What is YOUR Art Worth? Brutally Honest Guide to Pricing your Artwork

This is the second video of a 2 part set. This video is just about everything I know about finding the price of your artwork. It’s brutally honest, but should actually be very helpful in practice. I know it’s not what people WANT to hear, but it’s the truth. Also, chalk pastels are so freakin’ messy.

I also regret not being able to find the right paper to use them. T_T Oh well!

Want to see the first video about how to sell commissions online? You can find it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F8bHrJ4pGXk&t=301s

Materials Used:
Toned paper (non-textured, coudn’t find my pastel paper, sadness!)
Chalk Pastels
Polychromos
Luminance Pencils
Uni Posca Paint Marker
Uniball Signo

Larger Finished Image: –

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Comments

TXejas19 TXejas19 says:

I doubt want to sell my art but i also want to make money. Arrrgh! Ah well. Great content here, educational

Sputterbugz says:

meh, i dont agree with one aspect of this. you definitely need to charge for materials, especially if you used a lot of supplies, where as you said, a canvas painting. but copics are extremely expensive as well.

Starry_Dragon says:

dude your comment about family/friend commissions is REALLY TRUE. my grandma is willing to pay like $100 for some of my art but obviously I don’t charge ANYWHERE near that amount online — my highest price is, well frankly, too cheap and I’d like to raise prices at some point — but it’s about a _tenth_ of what dear old Gran would be paying.

Neha Sharma says:

I love the brutal honesty of this video! I started painting again after almost a 10 year gap :/ life!!! haha
And, I have been looking for someone to guide me in the right direction about art sales, and artist etiquette. I am very pleased with your honesty. I wish more people had your guts. :)

Conke says:

Fake a few high priced artworks on ebay to get ya price up homebwoy

DawnKuwabara says:

First I wanna say that I do agree (perhaps for a different reason–in that most customers are shit and only care about themselves) that no one cares how many supplies you had to buy or how much time it took. I wish they did. But they don’t. I’ve considered doing the “per hour” method but then you’d never know how much the final piece could cost. Doing a drawing for a fixed amount seems so much easier.
That being said, there’s no way in hell would I commission a busy landscape (or anything that I’ve just started practicing on, so I’m laboriously working on it for days on end. backgrounds aren’t my strong suit) for a meager $5-10, which I’ve seen a lot of people do.
But with my current skills and stuff, charging someone like $80-100 is a bit much. I wish my art is worth $100 but I realize that my art sucks right now and why would anyone buy a terrible landscape drawing for $100? But I don’t want to go so low that I’m undervaluing my work. I would do the aforementioned commission for at least $30. But that’s why I’ve tried to ask my much is my artwork worth so I can find some middle ground. $20 is still meager AF (my groceries always cost more than that), but I’ll go ahead with it if I’m just doing a simple, full-colored character or object.

Foxaris says:

I charge 1 euro each comission because i want to draw for other people, but at the same time i don’t want to get overwhelmed, besides my artstyle is so simple and cheap i don’t think its worth more than that

airyballoon says:

This was super informative! I love the way you articulate your thoughts so clearly and to the point.

Epsellis Zerion says:

About the pricing thing

Read your FAQ, While I agree with what you said, I don’t think it covers the full scope.
covering the entire scope would be more valuable to them.

This is where the confusion is:
I’m sure we all agree that artists are a real job, right?
But if everyone’s an artist, why should I hire anyone else to make art since I’m already an artist?
That logic is pretty faulty, I agree.

This is where we agree: Not all art is equal. and I think your point is the basic economic principle of Supply and Demand.
But the problem with the supply and demand system is why minimum wage exists:
Because people have a (very rational) desire to get something for nothing.

Here’s where it goes wrong. There’s a huge demand for good art, Listen to any fandom out there:
“We deserve better music”
“Where are all the action cartoons?”
“Why are there only these cheap repetitive anime? They can’t even get the fanservice right.”
“Where did all the good games go? what’s with this casual crap?”

There’s a lack of supply, there’s a big demand of great artists, Why isn’t it working?
Because money isn’t mathematical, it’s far more psychological.
Which is why “70% OFF EVERYTHING MUST GO SALE” works better even though it’s the same price.

