Pricing Your Work

Here are a few of the ways that I’ve found artists price their work:

  1. By being so traumatized by the very question of pricing that you decide to wait for posthumous fame and hide your work – lest anyone ask the price.
  2. By having angst about it until, fortified by chardonnay, you finally decide on a number. Any number. Just please, God, don’t make me have to set a price again!
  3. By attaching self-worth to it. This means either choosing the biggest number you can think of, thus inflating your prices to match your ego. Or wishing desperately that you could give them all away for free so that you didn’t have to set a price. Yet desperately hoping that, so moved, your collectors will pay you handsomely as a gesture of gratitude.
    (This trick never works, by the way. You must stop giving yourself away)
  4. Or, you educate yourself. You understand the prices of works comparable to yours. Works that are similar size, medium, and most important, audience. You make adjustments for cost of any exceptional materials and your level of experience. From there, you check your gut.


Your price does not equal the size of your ego. Nor is it a reflection of your self-doubts. It’s driven by the market. It’s math, not psychology. It can’t hurt you and won’t bite, so don’t be afraid of pricing your art.

Crista Cloutier is an artist who writes. She’s the founder of The Working Artist, online business program for visual artists of all media. Visit to join her mailing list and you’ll also receive a free gift.


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