What are you guys charging for 8x10 custom (not complicated) work?

  • SVS OG

    I get the “can you draw my bunny, a mermaid tail, my left foot.” All the time from family and friends. Which is flattering, but kinda puts me in an awkward place. Right now i just tell everyone no. I really don’t have time to spend on art I don’t want to do. Well, that’s what I say if the paintings are large or portraits. But these tiny things that really only take an hour or two at most, what are you guys charging? I feel like $20 is kinda little for the time it takes away from the art I want to do (or have already been commissioned to do.) I only have a sliver of time to paint, and favors isn’t what i really want to do. My mom and favorite tiny nieces get favors when I’m in the mood to paint unicorns, mermaids, or scenes from their last trip. And that usually happens as a present. So, it’s not really a favor. But $60 to $100 just seems like I’ve put priced my friends’ budget. And seems pretentious.

    So I could use a little comfort in the charging area. What do you sell your commissions at your art tables at those comic things y’all go to? Or online? What are you guys charging. What’s the going rate for a custom 8x10 or 5x7?

    Thanks. And hey, happy selling!

  • @whitney-simms

    Not knowing what to price your work at is one of those things that everyone (mostly) has a hard time with. Balancing guilt for perceived overcharging (which, for the most part, you're not; if they pay the price it's worth that much at least to that person) against what your time is worth is tough.

    What I do is imagine I'm paying myself an hourly wage. Then I figure out roughly how long it takes me to do a full piece. Multiply the two and add materials and I've got my sell price.

    From there you can take the price up or down incrementally depending on your needs and what people are willing to pay.

    60-100$ for an 8x10 original painting is not pretentious at all unless you look down your nose over your sunglasses while flipping your silk scarf over your shoulder and flicking your Cruella Deville cigarillo in your client's face.

    For reference here's what I charged. At conventions I did commissions. Sometimes just commissions. Client got a digital copy and a half-letter print.

    Sketches were 20$ (and I set a timer for 20 minutes)
    Full colour finished pieces were 100$

    Bear in mind those convention commissions were done super quick.

    Good luck with your pricing! If you don't want to tell people 'no' then you can always add a zero to your pricing instead and hope they say no thanks XD

  • SVS OG

    @art-of-b thanks for all the input! I only turn into cruella to sodas with fake sugar. Ha!

    It’s so hard to figure out the cost! It’s the never ending question. I just want to know what people are actually paying for originals or commissions. My family and friends can pay it if they want or choose something else to put on the wall. It’s the poor sweet nieces and nephews that just got married who want almost free stuff. I really wanted to get the price right, cause I seriously don’t want to paint their wedding portrait (but not be a punk about it). And the neighbor that saw something and wants me to replicate it for her kids room. I’m like, dude, just buy it from the store. Although I would probably still makeout okay and beat the price if she saw it at pottery barn or Anthropologie.

    Thanks for the tips!

  • @Whitney-Simms

    I've been listening to Will's youtube videos and I JUST started listening to this one. Might be worth checking out.

    "How much should I charge for my art?"


  • SVS OG

    @art-of-b I’ve listened to that one. It was super helpful. And the one about “no, I won’t illustrate your children’s book.”

    I guess my main question was, what are the new-mid level artists charging for original work. Then I could have an idea. I know what to charge the big stuff. It’s the little stuff that doesn’t take much time that’s tricky. Then you’re paying people for your skill vs time. You certianly helped and answered my question! Thanks!

  • SVS OG

    That "No, I won't illustrate your children's book" should be required viewing, it has so many gems of advice in it!

    Here's what I've been doing so far - an 8x10 starts at $65 and includes:

    • Up to 2 characters
    • No background
    • Pencil, ink and gray marker shading
    • You will see and approve the pencil sketch before inking
    • Includes shipping (about $5 in supplies and postage)

    I am upfront on these details so people know what to expect, and they either never get back to me or they think it's more than fair.

    Here's a sample of what they get:


    To be honest this took WAY too long to make. At this price point I think I should spend no more than 2 hours on it from thumbnails to finish. So I need to get better at drawing faster!

  • @whitney-simms

    Hi Whitney,

    The lowest i currently charge for commissions is £200 ($260ish) for a simple 30x30cm (11.8x11.8inch) acrylic painting on canvas (I don't generally do smaller than that for commissions) for that price I'd expect the whole thing (designing & painting) to take less than 7hrs, materials to cost less than £20 ($25ish) and delivery/framing would be extra. I used to charge a lot less than this but I found that the more commissions I do the happier I am in charging more.

    For something I quite fancy painting for family or close friends I'd probably give them a bit of a discount, if I didn't really want to paint it i'd charge more lol!

    Happy art-ing

  • SVS OG

    And @rachy and @carriecopa

    Thank you so much for your help! Your work is fantastic! I loved the drawing of the dragon. That totally helped to get an idea of what the details are in your price point.

    And Carrie, I bet those smaller pieces are worth every bit of $260. They are so detailed. Your work is amazing!

    Thanks so much for helping me out! I have a much better idea of where to go with my pricing. Pricing note cards that I printed is so much easier. The formula that deals with the cost and supplies works out beautifully. Oringinal watercolors are so hard. Their cost is like five cents to make! I have no idea, but it’s not much.

    Happy creating to you guys too!

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