On The Increasingly Agitating Subject Of Pricing Your Art

Discussion in 'Art Sales and Auctions' started by TheKyleIsHere, Aug 25, 2009.

  1. magic-doogies

    magic-doogies New Member

    According to the guidelines I believe, all forms of payment must be negotiated off forums through email or PM.

    Granted I highly HIGHLY doubt any artists would want to get paid in very limited one kind of use gift cards, and honestly if you can afford to pay $8.00 to buy a gift card of that equivalent then you sure as heck have the money to pay them $8.00 of actual money.
  2. Arabesque

    Arabesque New Member

    Actually Amazon gift cards are great for anyone who doesn`t have a Paypal and doesn`t want to deal with the seller`s Paypal account, or for someone drawing adult art who doesn`t want to violate Paypal`s policies; the buyer`s next option would usually be to buy a physical money order. It`s a pretty common payment method after Paypal. It`s just up to the artist whether they`d want to accept it.

    Change of topic - I`ve been reading a lot of artist replies here about how long they spend on artwork, and I wanted to link the productivity timer I use.


    Thanks to this, I know down to the second how long my sketch, ink and colour stages take because it only times when your mouse or pen are moving in your art program (or you can set it for writing and other programs.) The timer stops if you navigate to an internet page for example. I think all artists who sell work should give it a try - you`ll know if you are really taking 50 hours on your digital painting or if it only felt like that because you were procrastinating on Tumblr. ;) The first step to setting an hourly wage is knowing how long you really spend drawing a typical type of artwork.

    It`s helped me become faster too. For example, if I`m making a speedpaint commission, I`ll know that I need to be finished the sketch at the 20 or 30 minute mark if I want to have the whole thing done in an hour and a half, which grants me my goal hourly wage given the price of the speedpaint. (Quality comes into play too of course - sometimes the sketch part just takes a bit longer on some days than others, and the customer doesn`t deserve rushed colour because I`m having an off day. But you get the idea.)
  3. Chuchi

    Chuchi Where'd the time go?

    Thanks for the share! I'm already using it and it's already silently judging me as I type this out. x3
    I find this a very handy tool, and I look forwards to also using it to practice/train for speed sketches/paints.
    It's also quite nice for writing, which is what I am currently using it for.

    That red is so... judgmental. Back to work I go!
  4. Just passing by, and I'd like to share my opinion on the matter by quoting myself from another thread.

    I do not know if this will be a popular opinion, but it is how markets works. Although I understand that the whole market for commissions is quite....understudied:

  5. Skairin

    Skairin New Member

    At risk of beating a dead horse to an even deadlier realm... I have two different prices for online commissions and commercial contracts. For large, commercial projects where art will be reproduced for sale, I will charge at the $20-$25/hour mark. Because my art is then being used to generate more cash, I simply will not do jobs where the pay does not meet the pay scale. Sometimes this means companies will choose lower quality art to spend less money, but I find much of the time they are happy to pay for higher quality stuff because in the end, quality = sales = revenue. So it is shortsighted for commercial enterprises to skimp on quality for value for money.

    That said, there are instances where artists living in Australia/America/UK etc will be competing with a cohort that lives in a place where the US dollar exchange rate means they can live on a much lower asking price (Chinese artists for example, earn 6k RMB for every 1k USD), and the rental/general consumables market is not 6x the cost in RMB. However, many companies will still prefer to work with artists they can easily call/communicate with over time, and that is something I think a lot of artists forget when competing for work with residents in China/India and so forth.

    Online sales generally attract a lower dollar amount, and I do push my prices a bit lower for personal use art. For one, the buyer will not be generating profits with the art, and most of the time will choose a lower 'rank' of artworks to begin with because they are not considering 'future worth' or 'value adding'. They just want something that works for them at a budget they can afford, like when we go shopping for apples, we're not going to care if the apples we eat will produce better seeds, because we're not farmers. If it's a good enough apple when we eat it, we will buy it.

    This is why I don't think it's realistic for people who rely 100% on online sales for personal use to be abiding by professional monetary standards, minimum wage is what a lot of commissioners are earning, and what they can afford to pay. All that said, there is a clear danger that if an artist is undercutting TOO much and attracting hundreds of dollars in deposits before they produce any art, they may suffer burn out.

    If I was charging $50 for something I charge companies $1k+ for, I'm sure I would get many more online sales, but at the same time, I would probably be burning out quite quickly. And artists who undercharge regularly for 'sales numbers' can fall into this pattern rather quickly. This not only damages the buyer, but also the artist. It's also why I think it's important to have a realistic number of slots/waiting list slots for online artwork designed for the personal buyer. As an example, a major illness might stop an artist from working for some months, but if they only have 2-3 slots, they can keep engaging with these customers without it becoming a flood of emails/notes all demanding they get the work done. Whereas an artist that has cheap prices and unlimited slots may find that yes, they have just earned $1000 off 100 people, but now must do 100 pieces of art within a month because they had an unexpected delay and everyone is now chasing them up.

    Remember also, chargebacks on Paypal cost an EXTRA $20 fee. So dishonouring your commissions as an artist not only hurts your reputation, but can cost you more than your initial earnings (not only do you lose your pay, you lose another $20 on top).

