How to price your art

Start to create a system behind how to price your art. Developing an inventory of what you're offering.

After you have established a strong foundation in your art business. You’ve built your artist website. You started creating content and doing outreach to begin generating traffic to your art website.

At this point, you’re converting at a minimum of 2% of your website visitors into subscribers.

Ideally, 5-10%. Once you’ve reached the first 250 subscribers on your mailing list, it’s time to start thinking about inviting your audience to collect your work.

Now you need to know what art you're selling before you sit down to figure out how to price your art.

In this lesson, we’re going to explore the basic types of art products you can offer your audience and how to price your art so you can optimize your revenue.

What types of art products should you invite your audience to collect?

This is the first step to figuring out how to price your art.

Basic art products most artists offer are originals, limited edition prints, and private commissions.

There’s no right or wrong art product to offer. It really depends on you and what you’re comfortable with.

For example, some artists have different mindsets about what they offer:

  • There are some artists who actually refuse to let go of their originals and only want to sell limited edition prints.
  • While there are also artists who refuse to make reproductions of their work and only focus on selling originals.
  • There are also artists who offer private commissions and some who can’t stand the idea of doing private commissions.

What you decide to offer your audience to collect is entirely up to you and what you’re comfortable with.

Whatever you do decide, originals, prints, or private commissions. You need a strategy for figuring out how to price your art.

The easy way for figuring out how to price your art

How to price your art is probably one of the most elusive questions to get a specific answer for. Looking at and comparing your art product to those of other artists isn't the best strategy.

Figuring out how to price your art depends on a few factors:

  1. Where you're selling your art online
  2. What your costs are
  3. Your audience numbers

1. Where you’re selling your art online

There are essentially two places to sell art online:

  • On popular art market sites. Such as Etsy, Society 6, Fine Art America, eBay, etc…
  • Or your personal website.

The problem with selling your art on community art sites is that you may as well forget about figuring out how to price your art. Your only option will be to charge what others are charging. You're forced to play the pricing game. You're stuck in a sea of thousands of other artists selling the same type of art products. Charging “low” so you have “competitive” prices. Or being forced to charge exactly what everyone else is charging.

On these art mall-type websites there's no point in trying to figure out how to price your art. You have to charge what others are charging. That's the game you play when you throw your work into the mix on sites like that.

It's too competitive.

The only place you should ever sell your art is on your art business website.

2. What are your costs

When you're pricing your art you have to consider your costs.

Have you invested in your own printers for art prints? How much does running your artist website cost? Do you pay for Google AdWords? Are you still paying off your art school?

Apart from your materials, which is easy to figure out, you have to factor in your time.

Not in just the time you spent creating something, but also in time you need in the future.

The best investment you will ever make is investing in yourself. This often translates into investing time in education, practice, and making more work. Time benefiting your art business. Time spent in a comfortable way.

This way you're not stressing out until your next sales.

Money is essentially stored-up time. The more money you have in your savings, the more time you can reinvest in your art business. So when you factor in time to your price, you have to think about your future. Not just covering costs in the past. Don't forget about this when you are figuring out how to price your art.

3. Your audience numbers

Artists with a massive audience can make thousands from selling inexpensive prints for $25 each. They're playing an entirely different game. When you're figuring out how to price your art, don't compare yourself to an artist who has a much larger distribution than you.

In the early stages of your art business, your audience is going to be small. So the few sales you do get will have to matter and make an impact. This should be factored in when you sit down and create a system for how to price your art. These early prices will also have to set the stage for your future prices.

You don't have to price your art low just because you're just starting.

Set a confident price early on.

Specific numbers on how to price your art

Now let's talk about specific pricing recommendations for how to price your art if you're selling originals and prints.

Originals art and private commissions

For my original drawings and private commissions, my price is based on the formula of $6 per square inch.

I’ve done this for years and it’s what works for me. I don't even think about it too much anymore. This means my small sketchbook drawings are just under the $500 mark and my larger, more time-consuming drawings are in the $7,600 range.

In regards to private commissions, I charge the same as if I was selling an original. The only difference is that I'm charging for the original before it's made. Also, requiring 100% of the payment upfront upon signing an agreement with the collector.

You see, originals are one of a kind. Most people already perceive originals as valuable. There's only one.

