Discussion in 'Art Sales and Auctions' started by TheKyleIsHere, Aug 25, 2009.
FANTASTIC and realistic, this is a sober approach on things.
"Price is only a factor in the absence of value."
A quote I hear often and agree with but do not know the oragin of.
I try not to sell myself cheap. But I always hope I am giving my customers their money's worth.
If you want to buy it by the pound what you are shopping for is not art.
I don't think that's a fair statement at all. Art has been a profession longer than our current calendar has been in place. It is to be bought and sold, denying that is a pretty new idea.
What of the increasingly agitating subjects who overprice their art?
Not all of the artists on Fur Affinity are professionals. Some of them who try to make their marks here are amateurs that, by the same theory as the opening post, expect excellent pay when their art isn't of proper quality. I can't help but question how justifiable that actually is.
I agree that the time spent on a piece is important but the quality of it should be factored into the price as well. People with less experience should not expect the same pay as the big dogs and definitely should not respond with hostility when somebody politely calls their prices expensive. If people really want to get paid professionally, then they should be required to act and work professionally in return.
It doesn't look like I visit the forums a lot but I lurk often when I haven't even signed in. The Black Market is fascinating but the etiquette is sadly laughable.
I don't know if this has been brought up or not, so forgive me if I'm reiterating, but I think one of the driving factors for artists (especially me) charging low prices is competition.
It's very difficult to follow the pricing guide suggested here when an artist with much more ability and/or popularity is charging less. Customers in general, whether buying art, or a house, or groceries, always want more for less money. It's common sense. I admit when I go shopping, I look for similar deals. So unless you know the commissioner personally, why would they pay you more for lower quality work when they can pay someone else less for higher quality?
For example, I sell badges for $10 - $15, depending on media, character complexity, etc. I haven't had any bites on them so far, and I know that's because there are more popular, generally better artists charging $7 - 8, or some even going as low as $5. I just can't compete with that, so I know I'm probably going to have to lower the prices if I want any commissions at all. It seems the only way you can really price how you want is if you have a trademark craft that few other artists offer.
While I definitely agree that OP's idea SHOULD apply, it simply doesn't. I also have a feeling someone's going to comment with "But if more artists charge more, others won't have to lower theirs to compete and everyone's prices will rise." This is true, but let's face it, not very likely to happen.
The funny thing is out in the real world, people pretty much expect art for higher prices. I've only ever seen art at these prices online and at conventions. Of course, it's a lot harder to find people willing to pay for art in the real world. Go figure.
Art is a difficult business, that's for sure.
This is a very good thread and I'm happy to see it in the forums.
Back two years or more, I was trying to get commissions at the price of $7 for a colored digital commission. I didn't want to offer that low of a price but it felt like the only way I'd get it. Unfortunately, I didn't get any commission at that price.
Flash forward a year, I ended up being open for commissions again. I still wasn't that great of an artist but I wanted to let people know I was available. I got someone interested in a sketch commission for $7. He then turned around and commissioned me for a fully shaded color piece for $25. As much as I thought that was a decent price, I still ended up hating doing it since I felt cheated (especially since I'm never happy with a digital drawing/painting). I ended up not finishing it and refunding the money because I felt I was worth more.
Now a year later, and having commissions in real life ($200 for a painting I can finish in a couple hours but is still on the low end since I have to sketch it and work out the details...and check back with the commissioner), I realize my time and skill is much more important to me than charging a simple $7 for a sketch.
My biggest issue is that after a year break from FA, I feel I don't have enough popularity to get commissions in the fandom (I also don't have any art posted anymore but as soon as I get home from my trip, I'll start posting again). But I'm sure that in due time, I'll be getting those commissions.
I just really appreciate this post you made and I hope others realize the truth in what you say. I sure have and I can't wait to see the green come in (I don't have a job currently so that's why I'm interested in this).
***WARNING! Lots of tl;dr below! (Summary at the bottom)***
I'm a lurker so take that as you will, but one thing I've seen from the realists is a bit condescending pessimism. "Ohhh you may think your art's worth that much and it may well be but furries are dumb and/or selfish and won't pay that. You're a deluded narccicist to think anyone will pay those prices and you'd better lower your prices to suit the average dumb and/or selfish (hereafter refered to as DA/OS) art budget or nobody will buy your art and you will be labelled as a snotty idiot and they won't let you join in their reindeer games/etc. etc."
