While it might be easy to understand how unique art pieces like the Salvator Mundi sell for millions of dollars, it’s more difficult to understand how digital art can be sold for hundreds to millions of dollars. Therefore, artists must understand how to create NFT art and the benefits it offers.
You may have heard about the recent record-breaking sales of NFTs in the art world. They are all over the news due to their potential for revolutionizing the art sector and their role in the token economy of the future. This unique asset class is gradually gaining popularity in the virtual currency world thanks to its interest from large corporate companies like Nike. Moreover, with large corporate use cases like this, the NFT market is set to grow even more.
This article reveals the benefits of creating digital art and provides a step-by-step guide on effectively creating NFT art or representing your existing art as an NFT.
Again, what exactly is an NFT?
Unlike common fungible cryptographic coins like Bitcoin, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are unique cryptographic assets that cannot be exchanged for other NFTs. While one Bitcoin is equal to another, NFTs have different features and properties and cannot be replaced with similar or different items. Antiques and collectible cards are good examples of non-fungible assets. The difference lies in the fact that crypto NFTs are digitally represented as cryptographic tokens on the blockchain.
It’s crucial to note that the key concept of NFTs is ownership – the blockchain serves as a record of ownership. More specifically, NFTs are connected to the blockchain, so if you buy or create an NFT, the unique information about the artwork, the smart contract, and the ownership data tied to it is stored on the blockchain, technically forever and securely.
Why should artists care about NFTs?
As an artist, claiming rewards for your creative work can be very hectic. It can become even more so when an artist sells their art and its value appreciates. This is so because most artists lose all ownership rights to their work once they sell it. Representing artwork as NFTs presents a solution to these challenges.
Here are a few reasons why artists should consider representing their art as NFTs:
- Lifetime Royalties: NFTs are developed as smart contracts. According to IBM, smart contracts are programs stored on a blockchain that runs when predetermined conditions are met. They allow automated royalty payments from digital artwork, allowing artists to receive a certain percentage of sales on each sale.
- Cheaper to set up: traditional art auctions are relatively expensive to set up and even go as far as taking up the artist’s profit. Since NFTs are sold online via online marketplaces, you do not need to set up expensive auctions in art galleries.
- Verifiable and Authentic: Although the artist information is open for anyone to see on the blockchain, the ownership details are only tied to the owner mentioned.
Storing NFTs on the blockchain contributes to an increased level of transparency compared to the traditional world since the blockchain immutably stores an unmistakable certificate of authenticity. It includes the creator information, purchase price, history of owners, and acquisition prices. It also allows direct peer-to-peer transactions between creators and buyers, eliminating any third parties.
How to create NFT art in 9 simple steps
While the blockchain might seem highly technical, it is relatively easy to create your NFT art without writing code. The step-by-step guide below will set you on the right path to representing your art as NFTs and listing them on some of the most popular NFT marketplaces.
1. Select an NFT Marketplace
Before creating your NFT art tokens, you need to choose a marketplace to create and list your NFT. There are two categories of NFT marketplaces:
- Self-service Platforms: This category of a peer-to-peer marketplace allows anyone to create their NFT independent of the type of art or how it looks. So, artists can represent their art as a photo, a video, an audio file, or a GIF. This category of NFT marketplaces also allows users to set whatever percentage of royalty they would like to receive. OpenSea and Rarible are good examples of self-service platforms.
- Curated Platforms: This NFT marketplace category, on the other hand, allows only authorized artists to create NFT art tokens. They mainly focus on high-quality digital art and verified artists. Platforms like SuperRare are curated NFT marketplaces.
As a creator, always choose an NFT marketplace that matches the digital art NFT you want to create.
For illustration purposes, this guide uses the OpenSea Marketplace as a case study for creating your digital art NFT tokens.
2. Set up a Digital Wallet
The next step is setting up a digital wallet to store your cryptocurrencies and digital art NFTs. There are various wallets in the cryptocurrency space, but the most popular one used by many NFT marketplaces is MetaMask. For this article, we are using the OpenSea marketplace. Therefore, it is best to set up our digital wallet from the OpenSea website.