Which is why it makes sense to charge more for them than you would charge for a print.

But determining what to charge for originals depends on how much time you put into each work – and your costs. $6 per square inch works for me.

Remember, money is pent up time you can reinvest in your art business. So make sure you're factoring in the future when you're evaluating your pricing.

Limited edition prints

Figuring out how to price your art when you're selling prints can feel daunting.

Mostly because it requires upfront costs, but not always. I recommend pre-selling prints in a limited window of time.

For example, giving your audience 24-72 hours to purchase a print.

Depending on how many print purchases there were, that’s how many prints you will make. Making it clear you're only producing the number of prints that people buy during this small window of time. Then you'll never make a print out of that image again.

How much to charge for a limited edition print? I recommend in the $75-$300 depending on the dimensions.

I know prints are going for less, but you should charge more.

The amount of marketing required to sell a $20 print is the same required for selling a $75-$300 print.

Take inventory of your original art and limited edition prints

If you plan on selling your original art or limited edition prints, actually sit down and make a list of all the art products you have. Put a price on it by coming up with a formula that works for you.

Now add up the value of all your art products to figure out the value of your inventory.

This will give you a better idea of what you actually have to sell.

Then at the end of every year conduct a year-end inventory. To assess how your art sales are going. You can take note of what types of artworks sold well and which pieces have been collecting dust in your studio. Were there any similarities in these categories?

It’s a great time to note what styles, themes or mediums are worth putting more effort into and what might be time to cut from the production schedule.

The rough math behind selling art online

One of the biggest questions I receive have to do with the money side of how you sell art online.

“How many art sales can I expect to make?”

Here is the rough math:

  • If your art product costs $50 or less you can usually turn 3-7% of your subscribers into customers.
  • If your art product costs $50 to $200 you can usually turn 1-3% of your subscribers into customers
  • If your art product costs $200 to $1,000 you can usually turn 0.5-2% of your subscribers into customers

For example…

When in my early art launches I would release a collection of original drawings and prints.

Within 24 hours of sending the launch emails, 0.8% of my list (around 50 people) had purchased the product.

Revenue: $10,244

After closing the launch a few days later, 2.01% of my list (131 people) had purchased various original drawings and prints.

Revenue: $25,331

The reason this works is one thing: Distribution.

With an email list you have direct access to a group of people that have signed up to your email list because they're interested in your art.

All you have to do is type up an email, include a link to your product and press send.

And you start making money.

How much?

Well that depends on a few things:

  1. Number of people on your list
  2. Quality of your relationship with the list
  3. How good of a fit your product is for your list
  4. How good of a job you have done prepping your audience for the product

To start, I recommend focusing on growing your list to 100 people, then do a test launch.

Then to focus on growing your email list to 500, then doing another launch.

Then 1,000 people, and on and on.

10,000 subscribers is a nice sweet spot. By the time you hit 10,000 email subscribers you'll know what sells best with your audience during launches and the money you earn should make a significant change in your life.

  • $50 art product x 5 sales/ month x 5 years = $15,000
  • $100 art product x 10 sales/ month x 5 years = $60,000
  • $300 art product x 15 sales/ month x 5 years = $270,500

TOTAL: $345,5000

So how do you get started?

First, by tackling the common “invisible scripts,” or hidden beliefs, that we share.

Final thoughts on how to price your art

Figuring out how to price your art is a tricky subject.

However, don’t fall into the trap of thinking you have to charge $10,000+ per piece of art in order to be successful at selling your art. While it is possible to sell work for that much, it does require way more marketing work on your end.

For example, I know a painter who struggled financially for years because all of her paintings were enormous and priced extremely high. When she took my Art Launch Blueprint course came to me, I told her to start offering her originals and private commissions in different sizes.

That same year, she generated more revenue than she had in the past five years combined. All from selling smaller, more affordable original paintings.

You see when you offer your work at different sizes, you aren't out pricing anyone in your audience. You're offering something for everyone.

This article is all about changing your mindset on pricing to have more confidence.

Don't compete on price with other artists on community art mall websites.

Have the confidence to charge more when you're starting out. It'll help you reinvest in your art business and set the stage for your future.

The price you charge for originals and private commissions should reflect the costs and time it took to make, plus to invest in your future.

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