the facet, he experimented with display screen prints to “satiate” his creativity.

“I knew the way it labored in concept, however I had by no means truly printed something earlier than,” he explains. “It was a fairly irritating couple months. I tousled a variety of prints… a lot of prints.”

Fortunately, his overhead prices had been pretty low. He spent roughly $300 on provides like screens and ink, after which rented studio time at a neighborhood print store for $12 per hour.

He “bought higher with each print,” and someday in August, randomly posted certainly one of his photographs on Reddit. It was of sharks sitting in a movie show — and far to his shock, individuals went loopy over it.

“It actually blew up,” he says. “That kickstarted my web site and shifted what I needed to do. So as an alternative of attempting to create a line of merchandise, I began concentrating by myself craft and making bizarre prints.

Balancing Creativity and Shoppers

From there, he stored advertising and marketing his enterprise by means of Instagram and his web site — and due to the distinctiveness of his artwork, “began to construct a fairly good following on the web.”

Regardless of that, he’s stored his costs low, calling “core” a part of his enterprise.

“I’ve seen prints my measurement going for $20-$25, however I believe $15 is a fairly honest place for them,” he says. Every design is handmade and has a restricted run — often simply 100 prints.

He dietary supplements that revenue with the freelance purchasers who trickled in as his on-line attain grew.

The scope of the initiatives ranges tremendously: from a serious gig with a greeting card firm to “bizarre small stuff” — just like the current fee to attract a person, his girlfriend, an elephant and a giraffe.

For fundamental pen-and-marker drawings, Husain expenses as little as $100, however for greater assignments, he usually begins round $400-$500.

“I’ve gotten loads higher at ensuring I solely take initiatives I need to do,” he says. “I’ve quantity of people that ask for emblem design, and I don’t take pleasure in [that]. So I attempt to concentrate on illustration.”

Between prints and consumer work, Husain grosses about $2,000 monthly. And although he works full time and now has his personal place, it’s removed from a 9-to-5.

“I type of work on the whims of my creativity,” he says. “Some days I’ll play video video games; some days I’ll draw for 14 hours if I’m within the zone.”

three Suggestions for Aspiring Artists

Abbas Husain Artwork
Varied works by Abbas Husain. Carmen Mandato/The Penny Hoarder

Over the previous two years, Husain has realized loads.

Right here’s a few of his recommendation for aspiring artists who need to receives a commission to attract:

1. Begin small

Early in his enterprise, Husain made the error of spending $800 to print 1000’s of customized pizza stickers.  

“In my head, I used to be like ‘Oh individuals will certainly purchase these’ — and hardly anybody did,” he says.

So when it got here to T-shirts, he began small by utilizing Printful, a service that prints your designs on-demand and ships them to the shopper for you.

Although he beloved Printful’s merchandise, in addition to its potential to combine together with his Shopify web site, he just lately switched to Merch by Amazon so he might supply Prime delivery.

2. Create marketable merchandise

Husain attributes a lot of his success to the actual fact his merchandise are reasonably priced and consumable.

“My stuff is fairly bizarre and pleasant and never terribly pretentious,” he says. “It’s very easy-to-digest pop artwork.”

The scale of his artwork can also be purposeful: eight.5” x 11” prints are cheap to print and mail.

Husain strongly believes “you shouldn’t decrease the price of your work if it’s good” — which is a part of the explanation he hasn’t tried to promote bigger or costlier items but.

“I don’t assume it’s sustainable to promote massive stuff on a regular basis,” he says. “Discover a approach to make low cost prints or flip [your art] right into a product individuals can eat.”

three. Push your self

All through his entrepreneurial journey, Husain says just one factor has remained constant: “Folks will reply to stuff that’s good — and that you simply put work into.”

So, regardless of the actual fact display screen printing might be “tedious,” he says his prospects love “the actual fact it’s handmade and restricted version.”

With that in thoughts, he encourages artists to push themselves, saying: “There are such a lot of alternatives to get higher in your individual work.”

If you wish to enhance at a specific talent, he recommends watching YouTube tutorials or utilizing a web site like Pluralsight to study Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator.  

Staying True to Himself

Abbas Husain pizza michigan
Do you acknowledge the form of this pizza work by Abbas Husain? Carmen Mandato/ The Penny Hoarder

“Folks can inform when one thing’s disingenuous,” says Husain.

Which is why he’s decided to stay true to himself in his artwork — and his method to enterprise.

“This 12 months, my largest objective was to not need to put on pants which might be extra severe than sweatpants,” he says.

“I’ve solely needed to put on denims for about 20 minutes, and that was on the way in which to the shop to purchase a brand new pair of sweatpants. So, to date the 12 months goes nice — aside from these 20 minutes.”

Susan Shain is a contract author and digital nomad. She covers journey, meals and private finance (mainly, how to economize so you possibly can journey extra and eat extra). Go to her weblog at, or say hello on Twitter @susan_shain.

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