The biggest problem is the mainstream belief that “art isn’t worth money”
Let’s face it, we’ve spent far more on stuff we want or need less than art. just because it’s what everyone else pays.
Even arts aren’t equal. gaming this system are museums and art auctions inflating art prices using this very system.
And in those communities, art is worth a lot. Why?

The mainstream belief that “Art is worth nothing” is very real. The minimum wage is there to counter it.
Not everyone deserves the minimum wage, but it still should be adhered to.

I hope this sheds some light as a counterargument.
This is a far too complicated topic to cover in a YouTube comment,

bella says:

I’ve just started doing commissions (traditional art), if you want to see my insta is bellasartgallery, message me if you’re interested in anything you see :)

Kioku says:

What if you aren’t trying to attract more customers but are trying to actually sell something? For example I’m going to just try to sell a single piece at an art show at a convention. I don’t normally sell art or do commissions but am excited to attempt to make a single special item and try this once. Which model would that be?

snagesu says:

Here are few things I do as a graphic designer;
1. Write a contract – it is important if you are doing freelance work.
2. Pricing should normally be based on hours spent (hourly rate is a fantastic idea!) – but I presume since this is apparently different then make an estimated time of how much you will spend on it – then charge for that.
3. You should always charge for materials you used (Example: $10 art book with 60 pages, divide that and you will get the pricing – don’t overcharge).
4. Personal expense – if you are a freelancer, no one else will be paying for your bills, you have to take this into consideration as well – charge 5$ to 10$ more.
5. I understand charging less, but it’s not beneficial for the artist and it is also undermining the artist work. I presume you only do that when you want exposures.

Siera Lexstrange says:

Can someone go see my artworks and see how much it would worth? ( ; – ; )
My instagram is @sarroro

Magicalamity says:

I think my pieces are worth around $10 because i’m nervous if ppl will like it. does that mean i should price it at 10 dollars or 5 ?

Magicalamity says:

I’ve been wanting to start comissions, but i feel like my art is too sucky and unrealistic, not to mention i would probably price to high or low. i also have a question, so, i found this old video of me doing a speed paint talking about something on my computer and i was wondering if this is a crappy, stupid intro. “Hi Guys, Magicalamity Here! Today I Have A Topic Of The Importance!” Personally I Think It’s Stupid.

Frank Blangeard says:

When you find that the price you can charge for your commissions peaks at $5.00…

Lite Escri: says:

fuk 20 dollars my art is worth 30 million. WTF.

Ronne Barton says:

Very well said!

Awkward Spook Draws 147 says:

Peel of -simply- -peel- washi tape like no big deal XD

Rosalie Vaccaro says:

Great Videos Zac. Keep them coming. Good ideas and things to think about. Now to put it all together!

Relawolfgal says:

your art is so pretty!!!

VeylmanTheRock says:

*never did a commission in his life*
I’m wounded.
No for real this is some cool advice. I tried doing a commission which blew out of proportion (animating 8 characters 24 frames colored and shaded each. The first character would’ve cost 130 from time spent alone) and ended up not finishing it since neither of us knew how to handle this business trade.

Ysa Salavarrieta says:

this video is almost completely priced around commissions. maybe just… sell prints? as well as original pieces, stuff on the front on sketchbooks, stuff on shirts and bags, pins, charms, stickers, keychains, hats even. literally anything. this is easier that having to tailor to the needs of every client, or having to try a whole new medium because a client is willing to pay a lot of money for a theoretical piece.
If you are a fanartist, or you are an artist that caters to a fanbase (anthro, mecha, fashion design ect.), try to involve yourself with your fanbase. talk to your followers, answer dm’s, even do some giveaways or contest with rewards. if you are bored one day, post something just with the purpose of interacting with people. this will get your fans to genuinely like you, and to be more likely to see if you have posted anything/ask about your shop/ask about pricing.
I would recommend opening your shop when you start getting at least +200. this number is mostly for more intermediate artists that are starting out. if you have taken ap or college level classes, try to reel people in. wait till about +400 followers, and hype up the opening of you opening of your shop.
about the pricing, it honestly changes with every person. @aniyoongi on Instagram sells original pieces, prints, and merchandise. she prices her originals at $18+, her prints (usually 8x10inch) at around $12, and her merch price changes with every item. in my opinion, she has the ideal pricing system. she is watercolor and oils painter, and she uses other items aswell (youd have to see her work to know what I’m talking about).
for originals, she prices on materials used, the composition of the piece (if its complex or simple), and a little on the time spent creating it. for prints, she prices them $12-$20 (in my opinion some of her pieces should be higher lololol)

if you are an illustrator/animator/professional anything, do charge minimum wage per hour spent working! art /is/ a job, the fact that it is something you love does not change that. if you are experienced, DO NOT HESITATE TO OVERCHARGE. people will be willing to pay more because of who you are. just make sure to base the price off of your work, though!!!

