How To Price My Art

This is the ultimate answer to anyone wishing to sell their services or art. And really it requires a common sense answer.

But first here is my little story on this very subject when I started out. I used to think that my artwork was worth little and I had to create lots of it to make enough money to live…but then the realisation dawns on you that you are spending hours drawing each piece of artwork and you have to factor in an hourly rate to match the hours you spend on the drawings.

I’ve only really started to sell my art properly since the beginning of 2014 and that was on eBay selling my artwork for a couple of pounds each which was very ridiculous because you build your portfolio of art to sell and you expect that people won’t be able to afford to buy it at a higher price and so you price it low to sell and it sells for £2.80 or something pathetic.

Also factor in the silly free postage option which you have to pay for yourself so it isn’t free and the eBay associated fees and the grand total you have earn might be 27p. Your hard work hasn’t paid off.

Ebay itself has changed over the years and of course it isn’t the only place to sell ones art.

The other things you need to take into consideration are the materials used because they cost money too, the time it takes to create and finish an illustration and then you can figure out your hourly rate based on them other 2 factors.

Later on down the line when you become in demand you can price accordingly and more competitively. And of course being an Artist you sell the original art but you can also sell reproduction prints of the art so others can own it too thus making more money, so it’s best to have consistent prices in place for all works of art.

Here is a design that Appears as a postcard on Zazzle and I sold the original art for just under £3, but I kept a digital copy of it and published it elsewhere and so far has made over £90 which doesn’t sound a lot, but it demonstrates the power of retaining your art to sell in multiple places.

Pricing your art to sell isn’t complicated it just requires you to be confident in your abilities and to make you realize that you are worth more than peanuts when it comes to people purchasing your art. Now that I understand that I am worth more, I will definitely not let my art go for cheap any more. (Well, apart from the ones already listed on my eBay page)

My hourly rate is £20 an hour and this I worked out to be about right as A4 size drawings take me around an hour and a half to 2 hours to complete so that’s £40 and an A3 illustration could take longer at 5 or 6 hours so that’s around £120. You just have to be fair with yourself and be flexible as well as realistic with the amount you think you should earn rather than what people buying think they should pay you.

Of course at your own generous discretion, you could offer a discount for your artwork which is nice and good marketing to do so. You always feel obliged to offer more for the price and yes you could and sometimes should, but Artists need to live and eat just like anyone else, we can’t get paid with fresh air and self esteem.

Anything that I list on eBay or elsewhere in the future will be priced in accordance with my hourly rate and requested commissions will require a £10 deposit up front for me to commit to the work.

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Lessons I’ve Learned As An Artist

artist lessons learned

An exploding skull illustration

As an Artist there are always lessons to be learned and figuring it all out takes time and patience to get right. Being an Artist is a continual journey of discovery and the learning never ends as you travel along at your own pace.

I don’t subscribe to the idea that once you’ve left art college you are equipped with the necessary art skills to be a supreme Art-worker of infinite proportions and be the ultimate everything Artist the minute you step out of the campus doors. No, I believe that you evolve over time into the creative person you wanted to be all along and being self taught along the way there is no shame.

I’ve learnt a few things along the thin strand that is my creative path and you might find yourself amazed by the truth I speak (Or maybe not) that I discuss here.

  1. There is no such thing as a starving Artist!

This might seem rather silly to say as there are indeed some starving Artists out there and they’ll say “who is this ginger fool to say this? But really what I mean is this. There is no need for you to be starving as an Artist as you can sell your art through many online channels or even offline and make money through your art if you’re consistent enough at creating your art on a regular basis.

The myth is a valid one because not a lot of Artists may be competent at marketing their artwork and so might have to hold down a couple of jobs to make ends meet. But still, there are many ways to make money and earn an income from your art from print on demand sites like Zazzle to selling your art directly though eBay or even selling it at art fairs or on the street corner.

The idea is to make a plan for yourself and run with it, play to your strengths and destroy your weaknesses by learning how to market, how to promote yourself and fit in with lots of many sub niches that could categorize your art.

  1. Watching how other Artist work can work wonders

Seeing how others do their work can change your artistic future and improve your skills as an illustrator. I like to watch videos of these like minded creative people working and see what they create and more importantly how they create. What pens do they use, what techniques don’t I employ yet. Asking yourself questions as to why you haven’t started to learn about digital art and using Photoshop only helps you grow as a professional.

Always seek to find out techniques and ways of working that improve your artwork from anyone that does it better and not feel discouraged by it. You exist to soak all this artistic stuff up.

  1. Being prolific and consistent is more important

I’m sure you’ve heard of creative people having that road block that stops them from creating new stuff. Writers can get it and other artistic people get it too. Well I’ve found that being consistent with your schedule helps you be more productive and you never run out of ideas to create.

I try and mix my week up though and not do the same things every single week, so for instance if I’m sketching most of one week I will be painting the next and then also making time to actually finish well thought out illustrations too, which is something I never used to get around to doing.

I always start off my day doing a handful of quick sketches to help infuse some energy into my creative day and I’ve found that by doing this you are able to actually knock out some great ideas early on in the day that could be completed later in that very same day.

So remember that quantity of ideas needs to be high so you can whittle them ideas to a handful of ones that will be the best quality.

  1. Draw the things you like, but also what others could like

Something that escaped me for years was the ability to draw what others liked or was interested by. I was always stuck in my ways drawing the stuff that interested me and only that, there is something quite isolating about drawing just for own pleasure, I mean it’s a great thing, but starting out, it’s not really profitable because when others request commissions from you, you might have to know how to draw a certain thing from a movie or a game for instance.

