View Full Version : Question about pricing

09-29-2007, 04:20 PM
Hi all.....

Although I have been making art for a long time, I have always made pictures and paintings for family and friends only. I am interested in participating in my town's local art show in December and I don't know how to price my work. Specifically, I would like to know how much I should charge for my flower picture (below). You might remember, I posted it a while back. It's 11x14. Should I just think of a price? Should I price it by the inch. I can't really price it by hours worked because I never kept track.

Any advice would be great. People keep to telling me to make up some sort of pricing guide for myself....but I don't know where to begin. And does the value change if the work is pen&ink....or watercolor....or colored pencil?? I would LOVE to become a "working artist". Please help!:o


09-29-2007, 06:03 PM
I do art trade shows three times a year. Alot depends on whether you frame and matte your art or if you just use a show matte with it enclosed in an acid-free plastic sleeve. Also size, too. I had a friend, a fellow artist tell me when I started out last year, to take the amount of time you put into the piece, the cost of the frame and matte and add your value to it. If you have a chance, before the upcoming show visit another show to give you an idea. My matted and framed small pieces usually go from anywhere from $10.00 to the upwards of $50.00. The larger pieces from $50.00 to the upwards of $400.00. I'm a new artist around these parts so until I'm more recognized, the prices stayas they are . Also I make all my frames sothe price seems maybe more, well its also the amount of work put into the frame also.
I have the last 4 shows traditionally sold more of the smaller pieces then the large. The bigger shows tend to sell the larger ones. Then I also leave myself open for someone who wants something done, so I take orders also.
I do this with my art work and my scrolled portraits on wood. I hope that helps.:)

09-29-2007, 06:09 PM
I also have something else to add. Before the show you need to check to see if you need a tax I.D #, a vendors license. And some shows charge you for the space for a table. The above varies state to state, and what type of show. Also check to see if they provide the tables or you need to bring your own. Also check to see if they have any restictions on the display stand , tables, etc. Hope that helps...:)

09-29-2007, 07:02 PM
Hi Jess, this is something that has me totally confused as well.
We have a local show here that has a little art gallery in it where we can pay a few dollars to put each piece in. All pieces must be framed at our show and as I am only starting out I have been just buying reasonably cheap frames. I then looked on the site yessy.com which gave me a good idea of the variety of prices people put on their work. I also knew from previous shows that most of the artwork varied from $100 - $1000 Australian dollars. The dearer ones had more expensive frames and were done by the more well known artists.
I put $100 on 2 of my pieces and $150 on another piece and I was told by a close friend who runs the show that I was underpricing myself.
I am yet to sell any of my pieces but I did win 2nd place in the pen and ink section which to me is all helping me get known. Hopefully one day I will be making some money out of it!!!

09-29-2007, 07:53 PM
there are a lot of factors to figure in when you're pricing your art. size, medium, quality, matted, matted and framed, whether you're known or not, etc. first off, do some checking of art in your area. in what range are works similar to yours priced?

don't sell yourself short. for example, if you price your piece at $200 and you have 40 hours in it, after supplies, matting and framing, you're working for less than $5 an hour. try to give yourself a decent working wage if possible. a rule of thumb for cost of supplies is to double your cost and add 20%, and don't forget your time and labor for matting and framing if you do your own. (believe me, doing your own matting and framing will save you a bundle. i found out the hard way! :p) if you hand color a piece, figure in the time for that as well. i'd suggest you read dave's article on selling prints. he touches on some selling points there and gives some good advice. you can't price an original the same as a print, obviously, but the same marketing principles apply, i think. hope that helps you some. :wave:

09-30-2007, 05:32 AM
This is a really difficult subject. I feel if your starting out, you have to try and get that ball rolling. I started out with what I thought was a realistic price structure. In reality no one wanted to pay those sort of prices for an unknown artist. Pen & Ink have such large time scales (generally). You may have to think of a price and discount it it to find a level that people are happy to pay. Once you start moving your art, you can then start to move the prices up.

This is just my experience. But, Lenny was correct when he says you should visit Dave's thread. By far the best way of making money from your art is to produce good quality prints. There's a cost/risk of getting the prints produced, but Dave gives some great advice. Have a read and see what you think.


09-30-2007, 09:05 AM
Thanks for the tips everyone :) I started reading Dave's thread last night. Very helpful! But now I don't know if I want to get into the business of making prints or not! It seemed much easier when I just planned to sell the thing outright! I like the idea of selling multiple....and smaller copies. Fortunately, I live in the same town as the Seacoast Artist Association. I'm sure if I stop into their office/gallery, I can find out where I can get quality prints made around here. Have to say though....I was completely intimidated by the "math" portion of Dave's thread.....YIKES!!!!! I'm praying that I'll find a printer who can help me out with that stuff.


Ranger Dan
09-30-2007, 02:02 PM
I would think that selling prints for a tiny profit would be much more rewarding (personally) than selling an original for much less than I feel it is valued at. Problem is having to store bunches of prints (at least in my household it is). If you feel sort of sick about letting an original go below a certain price, then don't ever put it for sale for less than that. mho.

09-30-2007, 06:57 PM
I guess I should of clarified a bit; my art that is sold are prints, not originals; I've never sold my orginals. But some of the print are on a higher grade paper like digital art paper-watercolor; so those do sell a bit more.
I have better luck with the smaller pieces, and the prints sold without mattes or frames. I'm noticing more and more people at least in this neck of the woods prefer to frame the things they buy themselves. I also sell more
wood scrolled portraits then art, as I have been doing that longer, and its what I'm known for here. Hope that helps.:)