How to Create NFT Art: Beginner’s Guide for 2024

If you are looking for ways to join the community of rising NFT artists but have no experience with this technology, this comprehensive guide will explain where to start and how to create NFT art

Artist painting on the computer screen
The success of rising NFT artists depends on the strategies they use to promote their NFT collections a lot

NFTs have been around for quite some time, and you might feel it is too late to start your journey and become one of the rising NFT artists, especially if you are not well-known in the conventional art community either. However, despite the ups and downs of the Web3 industry, the NFT market continues to grow, and you still have a chance to become a part of it.

According to the statistics portal Statista, the NFT market revenue is expected to reach $2,378 million this year, with the average revenue per user now surpassing $162. "In the NFT market, the number of users is expected to reach 16.35 million by 2028," Statista adds. Maybe the NFT craze is not at its peak right now, but there are still opportunities for you to profit from it.

The most important thing you need to know to start your career as an NFT artist is how to create NFT art. If you do not own NFT works created by other NFT artists and cannot call yourself an experienced cryptocurrency user or even one of NFT enthusiasts, you can gain insights from this comprehensive guide, which includes sections on creating the artwork itself, choosing the marketplace, and minting non-fungible tokens.

1. Create your artwork

If you are aiming to join the ranks of rising NFT artists, you have probably already got some artworks ready for your future NFT collection. However, having artworks is not a prerequisite, and neither do you have to be a graphic designer or digital artist. You can be more into pure classical art, using now innovative techniques provided by the digital age and staying away from modern art in general.

Alternatively, you can also take a business-focused approach to tackle your NFT project by exploring the latest NFT trends in the digital world to understand what kinds of art the community is most excited about.

It is essential to recognize the impact of highly sought-after NFT collections, which influence the market and art world not just through their artistic merit but also due to their extensive promotion and value appreciation. Alongside the most sought-after NFT collections, explore the artists who are gradually gaining popularity in the NFT space. By conducting such research, you can use your insights to create artwork or an entire collection for your upcoming NFT project from scratch.

Rising NFT artists in the NFT community you may want to check

One of the pioneering figures in generative art to draw inspiration from is Tylerxhobbs. Tylerxhobbs' Fidenza will take you on a journey to the digital realm, captivating you with geometric shapes, eye-popping colors, and clean lines. Mattdesl also stands out in the art world of the digital age, showcasing a unique blend of generative art infused with a retro vibe, characterized by bright colors and geometric shapes.

If you are intrigued by diverse artistic styles, Carolina Rodríguez Fuenmayor's Stay Weird invites you to take a mesmerizing dive into stunning hues and dreamlike visuals. The NFT artist masterfully fuses digital art with surreal and ethereal aesthetics.

Delving into deeper themes, Damien Hirst's works resonate with bold colors and graphic shapes, offering layers of meaning and introspection. Similarly, Maddogjones' Replicator is based on a compelling exploration of cyberpunk and dystopian themes, seamlessly blending nature with technology.

However, if you lean towards a monochromatic palette, Xcopy's NFT project, especially such NFT artworks as Right-Click and Save As Guy and Grifters offer intriguing inspiration. These artworks are distinguished by their unique text-focused style and dark undertones.

These are only a small fraction of the NFT artists in the NFT community worth checking out. If you are unsure where to start when creating your artworks for the upcoming NFT collection from scratch, remember that the NFT space truly welcomes versatility and depth of artistic expression.

Blur top NFT collections
Source: Blur

Creating art with AI

Certainly, a strategy of studying the works created by prominent NFT artists and incorporating the most up-to-date trends in the NFT art world into your works may require considerable time. However, you can streamline the process of creating your digital artwork by utilizing AI digital art platforms. This innovative approach can help you to create unique digital assets even within less than an hour. Not only can it help you to enter the NFT world faster but it may also be a great idea for a brand-new artwork collection, as it will allow you to benefit from the current popularity of generative art NFTs.

If you choose this approach, ensure you select an AI art tool that permits you to legally sell created artworks without requiring copyright attributions.

