One of the most complex tasks a rising artist faces when they are just starting to sell their art is learning how to price art. The price of your artwork could be the main reason your art sells or doesn’t sell.
Many young artists use their emotions when they are pricing their art. This a recipe for disaster.
You must put your emotions aside when it is time to learn how to price art.
The art market dictates the worth of art, not you.
The more you learn about the art market, the better prepared you will be when it is time to price your artwork.
If you would like to see your art sell and not collect dust in your studio, take the time to learn how to price art.
How to Price Art
Many artists work hard learning their craft with the dream of selling their work.
So many artists take art classes in college and soon realize after they have graduated, they do not know anything about marketing. I believe this should be incorporated in art classes.
I recommend to all young artists to spend time learning about marketing while they are enhancing their artistic skills. Do not just learn from artists. Learn from every successful business large and small. They are successful for a reason. Study what they are doing and learn from them.
Your knowledge and skills for both creating and selling art should complement each other. You want to work as hard on marketing your art as you do on enhancing your craft skills.
What is Your Art Worth?
Many artists who are just starting to sell their art, price their work with their emotions.
When an artist feels a connection to a piece they will price the work higher. They think that the art is worth more because they have a certain feeling towards it. It is great to feel connected to your work and you should. But that connection should not determine what you are charging.
Sometimes artists are not happy with a finished product so they will price the work lower. This is a mistake that you will not want to make.
Who determines if your art is good or not? The collector does.
If someone is willing to spend money on your art, it doesn’t matter if you are happy with it or not. What matters is if the buyer is happy with the purchase.
Pricing with your emotions is a mistake you should avoid.
It is important to understand that inconsistency with your art prices will only harm your artist brand. All your work should be priced per their size not how much you personally like it.
All your work should be priced per their size and what collectors are willing to pay, not by how much you personally like it.
The collector determines the worth of your art, not you.
Your art is only worth what someone is willing to spend. Not a penny more.
Another roadblock artists have is they will compare their art with other artists who are at a different level.Artists that have been selling art online for five or ten years have built a following. In order for you to compete with their prices, you will have to first build the following they have.
Artists that have been selling art online for five or ten years have built a following. In order for you to compete with their prices, you will have to first build a following and build an online presence.
You might think your work is as good or even better than the artists you are researching, and it might be, however people do not know you. People do not have a connection with you and your art yet. This takes time and a lot of hard work.
Pricing is not only about the quality of the art. The artist’s reputation is also a large factor when it comes to pricing of their artwork.
Your reputation, where you are located and what medium you work with, need to be factored in when you are deciding how much you will be charging.
The truth is that the art collectors are the ones who determine what art is worth.
Just because you price your art for $1,000 does not mean it is worth $1,000.
If a collector pays that amount, then yes, it is worth the amount you are asking.
If no one is willing to spend the amount you are asking, then your art is not worth that price.
The bottom line is the market and art collectors will determine how much your art is worth, not the artists.
You need to take your emotions out when it is time to price and sell your art. The only time you should be emotional about your work is when you are creating it.
When your art is finished it is time to take off the artist hat and put on the business hat.
I am going to go over some different formulas, tools and how to research your market so you can price your art to sell.
How to Price Artwork for Beginners
It is problematic for young artists to put a price tag on their art. This might be one of the hardest things you will have to do.
Pricing art is not black and white. There are many variables that come into play for pricing art. You will want to be familiar with all of the variables.
If you want to make money being an artist you will need to do your homework.
Art Pricing Basics
The basics are simple, your work has value and you deserve to be paid for your time and skills.
There is someone in the world that would love to have what you have created. They will be willing to pay a reasonable price you are asking to have your art in their home.
Reasonable is the keyword. You do not want to overprice your work or no one will buy it. On the other hand, your skills and time are valuable so you do want to be paid what you’re worth.
Pricing Art for the First Time
An easy way for you to start pricing your art is by following this simple formula.
