How to Turn Your Art into NFTs: A Step-by-Step Guide

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How to Turn Your Art into NFTs: A Step-by-Step Guide


In the digital age, art no longer needs to hang on a gallery wall to be valued and admired. The advent of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) has ushered in a new era for creators and collectors alike, redefining what it means to own and sell art. As a digital artist in this vibrant NFT space, the emergence of NFTs represents a paradigm shift—a new way to immortalize your creative works on the immutable ledger of a blockchain platform. This technology not only guarantees the uniqueness of each digital artwork but also opens up a new market, brimming with opportunities to reach audiences and collectors worldwide. If you’re ready to explore this frontier and mint your first NFT artwork, the journey ahead is filled with promise and potential.

Navigating the bustling ecosystem of NFTs can seem daunting at first, but the good news is that the process is designed with ease of use in mind. Whether your art piece originates from the strokes of a digital pen in Adobe Photoshop or it’s a digital counterpart of your physical artwork, the transition to creating your own NFT art is facilitated by a plethora of NFT platforms. These platforms serve as both an auction house and a showcase, allowing you to list your work at a fixed price or let the market dictate its value through an NFT auction. The most popular NFT marketplaces are equipped with the right tools to guide you, step by simple steps, ensuring that even a new artist can navigate the minting process with confidence.

Before getting into the technicalities of turning your piece of digital art into a cryptographic asset, it’s crucial to understand the foundations. Each NFT token represents a unique digital token, tied to a digital file—be it an image file, video game art, or digital paintings. Through the use of smart contracts, the originality and ownership of your art are preserved. While issues like high gas fees can be a deterrent, the growing number of compatible wallets and crypto exchanges makes it possible for transactions to be completed with a debit card or a small amount of Ethereum, ensuring that the most important thing remains your art. As you embark on this journey to join the ranks of NFT creators, remember that your first time minting might just redefine your career, transforming your digital form into real art with real value.

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Table of Contents

Understanding NFTs: What Are They and How Do They Work?

To truly grasp the transformative impact NFTs have had on the art world, it’s essential to understand their fundamental nature. NFTs, or nonfungible tokens, are unique digital tokens that act as a certificate of ownership for a specific piece of art or any digital work, whether it be a graphic artist’s latest creation, a mesmerizing piece of music, or groundbreaking video content. Unlike cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin or Ethereum, which are fungible and can be exchanged on a like-for-like basis, each NFT stands as a unique asset on the blockchain, ensuring that a digital artist’s original piece of art doesn’t lose its individuality in the digital world.

Blockchain technology is the bedrock of the NFT world, a secure and decentralized system that records every NFT purchase and sale, making it easy for a potential buyer to verify the history and authenticity of an NFT. This technology not only allows for the secure transfer of ownership but also opens up a secondary market where NFTs can be resold, often at a set price determined by the highest bidder. The Ethereum blockchain has been the most popular choice for NFT creators and collectors due to its robust community engagement and innovative ways of showcasing NFTs. However, Tezos has emerged as a compelling alternative, renowned for its lower transaction costs and a more energy-efficient approach, making it an increasingly right choice for artists and collectors who are conscious of the environmental impact of blockchain technologies.

For digital artists looking to enter the NFT world for the first time, the process begins with choosing the right NFT marketplace—a platform where unique digital tokens are showcased and traded. This decision is pivotal because it affects not only the amount of money an artist can make but also the community and network they tap into. To mint an NFT, which is the only way to upload and authenticate your new item onto the blockchain, artists need a compatible wallet—be it a crypto wallet or a more secure hardware wallet*. This wallet is where the digital assets will be stored post-minting. It’s a good idea for artists to engage in the days NFT collection drops, as these events can significantly increase the visibility of their work, potentially leading to it becoming one of the most expensive NFTs sold. Engaging with the community is a potential way to ensure that your work resonates with the values and interests of collectors, underlining the importance of community engagement in the digital art and crypto art spaces.