What digital formats should you use for your artworks to create NFTs?

If you already have artworks prepared, you will need to digitize them if they have not been initially created digitally. Fortunately, the diversity of NFT forms allows them to encompass a wide range of visual art skills. Not only can paintings and drawings be adapted into NFTs, but photographs and snapshots of sculptures and other artworks can also be turned into non-fungible tokens.

The crucial aspect is to ensure the final artwork version is in one of the graphical formats supported by NFT marketplaces.

For displaying your digital collectibles while maintaining maximum quality, consider saving them in the Portable Network Graphics format, commonly known as .png. However, keep in mind that this file type can occupy significant storage space. For high-quality, large-scale artworks, the Tagged Image File .tif format is preferable.

If storage efficiency is a concern, saving your NFT as a .jpeg image (Joint Photographic Experts Group) might be more suitable. However, this format may compromise a bit on quality.

The Graphics Interchange Format, or .gif, is widely used by NFT creators and is suitable for high-quality images and audio-free short videos.

Less commonly used formats include MPEG-4 Part 14 or MP4, GL Transmission Format (GLB), and Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG). MP4 is popular for NFT videos, while GLB is used for virtual reality content and 3D models.

SVG, although not as common as other graphical formats, is worth considering if you want your NFT to be resolution-independent, a feature typically achieved with vector-based graphic formats. Examples of popular applications for SVG include simple graphics, logos, and icons.

2. Choosing an NFT marketplace for your NFT collection

As previously mentioned, not all formats listed above are equally popular, and some may not be supported by certain marketplaces. Additionally, there may be specific blockchain restrictions for certain formats and sizes. This information should be considered when selecting an NFT platform to list your artwork for sale.

For the most popular graphic formats, such as .png or .jpeg, you are unlikely to encounter any significant limitations and can refer to the criteria for marketplace selection discussed later in this section. The only exception might be NFT platforms dedicated exclusively to particular types of assets, such as virtual worlds. If you intend to sell NFT images, you can simply exclude such platforms from your list.

Below are more crucial factors to consider when choosing an NFT marketplace.

Read also: A beginners guide to Blur, OpenSea emerging rival

Marketplace fees

Selling NFTs is not entirely free from expenses, and considering the costs of listing and selling your artworks is crucial for budgeting effectively and avoiding undesirable situations, such as investing money you cannot afford into minting a collection that subsequently will not be sold out.

The two primary types of payments required by most NFT marketplaces you should be aware of when starting your NFT artist career are listing fees and transaction fees.

Listing fees are payments required to display your artworks on a marketplace. Transaction fees, on the other hand, are incurred during the actual transaction process when you sell or buy NFTs.

Depending on the NFT marketplace and the minting method you choose, you may need to cover transaction fees required by the transaction validators of a particular blockchain. Minting refers to the process of creating a new NFT by recording it on a blockchain. Without minting, your artwork will not exist on a blockchain and technically cannot be considered an NFT. However, there are ways to avoid transaction fees, such as opting for NFT dropping instead of minting.

Fees to consider while publishing an NFT collection on OpenSea

As OpenSea, one of the leading NFT marketplaces, explains, "The key difference is this: minting creates a new NFT through the act of writing it onto a blockchain while dropping simply means releasing new NFTs (dropped NFTs may or not already be minted, as minting can be done by creators at the time of the drop, or collectors when buying for the first time)."

In other words, unlike minting, which "establishes the token's existence," dropping allows buyers to acquire your artwork and allows you to avoid paying gas fees.

OpenSea interface
Source: OpenSea

To understand transaction fees better, let's discuss OpenSea's example, which requires gas fees for Ethereum transactions.

"OpenSea does not receive these fees and cannot refund them," OpenSea warns its users, emphasizing that it also "doesn't control gas prices nor profit from them."

There are two main categories of gas fees on OpenSea: one-time fees and recurring fees.

One-time fees are charged for specific actions, such as listing an NFT for the first time, using a cryptocurrency in a transaction for the first time, or deploying a smart contract.

