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I've always wanted to start doing commissions and opening an art shop, but I never really figured out how to price my artwork, so I kept putting it off and never got to it.
(I did have a small art shop on Gaia Online but that was ages ago lol)

I'm still schooling, so I barely find time to hit up RPG Maker, but I'm sure I'd be able to wiggle out some time to do concept art or face/bust shots, so I thought it'd be a good use of my small amounts of time every day. The idea of being like an artist mercenary-for-hire for projects is pretty cool too HAHAHAHA

How do you guys price your works? Do you ever worry about being too expensive or too cheap? Is there like a benchmark?
It definitely depends on how popular you are.
Reminds me of an journal entry of a great artist on Deviantart. There is no way to price art - it's completely subjective. One may feel something in it, others not.
Often times, especially when new artist start out, they work themselves to the bones for low prices. But that should not be the case.

Working for projects, of course, limits you to their budget. Many artists start with low prices which they eventually raise. I don't think there is a "too expensive" .. as long as somebody is willing to pay it. "Too cheap" applies when you end up overworking yourself just to get the bare minimum.

Try snooping around what common prices are and choose something along the lines. And if it goes well and you have a higher demand of commissions, try raising it a little.
the original sinn
Popularity is not the rule. I mean, it shouldn't be, and you can't let it.

As cruel as it sounds, any jobs that doesn't pay you enough is not worth keeping.
Starting off you can charge little for exposures and friendship.
But imagine getting paid 15$ for a whole week? How are you going to get by on your groceries?

Working part time pays at least 7$ per hour, so you should charge at least that.
Working for a whole week means it should be around 7 times 10 hour of your work, considering you work that long, times 7 days, if including holidays.
That's at least 7 x 10 x 7 = 490, plus extra costs from water bills to your needed investments or tool upgrade, you should charge at least 1000 - 1500 for a whole week of (quality) work.

But don't let the your "quality" or "style" becomes your drawback.
Your delivery, thoughts and involvement is what counts, and that means you need to be involved in the project you do, like, really involved.
So it's not really about the money, more about keeping you functional in a project.
You are the gear in it, and unless they get somebody else, which costs the time and effort too, you'll need to charge accordingly so you can remain fresh as you work with them.

Of course you can say, some fan projects that doesn't pay much.
That's entirely your choice.

But basically, if you want this to be your full time job, it better pays as much as your living standard, cars, houses, family and what not.

But when you are beginning, be passionate.
That's probably the best mental investment you ever needed in hard times.
Because if you charge little, better learn yourself some programming, make your own games, while working in Mcdonalds or 7/11. They pay alot more and your work technically price less than a bag of potato chip.

The TM is for Totally Magical.
Nothing harder than pricing your work.

Find the average price other artists are charging and average against them. Quality of work doesn't factor into this. Art is in the eye of the beholder. First of all, you won't be respected if you price low. People are afraid of low prices because they equate "cheap" with "low quality". Second, you'll get low quality buyers.

I experience the same problem as a piano technician. I charge $100 to tune a piano, largely because I think $150 is too fucking high. It only takes an hour to tune a piano ($150? and half these guys half-ass it anyway!). I can get away with it because I have a reputation and I'm respected. My tunings hold and they're perfect. Nevertheless, I still get the flakes or the people who don't want to spend anything and so have a giant old upright that belongs in the trash more than other technicians do.

In other words, the key to pricing is knowing your individual market.
Max McGee
with sorrow down past the fence
Thread caught my eye cause my company buys a lot of art and keeps a lot of artists in proverbial paintbrushes that way.

Find the average price other artists are charging and average against them. Quality of work doesn't factor into this. Art is in the eye of the beholder. First of all, you won't be respected if you price low. People are afraid of low prices because they equate "cheap" with "low quality". Second, you'll get low quality buyers.

I gotta say as someone who buys loads of freelance art in a professional capacity I strongly disagree. If someone is charging a rate I DON'T consider to be reasonable/inexpensive, they had BETTER be "the bomb" to an obvious, in-your-face degree. With higher rates, I expect to be floored, and if I'm not, I'm out.

I mean, yes, there is the price-value relationship fallacy. But some people are smart enough to see past that.

How do you guys price your works? Do you ever worry about being too expensive or too cheap? Is there like a benchmark?

Well first off...if you are working as a freelance artist for an industry, i.e. if you are doing freelance art as a professional for books or games, it is likely enough that you DON'T price your work. The people paying you decide what THEY pay for art. My company pays around $30.00 US for black and white illos (multiple figures, full shading, background) and upwards of $100.00 US for color illustrations. And we've gotten some amazing art for those rates.

I wouldn't be surprised if vidya games pay lots better; it's an industry around 1000 times the size of ours. But keep in mind that amateur (and most indie) devs can probably afford to pay even less; and that's another "knowing your market" thing like pianotm said.

Artists though are in a somewhat unique position because they can also sell "directly to consumers" who are essentially commissioning vanity art as a novelty. In fact this is what artists have done throughout history but nowdays it's having kind of a resurgence. That's a situation where you have much more power to set your own prices.

A lot of artists, particularly deviantartists, confuse the former situation with the latter when approaching my company for work, and it tends to piss me off a bit. Then again, I'm not the art director and SHE'S a lot nicer and more patient than me, so it rarely matters too much.

Honestly, popularity or public awareness does seem to be more of an issue in the pricing of freelance art than pure artistic quality. For instance, if WotC sends you checks to put your art on Magic cards, then you're probably charging literally 1000-3000% of what an artist of identical skill for whom that's not the case can charge.
The TM is for Totally Magical.
@Max McGee Well, I'm not saying you should price at a premium. I'm simply trying to point out that a big mistake people always make is selling themselves short. Maybe you don't think the work is worth price but the fact is, if you're selling good but you're still not paying the bills, then there's something wrong with your pricing.
always a dudesoft, never a soft dude.
I've only charged $1 for my drawings, and $5 for my comic. To say you can't make popularity be the price-setting rule or that you have to make a living doing this as a job is silly. You can be a starving artist, or be a normal person and get a day job. Until you can start turning your hobby into a job, it is a hobby. Bonus if the commissions pay for the materials, forget about time.

Like Legion said, you have to be GOOD to charge serious moolah, and until that point, or when people WANT your work. Then you can start pricing properly, and turning this into a career. Art is tricky.
My friend Shane Heron draws Black Hole Hunters Club. He's on issue 5 now, preparing for issue 6. Guy works two jobs at two different bakeries during the day, and draws at night.
They just broke $1000 at Fan Expo. As a prime example of making it! They started giving issue 1 away and friend rates, or $2 comic days etc. Now, he's doing alright. Making overhead above printing costs, as well as having commissions lined up.

Just keep at it, is the creedo. But don't hold yourself to some idealistic view that art will put food on the table. Even a lot of amazing artists struggle.
I just made $50 at Fan Expo for my first book after splitting the cost with the writer and printing expenses. It's a start! I don't really care about the money because my job takes care of that. This is still a hobby.
always a dudesoft, never a soft dude.
I guess my main point is, love what you do, and do what you love. If you do it for money you might end up discouraging yourself. I rather see a smile on someone's face for a funny drawing than have said person toss my $25.
(At least until it's worth $25! Nyuk nyuk!)
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