*Affiliate link for the Ledger hardware wallets

Step 1: Choose Your Artwork and Verify Ownership

Embarking on the journey of transforming your creative output into a digital asset begins with a crucial first step: selecting the piece you wish to tokenize. As an NFT creator, you have the liberty to choose from a wide array of your digital works, be it a vibrant painting bursting with different colors, an evocative piece of music, a captivating video, or a digital representation of physical work. This initial choice is not just about picking a piece that represents your best work, but also about understanding the piece’s potential in the NFT marketplace. While some creators may lean towards tokenizing their most expensive or renowned piece, others might opt for a work that holds personal significance or showcases their unique style.

Once you’ve identified the right piece, the next step is to ensure that you have unequivocal ownership of this work. In the NFT world, the authenticity and the original creator’s rights are paramount. If your selected piece is a digital asset that has been derived from or inspired by existing works, it’s essential to verify that all permissions are in place. This may involve securing licenses or acquiring the necessary rights from any collaborators or original creators. The best way to avoid any future disputes or legal challenges is to have clear documentation proving your right to use and tokenize the piece.

The final consideration in this phase is to set a time for when you plan to release your NFT. Timing can be everything in the ever-fluctuating realm of NFT purchases. Aligning your drop with significant events on the NFT platform, or when there is heightened activity, can increase the visibility and desirability of your NFT. Additionally, consider the use of NFTs beyond just art sales; for instance, they can represent ownership of virtual real estate or be incorporated into crypto exchange loyalty programs. These innovative applications can add to the allure of your NFT, potentially elevating its value and significance in this new and exciting market.

A photograph of a summer sunrise over the dome of Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite National Park.
© Lauren McDonagh-Pereira Photography

Step 2: Select the Right Blockchain

Selecting the right blockchain is a pivotal decision in the journey of an NFT creator. Ethereum, with its widespread adoption and robust infrastructure, stands as the most popular choice for many. It’s known for its ERC-721 and ERC-1155 standards, which have become synonymous with NFT creation, setting a precedent for the industry. These standards are crucial as they define how NFTs function and ensure that they maintain interoperability across the ecosystem. Ethereum’s network offers a mature environment for developers and artists alike, with a broad range of tools and services that can facilitate NFT creation and trade.

However, Ethereum is not the only player in the game. Tezos has emerged as a strong alternative, particularly appealing to those who are seeking lower transaction costs. Tezos operates with a different consensus mechanism that is less expensive than Ethereum’s, addressing some of the cost concerns that have been associated with blockchain technology. Additionally, Tezos has been developing its own set of standards for NFTs, aiming to optimize the process of minting and trading digital assets on its platform. For artists and collectors who prioritize eco-friendliness and cost-efficiency, Tezos can offer a compelling case.

Other blockchains like Solana and Flow are carving out their niches as well. Solana boasts high speeds and low costs, which can be attractive for those who prioritize efficiency and scalability. Flow, on the other hand, was built with a strong focus on mainstream adoption, offering a developer-friendly approach. Each blockchain comes with its own unique set of advantages, community, and culture. When making your choice, consider factors such as gas fees, transaction speed, environmental impact, and the specific features of the blockchain that might align with the goals for your NFT. No matter which you choose, ensure it is one that resonates with your personal values and the needs of your potential collectors.

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© Lauren McDonagh-Pereira Photography

Step 3: Set Up a Digital Wallet

To become an active participant in the NFT marketplace, securing a digital wallet that supports your chosen blockchain is an essential step. For those opting for the Ethereum blockchain, MetaMask and Coinbase Wallet are popular choices, offering straightforward interfaces that make managing NFTs relatively simple. For those prioritizing security, hardware wallets like Ledger Nano X provide an extra layer of protection by storing your private keys offline. Hardware wallets are especially beneficial for high-value transactions, where the additional security can provide peace of mind.

If your blockchain of choice is Tezos, a Temple wallet is a go-to option. Temple wallet is specifically designed to be compatible with the Tezos ecosystem, allowing for a seamless experience when minting, buying, or selling NFTs on Tezos-based platforms. It’s a browser extension, which means it is easily accessible during your web navigation, facilitating interactions with Tezos NFT platforms directly from your browser. This wallet not only holds your XTZ, the native cryptocurrency of Tezos, but also stores your NFTs and enables direct interaction with the Tezos blockchain for any transactions.