Recurring fees are incurred when you buy, transfer, or mint an NFT, as these actions require blockchain transactions.

However, some actions on OpenSea are gas-free, such as connecting your wallet, listing an NFT for sale at a fixed price after the first time, listing an NFT in an auction, reducing the price of an NFT, and canceling an offer. In the case of cancellation, OpenSea warns users about a gas fee required for immediate processing. To avoid this fee, users can wait a few minutes for the cancellation to process without incurring a fee.

Costs of listing an NFT collection on SolSea

To illustrate the variation in fees across different NFT marketplaces, consider the fees on the Solana-based platform SolSea.

On SolSea, a 2% marketplace fee is charged on every successful NFT sale, while artists can set their own creator's fee to earn a percentage of future sales of their artwork.

When minting NFTs on SolSea, a small fee is imposed to cover the minting service, token account creation, and storage upload. The exact amount of this fee depends on the file size of the uploaded content. Therefore, considering the size of your artwork, which, as you now know, depends on the digital format of the file, is crucial for reducing the fees you may have to pay to turn it into an NFT.

Additionally, the platform requires a rent fee for listing or opening a token account. However, this fee is refunded to the user once the NFT is either delisted or purchased.

Blockchain compatibility

It is common for marketplaces to focus on a particular blockchain technology. However, you can find many that were initially designed to support multiple networks and others that have been further enhanced to accept additional blockchains.

"Blockchain compatibility is crucial for NFT marketplaces as it determines their ability to integrate seamlessly with the underlying blockchain network and leverage its capabilities," blockchain developer Riya Steve explains in her article. She mentions interoperability protocols like Cosmos and Polkadot as possible solutions for efficient interactions of NFT marketplaces with multiple blockchain networks. With this approach, marketplaces become more flexible and can select the most effective networks for their specific needs.

"Some marketplaces are exploring blockchain-agnostic approaches, where NFTs are minted and traded on multiple blockchains simultaneously," Steve adds. "This approach offers users the flexibility to choose the blockchain network that aligns with their preferences or specific requirements while still being able to access and trade NFTs in a unified marketplace environment."

One example of an NFT marketplace that has embraced cross-blockchain compatibility is OpenSea, which supported ten blockchains at the time of publication, including Ethereum, Polygon, Solana, Klaytn, Optimism, Arbitrum, Avalanche, Base, BNB, and Zora.

Crypto wallet integration

If you are an active cryptocurrency user, you are likely to be aware of the wide range of cryptocurrency wallets available on the market and may have already decided on your preferred option. In this case, it would be sensible to select an NFT marketplace that supports the specific wallet you wish to use as long as it meets all other criteria.

Similar to supported blockchains, you can find marketplaces that allow you to use numerous wallets, as well as platforms that have integrated only a few of the most popular options.

For instance, at the time of publication, OpenSea allowed its users to choose from thirteen wallets, including MetaMask, Coinbase Wallet, Bitget, Core, Bitski, Formatic/Magic, Kaikas, Glow, Opera Touch, Solflare, Phantom, WalletConnect, and Trust Wallet.

For comparison, consider the range of wallets supported by SolSea, which differs considerably from OpenSea's offerings. Based on the information provided on the marketplaces’ websites at press time, the only wallets integrated with both platforms were Coinbase Wallet, Solflare, and Phantom. Other wallets supported by OpenSea included Trust, NuFi, Slope, Coin98, Sollet, and Torus. In addition, the SolSea marketplace provided its users with Ledger integration.

"Ledger wallets are limited in terms of functionalities due to Ledger's unique features, but they are also supported on SolSea for basic transactions," the team behind the platform warned users.

Note that although OpenSea did not specifically mention integration with Ledger services, on the website of the popular hardware wallet, you can find instructions on connecting your Ledger account to OpenSea through either MetaMask or WalletConnect.

