How Do You Price Art Commissions?

This is a question that many, many artists struggle with. I still struggle with this as well! The only thing I can suggest is, always have your prices be a work in progress.

When I took multiple art commissions in 2010, I started small. Really small. I had things priced extremely cheap. I remember back in the day I had a $2 sketch sale… Those were the days.

One reason was due to inexperience and lack of interest from others. What you’ll often read and what I’ll regurgitate is to check your market. Do you have any peers or people on art communities you frequent that you’re watching who works in a similar style? Research their price sheets. Research their following. Are they able to get away with a “Your Character Here” piece for $300? They probably have the followi- (I’ll rephrase that), the right following to back that up.

If you’re just starting out, it’s okay to begin your prices a little lower. But once that value, the quality of your work, and the demand for your work rises, your prices need to do the same.

Just…don’t drop your prices after charging others your current rates. Your clients will be highly peeved when they find out.

This answer will not give you a definite price, nor will any other answer. You, the artist has to decide your worth, but again that’s where that work-in-progress pricing comes in! This year, I decided to look at my prices and determine is this enough for me? Is what I’m being paid for sufficient for the amount of work I do? I’ll be honest, at the moment, no. I’m not satisfied with my prices. But once I answer these questions, I can then decide to revamp my prices depending on how the demand is progressing. And with every year or so after that, I’ll revisit, and tweak my prices as I see fit.

Next time, we’ll talk about flat vs. hourly rates, and how I charge my clients.

Until next week!

~PK

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