How to Turn AI Art Into a Side Hustle

 How to Make AI Art a Side Business

How to Turn AI Art Into a Side Hustle

Since last summer, many of you may have noticed that the internet has been flooded with an extraordinary amount of surreal and photorealistic imagery. This phenomenon is not due to an explosion of painting talent, but to text-to-image generators, a new artificial intelligence (AI) technology that is reshaping many industries.

With these AIs, users can type in text prompts what they want to see. Specify the media, style and content, and the image will appear in minutes. Photos tend to come out imperfect and have to be reworked many times, but the results are amazing.

Hardcore users are starting to monetize their creations through a variety of means, from merchandise to comics to Non Fungible Tokens (NFTs).

Let's take a look at the most commonly used text-to-image generators and how to use them for your side hustle.

Text to Image AI Generator

The field of AI art is changing very quickly, and new services are hitting the market at breakneck speed. However, some key tools stand out and are being tried by everyone involved in the new field.

All services mentioned in this article grant broad commercial licenses to their users. However, legal battles over copyrighted material in datasets used to train AI models may still be looming. Further issues regarding copyright protection of your own AI artwork are also largely unresolved.


The first AI art to appear on most people's radars came from his DALL-E 2, a text-to-image generator by OpenAI. It was announced in April this year and opened to the public in late September.

Among its contemporaries, DALL-E 2 might be the most advanced in terms of photorealistic visuals. Additionally, it contains an inpainting feature that enables image alteration based on text descriptions. In addition, outpainting enlarges an image beyond its initial boundaries while maintaining artistic coherence.

However, tinkering with the DALL-E 2 can be expensive, so we recommend using it sparingly until the unlimited subscription model is released. New users receive 50 free credits upon registration plus an additional 15 credits each month. $15 for 115 credits. For each credit, the text prompt will generate 4 variations.

stable diffusion

Stable Diffusion is the most flexible of the leading text-to-image generators on the market, but it is also the least user-friendly. Released by StabilityAI in late August, Stable Diffusion is capable of inpainting, inpainting, and image-to-image conversion. This means you can take an existing image and transform its style.

Stable Diffusion's model is open source and deviates from rivals' DALL-E 2 and Midjourney's proprietary models. This means it can run locally with unlimited capacity and can also bypass NSFW filters. This is especially useful for those creating narrative art that often includes sex and violence.

StabilityAI also runs a cloud service called (Dream Studio) that makes AI easier to use, although maybe not as much as DALL-E 2 or Midjourney. The company offers new users his 200 free credits. Additional credits are $1.18 for 100. Depending on your setup, 1 credit may not equal 1 image of him.


Released into open beta in July, Midjourney has become the tool of choice for many making their first forays into AI art. Currently it only works with Discord, but plans for a web-based version are underway. A Midjourney bot can be spawned by inviting it to his Discord server.

Midjourney doesn't have inpainting or outpainting yet, but it does have a new remix feature that lets you redesign your prompts after seeing the results. Remixing, combined with upscaling and versioning features that allow you to further modify your images, means you can keep evolving your creations until you get closer to what you want.

Midjourney will offer users 25 image generations as a trial, after which a tiered membership structure will be available. A basic subscription costs $10 and provides 200 generations. This goes surprisingly fast. The unlimited plan costs $30, but if you don't want your output to appear on his public Discord channel, you'll have to pay another $20.

Basically, a person who is serious about commercializing Midjourney's artwork, he spends $50 a month. Still, at this time, it's the only AI available on the unlimited plan other than running Stable Diffusion locally.

AI Art Side Hustle

Monetizing AI art is a new development. With the exception of NFTs, most creators are still in the very early stages of building their business models. That said, their audience is snowballing, and the market for human-AI collaboration could boom before robots take full control.

AI Art Social Media Influencers

AI artist and YouTuber Steve Boardman, who goes by the handle ErotemeArt, told his Wealth of Geeks that he sees the new technology as creating a three-tiered structure for creators looking to monetize. Told. Each tier has earning potential, but the better results are weighted towards those working in the second and his third tier.

The first layer, Boardman said, is the image, which is now so easy to create that it resembles the product or raw material. The second tier is to use the images for larger projects such as comics and encyclopedias. Tier 3 then sells services to Tier 2 and Tier 1 creators. This is because you will need a support structure to develop and sell your work.