First of all, don't like someone's prices? Don't buy/commission them, then. Second of all, "Some of you zealots think that if artists band together loosely on higher prices so that's the only price a DA/OS has available, it will work and you'll finally get regularly paid what you're worth. Well it won't so get your heads out of your asses and lower your prices or you will be labelled as a snotty idiot, etc." makes it sound almost like you're afraid they'll do just that and could even succeed and you'd suddenly be forced to pay the artist what they are actually worth. Again, don't like their prices? Don't buy, etc. Most importantly, if you specifically want a quickie sketch with little effort put in, then yes, that should cost less, and a more detailed work should cost more, and it's presumed you're only commissioning/buying from people with the level of quality you desire. To that end, expect bad/sloppy/really amateur artists to price lower, but inverse to that, expect good/great/amazing artists to price higher. You want to pay crappy prices, buy crappy art. You want quality art, pay the quality prices. Simple as that.
I utterly agree to price to the economy, but never price to the lowest common denominator market or DA/OS. Since when did good artists become DA/OS' art slaves?
My advice for budding artists who seriously can't decide on a good price and who don't feel they are a Terry Smith or whomever is the topdog artist these days: Take commissions for free and have extremely limited slots, like 2 in a month, to practice variety of subjects/scenes/poses, etc. Do only sketches, whether paper or digital, for awhile, to work on your linework, your posing, etc, to polish up your style until you're happy with it. By limiting it to 2 in a month and only of simple sketch quality, you can't get swamped and won't be overworking yourself. Don't do more than 1 free commission for a person unless you have a very good reason. Give the caveat that this is for practice only and to help get your name out, and that when you feel you've grown enough as an artist, you will begin charging for all work and charging quality prices, at that. Why do you think food companies set up booths to give out free samples of their food? If it was such a losing proposition, they wouldn't still be doing it after all these years. Simple quality (But not poor/sloppy! Make the effort to improve with each sketch!) and few/controlled numbers keep the stress low, the practice continual, and gets your name out there. To any DA/OS whom after getting their one free sketch whines that since you're still doing freebies for other people that they should get another freebie, tell them if they think you're good enough they want more of your work, then they should be willing to pay for it, now. When you feel you're ready and you're happy with your quality, charge for your sketches what you think they're worth. You could choose to begin the "freebie tier" again to practice your colouring/shading, saying that the sketch will cost $price but they can upgrade to practice-level colouring for free. Then when you're confident all around, stop the freebies, in a general fashion, and charge what you believe in. Have a monthly/bi-annually/however-often-you-want freebie giveaway to still keep newbies or DA/OS interested, but sell for what makes you comfortable on the bulk of your work. Remember those desperate kids in grade/highschool who would do anything to get some friends? Did they get invited to any of the cool parties? No. The self-confident ones usually did. Don't be the desperate loser-kid that ends up with poor profits due to "Please be my fan!" pricing. Be the cool kid who may or may not get lots of sales, but each sale was worth its effort.
The tl;dr, don't let anyone bully you into lowering your prices to suit their beliefs/desires, and consider doing limited free work until you feel ready to charge what you believe in.
I hear that, and saddly, it takes time to become well known. Also, a friend of mine, who's been a freelance artist for quite some time, and is able to make a decent chunk of change from it, gave me this advice....
"set yourself an earn limit, then commission someone else. Give back to the community that gives to you, you may find them doing the same."
She told me it takes at least 2 or 3 years before you can really start getting the prices that you deserve. Most of the actual commissions that I've been getting are through doing sales, because of the whole, people don't want to pay you what your work is worth, problem. I even put in my threads, when I post my normal prices, "You don't like working for less than minimum wage, and neither do I, you pay for the quality of work you're getting, and mine's worth $10 an hour". But... still, they know that they can get cheaper artwork for almost the same quality as mine because pretty much everyone on here refuses to raise their prices. TT.TT
I'll agree with that. But it does go back to the whole, you pay for what you get, and there are people who aren't charging what they could for their work, which makes it hard for people that do know the value of their artwork to charge that amount.
I even posted a POLL on one of my commission threads ASKING if people thought I was charging to much, or about right, or whatever, and got absolutely no responses, even though I was asking completely honestly so that I could better price my artwork for them.
I find people mostly don't respond to journals unless you have something funny or witty in them. :\ Disappointing, but that's the way it is. Unless of course, you're one of those popular artists...
