How to Price Your Artwork – Tips Every New Artist Needs

Why Is Pricing Your Art Correctly So Important?

One problem nearly every artist has is learning to price their art correctly so it sells in the market you’re targeting.

Price your artwork correctly and you can make sales right away. Choose the wrong price over and over and it can be months or years before you are able to sell your art consistently in the niche you create in.

Probably the biggest challenge a new artist faces in pricing their art to sell right from the start is a lack of confidence in themselves. Art is highly personal and sharing it with other peole and asking them to buy it for what may be hundreds or thousands of dollars can be daunting. If you have confidence in your art, in yourself, and in your price, you may be more successful than artists who are not.

It is a very good idea to either build that confidence, or fake it. Most people feel like they’re faking it anyway, so you might as well go wtih that. Imposter syndrome is something that can hold you back for a lifetime if you don’t believe your art is worth the price you’re charging. It can be devastating to your career.

Understanding the Basics of Art Pricing

Pricing your artwork can be really challenging. It’s not just about assigning a number to your piece; it’s about the big picture, isn’t it? You have to value your time, effort, and creativity while also making your work accessible to potential buyers in all price brackets.

The Importance of Valuing Your Work Accurately

At its core, pricing artwork has to take into account a fair value for the pieces you create. This value needs to reflect the quality, originality, and appeal of your work, balanced against market expectations and what potential buyers are willing to pay. It’s a process that requires some thought and market research.

As a new artist, it can be tempting to underprice your work to make quick sales or to gain initial recognition. The problem is, undervaluing your art can lead to long-term issues. It devalues your work in the eyes of collectors and makes it difficult to raise your prices as your reputation grows.

Increasing your prices in large jumps probably isn’t a great idea. Setting a fair price from the start establishes a professional standard and communicates that your art holds significant value.

How Correct Pricing Influences Your Art Career

Accurate pricing not only affects your immediate income but also shapes your career trajectory. Properly priced artwork:

When you choose the right price for your artwork, it builds credibility. Consistent and fair pricing helps build trust with buyers and galleries. It shows that you understand the worth of your work and are confident in your skills.

It also ensures sustainability. Pricing your art correctly ensures that you can sustain your practice financially. This means covering material costs, compensating yourself for your time, and having funds to reinvest in your artistic development.

The right price for your artwork can also encourage growth in yourself as an artist. When you price your art appropriately, you’re more likely to attract serious collectors and galleries. These connections can lead to more opportunities, higher sales, and increased visibility in the art world.

Once you make some friends in the industry, they can help you decide what the right price is for your work. Don’t be afraid to ask where they think you fit in. Don’t be afraid also to ignore that choose a different price for your work if you think they don’t know what they’re talking about!

It’s all about strking a balance between what you believe your art is worth, and what the market will pay for it. In almost all cases, your art is not priced high enough. When in doubt, jack up the price is the way you should look at it.

Factors to Consider When Pricing Your Artwork

  • Time and Effort – Figure out how your time and effort invested in each piece should be compensated. You could use an hourly rate and see what you come up with. Of course there are other considerations too.
  • Materials and Costs – Add up the costs of all of the materials used. Studio rent? Models? Props you bought to draw? Take a look at all costs besides time that were involved.
  • Size and Complexity – The size of your artwork can affect the cost. A massive billboard sized piece has to take into account not only your cost for materials and your time, but the complexity of getting the piece done. The place where you make your art may affect the difficulty of it. If you painted on the side of a bumpy brick building, that’s much different than painting on canvas. Your skill in completing such a piece should also be compensated.
  • Uniqueness – If your art or the media you use, or some other facet of your art process is very unique and there isn’t much competition for it, you can charge more.
  • Market Value – Of course, the market decides everything. You’ll need to look at other artists selling in your space, or in a similar one and decide where you fit in. This is where becoming friends with a gallery owner can pay big dividends. A person like this would instantly have an idea of a price range where they think your art should be priced.

Methods for Pricing Artwork

  • Hourly or Daily Rate – You might price your art by the day or hour. The time it takes you should be comparable to the time it takes other artists to do something similar.
  • Cost of Materials + Markup – When you do figure out the cost of your materials and rent for space, you can mark it up as well. Some artists feel comfortable doing this as a way to come to a good price for their art.
  • Square Inch Method – When you’re creating art that is very similar and in different sizes, you can price by square inch. It’s not the best idea in my mind because some of your best looking pieces should be priced higher. Using social media as a poll, you can see which pieces are hearted or thumbsed up most often and price your art according to that.
  • Comparable Artist Pricing – When you can find another artist that is creates similar works as you, you can do a comparison pricing model. Of course, you’d have to know their sales are decent so you know you’re pricing them at a marketable price.

Adjusting Prices Over Time

When to increase your prices can be a difficult time. I’d suggest that as the complexity of your work increases, a price increase is a good idea. As your following builds to new levels, price increases are expected. If you get some good media attention that means more eyeballs looking at your work, then this can be a good time for a price increase.

When sales have increased dramatically, or even steadily over time, you should be ready to increase the price.

Don’t be afraid to increase prices. In many cases you’ll be getting attention from different buyers. High-end buyers are the best because they’re not really thinking about the price so much. They’re considering the value of having the piece of art you created.

With lower-range buyers you often are found bargaining prices and it’s never for more money, always for less.

Dealing with Discounts and Negotiations

You’ll know you’re appealing to the wrong group of people when your art is priced at $30 USD or less, and people are still asking you for a discount.

It’s hard to know whether giving in sometimes is a good idea. Your finances will dictate this a lot of times. As starving artists we do what we need to do to survive and maybe put bread on the table, right?