Regardless of which wallet and blockchain you choose, the security of your digital assets should be a top priority. Always ensure that you are following the best security practices. This includes storing your private keys in a secure manner, using two-factor authentication, and regularly updating your wallet software. Remember that your digital wallet is more than just a storage space; it is a tool that ensures the safe management of your NFTs and allows you to engage with the vibrant ecosystem of digital collectibles. With the right wallet in place, you are well on your way to navigating the NFT world with confidence.

A macro image of the leaf of a freshly sprouted tulip. A thin pink pop of color is seen on the edge of the leaf.
© Lauren McDonagh-Pereira Photography

Step 4: Choose an NFT Marketplace

Selecting the right NFT marketplace is a critical decision that will greatly impact the visibility and sale of your digital assets. OpenSea has established itself as a giant in this arena, offering a vast expanse of NFT collections across various blockchains, which makes it a bustling hub for NFT trade. It’s particularly favored for its extensive user base and the diversity of digital assets it supports. However, OpenSea’s breadth comes with intense competition, and standing out in such a vast marketplace requires strategy and perhaps a stroke of luck.

For those in the Tezos ecosystem, is the premier marketplace to consider. Objkt is to Tezos what OpenSea is to Ethereum, providing a specialized platform for artists and collectors within the Tezos community. It caters specifically to the Tezos-based NFTs and is known for its lower gas fees and a strong commitment to sustainability, which can be particularly appealing to an eco-conscious demographic. The platform is designed to be user-friendly and artist-centric, offering a range of tools and features that facilitate the buying, selling, and showcasing of NFTs, thereby fostering a community that values artistic expression and collectibility.

Choosing a marketplace like Objkt also means embracing the ethos of the Tezos community, which often includes a focus on innovation, artist empowerment, and collective growth. Each NFT marketplace has its own fee structures, community culture, and unique selling points, so it’s vital to assess which aligns best with your brand as an artist and the audience you aim to attract. Remember, the right NFT marketplace is not just a place to transact but also a platform that can support the narrative of your art, contribute to your reputation as a creator, and provide the right audience that resonates with your work’s ethos and aesthetic.

The brilliant reds and golds of fall foliage in New England reflects onto a rippled lake. Swimming across the water is a male hooded merganser. His bold black and white feathers are reflected in the water.
© Lauren McDonagh-Pereira Photography

Step 5: Mint Your NFT

Minting your NFT is akin to a digital christening of your artwork—it’s where your creation is transformed into a part of the blockchain. The process breathes life into your art, giving it a digital identity that can be traded, sold, or collected. When you mint an NFT, you’re essentially writing its birth certificate onto the blockchain, which will track its provenance and ownership as it changes hands from collector to collector. This process involves uploading your high-resolution artwork, inputting metadata that could include the title, story behind the piece, tags for discoverability, and attributes that highlight its uniqueness. Some creators might see this as the final step in the artistic process, where you finalize how your work will be presented to the world.

The technical side of minting is straightforward on most platforms. They guide you through each step, from uploading the image file to setting the royalties. Royalties are a percentage of future sales paid back to the original creator, enabling you to earn from your work indefinitely, each time it resells on the secondary market. This is a revolutionary concept for artists, as it ensures ongoing recognition and compensation for their work. Additionally, the ability to set a reserve price or choose how you want to sell your NFT—whether at auction, where the highest bidder wins, or at a fixed price—puts significant control in the hands of you, the creator.

However, it’s important to remember that minting an NFT comes with responsibility. The blockchain is immutable, meaning once the NFT is minted, the information and file attached to it cannot be altered. This is why the metadata you include must be carefully considered—it becomes the permanent descriptor of your NFT. The transaction fee, or ‘gas fee’, is also a critical consideration, as it can vary based on the blockchain’s current traffic and the complexity of the smart contract. For those using Tezos, the cost is typically lower than on Ethereum, making it a cost-effective choice for many artists. Once minted, your artwork is no longer just an image or a file; it’s a unique asset with the potential to traverse the digital realm as a valued piece of culture.