I dont exactly agree that an artist should charge for the time it takes to complete a picture, not unless it is possible for the client/customer to see the picture every step of the way. Because if your working at a job and your being paid by the hour, the employer is NOT going to let you sit there on your butt doing nothing for several hours. Especially on a site like this we cant very well see what the artist is doing, so they could be playing video games or doing the laundry or any number of things instead of doing the artwork, then the next day hand you something they worked up in maybe 20 minutes and tell you it took them 5 hours. I know we would like to think people are honest, but truthfully not everyone is. And to use myself as an example, i commissioned a picture a while ago, the artist took over 2 months to complete the picture and it was not even close to the quality or even the style that i had asked for it to be done in and that they assured me they could do it in. Plus there were visible flaws to it, like the feet of the character looked like they were on the wrong legs because the big toes were on the wrong sides, and one leg looked like it was broken because the knee was mostly bent the wrong way. Unfortunately after discussing this with the artist they gave me a guilt trip about needing to pay their rent or something like that, so i ended up having to pay too much for something that in the end i didnt like at all and that took over 2 months to finish. Now if they had been charging for "time" on that it would have cost me over $500. So commissions should not be based solely on time, but also on quality, and should be ensured that the artist is charging you for time they were actually working on the picture.
I consider myself really slow, I take my time with my art, so if I followed your 1 hr = $10 formula, I'd be charging a fortune
There are artists out there who can draw stuff 10 times better than me, 10 times faster than me, so this doesn't really make sense. And they'd also probably end up charging 10 times more lol.
I was thinking $20 for something that takes me 5-10 hours, but I really don't mind...
I agree with this topic. I also believe that a lot of the time it's not because an artists doubts quality or time, it's simply that they get bullied into lower prices and are made to feel guilty about what is a more than reasonable price to charge for their art. This is as far as I'm concerned is a good example of what a lot of these artists probably run into: http://www.furaffinity.net/journal/1713009/
All this because I made a mistake with my posting and was asking for clarification, suddenly I was a selfish jerk and should just assume everyone is broke. By all means, bending your prices for those in a tough situation is a great thing. I do it quite frequently myself. However, artists just assuming that is the case with everyone and making themselves unhappy with income from their art for an assumption that should be a case by case thing, is unreasonable.
I fear too many artists are put in this situation and made to feel bad about their pricing. I agree with TheKyleIsHere that it's far more worth it to do a couple higher priced commissions, save yourself some time and effort then doing a ton and get just as much or less money. The problem is it's legitimately hard for the artists to see it that way when they are goaded by desperation and attacked for their prices. I mean for a lot of people having people question your prices is discouraging enough, but when they outright attack you for it's a lot harder on you. It makes you feel like there is no worth to your work, and in very few, if any situations that this has ever happened to an artist, have I ever seen that to be even remotely true.
I agree with a previous user regarding using low prices because they are doing it for fun, not money. I really don't think that drastically effects the market for artists. I mean, you have to stop and think, how many artists are there on this site who do it strictly for fun? Not enough to make the market take a dive. Also people in this community generally like variety with artists, so the few doing it for fun is not going to stop that fact that a buyer might go elsewhere for a different style.
Though because of the want for variety, many artists with low prices will affect things overall. People want to get a lot of art for low prices usually. And with artists in fierce competition as stated many times before (sorry, don't mean to be a broken record) they all undercut each other to get more commissions. I completely understand why this is done. It doesn't paint a pretty picture in the long run, but you honestly can't blame artists for taking this approach.
With the variety of reasons people are selling and buying art on here I feel it's better to just work on a case by case basis. That way you as the artist don't get screwed, but for those who are in a bad financial situation they aren't feeling left out on art or putting up money that they can't afford at the time. This is why (in addition to the fact the list of things I made just got too long to be easily looked through) I never really listed base prices until now. I find it's better to have your own price in your head and work with the person depending on the situation. If something would normally be $50, but because of their situation you don't mind taking $30, then go for it. You shouldn't feel obligated to, but honestly if you have the time, money, whatever, why not? On the other hand if someone says their range is $60 for that item, don't be a jerk and take more than you would normally charge. The cliche do unto others thing comes into play.
