How to Price Artwork For Beginners: A Comprehensive Guide

How to Price Artwork For Beginners: A Comprehensive Guide

Great, so you have tried your best to get your artwork finished on time. However, if you are unable or unsure of how to price and value your work, you have a problem, and you may never be able to sell it.

Easy Drawing Ideas For Beginners
Easy Drawing Ideas For Beginners

One of the most challenging problems that many artists face, especially if they are new to selling their artwork. It takes time to come up with the right price for your work.

How to price your artwork? Setting an artificially high price for your artwork may end up keeping your art in the studio for a long time. Additionally, you could also lose out if you charge low rates. You, therefore, need to get the best price for your work.  If you are a beginner stuck on what prices, to charge on your artwork, then this is the right article for you. It will get you into detail on how to price artwork, especially for beginners.

  • Key Assumptions You Need to Make About Your Work
  • Considerations You Need Take When Setting a Price
  • How to get a Reasonable Price
  • Setting a Price For Your Artwork
  • Tips to Help Grow Your Art Business

Key Assumptions You Need to Make About Your Work

You have incurred some amount of cost to get your work ready and you, therefore, have to set a price for it. Consider these critical assumptions as your starting point.

  • You work value, and you need to be paid for spending the time to make it.
  • Someone will always like your work and be ready to pay the fair price.

So the key idea here is to set a fair or rather a reasonable price for your artwork. Different formulas have been used to determine the artwork price, but the entire notion entails accounting for the expenses incurred and adding some margin to get you the reasonable price for your work.

For instance, if you took 10 hours to make your art and you are comfortable making $15 as your hourly earnings, then your total wages should be $150. It would help if you also accounted for the cost of materials used to say $40. Materials, in this case, include ream papers, ink, and paints among other expenses. Total expenditure for this kind of art is $190. This is the break-even point for your art and selling at this price means that you are not making any gain nor incurring any losses. You, therefore, have to add up some margin which translates to the profit made and hence arriving at the selling price.

Considerations You Need Take When Setting a Price

Price Commission Costs

If you use the gallery option to sell your art, you must incur some commission expenses, and this should neither be ignored while setting up the price.

The Size of Your Artwork

Size should always be a key factor while pricing your artwork. Small art pieces would call for low prices as buyers expect to make more payments on larger sizes. Ideally, more efforts will be spent on the larger art pieces as compared to the smaller ones, and this should be reflected on the selling price too.

Paintings and sculptures will always take different shapes and sizes. You can take the measurements by determining the inches or the square feet of the sculpture. Usually, every art will have a different weight and size, and this will also reflect on the time taken to make the art.

How to Get a Reasonable Price For Your Artwork

1. Comprehensively  Research Your Work

We currently exist in a profoundly interconnected world, where knowledge and ideas about art, can be obtained and accessed immediately, by anyone wishing to research it.

Undoubtedly, your artwork of art has influences in other artwork, art movements, and the artists that went before it.

With this vast source of knowledge available at a finger click over the internet, you can look at and research the various pieces of art and how they are priced. Aggregate their cost to arrive at a reasonable price for your paint. Besides, you will get high and lower bound prices for your artwork. It is essential to stick to your rates once you set them.

2. Evidence How You Price Your Artwork

In simple terms, all you need to do is to go onto the internet and look for artists who produce artwork similar to yours in style or medium. Next, try to get an idea of what price to charge to your artwork.

  • Does Their Style of Work Match Yours?
  • Do you share similar backgrounds or have things in common?

These are some of the simple questions you need to keep in mind if you need to get a suitable price for your work. Your geographical location should also be critical to your decision.

If your research is thorough,  you should be able to find an artist with whom you share these traits. This should help you make an informed decision. Additionally, it would be wise also to find already established artists who have more expertise in pricing their work.

You can also talk to your friends and colleagues in the art business and inquire how much they make from their artwork. It would help if you too were careful about their success before you can copy their pricing decisions.

Let them speak honestly and share the kind of challenges they have faced if they charged too high or low for their artwork.

2. State Your Wage

As mentioned earlier on, you must place some value for your art piece. You must have spent much time working on your artwork and you, therefore, need to get paid for it. Think of an hourly wage rate on which you are comfortable making for your efforts.

3. Be Consistent in Your Price

If it is imperative that you succeed in the art business, then consistency in your pricing decisions is core. Choose a pricing formula that will get you a consistent price on your art. Buyers will always need to pay a standard price each time they visit your studio, gallery, exhibition or stall.

