For many artists, making art for a living is the dream. Many artists struggle with how to price art commissions. It is the end goal that every artist seeks because it means you get to focus on your craft.
Despite the fact that many people have artistic interests, only a small percentage monetize them. Though this used to be dependent on gatekeepers responsible for getting your work out, times have changed.
In the modern age, you can sell your own art easily by yourself. If you are going to sell art, knowing how to price your art is crucial.
If you’re trying to figure out how to price art commissions, and the price is too low or too high, you might lose money. For most people, it is very difficult to imagine the actual value of their own work.
This is partially caused by being too close to the process and a little bit by ego. People have a tendency to think that their work is worth more or less depending on what they put into it. Realistically, art is a buyer’s market, which means pricing is more about what they are willing to pay.
Many artists find this to be discouraging, but it doesn’t need to be. It just means that you need to pick up certain skills to understand how to price your art.
We don’t want you to sell your art for next to nothing. In reality, you need to learn how to assign a value to your work based off of the current market. This will help you to navigate learning how to price art.
If you’re interested in the business side of your art, please check out these other articles that may help you in your journey:
- How to Build a Portfolio Website from Scratch
- Do You Need A Business License To Sell Your Art?
- 30 Tips On How To Sell on Etsy and Skyrocket Your Artwork Sales
- The Secret You’re Missing To Sell Art Online
- How Do I Copyright My Artwork?
- 7 Kinds of Graphic Design Jobs and How Much They Make
- Are Web Design Jobs A Good Career Choice Right Now?
Can I Really Sell My Art?
A major hurdle that people struggle with is truly being able to sell their art. While traditionally artists had to get recognized by the right people to succeed, that time has passed.
In the world of ecommerce, you can sell any variety of art products online yourself. You no longer need to know the right people, just how to find your audience online.
It has never been easier to sell art and reach a wide audience. Learning how to price art is just one step towards learning how to sell it.
There are several different ways that a person can sell artwork online, and all are dependent on marketing to some degree. Many artists use sites like Etsy to showcase their masterpieces, particularly of the DIY variety.
For digital artists, Instagram tends to be a popular platform. It allows artists to show their skills and link back to their personal website for sales and commissions. There are many different approaches that you can take to sell your art.
Try to look for other artists doing things similar to you and see what approaches they are taking to knowing how to price art commissions. This is a great way to learn how to price your art and your place in the market.
How Do I Price My Art for Beginners
Many people struggle with knowing where to start from a pricing perspective when they first begin selling art professionally. In many ways, beginning to sell art can help an artist to refine their craft further.
If you’re relatively new to professional art, you likely won’t feel comfortable charging top dollar. This makes complete sense. When you first start, charging a price that feels appropriate for your skill level can be a good choice.
You do not want to be overly critical, but if you know that you aren’t a top artist yet, factor that in. Recognizing that your artwork is still developing and growing and charging slightly less for it can be helpful.
People likely won’t want to pay a top tier price for beginner work, and that’s fine. As you build your skills and fanbase, you can adjust your pricing to match that.
Everyone has to start somewhere, so don’t feel bad if you aren’t rolling in money after selling a single painting. Remember that your lower price should still be normal for the industry, so don’t sell yourself short.
Does Where I Sell My Art Matter?
When it comes time to decide where you want to sell your art, there are things to consider. Though there are many options for where you sell your art, they come with different success rates.
This can be dependent on the platform or your marketing ability. Some platforms are known for offering specific kinds of art, so choosing the correct one is important.
While there is no one way to approach how you want to sell your art, certain factors matter.
If you decide that you want to run your own online store, you will need extreme marketing skills. It takes a lot of effort to self-promote an individual store.
It can absolutely be done, but there is a lot more work involved. Using a platform like Etsy or other art platforms can be helpful because they give you the tools to run your business. This will allow you to focus on using the system to meet an audience already in the market.
For digital artists, Instagram seems to be the primary engagement platform to draw in clients. This is a fun way to showcase your work and interact with your audience.
All of these methods are viable options when it comes to setting up an online store. Your best approach will be to research what is right for you.
Look around to determine what other artists like you are working on and observe their approach. Recognizing where people go to look for a specific product type can help you reach your audience quickly.
How Good Does My Art Have to Be?
A major concern that artists have is that their work might not be good enough to sell. This is a messy problem for several major reasons. First of all, most artists tend to struggle with the idea that their art is good.
It is very easy to be insecure about your own work because you made it and know what the idealized version in your head would look like.
Artists have a tendency to also be perfectionists, and with that comes a lot of insecurity. This insecurity drives many artists to quit before they even try selling their work.
