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Ideas to Monetize My Wife's Drawing Skills

Chapas

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First of all, I want to apologize for hijacking this forum. I think this is my third thread within a week. I will keep the number down in the future. I promise!

Story short. My wife has been drawing and painting her whole life. This is what she does best and what she enjoys doing. She has an education in Fashion Design and have had her own flower shop in the past, however, drawing and painting is what I believe she can really excel in.

The issue is that it is a very saturated market. There are SO many people creating beautiful art. The whole of Instagram is packed with it. There is this prejudice about artists will always be and stay poor. I want to change that - at least for my wife.

The pros are that she has a real talent for drawing. At least I believe that - even though I might be biased. Also she is very hardworking and I know she will work her a$$ of to succeed. The cons are that she does not speak english and she does not have the entrepreneurial mindset. She wants to do what she is best at doing, and have not thought a lot about how to make money from it yet.

Art is not something I am an expert is. That is why I am reaching out to you guys, as I know there is someone around here that might have an idea or two of how she can take the next step.

Luckily for her - she has me (and vice versa of course haha). I will help her with business development and marketing, so all she has to do is what she does best - drawing and painting.

My initial idea when we stayed in Denmark, was to create a portrait business for her. Where she would draw portraits on request, and I believe that we could have created a little income for her there. However, now we are in Montenegro, and I can definately say that it will not be possible to convince people to spend around 50 dollars for a portrait here (around 5-10 % of their monthly income). So we have to think outside the box - and preferably online.

We could start growing an audience for her on Instagram. This market is just so saturated with great artists, so I am just not sure about which way to go here. I am by no means an Instagram expert. So any inputs and ideas on how we could differentiate her on IG will be great!

She only draws by hand. And this gives a lot of limitations aswell. If she could draw on the computer, I am sure that we could create her a decent income on Fiverr or Upwork. The plan is to get her some courses so she learns how to do the online thing in the future. As it is probably where the potential is!

Is there any ideas I havent though about yet, and am I missing something REALLY basic here? I am really open to any ideas. Even the most crazy ones. If she could generate 500-1000 dollars a month. Even that would be amazing. I just want her to have the feeling of being proud that she actually is doing something she loves, and is being rewarded for that.

I have attached some of her recent work, so you might get an inspiration about which kind of style she uses in her drawings.

Thank you guys for your time and your help!
nXe5MtLoZ18.jpg W_6zGGa2nZs.jpg f-R-4QgvIHg.jpg BLu9DWIPzjA.jpg 350CyJl1M_o.jpg M0INdF08v8Y.jpg WSwuSQPWjVE.jpg EpD-CdLJKjU.jpg RHjkl1hE3ZY.jpg 9LY9MHcVDEs.jpg
 

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loop101

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Scott Adams would say to combine her drawing skill with a few other skills, and be the best at that combination of skills. For example, he is not the best at drawing, writing, or comedy, but he is a good cartoonist. She doesn't have to be the best at drawing, most people aren't. Maybe she could do "face-swap" drawings, caricatures from photos, age progression or regression drawings, embedding people in to drawings of famous events, etc. The drawing ability would just be one component to the solution she offered people.

Dilbert Creator Scott Adams Reveals The Simple Formula That Will Double Your Odds Of Success

If she is selling the drawings one at a time, she is trading time for money, and will not be able to scale her enterprise per Fastlane methodology.
 
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Mainstream7

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Her drawings are very versatile and fit well for graphic design, even children´s books and tshirt designs.
If she´s willing to do that, that´s a start.
 

Jeff Noel

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There's a few subreddits (on Reddit) where people are looking for competent pencil artists to draw portraits of themselves or their family. She could do a couple for free and start charging people after that.
 

Isaac Oh

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Draw provocative stuff, get attention on insta, and link a marketplace.