On the top right section of the OpenSea website, click on the wallet icon. Choose MetaMask as your preferred wallet and proceed to install the MetaMask plugin for your browser. If you already have a supported wallet, you can connect it to OpenSea.
Next, you will need to set up your account by creating a password and a security phrase. It is crucial to memorize or have your MetaMask phrase written down because MetaMask locally encrypts your secret recovery phrase with your password. This ensures no one can access your funds when you lock your wallet until you enter your password and passphrase again.
With your MetaMask wallet set up, you can now connect it to your OpenSea account by tapping NEXT and following the instructions.
3. Fund your Digital Wallet
Now that you have a MetaMask wallet, you need to add ETH to it. However, before we get to how to add funds, you need to understand the concept of gas fees and listing fees.
According to Investopedia, gas fees are the payments blockchain users make to compensate miners for the computing energy used to validate and process transactions on the Ethereum blockchain. In other blockchain systems, it’s referred to as “fees.” In simple terms, gas fees include the fees charged for minting (creating) NFTs and processing any transactions involved.
On the other hand, listing fees are the percentage paid to list your NFT art on a marketplace.
With that in mind, you can now fund your MetaMask wallet. It is crucial to account for these fees when making your deposit. Now, launch your MetaMask chrome extension, log in, click on the ‘Buy’ button, and then select the option ‘Buy ETH with Wyre.’ You will then be prompted to buy ETH with either Apple Pay or a debit card.
4. Create your Digital Art Collection
On your OpenSea account interface, you will see Create on the top right: go ahead and click it. Proceed to click on My Collections to create a gallery for your digital artwork. At this point, you are not creating your NFT artwork but rather creating a collection. Proceed to customize your collection by giving it a name, description and uploading an identifying image or logo.
5. Upload your Digital Art and represent it as an NFT
With your collection set up, you can enter the primary process of creating your NFT for your digital artwork. There are various formats for uploading your artwork: video, image, Gifs, or photographs, to mention a few.
It is crucial to note that you can mint your tokens in two primary ways:
- Stand-alone Token: This means you will create only one copy of your artwork.
- The Edition Tokens: Here, you create a limited number of copies of the same tokens or as many as you want. You only have to differentiate each copy by assigning it an edition number.
6. Describe your NFT
Next, you will need to add a title and description for your NFT artwork. It’s crucial to note that your description plays an important part in the value of your NFT artwork. Like other NFT marketplaces, OpenSea allows the creator to add extra attributes to their NFTs to make them unique and scarce.
As a creator, you can also include content, services, or features that only the buyer of the NFT can access. This also plays a key role in making your NFT artwork more valuable.
7. Listing your Artwork NFTs for sale
In the next step, you need to list your NFTs. There are three main options for listing your NFT artwork on any marketplace:
- Fixed price: It allows you to set a one-time price.
- Unlimited price: It allows potential buyers to carry on making bids until the creator accepts one as the final offer.
- Timed auction: This is an auction that continues for a limited time.
Creators also have the luxury of choosing the payment tokens they would like to receive for their digital artwork. However, this is dependent on the marketplace. Different marketplaces support different tokens.
When setting your price, you have to have a minimum price in mind. This is important as it allows you to profit by covering the gas and listing fees you will pay.
8. Pay the fees
Fees are crucial when creating your NFT artwork. Creators need to know where these fees apply and how much it will cost them.
With your NFT artwork set up, click create to add your NFT to the blockchain. You’ll be invited to connect with your wallet to pay the gas and listing fees. Always counter-check the fees you are supposed to pay and then confirm the transaction.
While some sites like Rarible charge gas fees for every NFT minted, others like OpenSea only charge gas fees for your first NFT.
9. Promote your NFT art on Social Media
To create a better chance to sell your NFT art, you will have to create a significant fanbase. You need to share direct links to your artwork with potential buyers and promote your artwork to fans through social media.
Although the NFT market is still relatively young, it has shown significant potential to transform the art sector. NFTs provide a viable solution to some of the major pain points in the art sector. With peer-to-peer transactions and decentralized art marketplaces, creators can take back total ownership and control of their creative work. Additionally, as more people embrace digital assets on the blockchain, the art sector will likely see a significant shift from traditional painted art to digital artwork.
Therefore, getting in early could give you and your business an edge over other creators.