One of the most common problems for emerging artists is the idea of pricing artwork for sale. All artists face it – and it can be the most difficult thing we can do. When we pour our heart and soul into a piece, how can we put a price on that? The answer is to not even use this as a determining factor.
Keep emotions out of it all together (difficult thing to do, right?).
Our emotions and feelings toward our own art is a very important part of what we create, but when it comes time for pricing, we must put them aside.
Another difficulty with pricing art is the real worry that no one will buy it because its priced too high… or they may think it has little value because of being priced too low.
These are real issues that many artists have faced (myself included), and I thought I would share with you some suggestions and tips for pricing artworks with you here today.
There is no way I could determine how much a particular artist’s work should be priced, but I can give you some general guidelines, so you can determine for yourself a reasonable pricing strategy for your art.
Start Small, and BUILD!
For artists just starting out, I would suggest to start as low as you possibly can, without undervaluing your work.
I know this is a difficult thing to do for some, but the best way to build any business is to start small and grow and nurture the art business.
You could set yourself up for failure if you start off with prices similar to artists who have been creating for years.
Find a general pricing range for other artists at your level of artistic development
Try to find out an average price for the work of emerging artists in your area. If you are selling online, seek out portfolios from young artists in your genre of art, and look at their prices. Do they seem to be selling art? If they are not, it could mean they have priced too high.
After some research try to come up with a rough price of your own, based on the prices of other artists at the same level in their art careers. If possible, try to find out a general price for artworks of different sizes. All this will give you a general idea of what price range you should be pricing your art.
Keep the same pricing formula for your art everywhere!
This applies both online and offline. If you sell a certain piece for $200 in a gallery or art fair booth, don’t have it listed for $400 on your website. Your connections could notice the price difference and wonder why you increased it.
This of course could leave a negative vibe on your art as a whole.
I know this sounds like common sense, but I have seen some artists do this!
Increase prices incrementally
This comes from the previously mentioned idea of starting small and building. Once you begin selling, increase your general prices at small intervals, at set times. For example, you could increase prices by a small amount every 3-6 months, depending on how active you are as an artist.
Have a list of your prices
Have this ready anytime someone asks you what a certain piece costs, or how much it costs to commission a piece. Have it memorized as well, so anytime you are asked about prices, you can instantly voice them without hesitation.
Some artists use basic formulas to price an artwork. For example:
Cost of artwork = Cost of materials + (hourly wage x number of hours spent)
Also, factor in other incidental expenses such as cost of studio space (would be a percentage based on the amount of time spent on the painting), framing, percentage of marketing expenses, etc.
Per square inch
Then, there are artists who charge per square inch. For example, $1 per square inch would make a 8 x 10 piece $80. A 24 x 36” artwork would be $864
I personally dislike this method, because sometimes a 8 x 10 takes just as long to complete as a 24 x 36. But, I do use it as a general guideline to determine a minimum and maximum for my pieces.
Price by size
I prefer to price by size… it is much easier, and is much easier for buyers to understand. But, in determining the price per size, I used the aforementioned methods.
I first determined a cost of a typical sized artwork. Then, I divided this by the number of square inches in the piece to get a cost per square inch.
I use cost per square inch as a general guideline to determine cost of certain pieces, but I do still have some flexibility of pricing certain pieces depending on the time spent and materials used. Of course, this can be easily explained to any buyer who asks about a price difference between same sized artworks.
I hope this is easily understandable. This is what I do to price my artwork, but I know other artists go about it different ways.
If you are interested, you can also review our other articles on this topic:
How to Set Good Prices for Art
How Much is Art Worth?
I now have a question for you… How do you price YOUR art?
(Please reply to this in the comments)
As I work on my art I have always had trouble trying g to determine what to set a price at. Thank you for this informative article. In general, prints are sold for less then the original - how do you determine their cost?ReplyDelete
Prints are generally priced according to how many there are in the edition. The smaller the number of prints, the higher the cost. This may be a good topic for a future article.. :)Delete
I am a woodturner and primarily turn ikebana bowls. Pricing these over the last three years has been, somewhat, an exercise in frustration. Like your article has suggested, I have been incrementally increasing my price in the hopes that I can find the sweet spot. I am still looking.ReplyDelete
I have encountered an interesting phenomenon where I live which I'd like to mention. I primarily participate in local shows. Where I live, what art sells for seems to be significantly less that what I have seen in more urban markets. For example, a medium sized ikebana bowl that I sell for $38 at local shows can sell for more than $60 over in Atlanta (at their art shows). I am not including the gallery pricing because consignment fees can increase the cost of the art dramatically.
So a factor in pricing your art should also include the geographic area where you are trying to sell your art. Check out comparable products and see what they sell for there.
Rarely a show goes by when someone mentions 1) your prices are very reasonable, or 2) you need to raise your prices. Most of the time, the people mentioning these comments come from urban areas...
Just my opinion.
Pricing is a nemesis @-) I've tried price points all over the map & it don't seem to make any difference. Anything over $25 bucks, I go home with! I did a couple pencil drawings last year & have done prints of those & they've gone pretty well. Beyond that, I'm splashing around from 50 cents per square inch if it's really simple & I'm not real attached to it - to $2.00 per sq. in. for the complicated stuff that's my best work.ReplyDelete
My portraits I price cheaply to try to appeal to the widest audience possible. I do a 14" x 18" portrait for just $175 & can deliver it in about 3 days. My pricing seems competitive. Still, sales are disappointing.
Its hard with the whole price variation when some places have such high commission...ReplyDelete
I been painting since 1962, and I've sold, given, and burned more art than I care to remember, but if someone likes a painting then I need to help them enjoy my process and let them buy it from me.ReplyDelete
Pricing wall murals from $3.00 a foot to $100 per foot. Don't give it away.
Never say yes just to paint. (People will take advantage of you.) You need at first to get your price of the canvas, paint, and other materials back $25 to $40 per painting. As your experience grows so should you prices. Enter a few Juror exhibitions, (oh no) help others with some projects people will notice and like your work...but don't be afraid to ask for the money. Van Gogh sold One painting for about $37.50 Twenty years later his art sold for hundreds.
to all fellow artists dont believe every thing you hear and see most artist use window dressing then sell prints and most art categories end up being same form fellow artists be your independant selves even self centered focused inspiring artists get ahead on a long art journey and take heed criticizers help the artists especially amateur artists as myselfReplyDelete
Can I ask how do you sell and avoid piracy. I've had work stolen and used in blog videos even managed to take down a whole users YouTube account. I am at a loss do you watermark or not. Not all countries honor the dmca they have a thing called arbitration I had to get a lawyer after one on vk.com. it's made me so mad I've been discouraged ever since.ReplyDelete