Niche down on a type of drawing (e.g. disneytize people's wedding photos), create cotent on insta, push ads to target market (people looking at wedding services)

Go on websites with illustrations, draw one thats better, offer to sell it to them
 

PizzaOnTheRoof

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I listened to a podcast (TMBA I think) about a guy who designed T-shirt’s for instagram, put the design up as available for sale for 24 hours only and then it was gone forever.

I could see someone (your wife) doing the same thing. Maybe a time lapse gif of her drawing/painting the piece.

Or painting murals for business?

Get creative!
 

ManlyMansNegator

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Scott Adams would say to combine her drawing skill with a few other skills, and be the best at that combination of skills. For example, he is not the best at drawing, writing, or comedy, but he is a good cartoonist. She doesn't have the best at drawing, most people aren't. Maybe she could do "face-swap" drawings, caricatures from photos, age progression or regression drawings, embedding people in to drawings of famous events, etc. The drawing ability would just be one component to the solution she offered people.

Dilbert Creator Scott Adams Reveals The Simple Formula That Will Double Your Odds Of Success

If she is selling the drawings one at a time, she is trading time for money, and will not be able to scale her enterprise per Fastlane methodology.
Always was interested in combo skills.You have a rarity associated with a skill for instance painting might be done by 10% of the population while writing by 20% but multiplying the skills grants you a new skill done by only (ideal ) 2% or so of the population.
 

SazzleB

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Hello Chapas. Lovely work by your wife! Thought I'd throw in some advice, primarily as my sister is a side artist (whilst also holding down a full time job) and I also freelance for an Arts Charity who run the biggest drawing festival in the world.

I wouldn't say NOT speaking English is a con...drawing is a universal language and breaks down barriers and is understandable in any language so see that as a plus. Here are a few suggestions;

-If you do Instagram...perhaps run a competition to win a print / or your own portrait. You would need to start building up a following but the posts that we post that do well are artist quotes and drawing tips. Videos of her doing her work on instagram & in stories should go down well. This can even go alongside a YouTube channel as there are so many people wanting to learn to be stronger artists. Once you have gained traction, perhaps contact an art company for prizes and build that into pulling your audience?

-In my old life in the waste industry I attended lots of trade shows. One stand had a caricature artist and was always busy. Perhaps contact trade shows or those having stands as they are always looking to be a bit different and customers will remember them aswell as the artist. This could work well anywhere I think. Your wife has a strong feminine style and I am sure an event targeted at women/lifestyle would be great! I also know bloggers who do portraits at store events/openings so that is another target.

-Put your prints in local cafes, libraries, independent bookshops? My sister worked in a bookshop years ago and used to fill the window with some of her prints and she sold them! That's how she started.

-If there is no art market, start one in your local area. Charge for stalls and do it twice a year. This gets you to scale it up a bit instead of you relying to sell prints all the time. Our local one does a summer and winter fair in a high street and one chap always sells out his paintings...they are around £400 a piece and the stand looks remarkable. Stalls are approx £50 and there is about 200 of them.

-Can you test market running an art class? The most successful ones I have been to are naked neon life drawing and live animal drawing! You could do a day course or a 6 week course but you could find out what people want? This could make your wife the go to person for arts in your area.

-Perhaps an eBook?

Hope that helps and gives you some further ideas and thoughts! Good Luck!! Saz :)
 
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Chapas

Chapas

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Guys, you never fail to amaze me! Thank you so much for this feedback. A lot of great stuff that I have not thought about yet.

@loop101
Interesting read! And it all makes perfect sense. I know we have to find a niche for her. I will try to figure out what kind of skill-set she can combine with her drawing, to make her stand out from the crowd. Right now the purpose is not make her go fastlane. Right now, I just want her to gain confidence that she can actually make money from what she loves to do. And then in some years I will of course make her read the books and implement the fastlane mentality in her!

