How To Price Your Art or Paintings: 7 Key Things To Consider | By Kerwin Blog

How To Price Your Art or Paintings: 7 Key Things To Consider

UK artist and entrepreneur Kerwin Blackburn examines the challenging question of how to price your own work as an artist

Setting a price for your artwork is a challenge that every artist faces. It’s not just about paint on canvas (or whatever your artistic medium is); it’s about putting a value on your time, skills, and the emotions poured into every piece. One of the common questions I’m asked at my own art exhibitions is about how I price my work. There is actually no right or wrong answer – which makes the process even more challenging!

As an artist and entrepreneur who has created their own unique style of pop art painting and built their own art brand – By Kerwin – the question of pricing my art is one I have spent many hours contemplating, at various stages of my art journey. In this practical guide, I dive into the challenging world of pricing art and explore 7 key factors to consider when pricing your own work as an artist.

How To Set The Pricing For Your Art

Pricing your art is a subjective process; there is no right or wrong approach. Consider your production costs, market research, your skill level, artwork size, emotional value and external economic conditions. Experiment to find a balance that aligns with your goals and resonates with your audience.

In this video I discuss how I price my own artwork

Deciding on the right price can be a tricky business. It’s not just about money; it’s a way for artists to communicate with the world. I also talk about why pricing matters in the art market and break down the common struggles artists deal with when trying to figure out what their art is worth.

My aim in this article is to make pricing your art less complicated and to help artists confidently put a value on their creations. Let’s get started. (Note: as a painter, in this article I naturally refer to my own medium of paintings to illustrate my points. But these pricing factors apply to whatever your artistic medium, whether you work in two or three (or more!) dimensions.)

By Kerwin pop art music icons montage landscape
My range of By Kerwin pop art music icon paintings. Prints are available from my online shop.

How Do I Set My Own Art Prices? 7 Key Factors To Consider

Pricing your art is a subjective process; there is no right or wrong approach. Consider your production costs, market research, your skill level, artwork size, emotional value and external economic conditions. Experiment to find a balance that aligns with your goals and resonates with your audience.

The truth is that pricing art is an ambiguous, and subjective process. It is also multi-faceted, and your pricing should be based on a combination of several factors. Below I explore the 7 main factors I believe will help you arrive at a good price for your art.

7 Art Pricing Factors To Consider:

  1. Know Your Costs
  2. Researching The Market & Benchmarking
  3. Assessing Your Skill and Reputation
  4. Physical Size and Complexity of the Artwork
  5. Setting Goals and Positioning
  6. Emotional Value and Storytelling
  7. External Factors

Let’s dive into each of these:

Factor 1: Know Your Costs

It goes without saying, the first aim of you selling your art is to not make a loss; to recover your costs and break into profit. Determining the right price for your art begins with a meticulous examination of the costs involved. This initial factor, an examination of your production expenses, serves as the foundation for a well-informed pricing strategy.

A.  Breakdown of Production Costs

1) Materials and Tools: The tangible elements that bring your artistic vision to life come at a cost. From canvas and paint, to brushes and sculpting tools, to varnishes and frames, understanding the financial investment in your artistic arsenal is crucial.

2) Studio Space: Often overlooked but undeniably significant, the space where creativity unfolds contributes to your overall expenses. Rent, utilities, and maintenance all play a part in shaping the financial landscape of your artistic endeavours.

3) Time Investment: Time is a currency unique to artists. Calculating the hours poured into conceptualisation, creation, and refinement helps assign a value not just to the product but to the labour of love behind it.

B. Importance of Factoring in Hidden Costs

Beyond the obvious, hidden costs lurk in the shadows. Packaging materials, marketing expenses, and unexpected hiccups can impact your bottom line. Acknowledging and incorporating these hidden costs ensures a comprehensive pricing structure.

C. Tips on Keeping Track of Expenses

To navigate the intricate web of costs, diligent record-keeping is paramount. Utilise accounting tools, apps, or traditional methods to accurately track your expenditures. Regularly revisiting and updating these records provides clarity and empowers you to make informed decisions when setting prices for your valuable creations.

By Kerwin paintbrushes
What is the cost of your art materials used in production? This is a helpful starting point to work from

Factor 2: Researching The Market & Benchmarking

While knowing on your own costs is an important starting point, an equally helpful approach is to then look outwards and examine what your ‘competition’ is doing. I like to call this tactic benchmarking.

A. Analysing Comparable Works

1) How to Find and Evaluate Similar Artworks: Begin by immersing yourself in the vast ocean of art available. Explore online platforms, galleries, and exhibitions to identify artworks similar to yours. Evaluate factors like style, size, and medium to draw meaningful comparisons.

Of course, as artists we aim is to make unique work and to find our niche, but it’s still helpful to think of artists in our genre as our ‘competition’ in this sense. I benchmarked my work against a few pop art and graffiti-style portrait artists, who also sell original paintings and prints, to help gauge the prices for my online shop.