    So in summary, while I would advise people to continue charging a good hourly rate for commercial works, I would also remind artists that not all your buyers online are professional/commercial buyers and need a little bit of leeway to afford your art. And keep in mind that undercutting MAY increase your initial revenue but will also increase your burn out (a warning for buyers too here I suppose, check your artist's progress tracker and ask if there isn't one). After all, being faced with 3-5 pieces of work that pay at least $10/hour means you will probably eventually get through them, while being faced with 50-100 pieces paying you $1-5/hour will probably mean the artist is likelier to give up (quality not being a consideration).
  6. Ryuunosuke

    Ryuunosuke Member

    Thank you for this information. I don't feel so bad about my prices now although they still may not be high enough. I'm doing $30 for a fully outlined and colored piece that consists of 5 different drawings of a character on one page. It's like an illustrated character reference sheet.

    I thought I should charge based on the mediums I use and as far as detail. I never thought to go by time. Does it have to price by hour?
  7. Conjoinedfur

    Conjoinedfur New Member

    I can only speak for myself, but I have a feeling my sentiment would be echoed with a few others. From a customer standpoint I have never and more than likely would never commission someone who charged by the hour. This doesn't mean I'm a cheap customer, I've paid 160.00 for a few waist up picture/portraits before. The artist was AMAZING and her talent for making "close to a real life" drawings of people was insane. So I recognized that my dollar was going to good use. She generally took anywhere from 3 weeks to a month to finish the projects. But always told me it would never take more than a month. Her prices were flat, not /hour. If it was an 8 hour project that roughly translates to 20.00/hour.

    This is because I'm not physically there to watch them and make sure that the price I'm being charged for is being 1.Actually put to use and 2. The person isn't taking breaks or intentionally drawing extra slow to draw out the process. Trust only extends so far when it's your money that's being spent. I suppose the only way that would work for me is if the artist set a time for us to meet so I could give the specs for the project, then immediately have the art done right then and there, with the expectations of it being done 8 hours after or 5 or however long they quoted. I would also expect the quality to be just as spot on as the art I've seen them draw before. None of this I'll get you the art in a few days, take some breaks etc...cause then I'm gonna know your not really working on the art at the time you quoted me on.

    A good point of raising the prices however was posted early in the thread. That while you might lose 1/2 your customers, the increase in price will make up for that 1/2 and you will be doing less work in the same amount of time. That said, there would also be those like me who just stop getting commissions all together (if all artist went by /hour that is.) and so the pool of potential customers would shrink thus pitting the artist against one another on who gets what work is left. The truth is there is no easy fix, if you want more money for your art then by all means raise your prices, but others recognize that some artist are going to get the shaft with this (particularly starter/still in training artist). Just my thoughts.
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2015

  8. This video has helped me immensely. I've now got prices that I think are fair, and folks have reacted very positively to my price adjustments which makes me feel even better.
    CreatureOfHabit and Shadify like this.
  9. Tigers-on-Unicycles

    Tigers-on-Unicycles National Treasure

    7 years later, minimum wage is still the same number, and furthermore, when I mention charging a reasonable price for my artwork, people get this look and suggest that I lower it significantly, to the point where I would be making far below minimum wage. Of course, I'm not going to do that. I've tried that. It sucked. This is still a good post and I'm glad to know there is a forum of people out there that values artwork as much as I do.
  10. twilightakamar

    twilightakamar New Member

    It's only recently that I started being confident enough to charge for art (last couple years) and even more recently that I realized that what I was getting for the time and work I put in wasn't enough. I recently reprised and I'm still not sure if it's at a rate I'm entirely happy with... But im giving it a go.
  11. nerdbat

    nerdbat Green butt of reason

    In my opinion, the primary problem with the post is that it's placing the whole "time vs money" thing as a main point of concern, while arguably the main variable here is "quality". Some people may spend 3 to 5 hours on a worthwhile artwork to sell, while professionals can draw incredibly cool stuff in 15-20 minutes or so. Unless you're both comfortable and skillful enough with your own work, according your price by "time vs money" really isn't a very good idea, and unless you're an actual professional or at least on the same skill level, it's hard to expect anything above minimum wage, since competition is very dense - it's much better to look at market and general and price your works accordingly, no matter how long they can take to complete, and consider it sort of a secondary income, like with many other "hobbies with benefits" that people indulge in and make money of.
  12. Alex K

    Alex K Guest

    Right now, deflation is only increasing, and we are to blame :/
  13. Draig Calon

    Draig Calon Alpha Wolf/Dragon

    This post isn't saying to charge by the hour it is just making a comment that people should consider their average time spent working on a particular type of artwork and then work out what the cost should be based on a hourly rate for that average time.

    BTW, thank you for this helpful guide, and while I probably won't be doing commissions for a while (not good enough for it IMO) it is good to know how to price the artwork properly when I do decide to start taking money and making artwork for other people.
  14. Crimson_Steel17

    Crimson_Steel17 The night is my solace; the day is my prime

    Oi!!! I collect MTG, and I will let you know that if the time came, I would be more than willing to sell the whole collection and move on (except maybe the couple cards that actually hold value to me, but compared to the rest of the crap in my collection legit only for the purpose of making a deck work it's literally nothing). To call what some are addicted to, but most are just entertained by and could cut at any point, a flat-out, uber general "addiction" is just wrong... to about the same degree as how the media handles the furry fandom.
  15. I am, as a story commissioner very interested in these types of threads but I saw nothing in any of the pages I read about us writers and what we should ask for price wise. I started out as a rookie charging 25 US dollars 7 months ago for a thousand words. About a month ago my roommate who is more experienced of a writer than I am told me to drop it to 20 dollars per thousand words. In neither price range did I get much business and am seeking more clientelle. Any advice for people like me who are starving writers as artists?

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