So my art teacher thinks I should charge more for my art.
I however dont feel like I should charge much over $100 for a drawing at my current level.
It seems I am not being very businesslike. Lol.
I want to be honest about my skill level and I feel bad charging so much.
And its not life or death since this is more of a hobby than anything for now
until I can become comfortable and feel it out better.
I strongly remember a video where a guy said something along the lines of
how you shouldnt under charge your work, because it took you YEARS, countless drawings and practice
to earn and learn those abilities that got you where you are now.
This makes me think okay so dont undercharge, but what is undercharging?
Doing things for free too much could certainly pass. Lol.
But once you start counting in real numbers, what do you go by?
If I added a penny 1 cent for every practice drawing that got me where I am
now it would still be way too much money to charge methinks. lol.
My art teacher says I take a very long time on my drawings.
And I should think of that when pricing.
Speed is one of my main drawbacks right now. I am very slow.
I feel that since a good percentage of my speed is something I most need to improve on
in my work, something that is more of a hindrance and a downside to my current
skill level. I really cant rely on it much when pricing.
Why charge a customer for something that is more of a flaw
and something that I need to fix, than it is something that speaks
of the quality of art they will be receiving?
Thats like saying: "Hey I am going to go really super slow fixing
your computer, I work hard sure, though most others are much faster than this and
do a much better job in a shorter amount of time, but I will still charge you by the hour."
Maybe if I was faster this would work better, but as of now its really not fair
to the customer.
Maybe if you had no arms or feet your art would be worth more
because your beginning effort is obvious.
But even then you really cant set a number to it.
A child can work harder than a seasoned artist
on a piece, but if the seasoned artists piece looks better
it could likely sell for much more, but if people knew the piece
was done by a child perhaps there could be some novelty found in it
and it could sell for over $100, despite the effort put into either or,
people dont really care about that, or cannot tell, unless its blatantly obvious.
That is why most artists, even if they worked harder on a smallish piece,
they still wont typically charge it higher than a larger piece even if there
is less effort and/or detail.
So my skill level then? How do you even compare or begin to measure that?
I have always had a strong view that every artist is an individual and
therefore you really cant compare one artist to another too terribly much.
Sometimes its easier when the artist has a clear 'goal' of what they are trying
For instance someone making fanart of their favorite cartoon character.
they are either trying to make it look exactly like said character, or put their own
twist on it with their style, while still being recognizably the said character.
So you can judge by how well they pulled that off by comparing to
the exact style of the original cartoon character, or the exact style
of the artist in question with the original design elements of the character.
But how do you put even this on a scale with exact numbers?
Others say oh well compare your pricing to others of a similar field and
skill level as you. Okay, so we all know a lot of people are either way too
arrogant or far too shy to be able easily find the right in-between.
I once saw someone trying to sell a My Little Pony Plush for $500.... o.o
I was bold enough to comment on how I could easily buy something useful
like a sophisticated piece of tech, say a PS3, for the very same price.
I nearly got my head chewed off by followers of the artist lol.
(Come to think of if it now though, $500 is a deposit my mom made on her used car.
That car lasted like 5-6yrs and proved very useful. Moreso than a PS3 or a plushie lol.)
Then everyone has seen those very skilled artists that sell like $10-$20 dollar full pieces.
Y'know those artists that you admire for their mad skills who you think are
super amazing, and even more awesomely generous for charging so little for a mad piece of art.
But it all comes down to personal opinion still.
In their defense, if people would willingly pay that much for
a piece of your art would you charge it? You may think no at first.
But look at it this way, what artist who is thinking of selling,
hasnt thought of how nice it would be to make a living off their art?
You certainly couldnt do it for 10$ a piece. That wont pay bills, food, or barely even supplies.
And if people are happily willing to pay for a big price tag, is it still bad?
Then again on the other perspective, from experience, it just feels good
to charge cheap and make things easier on other people.
With my recent commission, I told a woman that 90$ would be my price
for a single portrait of two dogs in 14 x 17, I was shaking so nervous and unsure about my
abilities that I asked her "If that was okay?" and she replied very excitedly
that yes and that "Wow your cheap!" <-- this looks bad in text, haha but with her tone
of voice and face she very much meant it as a compliment.
