Photo caption: Galleries are logical places to begin researching art prices in your local area. Image by Peter H from Pixabay.
Learning how to price your art when you’re just starting out can be a key factor in your initial success. You want to price your artwork high enough to make it worth your while, but low enough to attract buyers and to build a following of art collectors who love your work.
In light of that, we’ve created this quick guide to help you get started. Here are five things to consider when you’re pricing your art at the beginning of your career.
The answer to this question is kind of a two-parter. First, you want to look at artists who work in your genre/ media and who are at about the same career level as you are. In other words, if you paint in oils, you don’t want to look at how colored pencil artists who have been working for 10 years price their work. You want to find other oil painters who have been working professionally for a short time, just like you.
Second, you want to consider how much artists in your area price their work. Granted, many artists sell their work online, which doesn’t limit them to selling in their geographic location. That said, some artists will sell at art fairs and local galleries. It’s the latter artists you want to consider if you’re planning on selling locally.
When you go to an art fair, how much do the artists charge there? What about local art galleries? Doing some comparison research like this will give you an idea of how much art is selling for in your neck of the woods. This gives you a pretty solid idea about how to price your art when you’re just starting out.
This makes everything easier for you and for any galleries that might be working for you. Your price point can become a part of your brand.
It also saves you a potential headache later on when someone asks you about your price. For example, let’s say you have a commission for an 18 X 24 piece with one figure in it.
If you always charge $1.50 per square inch for an 18 X 24 painting with one person in it, then your price will be $648 plus the price of your art materials. You’ll be able to tell the collector commissioning your work this price, and you’ll probably be able to do so off the top of your head.
The last point brings us to the next piece of advice we have: Always have a printed price list. When people know how much you charge for your pieces, it’s easier to stick to your guns if they try to get you to lower your prices for them.
You can simply point to your price list and politely remind them that this is what you charge. This is a good tactic to employ when you’re not as confident about your work and your prices.
Photo caption: Many students in the Mastery Program begin selling their work before they’re even done with the program. Photo courtesy of the Milan Art Institute.
We encourage the students in our Mastery Program to sell their work while they’re still in school. Many will sell their class assignments, and some have even paid for their tuition through the sale of their artwork.
We recommend that students sell their classwork for between $.50 and $1.00 a square inch. They can always raise their prices once they graduate from the Mastery Program.
However, selling their work while they’re still in school breeds confidence and as we mentioned, allows them to pay for their tuition. Our own Jake Dunn, Director of the Art Club, sold a great deal of his artwork before he finished the Mastery Program. And he’s not alone. Our students regularly report to us that they’re selling their work even before they’re done with their programs.
Not everyone can afford to pay several hundred or even several thousand dollars for a painting, but that doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy your work. If you want to invite collectors of all budgets to enjoy your work, then create art at different price points.
For example, you might create small 8 X 10 pieces that you sell for $100 to $200. You might also get framed prints made or print your art on tote bags or greeting cards. Such a tactic allows them to confidently charge for their work, while still gaining new collectors.
Pricing your artwork takes some forethought. It also takes some confidence, particularly when you’re just starting out. Pricing your art is a little bit art and a little bit science.
You do need to charge enough to make a living. However, you also want to be mindful of where you are in your career. Offering your art at different price points can help, because it allows you to price your work high enough to make a living, while at the same time allowing your collectors to afford a piece of your work at a price they can afford.
Above all, when you’re creating art, it’s important that when it’s all said and done that you’ve priced your work so that you end up paying yourself a decent hourly wage. If you'd like to learn more about creating sellable artwork, watch this FREE webinar on creating art that sells!
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