It is normal to fear rejection for your work. Putting your art up for sale is a process that makes you incredibly vulnerable. The key is to not let that fear of vulnerability stop you from trying.
You can always show your work to people that you know and ask their opinions. After that, it’s best to just put it up and see if it sells. Let people decide for themselves how good your art is.
Your focus is creating your own personal masterpieces and having fun. Everyone has different tastes, and your work might be something a stranger has always been looking for.
What Factors Impact My Price?
A major part of learning how to price art is dependent on what actually goes into art. Common things to consider are time and materials.
If you spend two weeks making a painting, you probably want to make more than twenty bucks for it. In the event that you’re working in an expensive medium, selling your work cheaply won’t do.
Understanding the cost of each piece is an important way to start determining the overall value of your works of art.
The other side to this is recognizing when your work simply isn’t economic. It won’t matter how long it took or what it cost if no one wants to buy it at a reasonable price.
In some cases, you will have to accept that there are simply some factors beyond your control. Another big part of this is learning to pace your peers. If a painting that someone charges fifty dollars for only takes two hours, that’s good income.
If you take two weeks to do the same painting, you won’t make any money. You will have to learn how to manage your craft efficiently if you want to use it for business purposes.
Originals vs. Duplicates
In the art world, many artists have realized that they can actually capitalize on their art with multiple people. Many artists will sell both originals and duplicates to maximize profits.
This allows you to make your store able to appeal to more people. While not everyone can spend hundreds on an original painting, most can afford a duplicate. By covering both bases, you can drastically improve your number of sales.
Original works of art are the version that you make to begin with. They are the most popular when it comes to paintings or drawings because digital art has no real original version.
When someone buys these, they are getting the original piece that you created with your own two hands. Originals fetch a much higher price, particularly for paintings.
Duplicates involve making copies of your work and selling them for a lower price. They can be printed or digital in nature.
The idea is that you take one of your more popular pieces and digitize it so that you can make as many copies as you need. This can be effective for online stores and festivals, and offers economic access to your art.
Understanding the Market
Learning how to price art is largely dependent on the market. If you want to sell products, you’ll need to understand what they sell for. While it is easy to assume that your artwork is worth a small amount, you might be surprised.
The market is known for assigning value in unexpected ways. This means that you will want to look around as a buyer of art and see what you find. You pricing should always be in line with other comparable products.
You can charge a little more or a little less, but too much in either direction is bad.
Understanding the market to price art effectively is an ongoing process. You can do your research once to get started, but don’t stop there. Markets have a tendency to shift with time, and you don’t want to be left out.
Keeping an active pulse on what people are selling art for can help you to maximize profits. If you notice a spike in pricing, raise your own.
If it drops, consider lowering your price or running a sale. These techniques can be used to pace your competition.
Should I Run Sales?
Online sales are a huge part of ecommerce shopping, but people forget to apply it to artistic fields. Sales are an excellent way to draw in a lot of customers and gain sales quickly.
While you don’t want to sell your work for too little, there are effective ways to manage sales. In many instances, a sale can bring you more customers who will pay full price later.
This is great to run around holidays or for random promotions. If you can market sales effectively, you can sell a lot in a single day.
Knowing how to price art is dependent on assigning value to a piece. Your work is worth what it cost you and what others are willing to pay. When you first start out, asking yourself “how do I price my art” might seem difficult.
The more time that you spend doing your research and learning, the more prepared you will be. Many people make the mistake of selling their hard work cheaply, but this only hurts you.
Take the time to understand what your art is worth so that you can get paid appropriately. After you have done this research, you can work on marketing to get your art in front of the right people. Don’t sell yourself short!
Pricing Art FAQ
How do I price my art?
Use this pricing artwork formula. Come up with your hourly wage. If you have trouble with deciding your hourly wage then use an hourly wage from a recent past job you did. After that add the costs of all the materials you use to create the art. Remember to factor in the price of things like electricity or other intangible equipment you use to produce your work. For example, if your hourly wage is $20, your materials cost $50, and the electricity in your studio costs $50/month, which is about $1.7/day. Your artwork should be priced at $161 for 8 hours of work.
How do I price artwork for beginners?
Use the formula in the above answer, but you’ll want to consider your skill level into your hourly wage. If you’re new to a particular craft, it’s probably not the best to charge top dollar in your hourly wage. On the other side, if you have a lot of demand for your art, you should charge top dollar for your hourly wage.
What factors impact the price of my artwork?
You’ll want to consider the time it takes you to make it, the cost of materials, and your skill level and demand for your work are all factors that will help you determine your price.
What art sells the best?
Look at other places similar to where you want to sell your art. If you’re selling art at a convention, go to one and see what items lots of people buy. If it’s Etsy, search Etsy to see what is bought the most.