Discussion in 'Art Sales and Auctions' started by BRN, Apr 2, 2013.
Several of these points you've mentioned had me thinking 'I should have thought of that' but I didn't, so I'm very glad that you pointed them out. Thank you!
This is very helpful but I've always wondered if I'm charging too little for my work. My aunt told me by charging too little makes people think I do cheep work, which is far from the truth! I put a lot of work into my commissions and I feel like my prices are reasonable but I still have trouble getting commissions.
This is a very good post. I've been raising my prices to match other artists online so there's a status quo, but I also feel that I don't have much of a reach to people out there.
Thank you for writing this! I'll make sure to study and try it out
What a great read. Thank you all for the well-thought-out posts.
Let me add my opinion/rationalizing as a customer who actually looks for commissions:
"If I lower my prices, maybe I'll get more sales.
Maybe there's some data floating around out there that might corroborate this claim, but this is my commissioner's perspective. Sorry guys - reducing your prices to be more competitive or to match the going rate is, at best, unproductive; at worst, it can be counterproductive.
I know that seems unintuitive, but within a general band, your art is as valuable as you sell it to be. This is why, if you often produce free art, you're unlikely to get commissioners as often as you otherwise could - the going perception will be, and the vast majority of your watchers will see, that your art can go for free. But something to keep in mind..."
Not always true. Art is usually bought less if it's too expensive. Plus, with all the competition, people will look for the best deals and will consider an art style less good if it doesn't seem worth the price considered the weight of art style - price compared to other artists. Since art is consumed, the value of how it's consumed is more important than the value of the effort put in. If art looks 20 dollarsish, but is produced with a 30 dollarsish effort, it would be best sold at 25 dollarsish. Many can spare just 5 dollars, but each time somebody pays extra 5 dollars, it adds 5 dollars to your pay, which adds up, so it's wise to charge a bit more than the apparent value but a bit less than the actual value. If you charge for the actual value, people will think it's too much of an increase or won't believe it's a fair price (customers aren't generally intelligent about art, which is why they're either a bit too gullible at times or a bit too cautious; this means some people will pay 1000 dollars for a meh-done YCH, but others won't pay 50 dollars for anything less than absolutely professional (less professional artists can make more professional pieces though), causing them to pass over you and commission somebody else. Perhaps a good way to go is to undercharge some things, but overcharge/fairly charge others. For example: take a 10 dollar value headshot and charge 7 dollarsish for it, maybe even 5. But take a 35 dollar value fullbody and charge 38 dollars for it, with an extra 3 dollars for traits that (usually) are (not) much more difficult to draw, like NSFW art. Determine the actual value by adding 5 dollars to the price of artists with similar skill levels to you, then averaging it all out through a mean or something. Very mathematical, wow. Also, be very careful when charging per hour. Don't charge 10 bucks per hour if it takes you 7 hours to complete the piece and your art isn't worth 70 dollars; effort is more important than time. For example: I take about 2 hours for my art. If I charged minimum wage in commissions, I'd get about 20 dollars, and my art skills are equivalent to that of a middle schooler. Remember: some semi-professionals will give you a great sketch for 15 dollars. Customers will exploit actual values for deals, learn the market. "Your art is as valuable as you sell it to be." This also means that you should write your posts persuasively and confidently to seem more professional. It isn't just price-based. Overcharging can actually make you look unprofessional more than undercharging can.
"- The less commission slots you offer during open times, the more valuable your commission slots can become."
Yes, but this can be EXTREMELY greedy to do, definitely if used wrong.
Slots make buying art a competition of the sorts, and make customers more stressed out. For example: they may need some time to put together their commission application properly, such as explaining in full detail. Plus, people could claim slots they don't really want, making another customer that really wanted art within a reasonable time period for their birthday or something to show their grandma before they die have to miss out just so that another customer could see yet another lewd picture of Lucario that will just rot in their huge collection. Then again: customers could pay a bit extra for priority if they really needed it, and artists could temporarily open more slots for an additional fee if there's a need. But generally: I am not a fan of the slots system. It's made me lose so many opportunities to commission so many different artists, then by the time they open slots again (3 months or something), I forget about the artist, the slots are taken AGAIN, I'm broke, I have no ideas what to commission now, or what I wanted to commission no longer has relevance to me. And it's not planned out when slots open again most of the time, so it's a lot of waiting that the customer doesn't get any compensation for.
"- 'Sales', Emergency Commissions, and Journals to advertise your commissions quickly become ineffective, and then quickly become counterproductive. This is what can appear to be "flaky" - keep your cool. "
This is true, but artists should do these as often as they can. Customers see it as this: a person is in need of money, so a customer can use that to their advantage, and everybody's happy. It's better to make faster cash and get the message out there this way. Don't severely undercharge with emergency commissions and sales, though. Perhaps have sale slots.
"Stick to your guns and work within your interests."
Try, actually, to not do this to the best of your ability, especially if profit can be involved.
Mature art isn't wrong by any means, and artists should try desensitizing their own feelings more for the happiness of their customers while not being taken advantage of. However, no artist should be undersold unless they need the money quickly or do it more for the community.
"- I've said it multiple times, but your art is as valuable as you decide it to be. Don't undersell thinking that you can "start charging more later"; it won't work, and you're really likely to attract the wrong crowd of followers."
I agree, but there's supposed to be a balance. If a person overcharges or fairly charges themselves right from the start, many less people will buy. The crowd attracted can't be overgeneralized; some will pay proper price later or advertise you even if your commissions become more expensive. Start cheap, then go fair. Just attract a different audience when you go fair. And when you go fair, explain why. For example: promotional deals, improvement in art, greater demand, other things.
To be fair, most of this article was written extremely well though and addressed many great points.
As a newcomer arriving into the commissioning field, tentatively dipping my toes in, this was a helpful read. I hope that I can garner some interest over the weeks to come and these tips will certainly help!
Newcomer and artist here - I deffo needed to see this - so much thanks for the advice!
Great thread... since I have a plan to start open for selling commission
Thank you for this post I love to make awesome art, I unfortunately have only been making art for the MLP fandom, but I want to move into the furry fandom because I don't only like equines, I LOVE canines and dragons so I want to move into that area.
This is rather valuable advice, and I'll be re-thinking how I'm going to do commissions. I would like to know, however, what you think is a good way to get started? What is the best way, in your opinion, to attract commissioners, and is doing a minimal amount of free commissions advisable, or detrimental?
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