I typically discount a piece if I’m not attached to it emotionally. I also will consider it when I have more pieces that I think are even more salable. With time, you’ll begin to understand which pieces will appeal to the group of people you are marketing to. You’ll know which ones to mark up a bit.

Remember, when people see a higher priced piece, they automatically think it’s worth more. That’s just the nature of things. Before art, we did e-commerce online for over a decade. There have been half a dozen times over the years where we raised prices to see what happened. It always resulted in more sales and in less difficult sales.

The better buyers are on the high end. Never forget that!

Pricing for Different Types of Art

  • Original Pieces – When pricing new art that you haven’t done before, it’s a good idea not to think too much and just price it at what other people are selling it at. The goal here is to know what price-point it sells at and then see if you’re comfortable working in that range for a while. It might be just the right niche, or it might not be perfect for you.
  • Prints and Reproductions – With prints and reproductions it’s a good idea to sell them around what other artists of your style are pricing their artwork. Prints and repros can be your breat and butter, money that comes in steadily because it’s priced a bit too low and allows anyone with any kind of budget to own some of your art. With limited editions, you should raise the price considerably, making it a high bar for someone who values your art. You also will sell far less of it, so you need to make it worth your time.
  • Commissions – This is something you’ll have to find another resource for. Commissions are priced higher than other art you create because you want to. This is art you produce because someone else wants it. Doing some research into your buyer will pay dramatic dividends. Some people buy for themselves. Some as gifts. Some for their own business. Some are hired by other companies or eccentric rich people to buy investment art for them.

Presenting Your Prices

How you present your prices as you sell your artwork can significantly impact the perception and sale of it. Whether you’re displaying your work in galleries, online stores, or art fairs, clear and confident presentation is key.

Displaying Prices in Galleries, Online Stores, and Art Fairs

In galleries, the gallery typically handles the pricing presentation and you won’t have much input. However, it’s important to ensure that your prices are clearly listed and visible. This can be done through price tags, a price list at the entrance, and/or digital displays.

Clear labeling not only avoids confusion but also shows professionalism. When potential buyers can easily see the price, it encourages transparency and trust, which can more often lead to a sale of your art.

Online stores require a different approach. Each piece should have its price prominently displayed on its page. Include detailed descriptions and any relevant information about the piece, such as dimensions, materials used, and the inspiration behind it.

High-quality images are crucial as buyers cannot see the artwork in person. Consider having a separate pricing page that outlines your pricing structure and any additional costs like shipping or taxes.

The more information you can give for an online sale, the better chance you have of making that one of your best selling platforms. There’s nothing quite like selling in your sleep. We highly recommend it!

At art fairs, you have the advantage of interacting directly with potential buyers. Display prices clearly on or near each piece to avoid repeated questions about pricing, allowing you to focus on engaging with customers and discussing your art. Use professional-looking tags or labels, and consider having a price list available for those interested in multiple pieces.

Discounts on multiple pieces is a great way to encourage buyers to spend more for your art. Always a good thing for you!

Confidence and Transparency in Your Pricing

Being confident and transparent about your pricing is essential. When you believe in the value of your work, it shows, and buyers are more likely to perceive it as worth the price. Confidence comes from understanding your costs, knowing your market, and being able to justify your prices.

When discussing prices with potential buyers, be open and honest about how you arrived at the figure. This might include explaining the cost of materials, the time spent, and your creative process.

Transparency helps build trust with your audience. Avoid hidden fees or unexpected costs, as these can deter buyers. Clearly state any additional expenses, such as framing or shipping, upfront. If your prices are negotiable, indicate this in a professional manner, but be wary of undervaluing your work through excessive discounting.

Clear Communication with Potential Buyers

Clear communication is the best way to ensure continued sales. Ensure that all information related to pricing is easily seen and easy to understand. This includes having clear signage in physical locations and well-organized information on your website.

Respond promptly and courteously to inquiries about pricing, and be prepared to explain your pricing strategy if asked.

Moreover, maintaining consistency across different platforms prevents confusion. Your prices should be the same in galleries, online stores, and art fairs, unless specific circumstances dictate otherwise (such as a gallery commission). This consistency reinforces your professionalism and reliability.

Common Mistakes to Avoid in Pricing Your Art

  • Undervaluing Your Work – If there is one thing that will hamstring your success, it’s underpricing your art. Price exactly the same as other artists, or go above that, never below if you can afford it. If you are just starting out, anything goes, but be ready to increase prices at the first sign of mass interest.
  • Inconsistency in Pricing – Having different prices on your website, brochures, and selling at galleries or art shows is a great way to get a bad reputation. Your art should be priced the same everywhere you sell it.
  • Failing to Account for All Costs – It’s a good idea to have a list of things you check off as you go through valuing your art so you don’t cheat yourself. This is a common problem with new artists who may feel shy or not confident about adding up every single expense that went into making their art. Add it up!


Pricing your artwork correctly is essential for establishing your credibility and ensuring financial sustainability as a new artist. By understanding the factors involved in art pricing, such as time, effort, materials, and market value, you can set fair and competitive prices that reflect the quality and uniqueness of your work.

Effective pricing not only builds trust with buyers and galleries but also encourages growth and visibility in the art world.

Presenting your prices confidently and transparently, whether in galleries, online stores, or art fairs, further enhances your professionalism and attracts serious collectors. Avoid common mistakes like undervaluing your work and inconsistency in pricing to maintain the perceived value of your art.

By mastering the art of pricing, you can create a successful and sustainable art career!