Maria Brophy

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business of art / More Money / Pricing

How to get Strangers to Pay More for your Artwork

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An artist sent me this question by email:

After looking over your art prices, I’m curious; how are you able to charge such high rates to strangers?”

The writer was referring to the prices we charge for Drew’s artwork.  In many cases, our prices are much higher than the prices of other artists in our field.

But it wasn’t always that way.

In fact, just in the past two years we made a major change in the way we do business, which allowed us to increase our prices (and income) by over 40%!

Essentially, the changes we implemented were as follows:

1 – We made the decision to target High Value clients and collectors

2 – We increased our level of service to match the needs of High Value clients

3 – We increased our prices to enable us to increase our level of service

You’ll note that with #1, above, I used the word “decision” – it wasn’t luck that brought us better clients and higher pricing, it was a DECISION that we made to up-level our services and our clientele.

And if you want to, you can make this decision, too.

In this post, I want to address two points on charging higher prices.  The first is WHY we charge more than others and the second is HOW we get “strangers” to pay it.

WHY WE CHARGE HIGHER PRICES

I tried to answer the question that spurred this post in under 500 words.  I really did!  But, for a reader to understand HOW to charge higher prices, it’s important to first explain WHY you should charge more.  So I added another 600 words to give you a full explanation!

Why do we charge higher prices?  There’s a GREAT reason, and when you read this, it will make so much sense!  The reason has nothing to do with “I want to make more money” or “because we’ve earned it” or “because we are damn good at what we do.”

In a nutshell, we charge more because Drew and I decided to create a business model that targets High Value clients and collectors.

When you work with High Value clients, you HAVE to charge more.  I’ll explain why in a minute.

But first, what is a High Value client?  For us, it’s someone that we enjoy working with, who needs and appreciates our expertise and who has the budget to pay our prices.

The opposite of a High Value client is a Low Value Client – we’ve all had our fair share of those!

A Low Value Client:

  • Grinds you on price (you’ve had those, right?!)
  • Changes their mind a lot and makes a lot of changes
  • Expects a lot of extra work for free (they don’t value your time)
  • Doesn’t pay on time
  • Leaves a real sour taste in your mouth!

By the end of a project with a Low Value client, you feel exhausted, angry and used!  (Right?  Tell me this has happened to you at least once!)

On the other hand, A High Value Client:

  • Knows what they want
  • Trusts your expertise
  • Can afford your prices
  • Values your time, will gladly pay for extra services, and pays on time

High Value clients can be individual people or companies in all different shapes and sizes, but there’s one thing that they all have in common:

High Value clients expect quality service and high value art

 And that is why you have to charge more.  You have to give High Value clients so much more, because they expect it.

(And one more thing:  many of our High Value clients are big companies; and big companies have a lot of red tape that takes more of your time.  When working with big companies, you have to charge more because they suck up a lot more of your time than a small company.)

To keep High Value clients happy, you must:

  1. Use the finest materials that are of excellent quality
  2. Give them extra special attention and take care of all details
  3. Make the process of working with you easy-as-pie!

These things cost you time and money.  Ergo, you have to charge more if you are going to work with High Value clients.

When a High Value client commissions art from Drew, they get the following royal treatment:

  • We regularly update them on the progress with photos during the entire process
  • We use the finest materials
  • We make it extremely E-Z for them to work with us
  • If there’s a problem, the client never hears about it.  Their experience with us is completely worry-free.
  • We do all the thinking for them, and their project appears to magically come together with little effort on their part.

 Artists who don’t charge enough have to cut corners. 

If you don’t charge enough, you don’t have the time to hold your clients’ hands through the process.  You can’t afford the finest paints.  And when you cut corners and skimp on quality, the end result is not of the highest value.

And I should know, I used to be in the “not charging enough” camp, not too long ago!

When Drew and I didn’t charge enough, it would be a big setback if a client asked Drew for changes too late in the process.  We would lose time and money and become incredibly stressed (and cranky).

When we charge appropriately for our projects, we can afford the best supplies and unexpected setbacks.  All of these things are built into the price.  And best of all is that we are able to give our clients a great experience, worry free.

HOW TO CHARGE HIGHER PRICES TO STRANGERS:

The question that inspired me to write this post was “how do you charge higher prices to strangers?”

There’s a few things you need to do to be able to win over clients who have never met you before:

1 – Have a strong body of work and show it on your website:  When you display consistent, good work that you’ve been doing for years, it gains a stranger’s trust.  When they see that there are many other clients you’ve done great work for, it gives them confidence in you.   (We post “Case Studies” on Drew’s website to show the work done for other clients in the past.)

2 – Connect with the client via good communication:  Get your new client on the phone (yes, actually talk to them!).  Connect with them deeply, come to understand their needs, and win them over by telling them how you can fill their needs with your expertise.

3 – Make it clear (on website and communications) that you provide only the best possible services:  Describe how you use only the finest materials and how you give extra special attention to every project.

4 – Build Trust:  The only thing a good client wants to know is this:  Can they rely on you to do what they need?  Your job is to convince them that you can (and then do it)!

Rather than sending impersonal emails back and forth, Drew and I speak to every client that shows an interest, and that’s the first step in building their trust.

We take the time to understand what they need, and then describe how we can do it for them.   We help them gain confidence in our abilities.

I have found that the more trust a client has in your abilities, the more money they are willing to pay.

Of course, this advice is for the artist who is experienced and good at what they do.  If you’re just starting out, you’ll have to build up your  experience first.  You’ll have to be patient and put in the time before you can command the higher prices.

A good example of an artist who is highly paid is Chase Jarvis.  He’s one of the best paid photographers in the U.S.  He earns about 100X what most photographers are paid!

He has made it his focus to work with High Value clients who expect excellent work and will pay top dollar for it.

You can learn how Chase Jarvis is able to charge 100X more than most, in this blog post.  Be sure to watch the video in the post – it is worth your time if you want to become a highly paid artist.  The video is full of incredible insights on this topic!

In the comments below, please share your thoughts on these ideas.  I’d love to hear what you think!

Please share your own personal stories in the comments!

Maria

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68 Comments How to get Strangers to Pay More for your Artwork

  1. Raju Ahmed

    I’m a wooden sculptures & crafts Artist in Bangladesh.How can I spared out my products all over the world ? I need better advise & better advisor…..,,,

    Reply
  2. Jennifer Kirby

    Thank you for the encouraging advice. I would like to emphasise not sounding apologetic when you mention your price! I’m still working on the positive tone of voice.
    Do you go out to search for the High Value clients? I am wondering where to find them. I know they are out there and I am trying to get into places where I can meet them, but any tips would be gratefully received.

    Reply
    1. Maria

      Jennifer, Yes, that’s a great point! I should write a blog post just on that “How to talk about money and feel good about it” – I think it takes practice, and it’s also a mindset. When you view your biz as a bonafide business, talking money is just part of running it, and you’ll feel more comfortable with it.

      With regards to finding High Value Clients – yes, you seek them out, but also draw them to you by positioning yourself (online, your website) as a High-Value Provider. Your language and descriptions on your website would demonstrate HOW you work. Also, when talking to clients, you want to get in the habit of describing your high-value process, the materials you use, etc. so that they understand you are the greater value choice for them. I need to write about this, too!

      Reply
      1. viv

        Yes! Once I started building my confidence by seeing myself as a professional artist (thanks to you!), and with practice, I now price my art with my targeted market in mind without a prob! Yay, I feel very accomplished! This has been the hardest part for me! Next is setting up my website accordingly, with help of course..thanks for your excellent teaching Maria!

  3. BZTAT

    I agree with all of your points. My question is, how do you FIND High Value clients? What strategies are effective in targeting them? I do not live in an area where there are a lot of wealthy people who invest in art, so I rely a lot on web marketing. How do I target High Value clients via social media and my website?

    Reply
    1. Maria

      Thanks for the question – it’s similar to the one asked by Jennifer, so I’ll just repeat it here: With regards to finding High Value Clients – draw them to you by positioning yourself (online, your website) as a High-Value Provider. Your language and descriptions on your website would demonstrate HOW you work. Also, when talking to clients, you want to get in the habit of describing your high-value process, the materials you use, etc. so that they understand you are the greater value choice for them.

      Reply
  4. Colleen Balfour

    Hi Maria

    Many thanks for more valuable advise!

    While not being anything near your league in the art business, I do find all your advise well worth knowing and applicable on so many levels.
    Thanks for sharing!
    Colleen

    Reply
    1. Maria

      Colleen, thank you so much for reading my blog and for the comment!

      Up-leveling your art business takes time, strategy upon strategy, year upon year. You are well on your way, and I’m glad to have been able to help somewhat!

      Reply
  5. Megan Duncanson (MADART)

    Thank you for explaining this so clearly Maria! Over the last couple of years, and just last month, I’ve continually raised my prices to target higher quality buyers and I’ve been very happy with the results! Your article affirms for me the reasons I’ve raised my prices, so thank you 🙂 And it’s interesting to note that many buyers appreciate and understand high quality art, and are therefore willing to pay the right price for it, these are the kind of buyers we should all target and work with. I think many artists who sell online (and I used to be one of them) thought that the only way to sell art was to offer at a price point that everyone can afford. I’ve since learned that this isn’t the case at all! In fact, I can still have higher priced, higher quality original art, but offer lower price points via prints and other products, this way everyone has the opportunity to afford my art in one form or another.

    Reply
    1. Maria

      Megan, thanks for the compliment, that means so much coming from you! (I’m a huge fan of yours!)

      This info in this post is advanced thinking, best applied by artists such as yourself who is established, well respected, and already have a huge following.

      There are many different types of buyers out there – low value, high value, and everything in between. Whatever we target is what we end up getting!

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this topic. Glad to hear from you!

      Reply
  6. Donna Hanna

    Maria – thank you so much for addressing this topic! I am repeatedly told by friends and family that I should charge more for my work. However, since I’m not selling high volume yet, I’ve been trying to keep it affordable.

    Since reading and working the exercises in this series, I have now identified my passions (other than art) and I am starting a series of art work based on my passions, which are music and dance. I have other passions, as well, but have chosen these as my focus for now.

    As I am beginning work on my targeted series, I am also attempting to identify my target audiences. This is where I’ve been stumbling a bit. I have ideas for gaining the interest of individuals and small local music and dance studios, but I would like to identify a larger market.

    The idea of targeting high value clients is both exciting and appealing to me, especially since reading your blog post on this topic. Thank you for this insightful series “success principals”! It is so informative and inspiring! Keep the hits coming!

    Reply
    1. Maria

      Donna, thanks for the comment on this post!

      I’m so glad to hear that my newsletter series is helping you get focused, and that you made a decision on what to put your attention on right now. It’s so much easier to get traction when you have a smaller niche to put your efforts into.

      🙂

      Reply
  7. Mako Fufu

    Thank you! So much value in this post! (…as usual)
    I’ll looking into applying this advice in my career ^_^
    I’ve been thinking about it myself, but I couldn’t figure it out alone!
    Thanks a lot!

    Reply
  8. Kara Rane

    I like this A Lot Maria! In the ‘greeting card’ world (I sell retail to Whole Foods Market & many lovely boutiques) my Eco- Art cards are usually one of the higher end in price. This is because the original images are very detailed drawings, made by hand. Also the reproductions are by Greenerprinter using vegetable inks, renewable energy & 100% recycled paper. Yes, it costs me more to have these prints made and more for the customer, but! to me and the many people who buy my cards there is no price on clean air, water, and land.

    Reply
    1. Maria Brophy

      Kara, thanks for the comment, and I love that you are putting in the extra care to use eco-friendly materials. I’m always happy to pay extra for products I believe in, and there are many people out there who feel the same!

      Reply
  9. Mia MANDELA

    I adore everything what you are doing Maria! You are helping me so much and I hope I’m on the good way to accomplish my goals. Thank you❤️ I’m trying to keep the best service possible to my clients, my only concern is my language. English is my third language and I’m scared that my “pro” letters to potential clients does not sound convenient. Also it’s so hard to find the proper e-mail to the right person at the bigger companies…any thoughts ? I can’t bother my friend to correct me every single time…
    Have a great day Mia MANDELA

    Reply
    1. Maria Brophy

      Mia, thanks for the comment. I suppose the best way to handle your “English as a third language” situation is with humor. On your letters and website, you could include a little disclaimer that says something like “English is my third language, so please be patient with me as I learn” !

      Reply
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  11. Mary

    Hi Maria. A great big WOW for the power of being present. Answering your comments is priceless and I have studied them as much as the articles. I’ve come back to your site now twice in search of information primarily because of your presence. Your blog is my home base for the time being. Thank you in advance for the huge deal I’m about to make with a very reputable company. #worththework

    Reply
    1. Maria Brophy

      Hi Mary, thanks for the kind words, makes me happy! Congrats on your new big deal. Keep us posted on how it goes!

      Reply
  12. Ninandre' Bogue

    Hi Maria. Your blog and topics are right on. I appreciate your willingness to take the time to share. I grew up hearing the words starving artist more then anything else. And all along. I wanted to make a great liveing as an artist. I am presently doing that. But have reached a leveled off area in our growth. And so. We strive to reach higher. Try new things and even opening a new gallery to show case our work. We are high end decorative and fine artist. And with all that we need to take things to the next leval. Which is exactly in reading about your blog has been a great help. We just started. And alreday youve help confirm some things we knew to do. And helped with others to reach higher and better. I look forward to reading and leading more from . Thank you. You are a inspiration. Nin Bogue.

    Reply
  13. Dawn Hill

    I deal with market saturation-everyone seems to think they are a jewelry designer these days. Aiming at those who realize my work is different is what I am focusing on currently. Thank you for reaffirming that I am on the right path. Great blog! I have shared!

    Reply
    1. Maria Brophy

      Thanks Dawn, for the comment. Setting yourself apart from the masses, showing what and how you do things different, is a powerful move!

      Reply
  14. Debra Cortese

    perfect timing to read this article. I’ve been building a new virtual gallery that features art and artists that I am personally curating. We are definitely focused on upscale, new collectors and will be promoting top quality art and personal service to all of our collectors. Interested to know more about the course you mentioned?

    Reply
    1. Maria Brophy

      Debra, the course I took where I learned a lot of the “working with high value clients” techniques was the “6 Figure Consultant” course by Ramit Seti. Though it is geared for service providers (web designers, consultants, etc.) it absolutely works for artists as well. It’s pricey, though. Just under $7,000! But, in the 3 months following the course, I increased our art sales by almost $40,000, so it def paid for itself.

      Reply
  15. SaxonLynn Arts

    Hey Maria,
    Bang on with the “low Value” vs high. We are now giving quotes to potential clients on Thumbtack. Not all, but so many low-ball us on every detail. or they act affronted at our prices, which are too low to begin with. We are in the position of being a good artist yet haven’t been doing this that long. We have had the high end client and exactly as mentioned in your post, they were gracious and prompt, paid a lot and loved the work. Yet they were serious about having quality and not wanting to hear about the details. All artists, including ourselves need to raise their prices collectively so that we all benefit, and potential clients learn to respect what actually goes into painting.

    Reply
    1. Maria Brophy

      Dear Sheri & Lee (SaxonLynn Arts),

      Great to hear from you! Yes, I hear what you are saying about Thumbtack. You have to realize that there are some venues that attract people who are only looking for a cheap deal. I’m not sure if Thumbtack is such a venue, but if it is, then it’s not the right place to sell high value services and art.

      I’m not sure where a better place is to market your services, but, it’s worth trying to find a site that caters to the higher end client.

      Let me know when you find one!

      Reply
  16. Thomas Lucero

    If you’ve yet to establish yourself as an official “business” Ie. Inc. is it possible to charge higher? I mean can you expect people to take you seriously if you are freelancing? I seem to deal with a lot of blow smoke up your asses types who are rah rah about work but are exactly like those you spoke of before, over baring and cheap. Thank you in advance!

    Reply
    1. Maria Brophy

      Dear Thomas, Great question! The answer: If you are new at what you do, and you are not yet providing the best possible value (because you are still learning your trade), then your prices should be in line with the value you provide.

      Many of the highest paid artists are considered “freelance” – that shouldn’t mean anything when it comes to what you charge.

      What is important is the value you give the client. If you have been doing what you do for ten or twenty years, and you are dang good at it, and you are giving the best possible service, then your prices should be higher then the alternative.

      Reply
      1. Thomas Lucero

        Thank you for the vote of confidence. This is and has been my lifes work since before I knew it. Now it’s time to organize the minutiae in attempts to implement an infallible prospectus to procure success. Your knowledge and wisdom could not have come at a more perfect time. Infinite blessings!

  17. Suzanne Urban

    This is why I’ve stopped doing local shows until I can afford a show worth my while. I don’t need to invest a lot of time standing around, having people laugh like crazy at my humorous art that is priced fairly and move on and not buy. I could be in the studio working.

    Reply
  18. Mark Neumayer

    Great advice here, Maria.
    I’m not ready for it, though. Simply because I am just starting out and still building that great portfolio. I am filing this away because this will take me to the level I want to end up.
    I just had my first cold call asking me to do a commissioned piece. We’re talking an incredibly small project but it was still thrilling to have someone come to me and ask me to do work for them. I remembered other things I’ve read on your site and gave them the magic words – “Great, this is how I work.” One of the smoothest projects I’ve done because we laid out all the details up front. Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Maria Brophy

      Mark, you are wise to focus on building up your portfolio, and in doing so, mastering your work. It takes time to be able to be the higher or highest paid person in your field – years of experience and mastery.

      Congrats on your commission – glad to know that my “5 magic words” work for you! (They always do!)

      Reply
  19. Shally Brady

    HOLY GIIIHAD!!! Maria, you have incredible posts!!! SOOO happy to find you guys!!! We’re INFINITE AGENDA, a music-art biz newly going since 14. AND learning alot the hard way! Hahaaahaa!!! Years ago I copied one if DREW brophy’s waves onto my custom & first surfboard. My surf buddy chose the Hokusai wave for his board but I liked the BROPHY wave better. SAD to say someone cut the straps to steal it off my car in Galveston TX while I was out in the waves playin on my shorterboard. ITs awesome reading your auccess story and I am mos def going to incorporate your strategies into our stuff. This summer we’ll be a year old and are already feeling the excitement of being at the threshhold of a whole buncha exciting opportunities! Tell Drew he’s STILL my hero wave artist! (im gettin ready to go back and read and reread & reread all ur flippin awesome posts!!!) & btw, YOU rock hard girl!!!! yayuh.

    Reply
  20. Asmocrafts

    Good Eyes Opener. Please, I Would Like To Know How To FIND These High Value Clients. I Specialise In African Arts And Crafts And Some Woodcrafts.

    Thanks.

    Reply
  21. Ekaterina

    Hi Maria,

    Thank you so much for this post, I have signed up for your email series as well (how could I miss them!) 🙂

    I live in New Zealand and travel a lot. I haven’t come up with the series yet. What’s more – 90% of people who buy my art are from USA. All my sales are online. Do you have tips on how and where to reach your clients online? Shall I do paid ads like Google Shopping and Adwords, Facebookads etc? I mean, even a nice website with a good portfolio needs relevant traffic to convert…Where do I get it?

    Thanks heaps on your blog!:) I’ve been a full time artist for over a year now and it all started with your tips on pricing paintings:)

    Reply
  22. Francisco Enuf Garcia

    Hey there Maria I just wanted to personally thank you! You and your family are a huge inspiration. I have been reading all of your emails, and been watching your husbands video series. He is really cool and inspiring as well. He seems like a real cool guy. I appreciate your tips and advice. I have been creating murals, canvases, and graffiti for over 15 years and been trying to take my business up a notch. Many people have told me not to underprice myself and give away my stuff for free. I love to help people and sometimes I give my stuff away. I have a little daughter now and have been realizing that I need to focus on high valued customers and not be afraid when I share pricing. You are right about sharing the materials that you use and reasssuring them with portfolio and website I will be working on it soon. I think you guys are awesome thank you for inspiring me and my family!

    Reply
  23. Vicky

    I am not an artist. But my website is getting to let artist to design their artwork and sell on our platform. What is your suggestions for pricing their product? Target on higher value client or if they can lower the price a little bit and get more sales. Thanks

    Reply
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  25. Darlene

    Good point! Great article!! A published writer friend was just suggesting to me to reach out for a higher pain client or larger business rather than lower. Ex: a Mercedes dealership with big empty walls rather than a small restaurant cafe.

    Do you create contracts for these projects? If so do you make them warm or very factual?

    I have a lot of work in my past but I feel my subject matter may be too broad, not consistent enough. Is this good or bad? You can see on my website I’ve chosen a few categories that have a larger amount of art in each.

    Reply
    1. Maria Brophy

      Christina, yes, that can be frustrating. But, there are many reasons people don’t buy, or pay your requested prices, and most of the time it isn’t that they can’t afford it. Here’s my top 4 reasons why clients claim they can’t afford your work:

      1 – They aren’t convinced of your abilities but won’t tell you that.

      (The solution is to have a conversation where you connect with the client, as well as have a good website that shows your work to give them confidence in you)

      2 – The artist didn’t follow up again and again and again with the client (and the client forgot about them, or just let it go)

      3- The artist isn’t offering what the person needs or wants (in which case, it isn’t a fit, and then you would refer the client to someone who is a fit)

      4 – They truly don’t have the money. In which case, they aren’t a viable client. (But most of the time, people can afford what you’re charging, if they believe you can deliver what they need. People use money as an excuse, if they aren’t ready to commit or don’t fully trust in the artist. The responsibility is on the artist to convince them of their abilities!)

      So, I would ask you, how can you better communicate with your clients to show them the value of your work? Are you lacking in verbal communication? (Some artists only do email, and that’s a huge mistake.) Or is your website not showing your strongest work?

      Start looking at where you might have a weak spot, and then improve it. And I guarantee, you will see stronger sales after you do!

      Reply
  26. steve

    Loved the article on How to get Strangers to Pay More for your Artwork. I am going to watch the video you suggested and make some changes to our target audience and pricing. Thanx! Steve Witt

    Reply
  27. Anthony

    Hi Maria,
    I’m looking forward to your newsletter.
    I’m a working airbrush artist in the Long Island/New York area.
    I wouldn’t say I have a niche market, like Drew painting surfboards with Pashca pens. I airbrush mainly clothing, but will paint almost anything people want customized.
    My problem is, sales have been up and down. I have an active website. On average 180 hits per week. But I’m not seeing the revenue from it.
    Hopefully your newsletter will help enlighten me and maybe think outside the box a little.
    Thank you,
    Anthony
    East Coast Brush Works

    Reply
  28. Anthony Williams

    Hi there. Question: Are your recommendations particularly for commissioned work and not artwork you are trying to sell?

    Reply
  29. Diana Dupre

    Every customer/friend/potential customer says my artwork is wonderful/fabulous/unique. Orders are trickling in, after I “court” clients. how can I increase sales with burning myself out, having enough time to design and paint? I like doing charity work and learned to sell at wholesale price however, collecting the $$, charities want me to wait until the event is over because “we are focused on the event.” How to defuse that & get my $$ up front? Pet portraits – how to increase exposure and sales? Prices vary so much I can’t keep upl. Help!

