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It's one of the first things an artist has to consider before announcing they are available for commissions. You don't want to price yourself out of the available market, but you don't want to just give your skill, time, and materials away, either.

So how does one go about determining how much to charge? And how much to charge for each level such as sketch, inks, color, additional characters, backgrounds, etc.?

I am opening the floor to the community on this. What is your advice for artists on how to determine their prices?

If you recall someone (including yourself) making a particularly helpful comment related to this topic in a previous advice post, please link to the comment (or you can copy-paste if it's your comment originally). You can also link to entire posts that match this topic.

If you are an artist, you may link to your own prices and art as examples, if you are comfortable with that.  Be sure to specify whether you are posting your prices as examples or for advice/critique!

And if you are seeking advice about how to price your own art, comment here with a link to your gallery and proposed prices (if you have them posted already). Please be prepared for honest critique on your art's "market value" and the prices you are considering. Notice to everyone: This is not a license to go all-out on critiquing someone's gallery, just give some pointers and generalizations.

Please keep in mind that this is a first go at this type of post, so bear with us if the format changes once people start commenting. :)

EDIT:  There are many people on here asking how much to charge who would love to hear from more than just one or two people!  Feel free to make suggestions.
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Comments

( 217 comments — Leave a comment )
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dripbat
Jul. 2nd, 2011 11:16 pm (UTC)
I mainly wanted to comment to say.. Don't undersell yourself! I see this all the time. Many artists way undersell themselves because they think they are not worth it. You're worth it. Don't hope that dropping your prices so low that you won't get anything out if it will somehow make your art sell. Most times that doesn't even work.

Just be sure to have confidence in what you do and stand firm in your prices. I've had people walk away from my prices before, sure. But if they wanted MY art, they would pay it. If they just want art from anyone, they will pay the cheapest they can.

Here are my prices: http://www.furaffinity.net/view/5458699/
squidtape
Jul. 2nd, 2011 11:53 pm (UTC)
I was just about to balk at how cheap you're pendants and charms were but then I saw the price for 100% customs. ;) I like your prices! I think they're well rounded and you're making sure it's fair to both parties.
(no subject) - dripbat - Jul. 2nd, 2011 11:59 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - squidtape - Jul. 3rd, 2011 12:08 am (UTC) - Expand
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kayla_la
Jul. 2nd, 2011 11:37 pm (UTC)
I would love to get people's opinions about pricing my art. If people could be specific, I would really appreciate it! Like maybe picking pieces out of my gallery and saying what you think it's worth, or just giving a general opinion (IE 'I think your sketches would be worth X, and your coloured and shaded stuff worth Y, etc'). I don't have a pricelist as of now as I usually decide a price on a case by case basis.

http://www.furaffinity.net/user/kayla-la/

The more opinions so I can form an average, the better!

Otherwise, I definitely agree with dripbat. Usually if you price yourself too low, you're opening yourselves to the kinds of customers that are complained about here on AB. It's better to have fewer commissions (and thus less work) at a higher price than be overwhelmed by lots of work for little pay.
celarania
Jul. 3rd, 2011 12:04 am (UTC)
I personally love this piece - http://www.furaffinity.net/full/5628167/ and I definitely think you should offer monochrome as a cheap color option (I may do a series myself now). I'd put that in the $30-40 range, but keep in mind, I'm rather cheap (college student, I have no $) Then this I'd put in the $40-50 range. I'd put the first one in the $40 range if it weren't for the background, this one more in the $50. From what I've seen, the first has a few problems with the muzzle, and both have difficult to read silhouettes. This picture is quite impressive and I'd go about $60-70 on it?

The badge I see is quite nice and I'd put it again in the $30-40 range. The scrapbook paper works really well there, and I imagine is a bit of an expense to keep in stock.

Hope that what I said was somewhat helpful, and of course I won't be offended if people disagree.
(no subject) - kayla_la - Jul. 3rd, 2011 12:12 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - celarania - Jul. 3rd, 2011 12:21 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kayla_la - Jul. 3rd, 2011 12:23 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ankewehner - Jul. 3rd, 2011 06:01 am (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - kayla_la - Jul. 3rd, 2011 02:26 am (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - taelifoe - Jul. 3rd, 2011 02:15 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kayla_la - Jul. 3rd, 2011 02:27 am (UTC) - Expand
squidtape
Jul. 2nd, 2011 11:44 pm (UTC)
I would love some advice if anyone would be so kind. :)

My prices: http://www.furaffinity.net/full/5640201/

I feel like my prices are pretty balanced and fair, but I can't seem to garner any interest. I enjoy my style but even with my badges priced at $8 I only ever got one commission. :/ I've been to one small con and did well there but I don't very many bites otherwise. I'm not sure if it's my prices or my ability. Thanks for looking!
kayla_la
Jul. 3rd, 2011 12:33 am (UTC)
Your icons are adorable. How long do they take you to do? Unless they're particularly quick, I think they could be worth more in the range of 10 than 5. Animated 15.

Badge price seems alright though maybe still a little on the low end. I'd probably go more for 20, myself.

I would probably bump sketches up to 15, 20-25 for colour on them.

In general, I think you could do to add about 5 dollars to the price of most of your stuff and make it a bit more fair to yourself, but it also depends on how easy and quick things are for you to do.
(no subject) - squidtape - Jul. 3rd, 2011 12:54 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - celarania - Jul. 3rd, 2011 06:21 pm (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - celarania - Jul. 3rd, 2011 07:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kerstin_orion - Jul. 3rd, 2011 07:32 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - celarania - Jul. 3rd, 2011 08:37 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - squidtape - Jul. 4th, 2011 12:55 am (UTC) - Expand
hikitsune
Jul. 2nd, 2011 11:46 pm (UTC)
I would love an opinion too, just in case someday down the road, someone asks me to draw for them (dont think it will happen anytime soon, but i'd like to be prepared in case)

http://www.furaffinity.net/gallery/hikitsunethefoxfire/

kerstin_orion
Jul. 3rd, 2011 01:41 am (UTC)
I'm honestly terrible at pricing stuff, but I would recommend continuing your experimenting with your tablet and PhotoShop, and play around with line shape and weight, since your tablet is capable of a lot with regards to that. You could also try out PaintTool SAI (my current fav) and play with that, too.

It's kind of difficult to say more, considering you don't have a lot of pics in your gallery yet and you seem to be sorta just starting out with your tablet.
(no subject) - hikitsune - Jul. 3rd, 2011 11:38 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - taelifoe - Jul. 3rd, 2011 02:19 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - hikitsune - Jul. 3rd, 2011 11:36 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - taelifoe - Jul. 8th, 2011 06:21 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - celarania - Jul. 3rd, 2011 06:51 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - hikitsune - Jul. 4th, 2011 12:42 pm (UTC) - Expand
celarania
Jul. 2nd, 2011 11:50 pm (UTC)
I might post some art later for critique, but before that I have general pricing suggestions:

1 Figure out what it's worth to you and don't charge less than that. If your time is worth more than people are suggesting, don't lower your prices, work on your own stuff and raise your skills.
2 Remember that the right price is subjective. People can only tell you the fandom average/what they'd be willing to pay, but you might be happier doing it a little cheaper and doing more or using a higher price and doing fewer at greater profit.
3 Don't be afraid to put up prices, then change them. You can do a trial sale, then see how that sells and choose what to do from there.
4 Just because other artists undercharge doesn't mean you should. Stick to your guns, you can get commissions at a decent rate, maybe 2 instead 20, but do you really want to work 20 times as hard for the same amount of pay?

The last advice I would give is figure out your hourly wage at $5 an hour and set a price from there. If nobody buys it, it's time to start improving. You're doing skilled labor and you should never be below minimum wage. It might sound mean, but it's probably better to spend 5 hours really improving your technique than 5 hours working on a $10 commission.
dripbat
Jul. 2nd, 2011 11:59 pm (UTC)
Agreed so much on the hourly wage. D:
(no subject) - marus_puppy - Jul. 3rd, 2011 05:16 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - celarania - Jul. 3rd, 2011 06:42 pm (UTC) - Expand
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anarchicq
Jul. 2nd, 2011 11:51 pm (UTC)
Jumping on the bandwagon regarding pricing.
I don't think I undersell myself, nor do I think I over-sell myself. I'm just starting out but the pay has to be reasonable enough to be worth the time and effort the artist puts forth.

Info
Gallery

Thanks!
kerstin_orion
Jul. 3rd, 2011 01:05 am (UTC)
I don't see an issue with your prices, myself, especially since you are comfortable with what you are making. I would, however, recommend adding a note in your examples about whether you charge more for additional characters, considering one of your examples has two people in it.
mrst4nkr
Jul. 3rd, 2011 12:11 am (UTC)
My price list is here: http://www.furaffinity.net/journal/1906467/
I am not currently seeking critique on my price list. I adjust it when appropriate.

Time is a huge factor, but it needs to be paired with quality and a realistic price. I have personally evaluated that the commissioner should not suffer because you are particularly slow at producing something. By this, I mean: don't charge hourly rates for a sketch if you draw slowly and the end result doesn't bear great quality.

I have been selling art for the better part of 5-6 years. I was not able to really raise my prices for what I feel I really deserve to be paid for a finished piece until recently. Unfortunately, for most artists, you can't sell your unpolished glories for all the time and materials you have put into them. (Much like new fursuit-builders: you can't expect to make the same as Mixed Candy with your very first fursuit head. If you are able to sell it, you'll be lucky to make back the materials. )

I think this is a bit of a note to new sellers, more than anything. C:
vauvakolibri
Jul. 3rd, 2011 12:22 am (UTC)
Well, I might just as well throw my prices here: http://www.putput.info/Miisa_Artpages/wowcommissions.html I made these for WoW commissions, hence the name and examples, but they would be the same with everything else too. Though these are kinda limited as I don't have time to do very big commissions, but something with, say, one character with a full background would start from 80$ and so on.

In general I base my prices to 10€ per hour, though depending on the commission it might vary a bit, if I feel like doing some extra.
celestinaketzia
Jul. 3rd, 2011 12:35 am (UTC)
My price list is here:
http://taasla.rydia.net/

If anyone thinks I'm underselling, of course go ahead and tell me. Haha.

For my smaller items I pretty much charge about $12/hr. For the bigger items, I know I am charging about $8 to $10/hr depending on how difficult the commission is. I usually will turn down overcomplicated commissions.
kayla_la
Jul. 3rd, 2011 02:32 am (UTC)
I think your prices are alright, though 7 dollars for a fullbody sketch feels low to me. I'd bump that up to at least 10, myself. I also feel you might be undercharging a bit for your comic pages, as I recently made 160 on a comic that wasn't as detailed as the example you listed.
(no subject) - celestinaketzia - Jul. 3rd, 2011 12:52 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sigilgoat - Jul. 18th, 2011 05:28 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - celestinaketzia - Jul. 19th, 2011 02:26 am (UTC) - Expand
kayla_la
Jul. 3rd, 2011 12:40 am (UTC)
I want to add as actual advice, for those of you having trouble getting commissions, advertising is key. It is a difficult climb to make when you start at the bottom, but it is one anybody can make.

Advertise yourself in communities, consider buying banner ads, really get yourself out there. It also helps if you make yourself prominent otherwise, by being friendly and regularly commenting on other people's art and journals and things, as that is essentially free exposure. On art galleries specifically, try to use an icon that represents your own work (though I break this myself), try to make a nice and presentable gallery full of your best pieces and good examples. Try to have examples of everything you could offer, and make good use of gallery folders if your site of choice happens to have them.

Just remember that if nobody knows you exist, of course you aren't going to get commissions. But also understand that name is very important in the fandom, and unless you're lucky, it is usually a long slog uphill to get to where you will want to be.

And lastly, understand your audience. People will pay more for art catering to their particular tastes or fetishes, but don't feel pressured to constantly draw things you don't want to draw. Just know that you might have to be more creative to make up for it.
mrst4nkr
Jul. 3rd, 2011 12:52 am (UTC)
^ Very this.
(no subject) - celestinaketzia - Jul. 3rd, 2011 01:07 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kayla_la - Jul. 3rd, 2011 02:37 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - fenrirlunaris - Jul. 3rd, 2011 06:21 am (UTC) - Expand
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lunasilvertail
Jul. 3rd, 2011 01:37 am (UTC)
Oh wow, it's so weird because I was trying to figure out what type of things I should do (I do a WHOLE BUNCH of weird things, and I have no clue how to narrow them down) AND what to charge for them. X.x I'm so lost. Hopefully you guys could help me out. Hopefully this post isn't going to be too long.

-------------

I can do things like icons, sketches/doodles and badges:
Icons (Everything from digital to pixel) -
http://www.furaffinity.net/view/4228282
http://www.furaffinity.net/view/4200307
http://wolfdoom.deviantart.com/art/3-148362902
http://wolfdoom.deviantart.com/art/Dewdrop-Avvie-105162673
(My current icon included, for animation!)

Badges (and badge like things) -
http://www.furaffinity.net/view/5972614
http://i55.tinypic.com/w6qnop.png
http://i54.tinypic.com/mkw5t5.png
http://www.furaffinity.net/view/4308239

Sketches -
http://www.furaffinity.net/view/5778450
http://www.furaffinity.net/view/4895676/
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v89/WolfDoom/angrybird-2.png
http://wolfdoom.deviantart.com/art/SHAPESONA-210487305

Traditional (Pardon the bad pictures, a lot of these were originally just pictures to show family what I was doing far away at college.):
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v89/WolfDoom/Sorenbotherplz-1.png
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v89/WolfDoom/slfxSDF.png
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v89/WolfDoom/boom.png (This one is kind of disturbing.)

and Digital:
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v89/WolfDoom/birdies.png
http://wolfdoom.deviantart.com/art/Denmark-209286354
http://wolfdoom.deviantart.com/art/SPPPACCCEEEEEEE-207880098
http://wolfdoom.deviantart.com/art/Jester-Art-Trade-213377860
(no subject) - kayla_la - Jul. 3rd, 2011 02:44 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - lunasilvertail - Jul. 3rd, 2011 03:14 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kayla_la - Jul. 3rd, 2011 03:19 am (UTC) - Expand
monogato
Jul. 3rd, 2011 01:44 am (UTC)
OKAY so I can't remember who this involved, but I recall a situation from months ago in which someone popped in on an artist's submission that had their commission prices and complained that their price for a specific item was way too high (it was actually a pretty large amount for a comic page or some such thing). The artist explained that they charge this much because they really DON'T want to do that kind of commission, but would be willing to for a high price. A lot of people disagreed with this, but I honestly thought it wasn't a terrible idea. A lot of people charge an extra fee for things they don't really enjoy drawing (i.e., for pornography or particularly ... strange things). If someone really wants it from you and you will only draw it begrudgingly, why not charge more? I think this is something people shouldn't be afraid to do... IN FACT, just don't be afraid to set limits for what you are willing to draw in general. You're a human being, and you don't have to draw it just because the market demands it.

SINCE ALL Y'ALL ARE DOIN' IT, here's my current prices. I haven't edited them in... Well, a long time. I don't take commissions very often, as I'm both working and going to school and only want to take money for art on breaks, if at all. Given that it's been so long since I last messed with that page, I wouldn't trust the examples listed as being representative of my current quality of work (for that, I'd go to the rest of my gallery). Given such, I feel like if and when I do open for commissions, perhaps I should be charging more as my time is so limited...?
kayla_la
Jul. 3rd, 2011 02:59 am (UTC)
Personally, I see nothing wrong with charging more for something you otherwise don't want to do, as long as you don't skimp on the quality or make them wait a lot longer than you would otherwise. I see nothing unfair about it, as it gives people an opportunity to buy something they want that they wouldn't be able to get otherwise.

Your stuff is very cute and nicely stylized. Does it take long to do? Since your style is more simplistic/cartoony for the most part, your prices for a lot of things are alright, but to simply allow yourself more wiggle room for higher detail. That said, it doesn't hurt to try raising your prices a few dollars across the board and see if you still get business.
(no subject) - monogato - Jul. 3rd, 2011 03:27 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - monogato - Jul. 3rd, 2011 03:57 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - grygon - Jul. 3rd, 2011 05:56 am (UTC) - Expand
synviver
Jul. 3rd, 2011 01:55 am (UTC)
I would love to get feedback on what people would consider to be fair pricing on my art. I'm feeling as though I'm underselling myself, but I'm not sure how much of an increase in cost I can justify, if any.