Decide on an hourly rate you want to be paid.
Know the cost of materials
Know the cost of the expenses to sell the art.
Multiply your hourly rate by the amount of time it took to create the piece.
Add the cost of materials and other expenses.
The sum will be your price.
Here is an example:
Your hourly rate equals 20 dollars per hour.
It took you ten hours to create the piece.
20 x 10 = $200.00
The cost of materials and other expenses equal $75.00.
$200.00 + $75.00 = $275.00
You will charge $275.00 for the piece of art you have created.
The cost of materials will include canvas, paper, graphite, charcoal, paint, ink, frames and so on.
Other expenses will include online and offline marketing, the cost of craft shows or commission costs if you are hiring someone to help sell your art.
This is just a starting point for new artists who are starting to sell their art.
Artists at different levels will use different formulas for their pricing.
After you have your price, it is a good idea to check what the market is selling art with the same size, experience, medium, and location for.
Overpricing or underpricing will affect your sales.
After you have learned what the market is, adjust your pricing accordingly.
Art Price Calculator
The Art Price Calculator makes calculating your art a breeze. If you are not good at math, this might be a helpful tool for you.
All you have to do is add in some simple details and the Art Price Calculator will provide you with thousands of real-world examples.
You will receive an average price based on the specifics you specified.
This is a great tool for any artist selling art.
Pricing Artwork Formula
Here is a simple formula used by many artists for pricing their art.
(Square inches x your price) + Cost of materials + *Marketing Expenses
*If you are selling your art online you will want to include how much it costs you for operating an online business. Take a percentage of all the costs associated with operating and promoting an online business.
If you are selling your art at craft shows, add in the expenses associated with the show.
How much does it cost for a booth, business cards, etc?
Here is an example using this formula:
The first step is to multiply your drawing or paintings width by its length. This will give you the total size in square inches.
If your drawing is on an 8 x 10 Bristol board.
8 x 10 = 80
80 would the total size in square inches.
The next step is to multiply the square inches by your cost.
80 x your cost = $
Let’s say that you charge $4.00 per square inch.
80 x $4.00 = $320.00
Add the total cost for materials and promoting.
Let’s say the expenses add up to $50.00
$320.00 + $50.00 = $370.00
The price in this example would be $370.00.
How to Price Original Artwork
There are many factors that come into play when you are pricing original art.
Defining your market, knowing what you have to offer and researching other artists will help with your pricing strategy.
Define Your Market
Who is your target audience?
You will want to have a clear vision of who your target audience is.
How old are they?
How much is their yearly household income?
Where do they live?
Are they male or female?
Are they in a relationship or single?
Where you sell your art will influence your pricing.
Do you sell locally, nationally or internationally?
The style of art and prices in your market are what you will want to be focused on.
What Style of Art do You Create?
What sizes do you offer?
What mediums do you use?
What are the physical characteristics of your art?
How do you categorize your art? For example, is your art abstract, realism, etc?
You will want to go deeper into your style.
For example, if you create realism paintings, what subjects do you paint?
Do you paint animals, humans or still life?
Defining your style will help you to determine your price as well as help you to market to the right audience.
Research Other Artists
The next step is to research other artists with the same style and skill level as you.
The easiest way is to go online and do a search. Bookmark all the artists that have similar accomplishments as you do. For example, how long they have been creating art, how long they have been selling art, education, awards, etc.
Take all the prices from the different artists you have found and come up with the average price for all of them. This will give you a good idea of what people will be willing to pay for your work.
You could also visit local galleries and compare the prices of art that are like yours.
It is a good idea to research local artists. Find out what is selling for them and their asking price. Learn where they are selling their work and tactics and strategies they are using for their marketing plan.
The more information you can gather the easier it will be for you to come up with a price range that will work for you.
Visit Your Local Craft Shows
It is a great idea to visit your local craft shows throughout your art career. There are many benefits for artists to go to local craft shows. Besides building relationships with other artists and being inspired by new art, you will learn what people are willing to pay for art.