Boardman's YouTube channel spawned his Discord community for AI artists. Creators there talk about how to improve the quality of their work and break out commercially. His Discord native side of Midjourney seems to help form such a community.

In fact, another YouTuber named Cyankatana has taken a similar approach and started a Discord. Cyankatana told Wealth of Geeks that he foresees a large market for AI artists in the game development and film industries, but has yet to reach it. For now, he believes most people sell prints, stock images, NFTs, freelance work, and of course social media.

AI Art prints and collectibles

At least he says one major stock photo library, Getty Images, has banned AI art for fear of legal challenge, but one area where these raw images are being commercialized is print-on Demand (POD).

One of his POD sites that has become particularly popular among AI artists is his Redbubble. Etsy charges listing fees and Shopify hosting fees, but Redbubble allows users to get started with no overhead. This feature is very important when there remains uncertainty as to whether an image will be sold.

Boardman's Redbubble shop generated enough revenue to cover his Midjourney subscription in just two months. Still, he admits that uploading new designs can take time and saturate the market. He suggests taking a multi-pronged approach and working with local brick-and-mortar stores that lack the know-how to generate AI art themselves is prudent. He explains that he has already started doing so at the local pubs in his neighborhood.

Part of the strategy is to create a curated his POD shop that fosters rarity awareness with limited releases. His Shopify store, called Artiful Intelligence, advertises releasing only 42 new products each month.

Comics and AI Art

One application of AI art that has excited many would-be fiction writers is comics. In the past, the barriers to completing a feature-length work of fiction were high.A novel must have hundreds of pages of tone, but a screenplay is meaningless unless it is produced. Rightly or wrongly, many perceive comics to be a more forgiving medium than novels.And unlike movies, they are cheaper to make.

But only if you can draw. Hiring an illustrator also tends to exceed the budget of most aspiring writers, but the fastest way to get an artist running is to offer a fair working arrangement.

Enter AI Art Tools. It's probably not as useful to any category of person as an aspiring comics writer. After gaining widespread access in just a few months, some have already begun publishing and selling book-length works.

Featured AI Art Comics

The first to appear seems to have been Kevin Hess, whose 706-page edition of his Midjourney illustrations of his 1938 science fiction novel Star Maker is available on his Amazon. Hess has stated in interviews that he does not consider himself an artist. Nonetheless, it appears that he was actually the first person to draw a feature-length graphic his novel with his AI art.

Another person who has tried his hand at AI comics is author and mid-journey his artist Adam J. Rodriguez. It's free to download, but at the time of writing, issue #1 of his series Stargazer holds the #2 spot for his sci-fi graphic novels on Amazon. (Previously, it was number one.)

Rodriguez, a long-time comic aspirant who previously ventured into Stargazer with an illustrator, told Wealth of Geeks that he was delighted and humbled to have gained an audience in the world of AI art. He says he does. So as long as this first release is free, it's fine, he says. His work is also featured in his anthology called Artexmachine, along with nine of his other comics, and the cover is drawn by legendary artist Dave McKean of his Sandman fame.

AI Art and his NFTs

It may seem paradoxical that NFTs are the most established avenue for making money in AI art. After all, most people have only known him about NFTs since around the summer of 2021.

It should be pointed out that generative art, or using code to create art, has been around for decades. Some of NFT's early success stories were generative art projects, a trend that continues to this day. Tyler Hobbs, whose Fidenza collection currently trades for the lowest price of around $128,000, uses algorithms to create his art.

However, a new wave of AI artists using the text-to-image generators discussed in this article, often in combination with Photoshop and other post-production tools, are hard at work designing NFTs and marketing them on his Twitter. It is working. Some artists sell his NFTs at bargain prices on platforms such as Objkt, his NFT marketplace, the largest on the Tezos blockchain. Others take the reverse route and apply to select venues like the Ethereum Marketplace SuperRare.

A word of wisdom for anyone looking this route: Creating an NFT right away and listing it on the market won't get you anywhere. Having a presence in the AI ​​art community is a much better strategy. But all this takes time. Just like anything else, sit back and get ready to learn the craft.

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