2) Consideration of Artists’ Reputation and Experience: Beyond the art itself, the reputation and experience of fellow artists matter. Assess the background of creators behind comparable works to gauge the impact of their standing on the perceived value of their art. If you’re benchmarking the prices of established artists and you’re just getting started, you may want to factor this in too (but only so much; you need to be aspirational of your worth too).

B. Studying Market Trends and Demands

Art, like any other market, experiences trends and shifts in demand. Stay attuned to these patterns by following art publications, attending exhibitions, and engaging with the artistic community. Understanding what is currently sought after can guide your pricing decisions.

C. Adjusting Prices Based on Market Feedback

A dynamic market demands flexibility. Be open to adjusting your prices based on feedback received from potential buyers, fellow artists, or market trends. This adaptability ensures your pricing aligns with the ever-evolving dynamics of the art world, creating a harmonious relationship between your creations and their market value.

Factor 3: Assessing Your Skill and Reputation

As you embark on the journey of pricing your art, introspection becomes a pivotal compass to guide your art pricing strategy. This factor underscores the intrinsic connection between your artistic prowess, the brand you cultivate, and the influence your reputation wields in the delicate process of determining the worth of your creations.

A. Recognising Your Own Level of Expertise

Begin by earnestly evaluating your skill level. Assess the time, effort, and dedication invested in honing your craft. Be objective about where you stand in your artistic journey – whether you’re an emerging talent or an established artist.

B. Building a Personal Brand

Beyond the canvas, artists are crafting a brand – a unique identity that extends beyond the strokes of a brush. Consider how you present yourself to the world. A distinct personal brand, whether through a signature style, thematic consistency, or a compelling narrative, contributes to the perceived value of your art.

C. How Reputation Can Influence Pricing Decisions

Your reputation isn’t merely a by-product; it’s a currency. A strong reputation can add a premium to your art. Consider your past achievements, exhibitions, awards, and the overall recognition your work has achieved.

A positive reputation not only enhances the perceived value of your pieces but also provides a solid foundation for justifying higher pricing, reflecting the culmination of your artistic journey and the esteem in which your work is held.

Tip: While acknowledging your current reputation and standing in the market, remember to remain aspirational about where you see yourself being in the future. You may wish to factor in this aspirational growth trajectory into your pricing.

Factor 4: Physical Size and Complexity of the Artwork

In the question of art pricing, the physical attributes of your creation carry weight. Factor in the relationship between the size, weight and complexity of your artwork and how these physical elements contribute to the pricing equation. Regardless of artistic content, the primitive human brain still often equates bigger with better.

A. Discussing the Impact of Size on Pricing

Size isn’t just a matter of square inches; it’s a significant determinant of the resources invested. Larger canvases require more materials, time, and often, studio space. Addressing the impact of size on pricing ensures that your compensation aligns with the tangible aspects of your artistic endeavours.

B. Considerations for Complex or Intricate Artworks

At the other end of the size spectrum, complexity and intricacy adds layers of value. Delve into the intricacies of your work – the details, techniques, and the challenges posed by intricate elements. Intricacy often demands more time and skill, contributing to the overall complexity. Recognise and account for this added dimension when setting prices for artworks that demand a closer look.

C. Balancing Size and Time Investment

Achieving equilibrium between the size of your artwork and the time invested is an art form in itself. While larger pieces might command higher prices, the time spent on intricate details should also be factored in. Striking a balance ensures fair compensation for the effort invested in bringing both size and complexity harmoniously together on the canvas.

Kerwin Blackburn with his Jimi Hendrix pop art portrait painting - inspired by the Axis: Bold as Love album cover and painted in a Jackson Pollock action painting style | By Kerwin
The physical size of my paintings is one factor to help decide their pricing – along with the level of detail within each of them. Shop Jimi Hendrix prints here.

Factor 5: Setting Goals and Positioning

As an artist navigating the intricate landscape of pricing, setting clear goals and strategically positioning your artwork is akin to plotting a course. This point focuses on the intentional alignment of your artistic aspirations with the market, culminating in thoughtful pricing strategies.

A. Defining Your Artistic Goals

Begin by articulating your objectives as an artist. Whether it’s fostering recognition, generating income, or achieving exposure, clarity in your artistic goals shapes the trajectory of your pricing strategy. These goals serve as guiding stars, influencing the decisions you make in valuing your creations.

Unlike Factor 3, where you assess where you currently are as an artist, this is your chance to set your aspirational goals for what you work your artwork and prices to achieve for you.

B. Positioning Your Artwork in the Market

Understanding where your art fits in the broader market landscape is essential. Analyse your style, thematic elements, and uniqueness. Consider your target audience and how your work stands out. Positioning your artwork effectively lays the foundation for attracting the right audience and justifying your chosen price points.

C. Pricing Strategies for Different Goals (e.g., Exposure, Income, Recognition)

Different goals necessitate varied pricing approaches. If exposure is your primary aim, you might opt for more accessible prices to broaden your audience. Seeking income might prompt a balance between affordability and value. For those aiming at recognition, premium pricing could be justifiable.

Tailor your pricing strategy to align with your specific artistic goals, ensuring a symbiotic relationship between your aspirations and the market’s reception.

In deciding your art pricing strategy, you may wish to sell products across a range of price points. My own ‘By Kerwin’ range features original paintings and also prints of these in multiple different sizes, to suit different budgets (as well as wall space needs). I also offer merchandise in the form of homeware and clothing.

Kerwin Blackburn exhibits his By Kerwin pop art music paintings at the Barbican Centre Conservatory in London, July 2021
Exhibiting my paintings at London’s Barbican Centre

Factor 6: Emotional Value and Storytelling

Art is not a commodity good, priced based solely based on costs and logical reasoning. Art transcends the tangible; it is woven with emotions and narratives. Remember to consider the intrinsic emotional connection between your art and your audience when setting your pricing.

A. The Role of Emotional Connection in Pricing

Emotions weave a powerful tapestry within art, and this emotional connection holds a distinct place in pricing. Consider the sentimental value attached to your work – how it resonates with the audience on a personal level. This emotional link can be a compelling factor in justifying higher prices, as it transforms the artwork into an experience rather than a mere object.

B. How Storytelling Enhances Perceived Value

Every artwork has a story, and sharing that narrative enhances its perceived value. Communicate the inspiration, struggles, or triumphs embedded in your creation. A compelling story not only enriches the viewer’s experience but also contributes to the perceived worth of the artwork, fostering a deeper connection that transcends the visual.

C. Balancing Emotion with Objective Factors

While emotions add a subjective layer to pricing, balance is key. Pair the emotional resonance with objective considerations, such as production costs, market trends, and your artistic goals. Striking a harmonious balance ensures that the emotional value contributes to, rather than overshadows, the overall pricing structure, creating a nuanced and justified pricing narrative.

Pop! Goes The Easel Norwich Exhibition | Debbie Harry painting
My paintings tell a bold pop art story. The clear narrative within them helps elevate the price.

Factor 7: External Factors

Artistic valuation extends beyond the studio walls; it is influenced by the external economic conditions of your environment. This last factor to consider highlights the need to acknowledge and adapt to external factors that can sway the pricing and buying dynamics of your artwork.

A. Economic Conditions and Their Impact on Pricing

The economic landscape casts a shadow on every market, including the art world. Fluctuations in economic conditions can directly impact purchasing power and consumer behaviour.

Recognising the ebb and flow of economic tides allows for strategic pricing adjustments. During prosperous times, a slightly higher pricing strategy might be feasible. Meanwhile, economic downturns may warrant more accessible price points (or perhaps, instead, a need for new products at lower price points, such as prints).

B. Considering Geographical Location and Target Audience

Art is experienced differently across diverse locations and demographics. Consider the geographical context and the preferences of your target audience. Local tastes, cultural nuances, and regional economic disparities all play a role in shaping how your art is perceived and valued. Tailoring your pricing strategy to align with the characteristics of your audience ensures resonance and relevance.

C. Adapting to Changes in the Art Market

The art market is dynamic, responding to trends, technologies, and societal shifts. Staying attuned to these changes is paramount. Whether influenced by technological advancements, shifts in artistic preferences, or global events, adaptability is key.

Regularly reassess your pricing strategy in response to evolving market dynamics, ensuring that your artwork remains both competitive and reflective of its true value in the ever-changing art landscape. Nevertheless, remember that economic trends are typically cyclical, and that any purchase of your artwork remains a long-term investment for your buyers.

Pop! Goes The Easel Norwich Exhibition | The Beatles music pop art print
A print of my The Beatles painting on display for sale


In navigating the intricate world of pricing art, I’ve dissected the 7 key factors crucial to finding the sweet spot for your creations. From understanding costs and researching the market to evaluating your skill and embracing emotional connections, each factor will hopefully simplify the delicate skill of pricing your art.

Remember: your pricing strategy is as unique as your very creations. There is no right or wrong when it comes to pricing art. Let these factors be your guide, but let your intuition be the masterpiece.

Embrace an attitude of experimentation, allowing your pricing to evolve organically until it harmonises perfectly with the intrinsic value of your art, and resonates authentically in the ever-shifting art world. Don’t forget that your audience will provide the ultimate feedback on your prices. Once you start selling, you will know inside yourself whether the prices you’re receiving are satisfying your artistic ambitions. Happy creating!

What is the most helpful piece of advice in this article? What other pricing factors to consider have I missed? Let me know – I’d love to hear your thoughts

Contact me if you’d like any further advice about how to price your artwork. Read my other blog posts about my e-commerce journey and the Business of Art in my blog section here.

My full range of Jackson Pollock-inspired acrylic paintings can be viewed at – the originals and prints of these are available to purchase, with worldwide delivery. You can follow my art progress on Instagram and Facebook.

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