SolSea collections and exhibitions
Source: SolSea

Marketplace security and reputation

While NFT marketplaces, like any other platforms processing payments and sensitive data, are lucrative targets for attackers, these services can also be literally robbed of NFTs. Even if, as a rising NFT artist, you may not be selling your artworks for particularly high prices and they might seem less valuable to cybercriminals, the security of the marketplace should certainly be a priority for you.

Read also: How to Earn Rewards for Your Twitter PFP NFT Pictures?

Undeniably, choosing a reputable platform for your NFT works is a great place to start. Consider user opinions, and expert reviews, and analyze the history of the platform to understand its stability, fairness, and course of development.

Among the various features of the marketplace, pay particular attention to its transparency regarding operations in general, policies, and fees, and understand the communication channels.

Although it may seem natural that a reputable NFT marketplace should have implemented effective security measures, you should not blindly rely on the fact that the selected marketplace has a good reputation, as it still does not exclude its vulnerability to cyberattacks.

As a regular user, you might find it difficult to spot even the most obvious security issues in the NFT trading service. However, it is important to remember the significance of key security measures like multi-factor authentication, encryption, and secure storage for digital artworks. Pay attention to the security and reputability of the blockchain the marketplace is operating on as well.

Policies for a stolen NFT collection and individual artworks

Alongside security measures, it is also necessary to consider the marketplace's policies regarding stolen items. A sensible idea would be to work with an NFT marketplace that has adopted a balanced approach since, as an NFT creator, you are at risk of encountering two opposite unwanted scenarios.

On the one hand, you may become a victim of NFT theft. In this case, you naturally will expect the platform to prevent thieves from selling your artworks. On the other hand, your competitors may try to disrupt your sales by accusing you of theft. In this case, you also want to get adequate protection.

A real-world example of such practices is the policy implemented by OpenSea in 2022. Back then, OpenSea introduced a proactive system that scans URLs shared on its platform to identify potentially malicious websites often designed to steal assets in phishing campaigns.

"First, our system scans URLs against a blocklist of known malicious sites," Saurabh Sharma explained in the OpenSea blog post, stressing that the mechanism "also simulates interactions and transactions with new URLs to identify malicious behaviors like signature farming and wallet-draining" to combat newly emerging scams that are not detected before they enter OpenSea.

In the meantime, OpenSea was also testing a new system designed to detect NFT theft in real time and prevent further resales of suspected stolen items. When a potential theft or suspicious transfer was flagged, the item was marked as "under review" with a warning icon on the marketplace.

"Those users can follow up with us to confirm whether or not their NFT was, in fact, stolen (and provide a police report to keep it disabled on OpenSea indefinitely), or let us know that the transfer was legitimate," Sharma stated, adding that in the latter scenario, the resales of the NFT were unfrozen. The resales were also re-enabled if an affected user did not respond to the alert within seven days.

Beware of an NFT scam

As someone who has just begun your journey into NFT creation, you may be particularly vulnerable to falling victim to phishing scams and other cybercriminal activities.

While the constant evolution of NFT scam techniques can sometimes make it challenging to identify threats early enough to protect yourself, it is helpful to be aware of the most common deceptive strategies you might encounter as an NFT artist.

A common NFT scam involves phishing. For example, a fraudulent platform could impersonate reputable and successful NFT marketplaces, targeting newcomers or busy users who may not take the time to thoroughly check interactions. These deceptive platforms frequently attempt to deceive you into disclosing sensitive information, such as wallet credentials or private keys.

Similarly, NFT creators might be tempted by the promises of cybercriminals who promote seemingly innovative and highly promising projects designed to lure NFT creators and traders into traps.

In addition to these tactics, creators should also be wary of popular technical support scams. In these cases, scammers pretend to work for the customer support of the marketplace where you're listing your NFTs or your cryptocurrency wallet app, aiming to gain access to your private details and, consequently, your NFTs or cryptocurrency.

Read also: NFT Radar: Instagram scammers buy cool art for thousands of dollars

Fake NFT collection buyers Instagram scam

Pay attention to other NFT scam techniques popular on social media platforms and Instagram in particular.