And it made me feel so good to feel my art was worth that much, and still feel like
I was giving her a very good deal. <3 Like I wasnt ripping her off and emptying money out of her pocket.
(But at the same time my art teacher was very upset with my asking price.) XD
So its basically just "pick one in between" out of a proverbial ocean of inconsistent pricing relying on individual varying perspectives. o.o <.< >.> ... So many choices.... >.< How do you find a humble/honest and accurate price?
What about supplies in use? Ah-ha!
This seems logical. Most art tools are expensive.
From paper to pencil to eraser. (if you are traditional)
And paint tools like photoshop and tablets, to even brushes. Not to mention a decent computer! (if you are digital)
It gets pricey to keep up with your craft.
I use bristol board paper, not terribly 'expensive', but for fewer
sheets of paper for my $$ than a regular sketchbook, I can only practically use it on gifts or something
where I know I will get money back for that page.
So you can say okay well the paper costs such and such, and there are say 20 sheets,
so you can mathmatically round up the price of your page pretty easily.
The rest are harder to add up to a discernible price.
There is the erasers, I normally use my kneaded eraser for most things now,
they last a long time for me so I could hardly charge for that.
But I also use a detailing eraser a kind of "mechanical eraser".
It works very much the same way as a mechanical pencil, but it has replaceable
very thin eraser sticks, instead of lead. I use it for precision on my lightest sharp highlights.
Its a little bit more expensive than the kneaded eraser but I dont use it very much so it evens out.
And then the pencils...
I use about 4 varying hardness of artist quality graphite pencils for shading black & white stuff.
They are maybe $1 apiece?
And for colored stuff things get more pricey...
I could use say 8 to 20 colors on one drawing.
And I use prismacolor colored pencils, which is expensive at about $2 a pencil.
The black one runs out the most.
Then the pastels.
I havent bought pastel sticks yet, but as far as I am aware they are
atleast cheaper than pastel pencils which are all cray cray expensive
at like $30 something dollars for just an off brand artist quality 24 pack. o.o
And they are softer than other types of pencils so you run out of them quick.
I use mine sparsely.
And you normally wont use a whole pencil or pastel or what have you
on a single piece.
So you can kinda guesstimate a price depending on what tools you are using.
But then it would only add up to a few dollars. :/
So now what do you do?
Well there is living to consider.
You need food, maybe gas to drive to the store to get supplies,
bills to keep a roof over your head, and internet to advertise and possibly handle
your business. And then if you have dependents, say a significant other or
a child or pets. All of them have to see a Dr. regularly and eat too.
But dont even ask me how to add this up into a price range.
I dont even know where to begin....
Also I think its important to think of weather or not you are taking art as a business
seriously, or just a hobby you can make profit from.
Because if you are living off it I think that gives you more leeway to
charge higher, because you are going to be forced to prioritize time
because time will be essential money lost to you. Its a much more serious matter.
As a hobbyist you are mostly just enjoying yourself
and making a little money to support your hobby or buy yourself something
nice, or get yourself out of a tight spot once in awhile, but its not necessarily 'essential' to you.
And I think its really important to think of your customers too. Its not all about you after all.
For instance what is the average income of your target group of people?
For instance I work at a dog groomers, its also where I sell and advertise pet portraits, the people who come in there clearly make good money to be able to bring their dog in every 6-4 weeks paying between $40 to $100 a visit on average, and I live in a neighborhood where majority of people make decent money. So $50 to $90 isnt terribly expensive for a portrait for my target group of people. But then again, there ARE people like me in this town who make too little to be able to afford a luxury item
like a portrait for over $20-$30. So again its hard to find an exact number.
So if you cant choose what to go off of you just add ALL of it together right?
Surely that would lead to some crazy outlandish price.
So then you pick and choose the immediate ones of importance to you as
an individual, YOUR opinion of what YOUR work should cost.
But then we are back at the starting point.
So then is there even a way to accurately price art?
How can we say something is too expensive or too cheap at all when art is all objective?
Its all just a matter of semi-randomness and opinion.
I just try to go with what feels right.