I believe the key here is research. You first start this research by finding other like artists in your media. This can be done easily with the internet
1. Go to www.google.com or any other search engine and type in the type of artwork that you do or want to do for that matter.
Take note that the sites listed on the first page (besides the sponsored or paid ads) are the higher ranked sites which usually means they get the most traffic. This being said they serve as a good barometer to use to see what is popular to the mass audience of people searching for this type of work. Dig into these sites and look for the artist's gallery page and their related prices. See how your work compares to that displayed. Is it of the same caliber, better, worse? What are the average prices of the work shown? This is one method of determining price
2. EBAY and other auction sites help provide a realistic viewpoint of what is available and what people are actually willing to pay for it. Once again search for work similar to yours. If you are doing floral watercolors, type in floral watercolors into the EBAY search engine. If there are hundreds or thousands of results try to list them by "ending soonest". You can also search "completed auctions". You want to find out the winning bids. This will give you insight as to what people are paying for the type of work you do. Now, remember, you don't have to sell your work on EBAY (although you could). We are looking at EBAY in this scenario as market research.
3. Visit Galleries online and in person to find work similar to yours. The problem with this method is that well-known artists in your media will naturally command higher prices just on the basis of who they are. You may be saying to yourself "my work is better than that". I understand that, but remember it doesn't matter what you think, but ultimately what the buyer thinks. If the buyer never heard of you, how do you expect to compete with a better known artist doing the same type of work. You will eventually need to build up your reputation as an artist to raise your prices accordingly. The gallery visit will give you a good feel of how much the higher end pieces are going for in the marketplace and will give you a price point to shoot for.
4. Go to Art Shows in your area or around the country to find out what competing artists in your media are selling their work for. Introduce yourself, should you feel comfortable, and ask how their sales are going. Be honest and unfront that you are trying to get a feel for "pricing of your form of art" and don't be evasive. Artists tend to be a little quirky to begin with and tend to be suspicious about your intentions should you beat around the bush. If the artists you approach should not want to share with you, respect their right to privacy and move on. It's all in the approach! If you come across as friendly, most artists will be happy to talk to you and tell you how they have been doing at the shows. Which pieces sell well, what price point moves the most and what people are looking for. Bring a notepad to document what is told to you and tabulate your answers.
By applying and integrating the above four methods you'll be well on your way to figuring out your perfect price. It takes testing and tweaking. This is similar to how we have put together the pricing for my advance course for art marketing. I have to formulate my costs and time that it took to put the course together. Then add in profit (I have to eat too! :) ). I then research if other like products are out there and how they compare to my product and most importantly...determine what the market is willing to pay. Check it out at: www.thethrivingartist.com
Subjectivity needs to be considered as well in pricing. When you price your artwork there is no hard and fast rules. Test your pricing structure and ask your potential customers what they are willing to pay for your work. This will result in sales. This may be hard to confront because naturally we would like to think that our work is priceless but in reality it is only worth what others are willing to pay for it. Create value in your reputation as an artist and your prices will rise.
Article provided by:
Steve Popkin, owner of the website http://www.thethrivingartist.com