@Mainstream7
For Graphic Design she first needs to learn how to draw on the computer. That is also one of the goals. T-shirt designs I have also thought about, but that also requires her to draw on the computer, right? Childrens books are a great idea. My dad actually writes children stories, so I will try to see if I can get them to work together - he writes and she draws. Then I will of course have to translate everything from Russian to English :-D Thanks for the tips!

@Jeff Noel
Thank you. We checked one of them out yesterday. Reddits Gets Drawn. She already found some interesting ones she wants to draw from there (e.g. a 22-year old cat called Ivan Ivanovich haha). However, the subreddit looks like it is just people wanting everything drawn for free. Not sure how to charge people in there. Nevertheless, it is a great place to build a following and a name for herself. Thanks buddy!

@Isaac Oh
Really appreciate the advice. I especially like the second one. I think we might jump in on that. One question though. What is the best way to go when she is drawing in hand or not on a computer regarding actually sending the customers the finished product. If someone from the US pays her to draw their wedding photo, it will be an expensive and long process of sending the portrait to them by snail mail (we are in Montenegro now). Or is it common in this field that artists who draws by hand simply just scan their portraits and then the customers print them out themselves? I am a newbie here, so I have no idea how business models works in this field. Also if you could please elaborate the last idea. Which kind of websites with illustrations would be a great fit?

@PizzaOnTheRoof
I love the scarcity feeling in this one! I think that would get me to buy haha! It instantly forces people to take action. I love it! But then again the issue I have. How do we implement her drawings by hand, to t-shirt design? I know there must be some sort of software/program where you upload the drawing you made by hand and can turn it into an online drawing. Any recommendations for that? The time lapse thing is great aswell btw. We plan to buy her an Iphone holder that will film her drawing. Then create a timelapse so people can see the whole process.

@ManlyMansNegator
That is a very interesting thought. I think that can be applied to everything in life. Will look more into that and apply that to my own mindset aswell!

@SazzleB
Thank you so much for this long and interesting post! A lot of great stuff we can use from here, I am sure.

I agree with you. The good thing about drawing is that it is an universal language. However, many of the great ideas she cannot use at this moment due to the fact that she does not speak English (I am in the process of teaching her, and in a year HOPEFULLY she will speak it!).

Instagram is a must. I will create one for her shortly. Interesting ideas you have. Do you have a link to your IG profile, so we can get some inspiration?

I really like the ideas about Trade Shows, Art Market and Art Class. Unfortunately, the place where we are right now, does not really have the market for that. We are staying in a small city of approximately 20.000 people in a country where we do not speak the language. So really great ideas, but we really have to think online and outside of our current domestic market.
 

AT112233

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Guys, you never fail to amaze me! Thank you so much for this feedback. A lot of great stuff that I have not thought about yet.

@loop101
Interesting read! And it all makes perfect sense. I know we have to find a niche for her. I will try to figure out what kind of skill-set she can combine with her drawing, to make her stand out from the crowd. Right now the purpose is not make her go fastlane. Right now, I just want her to gain confidence that she can actually make money from what she loves to do. And then in some years I will of course make her read the books and implement the fastlane mentality in her!

@Mainstream7
For Graphic Design she first needs to learn how to draw on the computer. That is also one of the goals. T-shirt designs I have also thought about, but that also requires her to draw on the computer, right? Childrens books are a great idea. My dad actually writes children stories, so I will try to see if I can get them to work together - he writes and she draws. Then I will of course have to translate everything from Russian to English :-D Thanks for the tips!

@Jeff Noel
Thank you. We checked one of them out yesterday. Reddits Gets Drawn. She already found some interesting ones she wants to draw from there (e.g. a 22-year old cat called Ivan Ivanovich haha). However, the subreddit looks like it is just people wanting everything drawn for free. Not sure how to charge people in there. Nevertheless, it is a great place to build a following and a name for herself. Thanks buddy!

