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.
If you are interested, you can also review our other articles on this topic:
I now have a question for you… How do you price YOUR art?
(Please reply to this in the comments)