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How Much Should You Charge For Art Commissions?

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The emergence of AI art raises the question of what to charge for art commissions, whether digital art or traditional art. In this guide, I share my personal experience on how to price your artwork, so it will bring enough revenue to live by.


Key Takeaways

  • Aspiring artist: $10/h or $30/project.
  • Experienced artist: $30/h or $350/project and more.
  • High-in-demand artist: $50/h or $1000/project and more.
  • When pricing your work, evaluate your skills, market demand, and the time taken to produce the artwork.
  • Project-based pricing is the easiest for clients and artists to handle and can net you a nice income.

Artistic-Self Evaluation

Keep in mind that you are worth more than you think. Some artists’ self-perception always devalues their art; this should not be the case.

Note that placing a price tag on your art is different from taking your precious time to make it. You can sell it via the gallery, art fair, open studios, online, via an agent, or sell it personally, wherever.

Making art is the creative process and experiences that come from you. Pricing your artwork comes from evaluating your skills, the time taken to produce the artwork, and the overall market demand for the art you create.

Artwork Pricing Models

Hire-Based Pricing

Here, time is out of the equation. In hire-based pricing, it’s expected to take a long time to deliver the commission. You only work on it when you are free, not when you can make money doing something else.

The client already knows this art commission will take longer to finish.

The hire-based pricing equation:

  • $20 × (Years’ Experience) × (Difficulty Multiplier) + Materials = Commission
  • $20 × 3 (YE) × 2 (DM) + $1.80 (M) = $121.80 (Commission)

You take the number of years you have delivered paid commissions and multiply it by a number that works well for you. The imperative bit is that it should scale with the artist in you.

Difficulty multiplier is based on how difficult (complex) the commission is and how enjoyable the gig is, which is measured between 1 and 10.

The most important thing you should remember is that price yourself high and value your skills in art.

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Hourly Pricing

Hourly pricing is a simple model. The essential things that make hourly pricing work for you are documentation, discipline, and client communication.

This pricing approach is great for freelancers who work indirectly with clients, such as those who work for an agency.

This isn’t a long-term project for most art people unless you want to remain freelance. You become valuable by only increasing your rates.

Hourly pricing is the best option if:

  • You have a regular client with who you work on similar projects.
  • The work deliverables are not clear.
  • Project scope is severely altered when you meet up with a client.
  • You are doing sophisticated, complex technical work.

For the minimum rate, it is advisable to have an amount of money that you wish to make on art commissions to cater to all your expenses monthly and double it.

It helps account for taxes, holidays, sick days, replacing equipment, etc. Also, calculate how many hours per month you can work. In the example below, I used 100 hours per month.

Example of hourly pricing:

  • $20/hour for 100 hours/month = $2,000 (then double it) x 2 = $4,000

New freelancers can earn a minimum of $10 per hour. Regardless of where they are from or their level of experience, if you have great art, you can charge a minimum rate of $10 per hour.

The main thing with the hourly rate is that your monthly expenses are covered by the work you do in a given month. There are only so many hours a month, and pricing yourself too low will only hurt you.

Skill-Based Pricing

Every art commission is worthy, regardless of your background. The time you spend drawing a sketch or refining your craft matters greatly.

It means you are using your time and resources to create something unique with your signature creativity and style. Your work always has value.

Every artist who is doing art commissions knows that creating art, painting, and drawing takes a lot of effort and time. When you’ve been an artist for years, time and effort decrease, and skills increase.

Things to note about skill-based pricing:

  • If your art style is in demand, it means your skills are appreciated, and you can charge $500+ for your art.
  • If you gain worldwide recognition, you can charge $10,000+ for your artwork.

Regarding skill-based pricing, conventional pricing mechanics such as hourly rate and project-based pricing do not apply. Your work is bought because it’s created by you and not by someone else. For that very reason, you can price your artwork as you see fit.

Project-based pricing

It is also known as ‘flat-fee’ pricing, which is easy, simple, and the most common model used in tandem with the hourly model. Before a project is initiated, the quote and project requirements are locked.

What matters is efficiency and reliability in work. This model will require a substantial and elaborate agreement between you and the client for fair results.

I’ve done project-based pricing, and I came to my rate by calculating how much time the project will take to complete.

I also evaluated my skills and how fast I could produce the needed results. I also accounted for revisions and such to the pricing. I went for four-figure pricing.

Things to keep in mind for doing project-based pricing:

  • Business or an individual: Businesses tend to have more capital and can put the expenses to the company for tax benefits
  • Time: Will you work weekends or long hours or leisurely in a few hours
  • Physical size: Bigger pieces need more materials and possibly shipping
  • Skills required: Complex subjects like portraits and detailed landscapes require a lot of skill
  • The topic of the project: Does the project excite you and expand your client and artwork portfolio well?
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Okuha

Digital Artist

I’m a digital artist who is passionate about anime and manga art. My true artist journey pretty much started with CTRL+Z. When I experienced that and the limitless color choices and the number of tools I could use with art software, I was sold. Drawing digital anime art is the thing that makes me happy among eating cheeseburgers in between veggie meals.

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