How to price artwork

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How to price your artwork for sale.

Learning how to price your artwork for sale online or offline can drive one a little crazy. I mean no one likes the answer that almost every single person in the World (including successful artists) give out. Each one seem to think that telling you to test, is what you want to hear. Now certainly testing has incredible value. If things are too cheap you will be cheating yourself, or worse scaring off potential customers. We have all heard of painters or photographers who doubled their prices and all the sudden started selling more.

Well instead of offering your pretty fairly tales I want to simplify the process for you some. First, let me explain where I am coming from on this process. Do not worry I am not going to go into the woods on this. I will stay strait to the point. I am an artist, author, and trainer. I do not just pull things out of the thin air to share with others. I believe in “practicing what I preach” if I have not tried and tested something I do not put it out there.

These days there are really two different World for selling art online and offline. Online sales require a different approach to the question of how to price your artwork for sale. That is because for the most part when you are selling online you are dealing with prints. They may be many different formats for prints (as shown in the image above) but still at the end of the day most of the time many of you will be selling prints. For my photographer friends it is print or digital rights, for painters it is prints, digital rights, and the occasional original is sold online through galleries.  What I suggest that all artist do with their pricing first is to value their time. If your art is brand new to the market certainly (unless you have an amazing rare gift) then you will not price yourself as high as you one day can as you develop a following. Instead you should invest in getting your name out there.

What I recommend is that you set an amount of profit that you want to make on each painting. Staying realistic comparing your artwork to other artists selling on the marketplaces you will participate in. In the World of print sales determining your profit per print should be based on a percentage of the cost of the print itself. Most sites like Fine Art America (one I enjoy and use) has a marketplace where you see the typical new artist pricing their prints at a 20% mark up. I think (based on my own testing) that this is more than fare for the price of traditional prints. Then as you gather each 2,500 followers on your main site or social media platform increase your price by 2.5% or 1% per 1,000 followers. In marketing these days we are referring to the following as your tribe. Now this allows you to scale with your popularity and growth, but also fuels your inner fire for that growth and the efforts you must take to effectively grow. So in review the site you are selling on that is providing your prints in the various formats sets the price at $100 for the base for a high quality print in X dimensions you sell it for $120. When you hit 2,250 fans you then price your art at $122.50. This may seem like a small change but when you later have 100,000 fans this will make you some solid profit.

Now how to price your artwork for sale offline. Here their are two things to consider again. Your cost and whether or not you are selling a print or selling an original painting. For photographers is your print on archival paper, and signed or just developed and framed. I recommend that if you are pricing prints for sale at a booth for an art show that you go at 10X the cost of the print for the low cost prints (photo prints) and 4-5X the cost for giclee prints. I myself offer 8X10 prints that are done on high quality photo paper and then treated with the brush stroke technique for $20 my cost even with the brushstroke coating is near $2. Then as I scale in size I use that 10X cost as well. As your name grows and your followers grow use the same incremental increase described above each year as your name gets out there as an artist. That means if you have not grown by 10,000 fans online you do not get to raise your price by $2 on your prints unless your fixed cost increased. You stay at 10X, however if you great 10,000 fans it is OK to increase 10% or go to 11X mark up.

For painted originals the old tried and true method is calculating per square inch. Since you are new and building your fan base, and following I recommend $1.50-$2 per square inch for painters. Calculating the square inch of the 20X30 painting is just multiplying length times width so 20X30 becomes $900 (600 Sq inches X$1.5) then just add double the cost for your frame $200 frame = $400 so the total would be $1,300 for a 20X30 original painting. Now this pricing is for your best gallary style of art. I am not suggesting that the new street artist who prepares his painting on the fly, and paints on craft paper in 10 minutes should charge $1,000. That is a way to go hungry as a street artist. What I am saying is that if your art is going to be sold in your own gallary or at a show that you price it per square inch. Starting at $1.5-$2 and then use the same followers scaling method.

So in time if you have 10,000 fans your art will be selling for 10% more or over $1,400 for the same original in a years time lets say. Now getting the fans and getting your name out there is what my new training program will be all about stay tuned for more information on that training.

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%Harry Warrick - %Author Artist and Trainer Harry Warrick
Harry Warrick is an author, artist, and trainer. His passions include helping others in their career and business efforts and sharing his unique knowledge of marketing and management with others. Harry also owns and operates 360 Mobile Video a cutting edge social media marketing company.
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