@Isaac Oh
Really appreciate the advice. I especially like the second one. I think we might jump in on that. One question though. What is the best way to go when she is drawing in hand or not on a computer regarding actually sending the customers the finished product. If someone from the US pays her to draw their wedding photo, it will be an expensive and long process of sending the portrait to them by snail mail (we are in Montenegro now). Or is it common in this field that artists who draws by hand simply just scan their portraits and then the customers print them out themselves? I am a newbie here, so I have no idea how business models works in this field. Also if you could please elaborate the last idea. Which kind of websites with illustrations would be a great fit?

@PizzaOnTheRoof
I love the scarcity feeling in this one! I think that would get me to buy haha! It instantly forces people to take action. I love it! But then again the issue I have. How do we implement her drawings by hand, to t-shirt design? I know there must be some sort of software/program where you upload the drawing you made by hand and can turn it into an online drawing. Any recommendations for that? The time lapse thing is great aswell btw. We plan to buy her an Iphone holder that will film her drawing. Then create a timelapse so people can see the whole process.

@ManlyMansNegator
That is a very interesting thought. I think that can be applied to everything in life. Will look more into that and apply that to my own mindset aswell!

@SazzleB
Thank you so much for this long and interesting post! A lot of great stuff we can use from here, I am sure.

I agree with you. The good thing about drawing is that it is an universal language. However, many of the great ideas she cannot use at this moment due to the fact that she does not speak English (I am in the process of teaching her, and in a year HOPEFULLY she will speak it!).

Instagram is a must. I will create one for her shortly. Interesting ideas you have. Do you have a link to your IG profile, so we can get some inspiration?

I really like the ideas about Trade Shows, Art Market and Art Class. Unfortunately, the place where we are right now, does not really have the market for that. We are staying in a small city of approximately 20.000 people in a country where we do not speak the language. So really great ideas, but we really have to think online and outside of our current domestic market.
Not a biz idea, but a time saver for artists - buy a projector. After I got one, all my proportions were intact and saved hours!
 

Danny Sullivan

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T-shirt designs I have also thought about, but that also requires her to draw on the computer, right?
While this is true, her pictures could also be scanned and edited on computer with little to no effort (like background erasing etc). I don't think you'd need a subscription to the new photoshop if you can get your hands on an old Photoshop CS3 Version or something similiar.

May i point you to websites like spreadshirt.com, shirtee.com and redbubble.com with spreadshirt currently beeing the most userfriendly and most used platform (according to a german youtube who's uploading designs on a regular basis). I'm no expert in this matter by any means though - just giving directions.

All you have to do is to upload your designs and these sites handle the selling and shipping for you. Besides this i would promote her designs on instagram and facebook to get some audience. Might no be the ticket to the fastlane, but is sure is something to start with.

I'd also think about creating a gallery for her art on deviantart.com, which is no platform for sales (as far as i know - even though some are selling their pictures on canvas on request), but something to build an audience with.

Patreon might be another platfrom you want to look into. With her skills she might aswell get people to support her with her drawings (or even do drawings on demand?).

Best of luck!
 

AllenCrawley

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Develop a social following.
Create time-lapse videos of the art being created.
Offer commissioned art.
Sell prints of her work on website.
Sell originals on website.
Frame prints to sell in art shops.
Sell drawing tutorials.
Use patreon.

One of my favorites artists is Heather Rooney. A young woman with stunning artistic abilities. The above seems to be her business model and from the looks of it, it's going very well for her.

1.3 million subs on youtube.
740K followers on facebook.
340K follower on instagram.

 

ChrisV

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Comercial art. If you think you’re going o make money selling paintings, I think you’ll be disappointed. It’s like having dreams of being a basketball star or a famous rapper. It may work, but imo the odds are stacked against you. Now other art? Web design, animation, advertising, illustrator.

Is it possible to just sell drawings for drawings sake? Sure. I just think it would be more likely the other way.
 

Disciple96

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I'm by no means an expert, but a couple of things to keep in mind:

I see you've read TMF, I reccomend picking up Unscripted as it goes much, much more in depth into the CENTS philosophy.

