If you’re new to the art world, one of the first things you need to do it figure out how much your artwork is worth. There are no official rules on how to price your art, though here are a few helpful tips that might make your job easier.

Please check out our Facebook Live streams about pricing your art on our Facebook page.

How to price your art for your market?

You will need to do a little research and put some serious thought into a “pricing strategy”, so let’s get to it.

Do Your Research

Begin with investigating how other artists like you are pricing their work. You can do this by searching online for similar artists or by going to local art fairs and artist run galleries.

Pricing Original Art

There is no hard-fast rule for pricing originals, however, by following a few simple steps you can be confident that your pricing will be competitive and appropriate for your art and market.

1. Base your price on comparable artworks in your region. What buyers pay in New York will not be what they will pay here in Vancouver. Do your research online and visit local galleries.

2. Price by specific size or use a formula based on a per square foot or square inch (or square centimetre) basis.

3. If in doubt, “choose a price out of the air”. It’s not very scientific, but sometimes if your artwork is unique it will be hard to find comparables. Remember you can always go up, not down, so don’t set your prices above what your market can afford.

Tip: Ask yourself if you will be selling limited editions or open editions in the future, if so be sure to set the prices of your originals high enough to stand above the cost of a reproduction.

Pricing Reproductions and Limited Editions

The standard rule of thumb is to simply double the production price by marking it up 100%. Tweak your pricing as you learn more about your market. If the artwork is a limited edition (an edition of 1 or up to 100), you may consider marking it up by 200-300% to reflect its “originality”, limited quantity or if you are an established artist. Limited editions are usually signed by the artist and/or include a Certificate of Authenticity, signed by the artist.

Pricing Photo-based Art

When selling photo-based works, establish a business policy for the number of prints you plan to print of each image, including the size. You may decide to keep the edition “open” or make it a “limited edition”. Put this information in writing on your pricelist and on your website. This will help your buyers understand your pricing and eliminate future problems when (if) you decide to sell more of the same image.

Don’t Forget Your Add Your Material Costs

If your artwork needs to be framed, add these costs in to your pricing. Framing is a big investment. It is worth applying for your tax number (PST—Provincial Sales Tax number in Canada) which will allow you to open an wholesale account at a reputable frame supplier.

If your artworks are a common size, consider “exhibition frames”. These usually have special hardware for removing the art easily so the frames can be recycled for future shows if the art does not sell.

Unless very unique, avoid home-made stretcher bars and wood frames. Instead, save money by doing the assembly yourself. A frame nail gun (for wood frames) is about $150 CAD. Metal frames and floating frames for canvas works need only a screwdriver. There are several good “how-to” videos on YouTube to help you get through the production. The savings can be over $15-50 per piece.

Note: Exceptions to this bit of advice would be artworks that are specialty mounted to acrylic or aluminum and artworks. This service needs to be done by an d experienced technician with some heavy duty equipment.

Tip: If you are selling limited editions, photographs or canvas paintings consider listing the price for the artwork unframed—your buyer may appreciate the opportunity to choose their own frame moulding to match their personal decor.

If you are planning for an exhibition and need some immediate advice, please feel free to contact me.