if your are a freelance artist, charge $5 or $10 more for personal expenses (bills, the cost of living maybe? [being sarcastic here]). no one else will be paying these for you, and theres no need to pick up another job! just be sure to clarify this if any buyers are questioning.

this whole thing is based off of my opinion, so please don’t charge at me

Cringe Max says:

Brutal honesty is best honesty

Jen W says:

thank god! every other video i had to switch off because they started talking about price per square inch – that is such a perverse way to sell art, i find it quite revolting! thanks for this :)

MiszzMiszz says:

im not even an artist and i learnt few things about business, thank you :)

Ellie Mandy says:

Okay great because I’m an oil and acrylic painter and I’m hoping to advance my skills into hyperrealism and I can’t be charging $20-$50 for artwork. In that case, Yes it does matter how long it takes, Yes it does matter what materials went into it, & Yes quality does matter. If people can’t afford it, they don’t have to buy of course. But also knowing how much you are *worth* as an artist is important. For the high level of realism that you will get out of an original piece of work, it’s not worth $20. Sorry not sorry. I may not be big yet, but I will be, and I need to survive too. I’m not even doing commissions until my work is where it needs to be.

wildmaknae_ says:

ending with basically “i’m the only one speaking truth here and others are just bs-ing you” just killed the whole video. awful attitude

Macy Plays says:

Woot I have the same pencils as you ;D

Ushacool Jayakumar says:

Do money depend on age

ChoSai104 says:

Is there a certain time when you can commission? I want to commission but I’m not sure if I’m ready yet

WolfieNightWolf says:

I’ve just started commissions and at a girl as young as 12 ( btw my art isn’t bad I’m a fast learner) so having no skills with money, and no other seller of art in my family, I looked to a artist friend of the same age. She doesn’t sell. And me and her came to a price. Then, I saw this video and learned that we had chosen the right prices.

I am not making an online website. I am really selling commissions to my classmates and as I said all of us are 11-12 years old so we’re mostly all broke. This worked out.

Thank you ❤️

BTS who? I only know YTS Yeontan sonyeondan says:

My art is as beautiful as that rabid pelican at the beach which eats plastics

Agent Oblivion says:

Blending method: Kitty butt! <3

Rose Tsunami says:

Nobody even looks at my art, let alone buy any of it.

Ron Johnson says:

Thank you for the information! Just what we’re looking for. : ))))

ThatMarchingBunny says:

oh, and by the way … all items are calculated including how long it takes to produce. Any item you purchase in the store has that amount calculated into the product itself. The only time you typically should go cheaper is when you expect to sell very large quanitie where it’s simple to duplicate the product. For example AAA and some Indie Video Games take a crazy amount of time to produce but they easily make the money back by the shear amount of sales they typically get and it costs practically nothing to copy. The longer something takes to produce and the less sales it gets, the more it typically will cost.

This is why manufactured goods are cheaper than hand made custom goods. It’s rare that you will see a bussiness lower it’s prices when there is very little demand for something, it’s why something like a color calibrator for monitors are super expensive, there is little demand for it and as such it’s a specialty item. In fact, the more demand the cheaper prices typically get as long as they can keep up. They produce more, and so they have a lot of supply. The only time things get more expensive is when the demand is so high that they can’t keep up.

Jacqueline Barry says:

Totally agree with what you say.

iAyee Robot says:

I love how you don’t ever sugarcoat anything. :DDD

Hallie Rakes says:

Her: “You might charge $30 on a piece of art-”

Me: what honey no I don’t even think my art is worth $5

CheekyLittleBliker says:

I also think it’s the type of art medium. Like costume making or blanket making. Like if someone is making very high demands of materials and the type of costume is really complicated I charge by the hour because it’s my time. I charge half up from too. I had a conversation go like this.

“Hi I’m interested in a commission!”

“Great! Can you send me photos of the character and tell me what type of fabric you would like, and what exactly I would be making?”

They then sent me a very complicated armor piece, with a dress underneath.

“My measurements are such and such, and I want the armor to be made out of worbla, Eva foam, and I want silk fabric, I want the full package including a styled wig”

Not even kidding, worbla is extremely expensive, I don’t even use it for my own costumes unless I’m feeling booshy. But I know how To Work with it so I accepted telling this person the price upfront.

“Ok for the cost of materials that would be 200, and for the amount of time I’m putting into the costume about 400 dollars”

This is severely under minimum wage, and this costume was extremely detailed. I also told them if the materials were more expensive the cost would go up.

“Are you fucking kidding me? This is a joke right?”

“Excuse me?”

“That’s what too much, how do you get off on charging that much!”

“Look the materials are extremely expensive, if you want something cheaper, the only thing I’m willing to lower is the material cost if you’re willing to change that.”

“You’re serious? 600 dollars for you to make me a costume? You’re not even famous you’re just a wannabe, IM A BIG DEAL. I have lots of followers, either you take 150, or I’m going to blast you as a scammer.”

I was kind of in shock, this person wasn’t even willing to cover the minimum cost of materials.

“Look, you’ve got 200 more followers than me and I’m an adult ok? This isn’t my job this is a hobby. If you want a costume for under 300 go to Miccostumes, I’m sure you’ll find your character there. “

“You’re a horrible cosplayer and don’t deserve a single follower! I’m reporting you for solicitation!”

“Ok, I’m a public figure so I’ve stated I’m a small business. Go ahead, please do. I’m trying to be professional with you, but I don’t do complicated commissions so cheap, especially if it’s detailed and you want everything perfect.”

“But I need this costume for a cosplay contest.”

“Ok first of all, that’s stealing, if you enter MY COSTUME. A costume I made into a contest that’s stealing! Now that I know you’re true intent I am refusing you commission.”

This girl called me every bad word in the book after this and I reported her and received a bit of hate from her fan boys. I then screenshotted and posted what she said to me not showing her name. And the harassment stopped.

Makilah Duncan says:

This video was very helpful Thank you for making it ^^.

Tenebris Wylfen says:

I tried doing the low to high price thing, but I found myself putting very little effort into my art if I didn’t receive enough money for it, and commissioners were being respect-less at times. (Even though I easily got 4 to 5 commissions at a time and had regular clients). I’ve settled with a price I’m comfortable with, which means that I get commissioned rather rarely, but when it happens, I put in a lot of effort and it usually attracts more clients.
To get money, I took on a weekend job as cashier, so this thing works only if commissions are more like “additional money” to treat yourself and not something to actually live off of.

Moose says:

I don’t rely on my commissions for money, I have a part-time job and get about 2 commissions a semester. I’d say my art is intermediate, so when pricing my art I looked at the average amount of money charged for a college-level illustrator/graphic designer. When I felt I had enough experience with commissions, I set it to the lowest number in that average. ($15.00/hour.) I started off charging $8.00/hour, worked up to $10.00/hour, and now I’m pretty happy with $15.00 until I either graduate or get a spike of interest in my work.

I really like charging hourly because if my client makes a lot of changes throughout the process, I don’t feel like I’m getting cheated out of my time by spending 5-6 hours on a $30.00 commission.

This is just my experience. I have done work for strangers, family, and friends. I believe charging hourly is important because it creates an environment where people value the work of artists. I’ve seen extremely talented artists underprice their work and it saddens me to see how little money they make off something that’s taken a significant amount of time. If the market does not value our time, then we need to change how the market sees our profession. Additionally, if we are up front with our clients with HOW much we charge per hour, and make it known to all clients, then it will be significantly less shady when one piece costs more than another, as long as the quality of a piece that took 10 hours is better than the quality of a piece that took 2.

The market of artists is saturated, yes, but there is a silver lining to this. The more artists there are, the more we’re able to come together and charge reasonable prices for our work, and refuse service to people who want to pay $10 for a beautiful piece of art.

Great video, and great drawing. Hope you have a lovely evening ouo

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