While it's true you can price your artwork however you like, consistency is key if you want to build a thriving business around your art. A streamlined pricing model not only makes the pricing process less daunting, but it also builds trust with your customers and encourages repeat business.
In this post, I’ll teach you about the best practices for pricing your 2-dimensional artwork. Starting with the Square Inch Method, which is a straightforward and effective way to price your art. We’ll discuss the importance of setting a minimum price, accounting for materials and framing costs, and adjusting prices as your career progresses.
I’ll also touch on how to offer discounts to collectors and explore the benefits of merchandising your art. By the end of this post, you’ll have a comprehensive understanding of how to price your artwork with confidence and ensure that you're being compensated fairly for your talent and hard work.
The Square Inch Method
The square inch method is the most straightforward and effective way to price your art. You can calculate the price per square inch of your artwork and multiply it by the dollar amount, based on a range of 25 cents to five dollars for emerging artists. For example, if your painting measures 16x20 inches (320 square inches) and you're an emerging artist, your base price would fall within the range of $80 to $1600.
As an emerging artist with limited exhibition experience and a focus on improving your craft, it's advisable to price your artwork on the lower end of the scale. However, if you have been in the industry for a while, and have a good track record of sales to both private and commercial collectors, as well as notable mentions in the press, you should position yourself closer to the five-dollar-per-square-inch range. Most emerging artists will fall in the middle.
It's important to be honest with yourself and leave room to grow. Choose a price-per-square-inch number that feels good to you, covers costs and allows you to make a profit while also attracting potential buyers and growing your business.
Setting a Minimum Price
It's essential to set a minimum price for your artwork. This will help you establish a base price that reflects the value of your work and ensures that you're not undervaluing yourself. For example, you may choose to set a minimum price of $200 for any artwork you create, regardless of its size.
Accounting for Materials
To ensure profitability, it's important to consider any additional expenses, such as materials or labor, that may be required for certain pieces of artwork. For example, if you use a lot of gold leaf or resin, you may need to adjust your per square inch price or add a materials fee to the final cost. Additionally, if your work is particularly time-consuming, you may want to factor in a labor fee or adjust your price per square inch accordingly.
We’re optimizing for consistency here and the ease and confidence it brings, so it's important to establish a pricing system and stick to it for all of your artwork. Whatever you do, do it across the board.
Tack on Framing Costs
When setting the price for your artwork, it's important to consider the cost of framing if you choose to sell it framed. To account for framing costs, simply add the cost of the frame to the final price of the artwork after determining the price per square inch. For instance, if the frame costs $50, add that amount to the total price of the artwork. However, if you're selling the work through a gallery that takes a 50% commission, double the price of the frame and add it to your artwork to avoid any loss.
Adjusting Prices as Your Career Progresses
As you progress in your career as an artist, you may need to adjust your pricing model to reflect the value of your work and your experience. For example, if you've been featured in a prestigious art show or have won an award for your artwork, you may be able to increase your prices to reflect your newfound success. Remember, it's essential to always consider the value of your work and ensure that you're not undervaluing yourself.
If you’re working consistently as an artist, it makes sense to increase your price-per-square-inch incrementally each year as well.
Consider raising your prices incrementally when you encounter the fortunate problem of having more demand for your work than you can keep up with. This is a clear indication of supply and demand, and adjusting your prices can help balance it out.
When working with collectors, it is common for them to request a discount, typically ranging from 5 to 20%. To make sales easier, it’s advisable to have some wiggle room in your pricing structure and be open to offering discounts. One approach is to adjust your pricing per square inch to account for possible discounts. Alternatively, you could add an extra 10 to 20% to your fee, which can be reduced later to provide a more attractive deal to the collector. By offering a discount, you can not only increase your chances of making a sale, but also build stronger relationships with your clients.
Merchandising Your Art
I highly recommend considering merchandise options for your artwork, such as creating prints on paper, metal, or wood, stickers, or apparel. By doing so, you'll open up opportunities for repeat sales through artist multiples.
It's important to note that the markup on merchandise will be different from your original artwork. Typically, it can range from 100-250%, depending on whether you're working with retailers who'll resell your items or if you plan to offer free shipping. If you'd like more detailed information on this topic, please let me know, and I'll be happy to address it in another article.
Pricing your artwork may seem like a challenging task, but by using the square inch method, setting a minimum price, accounting for materials, and factoring in framing costs, you can establish fair prices with confidence. Remember to adjust your prices as your career progresses, and always value your work appropriately. With these tips in mind, you can establish a pricing model that reflects the value of your art and ensures that you're being compensated fairly for your talent and hard work.
If you're an artist looking to establish fair pricing for your work, take the first step today by using the square inch method to determine your pricing. Experiment with different price points and keep track of your sales to find the sweet spot that works for you.
Don't be afraid to adjust your prices as your career progresses and you gain more experience and recognition in the art world. Remember, pricing your art is not just about making a profit, but also about valuing your creative vision and the hard work you put into each piece. By valuing your work appropriately, you're setting the stage for a successful and fulfilling career as an artist.