The market may be oversaturated, (Entry, Need) but it has it's strengths. You can overcome these but it will be a real challenge as she must be fully on board with becoming not just a great artist, but an exceptional artist. This has a lot more to do with serving the needs of clients than actually being artistically talented.

I would reccomend going digital asap. She needs to open her own personal website and blog. You can help her in the beginning, but she will need to learn english.

It may seem like a downside that she isn't an English speaker now, but if you think of the biggest youtubers right now they are mostly serving foreign markets (Pewdiepie, T-series).

So in reality, this gives her a major advantage as she can play both fields at once.

She also needs to isolate her income from her time, which is really easy with art. Royalties are the first thing that comes to mind - illustrating books is something that pays both now and later. Ideally, she would own the book in it's entirety - maybe a cool coloring book?

Be prepared for the fact it may take a year or more to actually start seeing any income. She could write a blog on how to be an artist, her process, but then plug and play with affiliate links or even her own brand of affordable supplies. The most important thing is to gain readership that she can turn into paying customers.

In the meantime, freelancing for authors who need illustrations done is a good idea. But my main takeaway is: learnEnglish, and go digital with her art.

There's a reason MJ kinda recommends against this though. She's probably going to hate painting if she actually puts all that effort in, and odds are she's going to prefer to keep it a hobby.

And social media is fun, but it's simply a game designed to keep you addicted and thinking you're making progress when you're spinning your wheels. It's handy, but not as a primary or even secondary focus. That should always be on something within your control, i.e. a personal blog. Everything else social media wise can be woven into the blog.
 

ChrisV

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PS: your wife is an amazing artist!

Also, i thought of a few things:

stock graphic sites may be interested in buying her work. Graphic artists use stock images for all sorts of things. Like say i’m putting together a website and need a picture of smiling campers around a campfire, or a drawing of a redhead. So they may buy her drawings.

Creative Market is good

16 great places to sell your design work online | Creative Bloq

The 15 best websites to sell art online – ART + marketing

or just google it sites to sell your work - Google Search

I heard from a few of my Artist friends Shopify has a bunch od good articles on how to monetize your artwork

Start, grow, and scale your business - Shopify
 

NewManRising

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Freelance. Also selling original drawings on a personal website/blog. Maybe even think about using her drawings to print on clothing or other products. Later on she can also take advantage of a marketing strategy called user generated content. If she has a site and a business, she can have users submit their drawings/concepts, and have the community/users vote on the submissions. The highest voted then gets drawn by her and put on her product to sell. It also works well when you give the person who submitted the idea credit and some type of incentive.
 
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Chapas

Chapas

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Guys, thank you so much for the ideas. I am amazed by the help you are given us! I just skimmed through them quickly. Will read them properly when we get home on Saturday and reply each and everyone of you. So much quality stuff here! Will use your ideas and create a plan for 2019. Now she has no excuses for not taking action haha!
 
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Chapas

Chapas

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Sorry for the late reply guys. Really been way way to busy, so completely forgot about this thread. Your advice means everything to us! Really appreciate it :)

@AT112233

Thanks! We will definately look into that in the future. When we got some more money on our hands haha.

@jasoncuellar123

We actually just made a Fiverr for her today. Lets see how it will plan out! :)

@Danny Sullivan

I will try to get a hold of an old photoshop version. Issue is also that I have totally occupied her computer, as I accidently smashed my own some weeks ago. So plan is now to fix my own computer, so she can use her own for her business haha.

I have actually considered Spreadshirt before. Also I got a recommendation for something called Printify that seems very interesting aswell.

Devianart is on the list now also. Thanks! And Patreon is genious! I had never heard about it before I read your comment. Will definately try to create a Patreon for her. Thank you buddy!

@Allan Crawley

Wow. Heather Rooney is amazing! Thank you for the inspiration. Will definately show her to my wife. Think that will really inspire her!