4. Set Different Prices for Different Styles of Artwork

You will occasionally serve different customers who will make different orders depending on the amount on which the art is being sold. It would be wise therefore to make different varieties of the art such that each customer can comfortably afford the artwork they settle.

For instance, some new buyers need to get a piece of art but can only afford to pay $200. You artwork decisions should, therefore, consider such customers. If they love your art, they will keep coming even to get high priced arts. If you succeed in capturing more customers, then you are likely to expand your business as more customers will keep sending a right message to other buyers who will later turn out to be frequent buyers of your artwork. business

5. Be Confident in Your Pricing Decisions

You should always be ready to provide evidence for the amount you charge on your art. Customers need to know why you are charging such prices and is thus essential that you get ready for evidence. Get facts to prove that the price you place on a particular art piece is fair enough.

You can argue based on the amount of funds spent on the materials used on the art, other artists who have also contributed to getting the art and your efforts too. If the customer is adamant, you can even show them your sales records. From which other customers have made purchases of a similar art piece.

6. Be Transparent With Your Prices

Let customers know your artwork prices. You can do this by sharing your prices on social media platforms. This way your customers will be able to trust you for your integrity. Usually, some artists tend to charge different rates to different consumers depending on their wealth. This is not a good behavior at all as it will only ruin your reputation and as a result, lead to the closure of your business. It can not take long before customers realize the correct value for such an art. If you are charging different prices for different buyers, they will shift to another seller. Set a standard price for every particular art and be willing to share your expenses to your customers and this way you will be able to hold your customers through your integrity even in the future.

7. Regularly Review Your Prices

Your prices may not remain constant for long following the change in the market trends. If you realize that your work is in demand, then it is time to raise your prices to gain more profits. You cannot keep selling your work at the same rate when there is a high demand for your art. as your reputation develops you will deserve better returns. Sticking to the old prices makes no progress for your business.

8. Strategies to Price Your Artwork

There are various strategies in which you can price your artwork. Though there is no definite formula to use, there are some existing guidelines laid for use. The daunting task of pricing, if you are a beginner, will be quenched with the formulae contained herein. Just before we can embark on the various methods, let us take a look at the on the various factors that you should consider be setting your art price.

  • Your work has value.  At least you bought the material, could be the canvass or just the paint, and hence your artwork has a cost. Furthermore, you have invested time, skill and energy to transform your materials into a desirable piece of art. Therefore, you should not feel worried or any difficulties in setting a price for your art.
  • Amount of Material Used. Different materials used for artwork have different prices. Thus, the cost of your artwork should be directly linked with the material it is made. Feel confident to price a small piece of artwork made of precious gems at a cost higher than a more significant piece of less valuable material. For further information on how to stock your studio space, please read my post, What Stuff Do You Need For An Art Studio?
  • Make a Profit. Yes, you have a passion for art, and you would like to remain the industry. Thus, you should not just aim at breaking even but also making a profit. The profit will help you grow and make a name for yourself in the industry. To make a profit easily, ensure that you have artworks at various prices. Thus, every buyer will get a piece that they can afford or ostentatious enough for them. Be open with your prices and they should not be concessionary.

Someone Will Love Your Work. Every artwork is a creation that may literally or figuratively embody a particular trait or event. The world has a vast population with a diversity of thoughts and perceptions, and undoubtedly, someone will love your art.

Do not feel afraid of not selling because of your price. A reasonable price will eventually attract a buyer. It is also prudent to consider the buyer. Try to figure out their spending habits and their origin. Generally, tourists will buy at a higher cost. Present buyers with a piece of your art that you feel they can afford.

Impostors Syndrome. This may not augur well with you as a beginner buy it is an undeniable fact. While setting your price, you should understand that your prices will not be the same as of prominent artists. Moreover, your geographical location has an impact on the size of your market. Avoid pricing with emotions and assume that you should price your art just as a prominent artist would. This is called impostors syndrome. Though it may create a popular image for yourself, it might as well ward off buyers.

Setting a Price For Your Artwork

With the various factors that will guide you in establishing a price for your work already discussed, this article will now consider the different ways you can use to determine the cost of your artwork. The conventional methods or rather the pricing strategies include:

The Size of Your Artwork

This method is commonly used for pricing artwork. Usually, one obtains the size of their work by calculating its area in square feet or meters, whatever preference they have. You can obtain the area by multiplying the length of your artwork with its width. For irregularly shaped work, you can use an overlapping stick and measure the length and height.

