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Best Free Tumblr Themes For Artists

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The free blogging service Tumblr is a popular choice for artists. Tumblr offers a way to connect with fans, show off your work, and build a following around your art.

Some people even use Tumblr as their own personal portfolio while others use it for critiques. Really it’s a network that can be used for all of this and so much more!

If you’re an artist looking to get on Tumblr then you’ll need a great theme.

These are my top picks for the best free Tumblr themes tailor-made for artists. Whether you’re using Tumblr as a public portfolio or a personal sketchbook, all of these themes can work very well for all types of artwork.


Square Tumblr theme

With a simple design and a very basic grid-like page structure you can’t get simpler than Square.

Perhaps the easiest theme to mesh with any artist’s style, Square is designed to look just like a portfolio. That means you can run this with your own Tumblr blog or use it as a public portfolio of work.

Note the main theme page is all in Japanese but you can see a live demo here. That includes some pretty nice animation effects along with the sleek minimalist design.

Check it out if you’re looking for a clean design without too many extra features.

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Illustfolio 4

Illustfolio 4 Tumblr

Illustfolio 4 is the fourth incarnation of the Illustfolio theme. All of these versions have totally different layouts, features, and styles.

The developer doesn’t offer as much support for older versions so it’s always a good idea to stick with the newest one. And really, Illustfolio 4 is just superb.

If you take a look at the demo page on GitHub you can get a feel for how Illustfolio looks in your browser. It supports custom image sizes and all the post types you expect from the Tumblr platform.

Really this is one of the cleanest portfolio-styled Tumblr themes out there. And it comes at the incredible price of $0.

Now if you want to dig into the code you can browse Illustfolio’s source on GitHub since it’s released for free. You’ll also find a link to the documentation explaining how to install & customize the theme on any Tumblr blog.

Also might like Illustfolio 3 if you’re okay going with the older version. It does have a different design and it might be closer to what you’re looking for.

Illustfolio 3 Tumblr

Illustfolio 3 also has its own demo page if you want to check that out to compare.

Both are great, both are very unique. My personal vote is for the newest v4 theme and I’m eagerly awaiting the Illustfolio 5 release.

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Void Tumblr theme

Oblong grid layouts are very common nowadays and they first gained attention from Pinterest’s layout.

These types of designs are called masonry grids and that’s exactly what you’ll find in the Void theme.

Currently in version 2 this theme is just fantastic and it works with all the major features: tags, custom images, Disqus comments and a lot more.

Not everyone likes the Void layout because it has such a strange grid. That’s totally understandable.

But if you like the tightly-packed grid full of images then you’ll really enjoy this design.

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Copycat theme

For something a little cleaner that still has the masonry grid check out Copycat.

It’s a responsive layout that works with almost any kind of website from a typical blog to a larger portfolio—or even both!

You don’t need to do much setup once you get this added onto your blog. It’ll automatically size images to fit into the grid properly so all you do is upload your artwork and let this run.

Maybe setup a custom header image if you’re feeling adventurous.

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Maverick theme

When it comes to launching your art portfolio online there’s a lot of options. Many artists go with Tumblr because it handles your web hosting and you don’t need to pay for the service.

If you’re one of those artists who wants to run your whole portfolio on Tumblr then Maverick is a theme you should check out.

In fact, I’d say this is one of the best portfolio-style themes in the entire list.

You can add custom tags near the top of the page to sort your posts by categories(ex: illustration, character design, environments). The default layout lets you pick a custom header image and the layout itself focuses heavily on the content.

Easy to search, easy to navigate, and easy to browse images.

The perfect design for sharing your work online with art directors & freelance clients.

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Sugar theme

The variable grid design of Sugar feels a lot more expansive than other themes.

That’s because each post includes a small snippet along with the post headline right underneath the image. It’s a bit easier to browse this way since people can skim your posts and see what you’re writing about.

I’d recommend Sugar more for artists who want to use Tumblr as a blog. It can work as a portfolio but there are many better options for that.

