Really low prices make me less likely to commission an artist.
Me: I’m not an artist. I do commission artists - I spend around $300-600 a month on digital art commissions.
I sometimes find an artist who has really impressive work, or a unique style, or something else that makes me think “I should commission this person.”. Then I look at their prices and they are crazily low. As in less than 20 dollars for a colour full body character.
And I don’t commission them. Because I can’t pay prices that low and feel good about myself for doing it.
I know it takes hours to draw even one character. Plus the time it takes to study the brief, look at the references, communicate with me, etc etc. No way are they making even minimum wage this way, let alone a living wage.
I commission art because it’s fun. It’s my hobby. If I’m knowingly paying someone slave wages to support my hobby, it isn’t fun.
To artists who undercharge: Please reconsider. I’ve heard many reasons why you decide to do this (see below). But if you price your work like you don’t respect it, you won’t get clients who will respect you or your work either. You charge peanuts, you get monkeys.
To commissioners who push for these prices: Have some respect. Not just for the artists, but for the other commissioners out there. You’re giving us all a bad name. If you can’t afford decent prices, don’t be mean about it. Save up, or find some other hobby. Or hey, learn to draw.
Comments I get whenever I say the above:
- "No-one will buy commissions from me at decent prices." - That’s a pity. But you realise by underpricing like this you are making your problem worse, by contributing to the “art should be dirt cheap” mindset that seems to exist in dA and other places? (okay mostly dA, that place is a cesspit) Besides, there are other things you can do than keep lowering prices. There’s tons of advice in dA:
'Official' Pricing Your Commissions or Artwork Thread
Finding Freelance work: pricing and self doubt!
And other places:
How to get commissions: A guide
Getting the Most Out of Commissions
If none of the above helps you… maybe you need to reconsider if you are at the right stage in your development to be offering commissions. Sorry.
- "I’m only doing this for fun, I don’t care about the money." - Good for you. But there are others that are trying to make a living doing this. Have some consideration for them, yes?
- "It’s the clients pushing my prices down." - Gah. Then your clients are awful people who don’t respect you. It’s a trap though - you charge low prices, you get cheap clients. There’s only one way out of that trap.
- (Commissioner says) “But I want this drawn and I can’t afford higher prices.” - I want to live in an exact replica of Wayne Manor, but I can’t afford that. So, um, I don’t. Simplify your idea, or don’t commission it until you can afford to do so without ripping off the artist.
- (Commissioner says) “By paying less per artist I can support more artists.” - No. Just… no. You are not supporting artists, you are exploiting them. Paying less per artists lets you exploit more artists.
- "Just tip the artist." - I have done that, but it sends the wrong message. Tipping isn’t the norm in this game, so when I tip artists assume it’s because they did an extra-awesome job, when in fact I’m tipping them because they did their normal-awesome job. Plus if an artist is charging one-third or one-quarter what they should be, do I tip them 300%?
(Image by me. Not an artist, remember? The price list is made up, but based on real lists I’ve seen recently.)
submitted by -badgermushroom
wow this is actually one of the best things to ever come out of artist’s confessions.
“To artists who undercharge: Please reconsider. I’ve heard many reasons why you decide to do this (see below). But if you price your work like you don’t respect it, you won’t get clients who will respect you or your work either. You charge peanuts, you get monkeys.”
This is so true. The most hellish clients I’ve had in illustration and graphic design have all come from undercharging. It’s like the cheaper the prices you charge, the more entitled the clients tend to become. It doesn’t make sense to me, but that’s been my experience for the last few years.
Also being able to eat is nice. Charge appropriately, guys.
Thank fuck for OP. I’ve been wanting to do a rant about this because I’ve seen a few artist friends lowball their prices. It’s really frustrating and rather selfish to do that because YOU are forcing prices to go down and hurting other artists who make a living off commissions.
I keep hearing the excuse of “well, I don’t feel good enough to have prices that high” and that just shows you have no respect for your art. You are better off just not doing commissions if that’s how you think.
You should at least charge based on minimum wage in your area (as an example 7.50 in mine). If a sketch takes an hour then it should be exactly 7.50 (or thereabouts). Sketch plus line-art in two hours? About 15. Adding color? 20-25. And so forth.
So, stop with your excuses, raise your prices, and people will less likely take advantage of you because you have respect for your art and will be taken more seriously.