February 17, 2010

How I Price My Drawings

*NOTE: This post was originally published in February 2010, so the prices are no longer accurate.

Last year I sat down to calculate how much I was actually making on each drawing I sold. It came out to about $9 per hour. (In California, minimum wage is $8!) After a lot of encouragement from other Etsy sellers, I raised my prices. Here's how my prices for pencil portraits work out.

An 11x14, single-subject drawing like the one above takes me approximately nine hours to finish - more or less, depending on the photo. It's listed in my shop for $180.

Here are my fee costs:
$5.40 - Etsy fees take 3%
$0.20 - Etsy's listing fee
$5.40 - Paypal also takes 3%

Luckily, materials for pencil portraits are extremely cheap.
$0.50 - sheet of high-quality art paper
$0.10 - spray of fixative (I'm guessing that a $5 can has 100 sprays in it)
$0.10 - occasional pencil purchase
$0.50 - ink to print out customer's photo
$0.50 - shipping materials such as stickers, business cards and tissue paper
So, my net profit is $167.30. Subtract 15% for taxes, and I end up with $142.20. That means I'm paying myself $15.80 per hour - slightly more than I'm making at my day job. This doesn't take into account costs of advertising, however. 

If you'd like to work out your own prices, I recommend "How Should I Price My Photography?" by Jodie Odette. It is very easy to understand and adapt to your own business.

Michelle over at Cicada Daydream wrote a very interesting post where she laid out the costs of materials and labor for one of her handmade tote bags. At first she thought that it would be impossible for her to sell them at a price that would be both affordable and worth her time. Then she got a ton of helpful comments from other sellers! It's a great post to read if you're interested in the game of pricing.


  1. Thanks for the breakdown! It is definitely hard to price art; I like your approach!

  2. I am married to a banker and he is always reminding me of the cost, the time, the taxes and how all those things need to be calculated in the price. Your art is wonderful and you need to charge more!

  3. I'm glad you upped your prices. You're incredibly talented and deserve to be rewarded properly for your work. As it is, your current rates seem like a steal! x

  4. Thanks guys! I still feel like my prices are a bit low, but I'm still starting out, so it's ok. Also, I'm not making any sales as it is, to be honest.

  5. Thanks for the info, I also have found it hard to figure out how to price artwork. Beautiful portrait also btw!


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