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Eclipse theme

Art is truly a visual medium. It sells through visuals and the best way to grab attention is with big visuals.

That’s exactly what you see in the Eclipse Tumblr theme. It also runs on a grid structure but the grid takes up most of the page. All of it filled with massive thumbnail images.

It almost feels like a mood board since the content is so large and the layout is so easy to browse. But it might also be too simple depending on what you’re looking for.

Thankfully this does come with a few options to change the layout and the color scheme. Very simple process even for a complete Tumblr newbie.

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Wicked Merchant

So there’s a few things I like about the Wicked theme.

First it places a heavy focus on images. That’s definitely what you want as an artist.

But it also adds little icons above each thumbnail so visitors can quickly access key commands like search, reblog, or save.

It’s lightweight and meant to load fast so visitors aren’t waiting around for long page times.

Overall a beautiful design and certainly a theme worth looking into.

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Candice theme

Now this is what I’d call a brilliant art portfolio theme.

Candice runs on a single column layout so everything flows right down the page. You can structure the content however you want whether it’s in a grid or a list of content.

The side navigation menu slides into view with a sleek animation breathing some life into the design.

The best selling points have to be the custom header sections, plenty of space in the nav for links, and a real website “feel” to the whole design. Not to mention customizable fonts with 600+ typefaces from Google Fonts to look through.

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Ten Toes

Ten Toes Theme

Weird name, great theme. That’s the gist of Ten Toes which offers a very simple approach to theming your Tumblr blog.

On the demo page you’ll find a huge masonry grid with custom thumbnails and custom text. The side menu stays fixed while scrolling down the page so visitors can quickly access tag links or any other pages you setup.

My only complaint is that the design can feel a little too simple.

But there’s nothing wrong with that and it’s certainly worth some attention if you’ve never worked with a custom theme before.

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Carter Theme

The free Carter theme is a freebie released by the dev team Zen Themes. They publish a lot of premium themes but Carter is 100% free.

It’s also designed with a fixed sidebar following along as you scroll. This is great for portfolio sites where you want to organize work into different tags.

I also like the many options in the design where you can change the background color, page effects, and typography.

Carter offers some of the most editable features out of all these major themes. But it’ll take some restyling to get it looking how you want so it may be a little more work than you wanna deal with.

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Prestige Tumblr theme

Prestige offers a wide range of custom settings from typography to color choices, grid spacing, and even the overall sidebar layout.

In many ways Prestige feels like so many other themes in this list. It’s very basic, focuses mostly on the artwork/content, and keeps a small sidebar off to the side with easily accessible links.

I only recommend this because it might be worth using if you like the overall look. Granted this does look like many other themes but Prestige also has its own style that might strike you in just the right way.

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Castle Tumblr theme

Castle places a lot of emphasis on color and spacing.

This is a nice change from all the blank white page layouts you typically find in the Tumblr themes section.

With Castle you can quickly add your own custom logo and even custom typography into the page. The sidebar has its own color scheme along with an editable background color to match whatever style you like.

I definitely recommend this for a Tumblr portfolio page or even a blog.

But take some time to think over your design before putting it up live.

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Foudre theme

The Foudre layout feels very experimental and certainly stands on its own outside of Tumblr.

I do not think it’s the best choice for artists who want a clean & basic design. Although Foudre is certainly clean and pretty basic, it’s just not the cleanest layout you’ll find.

Think of this more like a fun blogging theme and less like a portfolio page. Use it more for entertainment and for increasing your following rather than a public-facing portfolio to land work.

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Pation theme

Last but certainly not least is the ultra simple Pation.

Again this places a heavy focus on the one area you care about: the content. Visitors can quickly skim the page for images they like and click to see more.

Pation supports slideshows with multi-image posts along with custom background colors or patterns. You can change the entire layout from dark to light with just a few clicks.

I wouldn’t personally recommend this for a full portfolio page but I do think it’d work well for blogging.

And with a few tweaks you could get this theme working with any style. Really that’s the case with most of these themes, so if you’re just getting into Tumblr or want to update your existing page then you can’t go wrong with anything here.

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