Tips for Pricing Your Art
One of the most thrilling things for any artist is putting a price on their art. The fact that you are oblivious
of the prices set by other artists makes it all the more intriguing. Novice artists usually find a problem pricing
As an artist, you need to build credibility so as to sustain a healthy career. One of the ways to achieve
credibility is by setting clear and consistent prices for your work.
Just as an everyday consumer would expect consistent prices for his groceries, or consistent prices for
electrical appliances from an appliance store, so do art collectors or other shoppers when buying art.
A price structure that’s clear and consistent means that each piece of art you create is allocated a dollar
value that corresponds to the dollar values of all other art pieces you make. Put differently, the same basic
principles are used to price all art pieces, established by you the artist or those individuals who are most
familiar with your art, such that the price of any individual piece of art is reasonable within the context of the
The unique characteristics of your art, plus the external forces of the art market will determine the pricing
rules and guidelines. It is imperative for you to peruse Price Your Art Realistically if you don’t have any prior
experience pricing or selling your art.
A major goal of sensible art pricing is that similar art pieces should have similar selling prices. You, the
artist, should determine what those similarities are, based on the criteria you choose. The criteria then become
the standard by which you make assessments of your art and ultimately price it. Note that at all stages in this
process, those criteria should be easy to explain to any person who might have questions about your art,
particularly potential buyers.
A good way to start determining your criteria is to select a few pieces of your art that you think are typical
of the current output and that depict an average range of your skills. They should be pieces that you consider good
enough (neither inferior nor exceptional). If you use various mediums or styles, choose at least one representative
piece of each.
Explain these works in writing and in detail, in terms of basic physical features as well as the characteristics
unique to your art. Examples of basic physical features include size, color, weight, detail, subject matter,
complexity, weight, cost of the different materials, duration of creation, etc.
Things that describe unique variables in your art include texture, theme, how many dogs are in your composition,
how frequent the orange color is used, what direction is the brush strokes, degree of abstraction or date
Avoid using subjective criteria in your art descriptions, for instance what it means to you, how it makes you
feel or what message it portrays. These are not important in terms of pricing because they vary from one viewer to
another. On the other hand, no one can dispute the size or subject matter of a piece of art work.
After the descriptions, you then set a base price for your selected typical work of art. A good analogy to this
is the base price in the car world, or a car’s price without any extras. How much more a piece will cost depends on
the ‘extras’ it has, and their quality.
Then after, the base price will be used as the norm for pricing the rest of your art pieces, in terms of
‘extras’ or ‘no extras’ for that matter. If certain pieces hold special meaning to you or represent special moments
in your career, it’s best not to put them on the market because you might get the urge to overprice them.
Make sure your price structure is reasonable to the people who have questions about your art, such as why a
particular piece may cost more than another. After you’ve established your prices, keep them constant, otherwise be
sure to have justification for any deviation, especially upward.