How to Price Artwork For Beginners: A Comprehensive Guide

Great, you have tried your best to finish your artwork on time. However, if you are unable or need help with how to price and value your work, you have a problem, and you may never be able to sell it.

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 keep 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. This is the right article if you are a beginner trying to decide what prices to charge for your artwork. 

How to Price Artwork For Beginners
How to Price Artwork For Beginners

It will give you details on how to price artwork, especially for beginners.

  • Key Assumptions You Need to Make About Your Work
  • Considerations You Need to 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 costs to prepare your work, so you must set a price. 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 a fair price.

The key idea here is to set a fair or reasonable price for your artwork. Different formulas have been used to determine the artwork price. 

Still, the entire notion entails accounting for the expenses incurred and adding some margin to get you a reasonable price for your work.

For instance, if you took 10 hours to make your art and 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. 

The total expenditure for this kind of art is $190. This is the break-even point for your art, and selling at this price means you are not making any gains or 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 to Take When Setting a Price

Price Commission Costs

If you use the gallery option to sell your art, you must incur some commission expenses, which should be addressed 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, you will spend more effort on the larger art pieces than the smaller ones, which you should also reflect in the selling price.

Paintings and sculptures will always take different shapes and sizes. You can take the measurements by determining the sculpture's inches or square feet. 

Usually, every piece of art will have a different weight and size, reflecting the time taken to make the art.

How to Get a Reasonable Price For Your Artwork

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 research the various art pieces 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.

Evidence of How You Price Your Artwork
Evidence of How You Price Your Artwork

Evidence of 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 for your artwork.

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

It would help if you remembered these simple questions 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. It is also wise to find already established artists with 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 were careful about their success before you can copy their pricing decisions.

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

State Your Wage

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

Be Consistent in Your Price

If you must succeed in the art business, then consistency in your pricing decisions is core. Choose a pricing formula to 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.

Set Different Prices for Different Styles of Artwork

You will occasionally serve customers who make different orders depending on how much the art is sold. 

Therefore, it would be wise to make different varieties of art so that each customer can comfortably afford the artwork they settle for.

For instance, some new buyers need to get a piece of art but can only afford to pay $200. Your artwork decisions should, therefore, consider such customers. 

They will keep coming even to get high-priced art if they love your art. If you capture more customers, you will likely expand your business as more customers will keep sending the right message to other buyers who will later become frequent buyers of your artwork. business

Be Confident in Your Pricing Decisions

You should always be ready to provide evidence for the amount you charge for your art. 

Customers need to know why you are charging such prices, and it is thus essential that you get ready for evidence. 

Get facts to prove that your price on a particular art piece is fair enough.

You can argue based on the number of funds spent on the materials used on the art, other artists who have contributed to getting the art, and your efforts too. 

You can even show the customer your sales records if they are adamant. Other customers have made purchases of a similar art piece.

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 can trust you for your integrity. Usually, some artists tend to charge different rates to different consumers depending on their wealth. 

This is not good behavior as it will only ruin your reputation and, as a result, lead to the closure of your business. It can take a little while before customers realize the correct value of such an art. 

If you charge different prices for different buyers, they will shift to another seller. Set a standard price for every particular piece of art and be willing to share your expenses with your customers. 

This way, you will be able to hold your customers through your integrity even in the future.

Regularly Review Your Prices

Your prices may remain constant for a short time following the change in market trends. If you realize your work is in demand, it is time to raise your prices to gain more profits. 

It would help if you kept selling your work at a different 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.

Strategies to Price Your Artwork

There are various strategies by which you can price your artwork. Though there is no definite formula, some existing guidelines are laid for use. 

The daunting task of pricing, if you are a beginner, will be quenched with the formulae contained herein. Before we can embark on the various methods, let us look at the factors, you should consider setting your art price.

  • Your work has value. At least you bought the material, which could be the canvass or the paint, so 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 feel confident and comfortable 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 would like to remain in the industry. Thus, you should not just aim at breaking even but also make a profit. The profit will help you grow and make a name for yourself in the industry. To make a profit easily, ensure you have artwork at different prices. Thus, every buyer will get a piece 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 diverse thoughts and perceptions; 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 you feel they can afford.

Impostors Syndrome. This may not augur well for you as a beginner, but it is an undeniable fact. While setting your price, you should understand that your prices will not be the same as those of prominent artists. 

Moreover, your geographical location impacts the size of your market. Avoid pricing with emotions and assume you should price your art just as a prominent artist would. 

This is called impostor syndrome. Though it may create a popular image for yourself, it might as well ward off buyers.

Setting a Price For Your Artwork

how to price a painting
How to price a painting

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 by its width. You can use an overlapping stick and measure the length and height for irregularly shaped work.

After determining the area:

  1. Estimate the paint used per square foot.
  2. Use your intuition, conscience, or what you feel will help you arrive at a reasonable fee for every square foot of your work.
  3. Multiply the value by the total area of your paint and then add the paint product per foot 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 satisfy 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 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 consider the art pieces' size.

Calculate a Personal Hourly Wage

In this formula, one attaches a value to themselves in the industry. This is based on the industry's length, the artwork's nature, and how involved it is. 

With these factors, though there other many, you assign a value to every hour you spend on art. 

You should determine this value carefully to include the sunk cost of acquiring the material used in the artwork. 

The value is then multiplied by the hours spent making your art. Like the size approach, this method is relatively easy to explain to buyers.

Moreover, big paintings will attract higher 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 to avoid feeling the difficulty of selling artwork you have worked on for a long time. 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 beginners hoping to sell their artwork. 

If they do not make sales, 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, ultimately, lose your customers to other artists.

Pricing Your Work Too High to Make a Profit

You may sometimes 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, you have no market for it. 

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 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 regarding business transactions. Buyers cannot at any time understand your attachment to a particular, and if you feel you cannot sell it out, you would rather keep it off the market.

Like any other business, the success of an artist in their artwork business depends on their efforts and ability to attract more customers into their market. 

In art, a single customer can bring back more than ten customers. 

However, it depends on how you serve them. You will likely attract more buyers if you offer quality services.

Tips to Help Grow Your Art Business

  • Please understand your customers, their preferences, likes, and dislikes, which will engender trust and possibly convert a first-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, 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 signal that you care about your customers and are ready to serve them accordingly.
  • Be prepared to provide recommendations. Potential buyers may need to know which type or style of work they want to buy or settle for, and you should 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.

Final Word

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 to the best of your abilities.


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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