A carnival ride is stopped as a storm rolls in. A neon sign reads "Thunder Bolt" below a sea of dark angry clouds.
© Lauren McDonagh-Pereira Photography

Step 6: List Your NFT for Sale

Once your NFT is minted, it’s ready to be introduced to the world through listing it for sale on your chosen NFT marketplace. This stage is where you determine the value of your digital asset in the marketplace. Setting a price for your NFT is a delicate balance between understanding the market demand and recognizing the worth of your artwork. You have the option to let the market dictate the price through an auction, where enthusiasts bid against each other, or to set a fixed price, providing a clear purchase point for interested buyers. This step may also include the strategic decision to incorporate additional content—like behind-the-scenes videos, high-resolution files, or even physical goods—as a way to create extra value and appeal for your NFT.

The pricing strategy for your NFT should reflect not only the cost of creating the artwork but also its potential future value. Analyze current trends in the market, compare prices of similar works, and consider how the scarcity and uniqueness of your NFT might affect its desirability. Remember, the price you set can influence the perception of your artwork’s value, so aim for a sweet spot that reflects your work’s worth without pricing out potential buyers. Additionally, by setting a royalty percentage, you ensure that you’ll continue to benefit from your artwork as it appreciates and exchanges hands over time, giving you a stake in its journey through the digital art market.

Listing your NFT is more than just a transaction; it’s the culmination of your creative process and the beginning of your artwork’s life in the digital realm. Be mindful of the listing and transaction fees that marketplaces charge, as they can vary and may impact your pricing strategy. Once listed, your NFT is available to collectors and enthusiasts around the globe, marking the start of a new chapter where your creation can be appreciated and owned in the form of a unique digital token. With careful pricing and a thoughtful approach to the sale, your NFT can find a home with a collector who values the creativity and story behind your piece as much as you do.

A street performer stands about the crowd. The performer and the crowd are cast in a harsh silhouette in front a beautiful Key West sunset.
© Lauren McDonagh-Pereira Photography

Step 7: Promote and Market Your NFT

After meticulously preparing your NFT for the marketplace, the focus shifts to promotion and marketing. It’s crucial to harness the power of social media platforms and digital art communities to amplify your NFT’s visibility. By sharing your NFT on these platforms, not only do you reach potential buyers, but you also open the door to a broader audience who may share your work further, increasing its reach. Engaging with your audience is key; actively participating in discussions, responding to comments, and sharing the story behind your NFT can create a personal connection with potential collectors. In addition, keeping followers informed about the availability of your NFT and any related events can maintain interest and anticipation.

Collaboration is another powerful tool in the NFT space. Partnering with influencers who align with your artistic values can introduce your work to new communities and potential buyers. Influencers can help to tell the story of your NFT, lending their voice to its uniqueness and value, and making it more relatable to their followers. Beyond influencers, consider engaging with NFT platforms and communities by participating in events, both virtual and in-person. Such events can serve as a meeting ground for artists, collectors, and enthusiasts, providing a fertile environment for networking and building meaningful relationships that can lead to collaborative projects and increased support for your work.

Moreover, marketing your NFT goes beyond just selling a piece of art; it’s about selling a vision and an experience. By creating an engaging narrative around your NFT, you invite potential buyers into your creative process and the world you’ve constructed. Utilize the storytelling aspect of your art to captivate and intrigue your audience. Consistency in your promotional efforts is key, as it builds a sense of trust and professionalism around your brand as an artist. Additionally, track the performance of different marketing strategies and be ready to adapt to what resonates best with your audience. With strategic promotion and persistent engagement, your NFT can not only sell but also leave a lasting impression in the digital art space.

The viewer stands beneath an old boardwalk in the Florida keys. The sun is setting. The the left, the sky is blue. To the right, the sky has taken on a brilliant orange color.
© Lauren McDonagh-Pereira Photography


Turning your art into NFTs opens up exciting opportunities to showcase and sell your digital creations to a global audience. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can navigate the process of creating and selling NFTs with confidence. Remember to research and choose the right blockchain, set up a secure digital wallet, select an NFT marketplace, and promote your NFT to maximize its visibility and potential for success in the growing world of NFT art.

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