This is such a difficult problem artists face. Especially in the beginning. We question ourselves and we doubt ourselves and we jump from one conclusion to the next and it often feels like an impossible concept to get right.
Yup, you know you've been there. I dont know if we ever get this right but I will share my experience and maybe you can take something useful out of it for yourself.
Beginning things and finding your artist self.
This is for the beginner artists who have arrived at the point where people are asking you to create drawings for them. You are at the point where people are showing interest and now the question in your mind is how much do I charge?
When I started drawing and posting my work on social media I started to receive questions like:
- Do you do commissions?
- How much would you charge to draw this?
- Do you have a portfolio?
The drawings they were commenting on were just drawings I did for fun and posted to my friends and family and their friends and so on. The feedback and response started to grow more and more and I thought, why not? Lets do some drawings and get paid! Yeah, I spent hours and hours on drawings and charged between $10 and $70 for them. You might be saying "What? Is that all ?" The reason I charged very little was because I wasn't confident in my abilities yet. I didnt know how long my drawings would take and I didnt have enough experience to really charge much more than that. This wasn't a bad thing. Every artist goes thought this in the beginning, just until they gain the confidence and have generated a firm approximation of how long their work will take to complete.
My first six months of drawing I charged the following prices:
(see 2014 Jan to Jun gallery of what I drew in that time below)
Black and White (AUD)
5" x 7" = $10
8 x 12" = $15
12" x 16" = $40
16" x 20" = $60
2014 January - June Drawings (in order, first drawn to last drawn)
For the next six months (July to December) I charged the following:
(see 2014 June to December gallery of what I drew in that time below)
Black and White (AUD)
5" x 7" = $30
8 x 12" = $40
12" x 16" = $60
16" x 20" = $80
5' x 7" = $40
8" x 12" = $55
12" x 16" = $80
16" x 20" = $100
2014 July - December Drawings (in order, first drawn to last drawn)
You now have more experience, confidence and establishment.
After 12 months of drawing full time I have discovered a few useful things.
- I know roughly how long my work would take me to draw.
- I have gained experience and have improved greatly on my drawings skills.
- I have found the mediums I like most and have developed my skills in their use.
- I have developed a small following and with all that feedback I was able to find out what will keep my followers coming back.
- I finally had the confidence to officially do this full time and was ready to create a website and register myself as a business.
It was also time to put my prices up as my skills improved. With all the things I had learned in the last twelve months it was easier to establish a price.
With this knowledge of time I tried to establish some sort of hourly rate. I decided that I would take the median rate of my hours per size and multiply them by $8 per hour. That is how I got to my prices for the first 5 months of 2015.
Approximate black and white drawing times as per sizes:
5" x 7" = Between 10 - 15 hours
8" x 12" = Between of 16 - 21 hours
12" x 16" = Between of 23 - 27 hours
16" x 20" = Between of 33 - 37 hours
Example: The price for 5" x 7" = $100
Median of 10 and 15 = 12.5
12.5 x $8p/hr = $100 fixed price for a 5" x 7" drawing.
Final Prices for 2015 Jan - May:
Black and White (AUD)
5" x 7" = $100
8 x 12" = $150
12" x 16" = $200
16" x 20" = $280
5' x 7" = $150
8" x 12" = $200
12" x 16" = $340
16" x 20" = $480
(For all current prices see the Prices tab and for all 2015 drawings see my Gallery)
You know your capabilities, your worth and how to conquer your future.
After 15 months of drawing commissions, developing my skills, growing a following and getting booked up for the rest of 2015, I felt like my prices could go up once again. I mean I was booked for the entire year! I knew that by the end of the year I would of gained a massive amount of experience and my skills would of improved even more and we all know that we would like to be paid more than $8 an hour.. So I pushed my prices up to an average of $12 an hour and I was still getting bookings.
Now that I am at the end of 2015 I know my worth. I have a large portfolio and its clear to me that there has been a great improvement in skills, accomplishments and demand. I have also managed to gain more than 5000 followers on Facebook and 500 subscribers on YouTube.
When you reach this phase you should be able to price your work without a problem.
Keep in mind that I was able to do this in as little as two years because I have done it full time. For many of you this is not possible because you still need to work to sustain your lifestyle. That means reaching this phase could take a lot longer so don't feel despondent if it doesn't happen in as little as two years.
Time is experienced differently for every artist :)
I bid all my current and future artist friends reading this a good day from Australia and may you accomplish everything you dream you would.
To view the YouTube video discussing this click: Q&A How to price your art commissions