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Before you price your art, read this.

Are you an artist looking to make some money from your artwork? It can be tricky to know how to price your artwork and ensure you get a fair return for your hard work. In this blog post, I will provide some helpful advice on where to start before you begin crunching numbers. Don't worry if you're feeling overwhelmed - I will make it easy for you to understand!

Pricing your original and limited edition artwork can be a challenge for the majority of creatives. Where do you start? Do I price higher or lower? Should I offer sales or discounts on my work? This artist is similar to me, should I just copy their pricing?

I’m sure at some point you have had at least one of these questions run through your mind. Know that this is completely normal and the majority of artists struggle with pricing. Unfortunately, this is normal because there is a lack of open discussions and sharing of information around pricing artwork.

How you price your artwork equates to how you value it but more importantly how the collector will value it. Too often artists are pricing from their emotions, from their connection to their work. This is one of the worst things to do.

Artists will price too high because they “love” the piece and essentially don’t want to sell it. They may also price too high because of the time spent to create it. On the flip side artists price too low with the thought the lower price is what will sell the artwork. An artist may think “who would pay $800 for this painting?!” If you think it is too high and you wouldn’t spend that amount why would anyone else?

These thoughts and rationale will only hurt you in the long run.

The first thing to remember, you can not become attached to the work. When you do, you price without a method and are tossing numbers out there hoping they will attract the right buyer. You may get lucky and have some sales from this method but what happens when you keep selling at this price point and soon realize you are not even breaking even. You may then suddenly raise your pricing to cover costs but now you have lost your collectors because they are accustomed to your work being a certain price point.

Let’s take an example regarding this that we all will understand. Let’s say you get coffee from your local coffee shop weekly and you order the same thing, a large vanilla latte for $5. You are used to this, you know it will be close to that price each time you come in. The coffee shop has created loyalty with you by being consistent with both product, price and service.

Now let’s say you go in to get your weekly vanilla latte and when the cashier goes to ring you up she says “That will be $15”. You would be shocked and most likely tell her she can keep the drink and walk out!

This is the same concept when you abruptly change your pricing for your artwork. It shocks your collectors and they are left confused. Understand you should be increasing your pricing around 10% each year but this also is dependent on how well you are selling for the previous year.

Before we can talk about pricing options for your artwork you need to sit down and figure out what you are spending on supplies, framing, marketing, packing materials, travel etc for your art.

Yes, you need to make a budget for your art business. It’s time to know what is coming in and what is going out. This is essential for any artist seeking to do this as more than a hobby. Create a monthly expense log and start recording what you are spending on the things I listed above. That is a short list, of course you may have more or less items on it.

This is your basic starting point. It is often an eye opener for artists who realize that it costs them $50 to create an 8x10 canvas painting only to then sell it for $65. You have “earned” $15 which doesn’t cover your cost of materials nor the time it took you to create the artwork. You would have needed to sell it for closer to $200 to cover the costs of your materials and for your to pay yourself a small amount. These numbers will vary from artist to artist which is why it is important for YOU to figure out what works for you.

Start here, figure out what you are spending monthly then log what you sell monthly. Seeing the numbers on paper or on your computer screen is the first step towards taking control of your creative business.

Once you have this figured out then it’s time to decide if you want this to turn into your main source of income or if it is a side income that provides you some extra spending cash.

If you are ready to learn more and establish a solid foundation to grow from then you can enroll for the Building Blocks for Becoming a Successful Artist online courses now until June 11th, 2023. The first online courses of its kind helping artists understand what is needed and expected of them. By having a solid foundation you then able to open the doors to more opportunities.

Alexis Arnold is a working encaustic artist as well as the founder and president of Art Connective, Inc, a non profit art organization dedicated to helping artists thrive. She created the Building Blocks online courses to give artists all over the world access to learn how to become more successful doing what they love. You can follow her on instagram at either @theartconnective or @scorpioencaustics

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