After determining the area, estimate the paint used per square feet. Next, use your intuition, conscience or what you feel will help you in arriving at a reasonable fee for every square foot of your work. Multiply the value with the total area of your paint and then add the product of paint per feet by the artwork area. The sum of the two derivatives is the price of your artwork.

Cost And Profit Projection

Another sensible approach to pricing would be projecting profits. Here, you first determine the total value of making your painting. With the time and energy invested in your artwork, you already have a rough idea of how much profit would be satisfying to you. This amount should bear in mind the various factors discussed herein.

The standard wage for a prolific artist is set at $24.60.This can be a guideline for determining your hourly wage. The projected profit added to the cost of the painting is your price. You can add a margin of disparity of US$1-US$5. It is a bright idea to begin at a high rate and cut it down to your expected selling price. This method is pivotal especially when the size of an artwork is not proportional to its price. For instance, a golden ornament would be more expensive than a wooden jaguar carve. Including the cost will ensure that you get the required value for your material.

Competitive Analysis

If you do not go for the online trading way, then you must do a competitive analysis to determine what your rivals are charging on their art to determine your price. Simply research rates charged by the local traders to determine your art price. You can, therefore, get an average of the prices charged by the various then treat the average price as your reference point. You can, accordingly, charge your artwork slightly higher or below the average rate. However, when getting the average price, it is essential to take into consideration the size of the art pieces.

Calculate a Personal Hourly Wage

In this formula, one attaches a value to themselves in the industry. This is based on the length in the industry, the nature of artwork made and how involving it is. With these factors, though there other many, you assign a value to every hour you spend in art. This value should be determined carefully to include the sunk cost of acquiring the material used in the artwork. The value is then multiplied by the number of hours spent in making your art. Just as the size approach, this method is relatively easy to explain to buyers.

Moreover, big paintings will attract higher prices and lower prices for small artwork. Clients will quickly understand the amount charged as well as you get the value for your efforts. Be careful not to feel the difficulty of selling artwork you have worked for a long time on. This formula will incorporate that succinctly.

Common Mistakes in Pricing Artwork

Charging Low Prices To Make a Sale

It takes time to market one’s business until it is fully established such that the business can pay all its bills as the owner enjoys the returns. This is only the case with the beginners hoping to sell there artwork. If they do not make sales, then they will always be ready to sell their art pieces at low prices in the hope of making sales. This may be the right decision but only for a while. You will be able to pay your day to day bills but ruin your reputation in the future. Low pricing will devalue your artwork and at the end lose your customers to other artists.

Pricing Your Work Too High to Make a Profit

You may at times be tempted to charge excessively high prices on a particular art just because you took a long time to work on it. Setting your art piece price by how long you decided to do it then you have no market for your art. Set a reasonable price for your work even if it takes time to get established to build your business.

Letting Emotions Control Your Business

Developing some personal feelings towards your art is natural. You feel attached to your creative work and think that you need to retain it for your reasons, but this is not healthy for your art business. It would be best if you avoided such emotions when it comes to business transactions. Buyers cannot at any time understand your attachment to a particular, and if you feel you cannot sell it out, then you would rather keep it off the market.

Just like any other business, the success of an artist in their artwork business depends on their efforts as well as their ability to attract more customers into their market. With the art world, a single customer can bring back more than ten customers. however, it depends on how you serve them. If you offer quality services, then you are likely to attract more buyers.

Tips to Help Grow Your Art Business

  • Make an effort to understand your customers, their preferences likes and dislikes, and this will engender trust and possible convert a one time buyer into a returning customer. A buyer may find interest in a particular piece of art and buy it. This is a good response but if you have to grow then let them stick to your shop and keep coming for such services.
  • Involve your customers in deciding on the kind of art that suits them best. This will sends a good message that you care about your customers and you are ready to serve them accordingly.
  • Be prepared to provide recommendations. At times, potential buyers may not know which type or style of work they want to buy or settle for, and you should, therefore, be able to offer suggestions on what options to consider in the end. This will help them build trust in you and this will. As a result, grow your business as they will attract further customers.


All these ideas are meant to help you get the best out of your artwork business. Set a reasonable price and commit yourself to serve your customers in the best of your abilities. This post is in constant development so please feel free to comment in the comments box below if you have any further suggestions or ideas that may be helpful.

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Ian Walsh is the creator and author of and an Art teacher based in Merseyside in the United Kingdom. He holds a BA in Fine Art and a PGCE in teaching Art and Design. He has been teaching Art for over 24 Years in different parts of the UK. When not teaching Ian spending his time developing this website and creating content for the improvedrawing channel.

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