By Artists For Artists

Painting by Numbers: How to Price Your Art

So you’ve achieved step one of any budding artist – you have honed in your skills and developed your unique style. Now, for step two – selling it to people. Art evaluators say that artwork is worth nothing in reality (except the sentimental value, of course) until it is exchanged for money. No matter how good your work is, pricing it fairly, accurately, and realistically is the first step from becoming a canvas-encumbered creator to a successful seller. Minus Art has gathered the best industry insights in a guide about how to price your art.

“Essence” fine art print by Dan Hobday — BUY PRINT

Time For Some Math

The first step to pricing your artwork comes with a simple formula: calculate the cost of materials and add a fair hourly rate. For example, $50 for canvas and paints plus $200 (10 hours of painting at $20 per hour) equals $250. It gives you a basic idea of covering your cost without a loss. Your hourly rate may change as you develop your skill and become a seasoned artist. Take costs like professional framing, transportation, insurance, and studio rent into consideration if they apply to you. 
Remember that you may need to justify your rate to customers/collectors/galleries that are used to professionally priced works, so ensure you don’t slap an arbitrary, ambitious figure onto your artwork in the hope that it will sell. Step one to selling your masterpieces is playing the business cards right.

“Division” by Richard Vergez

Scope Out Any Hidden Costs

Hidden costs can be involved in selling artworks when one sells on a bigger scale through galleries, studios, events, or a representative that takes a cut on commission with each sale. Ensure that you fully understand the terms of any representation that you have and include a budget for that in your final pricing so that you get paid a fair sum once the commission is paid. Or, if you prefer, sell your artwork yourself. Many online art retailers ask for a low commission or even represent your art sales for free, and many local café’s or small scale indie shops may be happy to sell your art just to have it on their walls for a time. Research is key!

Compare The Numbers

Comparing your artwork with other artists is often unadvisable in the creation process, as we should allow our minds to be free and untainted by the judgment of others. However, when it comes to pricing your works, scoping the prices of artists in your area and niche is vital. Researching artists of a similar style or genre in your area or sales platform (online or offline) means you can fit into price margins that make a sale more likely. 

No matter how great your work is, it does not exist separately from the work of other artists. This business is competitive by nature, and pricing should be considered as part of the competition, along with skill, aesthetics, and ingenuity. Artists with more skill or popularity may be selling on your platform for more reasonable prices, so use your judgment to give yourself a better probability of a sale. Avid art collectors know how to play the field when it comes to buying art. If you price yours too highly, it’s unlikely that your work, regardless of its uniqueness, will be enough to make them say, “I must have it even though I have seen brilliant artwork at much better value on my search”.

Emily Lovejoy’s studio

Congratulate Yourself!

If you are confident enough with your artwork to approach the concept of selling it, you have already made a leap for you and your art. Many people clutch onto their canvases forever, allowing them to gather dust in corners and look sad upon high shelves, not believing that anyone will buy them. Having the confidence to step out there and market your talent is incredible and means you are ready for the next step – pricing fairly and making those sales! Now that you know how to price your art, we can not wait to see your amazing work on sale!

Article written by Kate Smith

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