@ChrisV

Thanks buddy! I agree with you. B2B is the way to go. Now I just want her to slowly make some spare change from what she loves to do, and get some more motivation to take it even further. But definately agree with your point that B2B is where the money is at!

I have never thought about Stock Graphic Sites. Will definately look into that. Seems to be a good market for it. Will check out the articles aswell!

@Disciple96

I will definately pick up Unscripted soon! And probably also re-read the Fastlane Millionaire.

I definately want her to seperate income from time. However, now she has all the time in the world on her hands, and she really enjoys drawing and painting. Illustrating books are a really great idea! My dad writes himself, and maybe I can somehow merge their skills and create some children books out of it for example.

English and Digital is key points. That is probably the two most important goals for 2019. Will try to make it happen! Thanks for the thorough advice. Really appreciate it!

@NewManRising

I really like the user generated content strategy! This is definately something I will organize for her when she gets a bigger following. Thank you very much for the advice!
 

Thomas Baptiste

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There are several ways to go about this and it depends entirely on what exactly you want. If your focus is monetizing her art, you need to determine which market is looking for art, specifically the type of art she can create.

  • For general exposure to the creatively inclined I would recommend digital art be sold on deviantart.com. As a graphic designer, I've found some great resources there and seen some jaw dropping pieces of art there.
  • Also attempt to apply her pieces to t-shirts, posters, stickers, tattoo designs, anything you can think of that is trendy or you can attempt to make trendy. Art is diverse and can be applied to many many things. Etsy.com is a great place for that.
  • Depending on the style of the works and maturity of the pieces also attempt to create an an online art gallery. Make people pay for the high quality pieces that she makes. Marketed properly you could get quite the following. Her works look good and I'm pretty sure the average home/apartment owner will prefer an exquisite piece than some random rock poster on their walls. People will consider buying anything affordable that they feel will improve their decor.
 
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Chapas

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I will use this thread to write some progress once in a while. Also so you guys can see your valuable advice been implemented :)

Updates

- Probably the most important update so far. My wife made her FIRST MONEY online! Thank you @Ryan Howard for the first order. She really appreciated doing your work. I can just see that she feels way way more confident and more motivated than ever. Heck, my wife has made more money online than I have now haha. Extra motivation for myself right there!!

- We are slowly building her following on Instagram. So far she has 41 followers. Will try to read more about Instagram in order to build her following.

- We have created a Fiverr for her today. Right now we are offering two different gigs. So if any of you need a portrait or a pet portrait made please let me know haha. Tomorrow we will make a video for each of the gigs. Then I plan to post it on my own Facebook and Instagram, and maybe run 10-20 usd worth of Facebook Ads to her Fiverr profile. Just to get her the first 10-20 clients so she can rise to a new level there and be seen more.

Will need to create a strategy together with her, so we know which direction we will go. Will keep you posted. Thanks for the support and the advice peeps!
 

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Danny Sullivan

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So if any of you need a portrait or a pet portrait made please let me know haha.
Oh boy... that just sparked an a small idea fire in me.
Visit animal shelters and do portraits of hard to impart (is that the right word?) animals (dogs, cats, bunnies, whatever) and paint them in fantastic sceneries. Like a normal doggo howling with a pack of wolfes on top of a mountain infront of a full moon (something like that) or a cat laying down in the serengeti inmidst of chilling lions... something that catches the eye (a purple cow inbetween 1000 of "normal" cows).

Maybe make video of the animal in the shelter and explain the situation shortly, do a speed-up live drawing video of the picture, promote it on facebook, instagram etc. and then auction the picture online with the proceeds going towards the animal and the shelter it is in. While this certainly won't bring in any money it sure would bring exposure.

She can show off her amazing art and gain exposure, people get a cool picture and can help an animal in an animal shelter / the animal shelter itself.
Sounds like win-win-win to me :)
 

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