Take notice of the prices of art that is similar to yours. You are looking for the same medium, size, subject and skill level. Visit the both throughout the day.
If the prices range from $500.00, $750.00 and $900.00 and nothing sells except the $750.00 priced art, you know what people are looking for and are willing to spend.
Analyze several booths to get a more accurate study. Keep in mind that the price that you get does not mean it is the perfect price for you. The information you gather will help you to decide what will be the best prices for your artwork.
You might not like how it sounds, but you are competing against other artists. If you sell a piece of art, that is one less piece a fellow artist is selling.
The good news is that there are collectors for every artist. Artists are unique. Just like music. There millions of singers making a living from their music.
Because everyone has different tastes. So, when you are competing with another artist, you are not competing against them in a sporting event. You are just pricing your art competitively.
I have tried different strategies, and I have found that I get the best results when I price my art in the middle of the road. I will go on the higher side of the average, but my art will not be priced the highest.
The lowest price and the highest price always seems to turn off buyers. Think about when you are going to buy a high-ticket item.
What happens when you see a very low price?
You probably think that there is something wrong with the quality. The words, “You get what you pay for”, will ring in your head.
When you see the highest price, you say to yourself, “That is overpriced.”
You will be more competitive pricing your art in the middle than you would under or overpricing your competition.
How to Price Art Prints
The costs of the materials and your hourly rate should have been covered in the sale of the original piece.
Selling prints of your original art is a great way to earn extra income.
You will be able to reach a different audience by offering prints. Not everyone can afford original art but will be able to afford prints.
Researching the artists you have already bookmarked will help you get a good idea on how you price your prints.
First, find out if they offer prints of their art.
If they do find out what sizes they offer and if they offer prints on merchandise.
The next step is to research where they sell their prints.
Do they sell prints from their website or use a POD service?
The last step is to decide how you will have your prints made and what will be the best way for you to sell the prints.
Be Consistent with Your Art Prices
Now that you have a good idea on how to price art, it is time to set your price range and stick to it.
Many new artists change their prices on a regular basis. They start to put their emotion back into pricing. If something is not selling right away, they might feel their art is priced too high so they will reduce the price.
Other times they might increase the costs of some art because they have a certain connection to it.
There will be a time when you should increase the prices of your art or reduce the price. You should not change them on a regular basis.
This will only confuse your audience and they will begin to lose trust in you.
As you build your brand you will be able to increase the price of your art.
If you have a surplus of art that is not selling, look deep into your marketing strategies.
Maybe you are not targeting the right audience.
If your marketing is on target, maybe holding a sale would work well for you.
If you are holding a sale make sure you include the original cost of the sale price. Letting the buyer know how much they are saving is a great selling strategy. Also, include the date the sale ends. You want them to purchase right then and there.
Justify Your Asking Price
There will be times when a collector might ask you about your art prices. This will happen more if you provide commissions. It is as important to be able to explain your pricing as it is to tell the story of your art.
When someone asks you about your art prices, you want to be convincing with your answer. How you answer this question could be the difference between a sale or no sale.
The way you answer the question needs to be convincing. You are not being dishonest by convincing people your art is worth the asking price, you are providing the facts. Know how much it costs you to create the peace and how much your time is worth.
Explaining your pricing to new collectors or people on the fence will reassure them they are making a “good” purchase.
Congratulations on deciding to sell your art. It is a great feeling knowing someone will enjoy your art in their home.
The best thing you can do at this point is to take the time to research. You do not want to rush into something that will harm your brand and art business.
The more information you can gather will help you to make a better decision.
After you have decided on a price for your art, you will need to market and promote your work. Your art will not sell itself.
You will need to spend time during the week to promote what you have for sale.
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You might also be interested in:
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- Can You Sell Art Online Blogging – Proven Over Time [Infographic]
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