Many artists struggle when determining how much to charge for their artwork. Experience, recognition, and cost of supplies are some of the factors that should go into determining your price. Lisa Clough-Lachri of Lachri Fine Art recently posted a video explaining these factors and a few common methods artists use.
Lisa is a professional artist and violinist who I follow on YouTube. Her style is photo realistic, often with a surreal twist, and she does a lot of portraits of either people or animals. Each week, she has a series of videos with tutorials, critiques, and social media marketing tips for artists. If you are a participant on her patreon page, you get access to 1-2 hour voice over tutorial videos, group challenges, and more.
"When I started making youtube videos, they were just time lapse videos of my own work. After a while, I started getting questions from artists that reminded me of the same questions I had when I first started out over 15 years ago. At that time, there wasn't much help available to young artists, and it was not at all uncommon to have more established artists treat younger, less skilled artists poorly or dismiss them all together. I met one artist who was the exact opposite (Jaime Jimenez). Having that one person that I admired so much encourage me and freely offer tips made such a difference in my artistic journey that I wanted to do the same for others. I want to share what I've learned both artistically and on the business side of things to help other artists reach their own goals." ~ Lisa Clough-Lachri
This is Lisa's YouTube schedule:
- Tuesday: Critiques on artwork submitted by her followers
- Wednesday: Painting and drawing tutorials (acrylic, oil, graphite, charcoal, colored pencil). She creates amazing airbrushed backgrounds that make her subjects really pop.
- Thursday: Social media marketing tips for artists
- Weekends: Artist vlogs with various subjects such as her tips for pricing art
Credit: Lisa Clough-Lachri of Lachri Fine Art, "How to Price Your Artwork", June 27, 2015
Consider this before pricing your art
Before you jump into advertising your prices, consider the following tips, most of which were outlined by Lisa in her video on pricing art.
Your general price point
There are often people on opposite ends of the spectrum: those who are well experienced at producing quality work and underestimate their value, and those who brand new and overcharge.
Newer artists may not have yet produced a lot of art and can overestimate the value of their work based on other artists’ work they have seen sold at higher prices, the longer amount of time it takes them to create a piece because they are still learning, and their emotional attachment to their work can still feel somewhat raw and it can be hard to let go.
More experienced and well-known artists who may be selling a decent amount of work can often under price their work thinking they will not be able to sell their art if they increased their price. They may fear people will not want to pay for more expensive art and their sales will suffer. In turn, people often will pay more for the level of experience and fame of an artist.
Start out with lower prices
If you’re just starting to sell your art, be careful not to set your prices too high to start and then have to lower them later if you’re not getting sales. Starting lower and raising prices later because of demand my frustrate earlier customers who paid a higher price for similar art that is now being sold at a lower price.
To keep your initial prices low, you can create smaller works of art to help with cost of supplies and shipping rates. But don’t skimp on quality. You want your customers to be happy with any size of art they receive and you do not want to have issues in the future such as fading or peeling paint. Building your reputation starts today.
Start by researching other artists with a similar style as yours and see what they are charging. This will give you a general idea of where the range you could fall in. As you are looking at other artists’ work similar to yours, ask yourself the following questions:
- How successful are their sales?
- What type of customer are they targeting?
- How many people are following them?
- How long have they been producing and selling their art?
Determining your target market and price is not easy. Who exactly is your customer? Check out this article for more info!
Build your fan base
Regardless if you are a new or experienced artist, you need to focus on building your fan base. Utilizing social media, your own blog, and platforms such as Etsy or Ebay are easy ways to start reaching your audience.
There are pro’s and con’s to each type of platform that you can use to build your audience.
If you solely rely on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter or 3rd party ecommerce sites such as Etsy and Ebay, you may be missing out on a much larger opportunity. Any of these sites may change their rules on how you are permitted to reach your followers. Facebook is probably the most famous for continually and drastically changing their policies when it comes to marketing yourself.
The only way to really have a secure method of reaching your followers is to capture email addresses. This should be your number one priority. And you can do this by having your own site. Marketing yourself on social media is still extremely important, but do it with the intention of bringing your audience back to your site.
Just imagine, with your followers' email addresses, you can reach out to them any time you have a new piece of art for sale or to invite them to a gallery that you will be participating in.
Now that you have an idea of who your customer is and what your base price might be just starting out, here are some methods you can follow to determine the price of your art as you continue to advance in your sales.
3 Pricing Methods
The first two pricing methods may infer larger pieces take you longer to create. This is not always true, but most customers relate size to price. These are guidelines, so adjust your pricing model if you think it is necessary. The $/square inch, $/linear inch, and canvas sizes are the same Lisa described in her video so you can easily follow along.
The worksheets at the end of this article to download also use the same values, but are editable so you can enter your own values.
Square Inch Method
length x width x $/sq in
Per Linear Inch Method
(length + width) x $/linear inch
This is the method Lisa uses.
The time method is if you want to be paid a certain dollar per hour that it takes you to create your art. Each person works at a different speed given the complexity of the piece, their experience, the number of corrections they may have to make, and so on. Customers often have a hard time relating to this method.
You can download an Numbers for Mac or Excel for Windows template with the pricing charts so you can modify and enter your own values: