When I started painting I came across numerous resources that were helpful. Organizations, people, websites and videos all contributed to help me get my start.
On this page I will try to collect and provide links and information about some of my favorite resources. Contributions are welcome. You can email me if you would like to make a suggestions Contact Me
Look for this section of the site to continue to expand as I collect and share more information.
Use the tags above to limit your results and focus on the resources you are most interested in.
The best way I have to think about how to price your art starts with this analogy:
Grow your work like a garden.
Prepare the soil
Sow the seeds / low prices
Tend your career so your prices can grow
Let it happen organically
Don’t price with pride and emotion
Overpricing is worse than underpricing
Start low, grow upwards – but don’t undercharge, cover your costs, and value your work
start by considering your audience, what are their expectations
look at your contemporaries, what are their prices?
Adjust for your C.V.
Adjust for the size of your work.
Where to start?
square inch method (height x width x $per square inch)
- simple example: $2.50 per square inch
4 x 4 = 16 square inches x $2.50 = $40
8 x 8 = 64 square inches x $2.50 = $160
9 x 12 = 108 square inches x $2.50 = $270
16 x 20 = 320 square inches x $2.50 = $800
24 x 36 = 864 square inches x $2.50 = $2160
30 x 40 = 1200 square inches x $2.50 = $3000
Have a minimum. “I won’t sell a painting for less than $120”
Have different multipliers:
Pricing per size plus materials (framing, canvas, estimate for paint etc.)
linear inch method (height + width x $ per linear inch)
- simple example: $20 per linear inch
4 + 4 = 8 linear inches x $20 = $160
8 + 8 = 16 linear inches x $20 = $320
9 + 12 = 21 linear inches x $20 = $420
16 + 20 = 36 linear inches x $20 = $720
24 + 36 = 60 linear inches x $20 = $1200
30 + 40 = 70 linear inches x $20 = $1400
Time and Materials + markup
Give yourself a $ per hour and track your time
Track materials costs
Optional: Add a markup percentage to cover other costs (marketing etc.)
20 hours = $400 + $30 canvas + $20 paint and brush + $80 frame = $530
Links for more good information:
(see links at bottom of above page for more great articles)
Paper-based art sells for less than canvas-based art.
Oil paintings sell for more than acrylic paintings
Track your expenses (for pricing and tax purposes)
Price your work before anyone sees it!
Determine your price and stick with it “State your price, then shut up!”
Don’t be talked down
Keep the same price regardless of venue/gallery commission
Have ONE retail price (you can very selectively discount for repeat customers)
Control your pricing. Don’t let a gallery or someone else do it for you.
Don’t pad your prices.
Add for shipping, custom framing.
Charge more for commissions. It will be more work.
Remove emotion. Stick to a method regardless of the piece.
When to raise your prices:
When you can’t keep stock on hand (1/3 to 1/2 sells in the first 6-12 months)
When your work sells faster than comparable contemporaries (incremental increase 10% - 15%)
When you feel “resentment” after a sale for having sold it so low
When you notice similar works by similar artists selling at higher prices (consistently)
As your C.V. grows and you get more exposure, a greater following
Why You Want To Price Consistently
1. Build Credibility
Buyers and collectors pay close attention to pricing and expect consistency. Questions and concerns will be raised if your pricing has no logic behind it or if it’s not clear. Be careful not to deter potential buyers with erratic pricing. Consistency builds credibility!
2. Avoid Legal Issues
Sometimes you will have to explain your pricing to insurance companies, the IRS, estate executors, etc. It will be difficult to justify your pricing if it’s all over the place. And this could lead to unwanted legal situations.
3. Make it Easy for Buyers
Experienced art buyers - like collectors, dealers, and consultants - often compare the price of similar artworks. Make it easy for them to evaluate your work - and have confidence in you - by establishing pricing that makes sense.
4. Establish an Excellent Reputation
Establishing yourself as a trustworthy, professional artist is paramount - especially for emerging artists. Buyers will want fact-based pricing that can be explained. Leave the more emotional-based pricing for when you’re a recognized artist.
5. Get Paid for Time and Materials
Consistent pricing ensures you get paid for the time and money you put into creating your artwork. You deserve to at least be paid for the cost of materials and a reasonable wage for the hours you’ve invested.
6. Maintain Positive Relationships with Galleries
A standard pricing model guards against disparities across venues. Galleries expect 100% consistency - they don’t want to be undersold by somewhere else. Dependable pricing is necessary to maintain positive relationships with your galleries.