My prices can be found here along with links to examples. Please be aware some examples are NSFW. Thanks!!
kerstin_orion
Jul. 3rd, 2011 03:33 am (UTC)
Undercharging, I'd say.
For your traditional pieces, how long does it take to ink your sketches? Because your price bump between sketch and ink is rather small. Same goes for between ink and colored pencil. I'd say at least $5 bump between sketch and ink, and $5-10 for colors, depending on how long they take you.

I also feel that your prices for additional characters are low, too. Unless they're mostly hidden by the first character, I'd recommend charging at least half the price of a single character commission for extra characters. My husband started out charging only a third of the base price, and realized that he was way undercharging for the work that extra characters involved.

As for your digital work, it is rather rough in comparison to your traditional, so the drop in price is understandable. Could maybe stand a bump upwards, though, and again I feel you are undercharging for extra characters there, too.
Re: Undercharging, I'd say. - synviver - Jul. 3rd, 2011 03:45 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Undercharging, I'd say. - synviver - Jul. 3rd, 2011 03:49 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Undercharging, I'd say. - kerstin_orion - Jul. 3rd, 2011 07:28 pm (UTC) - Expand
taelifoe
Jul. 3rd, 2011 02:09 am (UTC)
Well I know there's already a lot of people asking for advice on their pricing, but I wanted to toss my own prices in there for suggestions, too. Here's a link to my 'gallery' in general:

http://taeborg.blogspot.com/

And this is my current price sheet, which I may try and add some things to: http://taeborg.blogspot.com/2011/05/more-commission-info.html

I think that so far as exposure goes, I have very, very little and that's a lot of what is killing my potential to sell any art. To be honest, one of the main factors that goes into my pricing is how well I am known, which I'm not sure is a good thing to do, but I feel like since my name is pretty unknown, most people aren't going to want to pay a lot for my art. I'm also aware that when it comes to skill level, I still have plenty of space to grow and develop, so I don't feel comfortable in charging any more than what I currently am because I'm not sure it would be worth it to others (heck, I feel like my $25 digital paintings are right on the high end of what's acceptable to ask for them!)

So yes, I struggle with some self esteem issues of how sellable my art is, lol. I'd just like to point out to anyone questioning the value of their own art, though, that it isn't necessarily fair to judge your art against the art of someone else (even though I do that a little myself) Everyone has their own forte and their own unique style, even if it isn't readily apparent to you yourself.
kayla_la
Jul. 3rd, 2011 03:54 am (UTC)
10 dollars for a headshot badge isn't too bad, but I'd add in 5 dollars for the waist ups since I'm sure they take longer. Is this including shipping? If it isn't, I'd consider adding a dollar or two extra onto the prices to make up for shipping.

15 dollars for a fullbody badge is definitely too low! I would try for at least 20, especially since they're cut-out, and I know how long that can take.

I would consider bumping the full colour with no background up by at least five dollars, and the full colour with what looks like a fairly complex BG up by around ten. :) Of course, these are just my opinions. All around I think you could do to raise your prices a bit.
(no subject) - taelifoe - Jul. 3rd, 2011 04:02 am (UTC) - Expand
emirasan
Jul. 3rd, 2011 02:19 am (UTC)
Ok, I'll take a chance here and put up my prices. I really need to make another one of these because I don't even have my badge prices on here.

http://www.furaffinity.net/view/5490757/

http://www.furaffinity.net/view/5470283/ badges (themed in this case)

kerstin_orion
Jul. 3rd, 2011 03:42 am (UTC)
Your prices sound pretty good, they are a bit on the low end but you state "starting at" so there is room for going up. Your badge prices seem in line with general pricing, too.

I have no idea how long the perler bead items take you and how much supplies cost, but that starting price seems rather low to me. Same goes for the bookmarks.

I know you say "starting at" for all of your prices, but you may want to add something about how much additional characters cost, too.
(no subject) - emirasan - Jul. 3rd, 2011 02:04 pm (UTC) - Expand
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