Recently I read an article about how to price an artist’s work. Until then, I had price my work the way I thought I should—and the way many artists do, most likely—they price their work the what they ‘feel’ it is worth.  I priced my work that way for quite a while. The result was insecurity and second-guessing my prices, changing my prices when I ‘cooled off’ on a piece I had done, and confusion among my clients.

The article I read was a revelation of sorts. It gave me a formula for pricing. I am making a few tweaks to it, but for now, it seems to be a time- and mind-saving answer to a problem I’ve had for years…and, I suspect, many artists have had for a long time. Here is how it goes:

I measure my work. Let’s say it is 9 x 12. The size is 108. I multiply that by $5 or $6 (depending on the effort put forth), and I come up with an price of $540 or $648 (rounded to $550 or $650). Now, before you scoff at the fact that your fine, amazing and one-of-a-kind art is being reduced to an area measurement, fear not. I thought the same thing—until I realized that we are in a business. And whatever effort I put forth (pencil, collage or paint) could be factored in a ‘tier’ of pricing. I’ll tell you what I mean. It’s really simple: The effort I put forth in making art, between drawing with pencil, making collage art and oil painting can be different regarding pricing. I don’t want to sell an 8 x 10″ drawing for the same price I would sell an 8 x 10″ oil painting. So, in the above formula of length x width = area x cost per inch, I raise the dollar amount per inch. For a drawing, I may say ” length x width = area x $5″, and for an oil, I may price it “x $6”. For larger pieces, I usually reduce the dollar per area amount, because it tends to be much more expensive than I would like.

So, this can be a jumping-off point for your pricing model. I have found that creating a pricing table for my art is very helpful, as things happen day-to-day, and things get busy. It’s best to streamline tasks like this whenever possible, and to have structures set up ahead of time so you can get to the important things in art: creating in the studio, and going out and meeting people!

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