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Forums » Art & Creativity » How much should I charge?

So I recently was able to get cheaper graphics tablet. Meaning I now no longer am stuck drawing on the tiny screen of my phone and it has allowed me to excel in my art, help me figure out my own art style. I'm still figuring a few things out, (mostly that I can really only draw feminine characters, and can't comfortably draw masculine characters) but I am super happy with what I have been able to do and the art style I currently have. So I'm thinking about doing commissions once I get some more of my own characters done to make sure my style is consistent.

I finished these two pieces of my characters Gilda and Jax. -- Jax (on the right) took me 4-5 days, 3-4 hours each day, as it was my very first fully done piece on my graphics tablet after a little bit of practice, as well as my first time drawing something completely from imagination with no references.

Gilda (on the left) took just 6 hours and I had a reference for the pose.

Note: also want to note that my commissions will be more high quality than these because they'll be done on bigger canvas. When doing the first one of these I didn't realize my mistake in the canvas size until way too late, and because I needed the other to be on the same scale, I had to also make it with a smaller canvas than I usually would.

The Art

From what I can tell people say don't charge less than minimum wage, or half than minimum wage. If I can get full body commissions done in a collective 6 hours, then going my minimum wage in my state it'd be $52.50; but I am just not sure my art style is really worth that much - at the same time I would prefer to only take on maybe 2-3 commissions a month because I do have issues with my joints so I can't crank out 10 commissions a month or anything. So I'd rather not charge pennies or anything... Or undersell myself in general.

Obviously the price would depend on the piece; head shot/bust/waist/thigh/full body.

I'd prefer artists opinions on this, but don't mind people in general telling me their opinion.
Minimum wage at the very least. Above all. I know, with how much time art takes, that sounds ridiculous, but minimum wage at the very least is the least you should charge yourself. Even if you're only comfortable charging bare bones, then do that, but charging less than minimum wage isn't only a personal thing, it deals with the entire art community as well!*

If your minimum wage bare bones is $25, and you're not comfortable charging that, I'd suggest not charging less than, say, $20... less than minimum wage, which is unfortunate, but it's not awful, arguably. Don't sell yourself short - you're spending time making these pieces, and you're spending time on personal pieces too! Charging minimum wage isn't just based on "Hey, I spent four hours drawing this", it's "Hey, I spent four hours drawing this, and however many hundreds or thousands of hours I've spent on every single piece that got me to this level of skill"

The idea of minimum wage, especially where artists are concerned, isn't just based on single piece time, but also on the time it took you to get to the skill level you're at, the cost of the items you've purchased to get to this point (IE: Your tablet, your paint program, your computer), and the time it takes to talk with clients back and forth, yes, that counts in your time too. Even charging basic minimum wage accounts for all of these things, and probably even some things I forgot about tbh

More in depth on that* point
What I mean when I say "charging minimum wage deals with the entire art community" is that charging minimum wage helps every artist, collectively, be able to charge what they deserve to charge. As an artist, charging less than minimum wage makes clients / other artists expect artists to charge less than minimum wage... Ends up with everyone charging less than they should.

I know it sounds slippery slope, but this is a real thing, I swear.

Also, I'd time your work. Art is weird and makes time pass both way faster and way slower than you think it does, so timing your pieces can help you more accurately charge your clients. Even just starting a timer on your phone or using google's default timer, and pausing it when you're away from the keyboard, and then starting back up when you draw again, will help ridiculously in timing your work.

On this point, go with the average, not the minimum. If out of three pieces, you spent 2 hours, 4 hours, and 5.5 hours, don't charge for the minimum 2 hours. Either charge the average, or go with your most common, or your middle option.

... Um... I think that's all I've got to say at the moment? I feel like I'm forgetting something...
If you have any questions obviously feel free to message me <3
^^^^ Crow is on point on this. I dare say I had a mini rant on discord not to long ago about artists not charging min wage that effected business. In my circle of artist friends this information is exactly whats being promoted and is fantastic advice.

I think this was well said.

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