I’ve started to draw lots of stuff from the movies I loved as a kid and this has been a fun exercise in learning to draw some other cool stuff, because you yourself will like the inspirational stuff and so will others making it that much more easier to sell prints of your work.

The drawing below is from the classic John Carpenter movie Big Trouble in Little China and I enjoy drawing this stuff now, because before it scared me as I thought I couldn’t draw it realistically enough or just like the movies, but then I realised this wasn’t important. I could draw them in my own way and they’d still be recognisable and even better original drawings.

learning artists lessons

This multi eyed creature is a guardian apparently from Big Trouble in Little China.

  1. Focus on your art

Being an Art person that creates drawings, paintings or sketches is what you should be about more than any other things and this requires focus at least 90% of the time. You will be tested whilst you work and distractions get in the way. Some of these distractions will be legitimate and you’ll have to deal with them, but others are just unwelcome distractors that become obstacles to your everyday work.

Checking emails, Facebook, Twitter and any other social stuff online should be done at the end of the day unless it’s important for your marketing purposes.

I find that drawing and actually focusing on my artwork, I build up more artwork and I get into that mind set of wanting to create more and more.

A days work drawing is not done until I have a few good pieces of art to show for it. And this is worth far more than finding out what others had for lunch through Facebook or yet another photo of that grumpy cat through Twitter.

What have you learnt being an Artist?

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Letting Go As An Artist

artistic freedom

A recent client commission of a horror skull illustration

Sometimes letting go as an Artist requires you to let go of all the stuff that brings you down, self doubt and all that should be left at the door and being spontaneous and experimental with your own art is what being an Artist is really all about.

Seeing other Artists work can help you with ideas, but it shouldn’t let you be discouraged if there is better art out there. Instead the flow of creativity should encourage you to create new art on a daily basis and this is the free feeling that art can give anyone.

I found this out back in 2012 when I began to do some acrylic painting which was something new to me and something that I knew at first I would produce muddy looking results, but I still felt free as an Artist because I was painting on canvases and just exploring the paint rather than doing masterpiece artwork.

Rather recently I have undertaken the black and white contrasting artwork technique of overlaying layers of thick and thin ink with various ink pens and then added over a white highlight pen to create more areas of intricate interest within the art. I suppose soon there will be something else I will try out to branch out and explore in the art world that will quietly advance my own range of artistic skills.

Creative freedom is an Artists right and it becomes a more essential element once you understand that some art you can’t control whether it’ll be any good unless you actually try to create it and push through and focus your craft and art techniques.

Let’s go through a quick list of ways to let go as an Artist that hopefully will keep you in check and not get you frustrated with how things appear in your mind when creating art.

  • Sketch first draw in detail later
  • Begin to draw without knowing what you are going to draw
  • Always use mixed media
  • Always go against the general way of doing things, experiment
  • Throw paint, see what happens (preferably at a canvas or piece of paper)
  • Challenge your drawing skills, draw something new
  • Have a break

I suppose letting go in artistic freedom is about having the confidence to say yes I’ll give that a go and try and create art that you yourself are going to be happy with for some time to come.

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My Memories Of Art At School

School for me was quite difficult as I was a shy kid and so trying to force upon me a way of trying to learn with other kids who were either loud or just idiots wasn’t exciting. (I did have some good friends though, at least I can say that!) Art class however was probably the only subject I happened to take any interest in however (Apart from Science occasionally when Space was taught!)

My memories of art at School are quite memorable in that I had a few drawings held up in class, mainly still life subjects such as Beach rocks or pebbles and felt proud of the fact that I was able to show my fantastic pencil shading to the class, even though it was in an indirect sense.

A lot of the other kids in the class weren’t remotely interested in Art however which resulted in the class getting disrupted by trouble making kids who I assume are doing nothing interesting with their lives now. Later on however we had an excellent Art teacher called Mr Fairbank who taught us classroom art stuff very rarely and let us get on with drawing what we wanted to and so I did just that by bringing in my comic books and drawing stuff from them or trying to gain some magical inspiration from the pages of art and draw my own stuff.

Sadly I haven’t really kept any of the old art I did at school as it was fairly throwaway stuff and I forgot to take home my art folder from School. I did however receive a grade C in Art GCSE level which could have been better if I had that experimental trial and error ability I now have.

I can remember artworks taking me ages to finish at School and in some cases I never ever did complete them. This has sort of carried on through my adult life with art, but I’m getting better at trying to actually finish illustrations and ideas to create some credible and complete.

After Secondary School I went on to Art College and felt quite miserable at the modules we had to learn. And of course some idiots carried on from School not really knowing what they wanted to do with their lives so they joined an Art course to cause some trouble and just fuck about.

I didn’t stay long at Art College because I felt disillusioned by the whole process of doing other art subjects within ones that I hated such as Textiles or Fashion. And so that matched with students that just wanted to mess around or be the centre of attention ruined my days at college.

Of course I did have some good memories of art college as there were some great Art Teachers there and are probably still there now.  And there was some ace work I created there such as a clay sculpture that was inspired by the art of Hieronymus Bosch and some free hand illustration I used to get away with drawing in class.

At the time I guess I just felt I needed to be honing my illustration skills myself instead of being taught other things that wasn’t really me as an Artist.

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