I frequently get asked this common question by the readers, “How much should I charge for an art commission?”
It’s not an easy question to answer. Art is subjective. You can’t easily know whether YOU charge too little or too much for your commissioned artwork.
You also don’t want to alienate your potential client just because you charge too much, right?
You’ll discover that pricing structures for digital art can vary significantly. Pricing your art appropriately is a delicate balance between valuing your skill set and understanding the market demand.
I decided to create this article to help you determine how much you should charge for art commissions.
Table of Contents
In case you don’t know what a digital art commission is, it is a transaction where the client pays an artist for their creative services to produce digital artwork for a specific project or purpose.
Unlike traditional artwork, digital commissions are created using electronic tools such as drawing tablets, computers, and specialized software like Photoshop, Clip Studio Paint, or Procreate.
Common Practices in Art Commissions
In the digital art commission process, standard practices include clear communication of your needs and the artist providing a quote based on the complexity, size, and time required to complete the artwork.
Artists often display their commission terms, including revision policies, usage rights, and estimated timeframes, to help set transparent expectations.
Setting the Right Commission Price
Determining the appropriate pricing for your digital art commissions is important. You must ensure your rates are fair, reflecting the value of your work and the time you invest.
Factors Influencing Pricing
Your pricing strategy should take into account several key factors:
Consider your desired hourly rate as a base.
If you live in the United States, you should charge at least $15. If you’re an experienced artist with a professional portfolio, you can try to charge around $25 to $30 per hour
Complexity and Size
The more complex and larger the piece, the higher the price should be.
It’s a simple math. How long you spend your work is not necessarily accurate.
Some art is easy to draw but long to do, while others are hard to draw. The latter should cost more, even if it takes less time to draw.
Staying competitive in the art commission market means understanding what others charge for similar work. However, not all niches are created equal – some types of commissions typically command higher prices than the average.
One well-known example of a high-cost art niche is furry art. Furry artists make more money than the average freelance artist.
Now that we know the math let’s start measuring your art commission price.
Because digital art doesn’t use canvas like traditional art, there are no additional material costs.
Of course, you can’t factorize your hardware (drawing tablet, stylus, computer) and software (Photoshop or other drawing app subscription) because all artists need it.
So, let’s start by using the hourly rate of $15.
Let’s say the art takes 3 hours to draw.
This means $15 x 3 = $45
Now we add the complexity cost. Sketch and full-body art have different complexity. Usually, you can increase the price by 20-50% for full-body art.
So the total price would be around $55 to $70.
For market rate, you need to research other artists and how much they price their art.
Remember, it’s okay to price your art commission price higher as long you have created enough art portfolio to prove your art skills to your client.
Important rule when you’re setting the price
Here are the important rules you should remember
- Think about the average hours it takes to draw the commissioned art, then make a standardized price.
- The complexity of the art is separate from the time it takes to create it. For more complex art commissions, you should consider pricing them higher, even if they take a shorter time to complete.
- The first revision is free, but for the second and later revisions, you should add the price to the base price of the commission.
- In some niches, such as furry art or NSFW art, you should consider pricing your commission services higher.
A Problem in the Art Community
If you browse Twitter or DevianArt to get inspiration on other artists’ pricing, you quickly notice a huge problem.
Most artists undervalue their work. They price their art commission too little. I once saw an artist that offered amazing full-body art for just $10.
After seeing their previous art, I believe the cost should be at least $150. I think the artist should be compensated at least $500 in a professional art context.
Because many artists undervalue their work, you can’t price your commission price too high due to the intense competition.
Why It’s Okay to Have High Art Commission Price
1. Time is Money
Ensure the time you put into a piece is reflected in the price. If a piece takes you ten hours to create, price it in a way that makes those hours worth your while.
2. Quality Assurance
Customers expect quality that matches the price. If you deliver high-quality work, asking for a price that matches is reasonable.
There is also a hidden benefit of increasing your art commission price. Higher cost subconsciously tells your audience that you’re a professional artist. It makes your art more premium.
3. Your Art Has Value
Don’t undervalue your artwork. Your art has value.
Sure, there may be better artists out there. But just because there are better artists doesn’t mean you’re not a good artist.
Respect yourself as an artist, and others will respect you too. If you don’t even respect yourself, who will?
Adjusting Prices with Experience
Your portfolio should be easy to navigate, with a clean and professional design that doesn’t distract from your work.
Begin by selecting your best pieces demonstrating a breadth of skills and techniques. Include a brief description of each piece, noting the tools and methods used to provide context that can impress potential clients.
As you grow and your portfolio expands, you can adjust prices to reflect your new experience level.