Artist Coaching and Business Guidance
Art Business Info. For Artists
The Abundant Artist – Focused on Selling Art (for artists): http://theabundantartist.com
Art Biz Blog – Alison Stanfield – Artist Coach
Lori McNee Fine Art Tips
Stapleton Kearns Blog – best oil painting blog on the planet (I think)
Gurney Journey, site of artist James Gurney
All things related to the business of being an artist:
A great section on good art books
Terrific Podcasts with established artists:
Living A Creative Life: http://melissadinwiddie.com
Reverse Image Search: http://tineye.com
One site for submitting online competitions
Artwork Archive: A tool for archiving your work, but has a wonderfully informative blog https://www.artworkarchive.com/blog
Website building tips, comparisons and reviews in-depth:
Some of you may know that I have been working at the Bryan Memorial Gallery for the last couple of years. Currently I am Gallery Manager. So I thought I would pass along some gallery tips I have learned by working at a gallery, and researching on the web.
Why use a gallery to show your art?
A good gallery will act as your agent, raising awareness and exposure for your art.
Galleries have space and attract art buyers
Galleries employ sales persons. A big plus if you hate selling your art.
Galleries have lists, collectors, and do a lot of marketing for you
Galleries have connections with media: magazines, websites, newspapers
Galleries do a lot of the paperwork.
Galleries add credibility to your art
Galleries have events and shows and both alert you and invite you to these events
Galleries work hard to promote your work and sell your art. Its how they pay their bills.
Some gallery questions to ask yourself or them:
What is their reputation?
Do they focus on a particular audience, one that suites your style well?
Are they insured for damage to your work?
Who pays for shipping to and from shows? Is there are shipping/handling fee?
What other, if any, fees are there?
What do they do by way of promotion, publicity, mailings, etc.
What restrictions do they impose for showing your work elsewhere?
What is your responsibility to them for pieces shown previously (in a show) when
someone contacts you directly?
What are their commission fees and policies. Is there flexibility if you sell well?
How to enhance your gallery relationship:
Understand that it is a partnership. The gallery is not solely responsible for your success
Work hard to promote your work at the gallery, and the gallery itself
Fill out all paperwork in a complete and timely manner:
Honor deadlines, pickups and drop-offs
Send high-quality images of your work if requested, don’t rely on the gallery to photograph your work, or work with poor quality photos
Understand your responsibilities and hold the gallery accountable for theirs
Understand their commission structure
Don’t take it personally if work does not sell
Send out announcements (gallery announcement cards are great) and post to your social media platforms about your inclusion in shows/galleries
Go to openings and be ready to speak to people about your art
Things to watch out for
Any of the following could be of concern when looking at galleries to represent you.
1. Is the gallery established or new?
A new gallery may not be a bad option, but do your homework. How will you know if they treat their artists well. How will they market you. Established galleries with a good reputation have an existing list of collectors and a track record.
2. Location, location, location.
Just like in real estate, a galleries location can make all the difference. Is it close to lots of foot traffic, public transportation. Can people easily access it. Is there parking, lighting at night. Is it in a safe area. Are the people likely to be in the area during open hours a good fit for your art (demographic). What hours do they keep.
3. Beware the bad reputation.
If a gallery has a bad reputation with artists or buyers, avoid it. Sooner or later this reputation will rub off on you. A bad reputation, no matter how well they “sell” you on their ability to sell your art means they have not been a good partner to other artists. Galleries have been know to close, without notice, without returning artists art or paying for it. Find out who owns the gallery, how well funded it is, what its reputation is.
4. How well does the gallery present itself?
Does the gallery maintain a good presentation both outside and inside? Is it clean, kept up to date? Do they cram your work all together or give the art the room it needs to present well? How is their online presence? Professional? Up to date?
5. How active are they in presenting their artists work?
Does the gallery hold regular events and shows. Do they do mailings, and advertise in the area press. Do they keep an ongoing social media presence and update it regularly. Are they active in the community. A gallery that does not invest in outreach and advertising is a warning sign that they will not help you find new buyers.
6. Does the gallery employ good people
By “good people” I mean are they knowledgeable about your kind of art. Are they skilled in selling. Are they friendly, approachable and informative. Would YOU buy art from them. Do they communicate well with their artists.
7. Do they make clear their policies?
Ask hard questions about things like is your art insured? Who pays for shipping and handling? How are show submissions handled? What if you have a complaint?