Don’t under price your self


While looking up how to price my paintings I stumbled upon this article. So to all my fellow artist, no mater what kind of art you make, never underestimate or under sell your self!


Do you know what your art is worth? Do you guess, when it comes to naming a price for your art? Or do you just let the galleries decide? I hope the answer is “yes” to the first, and “no” to the second and third. There are a lot of factors that I consider when pricing one of my paintings. Before anything else, I add up the money I’ve spent on materials; including paints, brushes, canvas, studio space, transportation costs, etc. This amount MUST be accounted for somewhere, because just like any business, the materials are an investment and detract from my total profit. On average, the materials and expenses for one of my paintings are between $50 and $100. I add to that an hourly price for total amount of time I worked on the painting, whether in front of the easel or planning and sketching. Since I prefer to do series of paintings, I’ll spend anywhere from 20 to 50 hours planning the entire series, and then divide that number by the total paintings in the series. All my hours together can add up to quite a few just for a single painting, and I DO get to set my own hourly wage, which is a great perk. After expenses and “labor” are added together, I still have to look at how much my previous work has sold for; and it’s also not a bad idea to see what other painters are pricing their work at too. While you’re thinking about it, why not consider how much you need to make to live on. Is painting a hobby, a part time job, or a full time job for you? Figuring out an hourly wage and counting in costs can give you a good base to start from, but still, the choice is ultimately in your hands. Unfortunately I think too often artists under-price their work. Sometimes it’s because they’re inexperienced and figure their stuff can’t be worth as much as more established artists, or that they’re just unsure if it will sell, and hope that lowering the price will do the trick. Other times, of course, they’re way to HIGH and need to take a good look at what the market is for similar art. My opinion is that you should price it fairly, at what you think its value is. At least cover your costs, and get something for your time and skill. If the market doesn’t meet that price, then I’d just wait it out. That is, if you have another means of income. Personally, I believe it’s better to not sell, and to know the value of your work, then to sell out too low, and cheapen your art. The only time I would consider selling my art below the cost of materials and time is to have more work out there faster, all at once. The purpose of that, however, would be to cause increased publicity and demand for your art, so you could then raise your prices to match. If you’d like more resources on pricing and selling art, you might try Artists & Graphic Designers Market 2007, or if your work is more illustrative, Graphic Artists Guild Handbook of Pricing and Ethical Guidelines. Caroll Michels’ book, How to Survive and Prosper as an Artist, is also a good reference for artists and covers some pricing issues as well.


About artfulhelix

I'm a mother to three beautiful boys, 8 years, 2 years, and 1 year old, all there birthdays in April with mine (very busy month). I am a wife to a wonderful man who supports every thing I want to do. I have 10 piercings and 11 tattoos, more tattoos coming soon. I am an artist, painting, tattooing, sculpting (haven't done that for a long time), poetry, and a few small crafts. As an artist I felt writing was the next logical step for me. I am enjoying every minute of it, writing, blogging (never thought I would blog), and critiquing. I not only want to talk about my book and the writing proses, but art in general in my blog. I would like to share a poem I wrote a few years ago, but is so me. I came up with it when a very old woman came up to me on the side walk and said " Do you know you are going to hell?" laughing a little inside I said "No, why am I going to hell?" "Because you have desecrated the lords temple with all your piercings and tattoos!" She looks so serious when she said this. I said "I'm not desecrating, I'm decorating!" well that made her mad of course, and she stomped off. later I wrote this: You look at me that way in disgust and disdain I’m pierced and tattooed I must be insane But who are you to judge when you kneel down and pray Just because our beliefs are not the same We are not so different you and I for we are all the same when we die This is nothing against religion, merely about judgment in general. Can't wait to share more of what I love and who I am.

5 responses »

  1. I thought so to Personal Concerns. I still only have a veg idea of what to sell my painting for though. I have come to know I under sold my paintings when I was selling years ago. So I couldn’t agree more Millie Ho. Thank you both for commenting.

  2. This is good advice for whatever one might want to sell > whether art or professional services of any kind. If you sell, charge a respectful competitive rate. If you are going to give it way, don’t charge low, give it away, literally, through charity or by way of community service work. Don’t mix the two by charging too low, and thereby undervaluing oneself. Thanks for posting this–a good reminder ~

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