This is the second of two articles on the topic of pricing your art. For the first, Tips on Pricing Your Artwork, Part 1: Fitting Into the Market, click here.
Once you have an idea where your art fits in the market, how do you go about establishing exact prices? Here are five “formulas” that artists use. One of these may work for you.
1) For two-dimensional artwork, set a price by the United Inch. United Inch means length plus width. Once you know that total, you can multiply it by a number factor that makes sense to you, to come up with a price that is fair for your work. United Inch pricing means that work of different sizes is priced proportionately. Over time you can raise the number factor so value increases at a steady pace. For example, if your painting is 9 by 12 inches, the total of United Inches is 21. If your number factor is 15, the painting’s price is $315. For a painting at 18 by 24 inches and the same number factor, the price is $630. If you choose this method you should decide whether your number factor is set for framed or unframed work.
Note that United Inch isn’t the same as square inch. Pricing by the square inch tends to overvalue larger works and undervalue smaller ones. If the paintings above were priced by the square inch using the same number factor, the 18 x 24 inch painting would be $4320 and the 9 x 12 inch painting would be $1080.
2) Decide that art the same size costs the same amount. Decide what you’ll charge for a standard sized piece then set the same price for all other pieces that size. When you’re ready to raise prices, all new works the same size are increased by the same value.
3) Figure out your costs and charge more than that. How long does an average work’s production take you? How much do you want to be paid by the hour? What are your costs for materials, studio, framing, etc? Add labour and physical costs together and then add a markup.
4) Go on instinct. Given all the market information you’ve gathered, what do you think the piece is worth?
5) Mix and match. Most artists probably do some of the above all at once. You’re an artist and therefore creative – you can be creative with pricing too!
This article was originally published as a blog post in 2015 and has been updated for 2021. If you’d like to know when new articles for your art career are published, click here.