I dunno. That'a just how I see it. I don't know if any of that made any sense. LOL
Hey Plague, hate to say it but what you say about artists "undercutting" each other is a fact of any business. Look at Walmart "Lowest Price Guarantee". It is a fact that people will always want to pay as little as possible for something, and dont deny it because i doubt that when you go shopping for something that you buy the most expensive thing even when there is something just as good for a cheaper price. No one except some rich person who doesnt care about cost would pay higher prices when there is cheaper. And the business owner (In this case the artist) has to be able to compete with others in their own "bracket" (which i guess in this would be quality and style of the art). I'm not saying that artists should "Have" to pay lower, just that it is up to an artist what they charge for their work, and if one person wants to charge a lower price then that is their right, and if someone else is charging more for the same thing then they should expect to have less business for it. [Unless of course your a gas station in which case the government steps in and makes all stations charge the same amount for gas, where i live anyway]
I totally understand that. And at no point did I say this isn't how business works. However undercutting does reach a point where the people trying to make money are left for screwed. In the case of your Walmart analogy the business will have no choice but to cut it's loses and close. There are places that charge far less than places like Walmart and very few survive. That is the exact reason so many ma & pa businesses are going down the tube in today's economy. The cost to run your business versus what you pull in just isn't reasonable after awhile. And with art this can eventually become the case as well as prices drop lower and lower. Whether you're a digital artist that has to pay for upkeep of a computer or a traditional artist having to pay for a variety of supplies, shipping and so forth. It at some point, after fees for whatever the artist needs, becomes an unmanageable income.
That is true, but you have to remember that all artists have the same costs. Two artists using the same style and materials comes down to their own preference for price. I cant say anything about the price of art materials for traditional stuff, though i do know the cost of a computer and somewhat the prices of art programs. And i know some artists do make a living on their art, but others do it as a hobby or for extra cash. Those who dont make a living on it can of course charge less for the same thing if they choose to, which does pose a few problems for the ones who make a living on it. However it is each persons right to choose what they wish to charge for their work, and of course they have to live with the consequences of that. If charging more gets them less clients then they have to live with it, basically there is a point they have to find where price and customers balance out to give the most profit. And you cant hold it against someone if they choose to charge a lower price for their work, forcing them to charge more for it just so you can get more is no less wrong than someone forcing someone else to charge less. But anyway with the economy the way it is currently any artist charging more for their work is definately going to find themselves being hired less, because people simply wont have the money to pay for it.
Nowhere anywhere was I trying to force prices on anyone. In fact the whole point of this conversation was to encourage the idea of setting your own prices and not let others bully you into it or keep you from doing so, whether it be lowering or raising your prices. There a lot who are happy with their prices. There are also a lot of there who are not, and in that case I was offering them encouragement to do what the feel is right for their situation. Maybe some would rather have less clients, make the same amount of money, and have more free time to others things. However they get worried about doing so.
I dunno, I love the work I do and I put allot of time into it, but I'm not popufur or porny enough to get commissions. So I sel my work for rediculously cheep. Sure it would be very ego boosting and uplifting to start making some decent money off it, like enough for a pizza. XD But untill that happens Im content selling my stuff for cheap while my skills continue to snow ball.
This is a wonderful topic; I am ever so glad someone put this out there. I have my two cents to throw in for those that are contending that their art simply isn't up to the standards of high prices and want to build them up. This is bad practice. You are not less a person because you can't draw as well as you hope to down the road. What I recommend doing is setting your prices where you aim to be/would actually LIKE for a piece, within reason of course.. and then WORK towards that goal. If you feel it is your anatomy or coloring/shading/etc that is lacking, PRACTICE. As folks see your art improve, interest in your commissions will grow. If, however, your problem lies more in your speed of creation than quality.. practice doing speed drawing/sketches just to try to work up your speed, so that your prices will again match. If you truly aren't happy offering at self-respecting prices, I suggest assessing why not, and working to remedy that. Offering $1 sketches and $5 full color pictures only hurts your fellow artists, and in the long run, yourself.
Alright, I read over everything and I have come to this conclusion-
1. Artists who are known charge more, and people pay for it because of the professional quality
2. Customers for the most part do not care for the effort, but only end product
3. People are interested in getting good art for cheap prices.
Which brings me to my question- What about the barely beginning artists?
I have a commission page that I thought was reasonable, but the more I look at it the more I doubt myself- it's basically a build your own- choose a style, then a type, add anything, and then you're done. For instance- if a client wanted a Lineart with shading that was a full body with two characters- it'd come out to 9.00$ ( http://www.furaffinity.net/view/5223877/ )
The prices are really low because I'm BARELY starting out, I'm not all that well known, I'm young and I don't have a job. I'm still in highschool and I do babysitting gigs- getting about 40 dollars every two weeks, give or take. So I figured since I'm not working, I don't have to charge so much because I'm not dependant on my art. I did requests for a little while because I needed practice and I was in a bit of a rut, and I got all of that out in about a week because of issues with school and such. Should I really raise them or leave them as is? I work really fast, and the outcome isn't all that bad..
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