Scammers, often posing as collectors from NFT communities, prey on inexperienced artists or those new to the Instagram artist community. These threat actors reach out with enticing offers to purchase artworks as NFTs, even from accounts with very few followers.

Typically, a scammer will contact an artist offering high prices for their artwork, sometimes even in the range of thousands of dollars per piece, frequently offering payments in Ether. They use flattering language and may justify their interest by claiming the art is for personal reasons, like a birthday gift for a family member. However, these offers often come with hidden costs or requirements, such as paying registration fees or gas fees for minting the artwork as an NFT.

Scammers employ various tactics to deceive artists, including redirecting them to phishing websites or unfamiliar NFT marketplaces where they can collect fees. Some even provide detailed explanations about the minting process to appear legitimate. Artists may find themselves unable to cash out their earnings or facing unexpected additional costs after falling victim to these scams.

3. Create your first NFT collection

As you can imagine, the process of creating your collection of NFTs can vary from one platform to another. However, to understand what to expect during this procedure, consider the following popular algorithm, which is used by many well-known NFT marketplaces, including OpenSea.

The first step typically required is connecting your cryptocurrency wallet to the platform.

Once your wallet is connected, you can proceed to create the NFT collection. Usually, you will find the "Create" section on the homepage of the marketplace platform.

From there, you can create a collection and set up its properties, including the name and description. Additional features for the collection may include a logo, banner, custom URL, and categories.

Depending on the platform, you may have the option to set royalties for subsequent sales and choose payment methods. If the platform supports multiple blockchains, you can also select your preferred network.

After completing all the configurations, you will finally be able to create an NFT within the newly added collection.

4. Mint your digital art as an NFT

Minting your very first non-fungible token in your NFT collection begins with uploading the artwork to the platform. Just like when setting up an NFT collection, you can also choose properties for an individual NFT. Remember that for collectibles, you can set specific details and properties defining their rarity, making your NFTs appear more exclusive and desirable to potential buyers.

Many marketplaces allow you to preview your NFT, showing you what it will look like to the community. If you approve the preview, you can list the NFT for auction or sale. Some platforms also offer the option to set up private sales by specifying a single eligible wallet to purchase your artwork.

Before the NFT is published, you will proceed with the minting process. As mentioned earlier, at this stage, you will need to pay associated transaction fees.

After completing these steps and finalizing the minting process, your unique NFT will be ready to be showcased and traded on the digital art marketplace.

Reducing costs of an NFT collection - lazy minting

Alternatively, you can opt for lazy minting, which involves listing your artwork for sale before minting it. The primary benefit of this method for you as a creator is the chance to reduce minting costs due to the lack of upfront fees. This makes it particularly appealing when selling an entire collection rather than a single piece.

Essentially, your artwork will be displayed to the public before it is actually minted as an NFT, meaning you will not have to pay minting fees if no one buys it. Furthermore, you may even have the minting fees covered by the NFT buyer.

However, keep in mind that this form of minting comes with certain risks, mainly for collectors, as there is no immediate ownership. The delayed minting may discourage some potential buyers from acquiring your NFTs.

Additionally, not all marketplaces support lazy minting, so your collection will not be published there until you actually mint your NFTs.

Moreover, it may be more challenging to assess the rarity of NFTs created through lazy minting, as they can change until the last NFT in the collection is minted.

Your next steps in the NFT space

Joining the community of rising NFT artists offers a fantastic opportunity to tap into a new audience, connecting you with global collectors and enthusiasts deeply involved in the NFT market. Beyond gaining exposure and potential financial growth, you can also benefit from continuous royalties, which will allow you to earn passive income from subsequent sales of your artworks.

Moreover, the NFT market serves as an ideal platform to expand your skillset and delve into innovative techniques, including AI, and enhance your creative capabilities even further.

However, launching your first collection and minting your inaugural NFT are just initial steps in advancing your career. To truly succeed on this market, you will likely need to produce more digital art pieces to diversify your collections and devise effective strategies for their promotion.