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How can artists create NFTs from physical art?

Art by Trevor Jones -

My writing about NFTs focuses on how artists, those people creating physical art like paintings, drawing, sculpture, and so on, can benefit from the NFT trend. If you're an artist interested in participating in NFT marketplaces, at the time of this post, you are definitely in the early adopter category.

This post explores how to create NFTs, from physical art.

As I began my exploration into the 'how' part of creating NFTs, I quickly discovered out-sourced services to not only produce your NFT, but to literally create NFTs for you. This strikes me a a little strange from the start; the fact that I can pay freelancers to create "my" art. This immediately gets to one of the reasons I think many legitimate artists may be shying away from NFTs. This approach goes against the idea that the art an artist sells is indeed created by the hand of the artist.

Following are two NFT creation out-sourcing services examples. I have not doubt that are many more. is well know site for access to a wide range of freelancers.

This is just one of what I think is over a 1,000 freelancers that will create NFTs.

Another website similar to is, which also has a huge pool of freelancers who will create NFTs for anyone.

I've included NFT creation services to expose just one aspect of why the NFT space is so different in my view from the world of creating and selling original art. Rather than emphasis on producing original art, I find that most NFTs are created to fit into the currently pervasive investor ethos of NFTs.

Next in popularity as NFT art is digital art. It's just makes sense, the platform is ideal for digital art and for the the first time digital artists' work is unique, own-able, and tradable. A very exciting time for digital artists that can now started earning more money for their work that is richly deserved.

NFTs are introducing a whole new type of art, in a sense much like Pop Art and Conceptual Art challenged the notion of what defines art in the late 60's, the most popular forms of NFTs like CryptoPunks, Bored Apes, and VeeFriends, to name just a few, do not fit the common view of what art is. While these, what I call investment tokens, dominate NFT marketplaces today, there is evidence that more artists are beginning to convert their physical art into NFTs.

Let's get into how NFTs can be create from physical art. The processes being presented in this article are based on research, not from first hand experience.

The conversion to digital is fairly simple; take an digital photo of your work of art. However, it is vital that that the images are of the highest quality. This means the work must be properly illuminated and the photos must be taken with a high quality device. Here are some basic steps to follow to photograph a painting or mixed media on board or canvas..

  1. Hang your artwork on the wall.

  2. Light your work properly

    1. If shooting your art indoors, do so in a room with plenty of windows and natural light can be as long as it is indirect.

    2. Another option is to take your work outdoors when it is cloudy or overcast

  3. A more dependable way is to set up a lighting kit with two lights and diffusing umbrellas.

  4. Use a proper digital camera with ISO an aperture settings if possible.

  5. A mobile phone camera can work, if done correctly.

    1. Follow the same lighting and position guidelines as above.

    2. Mount the phone on a tripod.

    3. The phone must be positioned squarely head on with the artwork surface. Look to the sides of the artwork and make sure they are in line with edges of the image. Fill as much of the image screen as possible with the artwork.

    4. Get the artwork in focus. On most phones that is done by tapping the screen in the middle. Also check the exposure at this time. Slightly changing where you tap on the phone screen can adjust the exposure.

Once you have digital assets, the process of putting your art on a NFT Marketplace is really quite simple.

Your first step is to join a NFT Marketplace. I'll write more about how to select marketplaces and how to setup an account in another post.

This example shows the process of creating an NFT in the OpenSea market.

As shown in the image to the right, the steps to adding a digital image to the NFT site is simple.

Upload the digital file in the same manner done on websites, social media, etc.

Name the art.

Add an external link to your items digital page; like your website.

A great description is reflective of the soul of your NFT - what your passion is, what is the piece about, what is the visual story.

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