    Reply
  30. Diana Dupre

    Every customer/friend/potential customer says my artwork is wonderful/fabulous/unique. Orders are trickling in, after I “court” clients. how can I increase sales with burning myself out, having enough time to design and paint? I like doing charity work and learned to sell at wholesale price however, collecting the $$, charities want me to wait until the event is over because “we are focused on the event.” How to defuse that & get my $$ up front? Pet portraits – how to increase exposure and sales?

    Reply
    1. Maria

      Dear Diana, thanks for the comment and questions! There is a solution to every problem you mentioned, and most are fairly simple and easy to implement. I’d love to work with you directly on this. If you’re interested in having me help you overcome these challenges, please go to my Consulting Page and let’s set up one hour call!

      Reply
  31. Angela Errico

    I am an older artist looking to enter the commercial world. I need help organizing and making my website more professional . Where should I go to find someone whom I can trust and is knowledgeable in handling art websites?
    Do you have any advice for me?
    Thank you ,Angela Errico

    Reply
  32. Clint Sutton

    Hi Maria, thanks again for all your amazing advice! This one is especially important to me right now, as I am finding it extremely difficult to get the prices I ask for, as well as the higher paying clients. Now, the odd thing is, I used too. About a year ago, I was getting those better clients and earning more. But now I am finding I am no longer able to get and keep those potential clients. I think a lot of it has to do with the nature of what I provide and how the industry has collapsed lately. I a constantly loosing buyers too cheaper illustrators from other parts of the world! I have read all the advice online about not competing on that level and focusing on better clients. I did it, and it worked for a while, but now it’s dried up. In fact, I was making more 10 years ago then I am now! Now, I’m not making anything. I am finding it very draining an disheartening to continue everyday trying to find clients only to be dropped for someone’s else cheaper. Maybe this is a good thing in some way. Maybe it’s the universe telling me to change my direction an stop focusing on wat I used to do, or why, and concentrate on doing more of my own thing. More personal works, that have more of my energy in them. I’m just so tired of dealing with clients and all their ideas, that don’t work out anyway. That brings me to my new project I have been working on. Like you and Drew, it is surf related. I am a surfer too, and always felt I needed to do more surf art. I have love for drawing cartoon animals, so I combined my surfing lifestyle with my art, and came up with “Surf Critters”. Various animal characters in surfing scenes. From the moment I started on the first sketch I knew I was on the right path. I could feel the energy flowing into it. Also, after posting them on my various online platforms, I was getting an amazingly positive response from people! I want to eventually have a T-shirt range of my own with my own site to order off, but for now they are available at https://society6.com/clintsutton I am also hoping to have it licensed out to various manufacturers, like you do. But I am totally clueless when it comes to that! I have been reading your post about licensing, so that is helping a lot! I wish I could afford your personal advice and direction, but at this stage I am not able to. Hopefully soon! Sorry about the long post, I got carried away. But it feels good to talk about it, and maybe someone else is in the same position as me, and can gain something out of my post.

    Reply
  33. Clint Sutton

    Hi Maria, thanks again for all your amazing advice! This one is especially important to me right now, as I am finding it extremely difficult to get the prices I ask for, as well as the higher paying clients. Now, the odd thing is, I used too. About a year ago, I was getting those better clients and earning more. But now I am finding I am no longer able to get and keep those potential clients. I think a lot of it has to do with the nature of what I provide and how the industry has collapsed lately. I a constantly loosing buyers too cheaper illustrators from other parts of the world! I have read all the advice online about not competing on that level and focusing on better clients. I did it, and it worked for a while, but now it’s dried up. In fact, I was making more 10 years ago then I am now! Now, I’m not making anything. I am finding it very draining an disheartening to continue everyday trying to find clients only to be dropped for someone’s else cheaper. Maybe this is a good thing in some way. Maybe it’s the universe telling me to change my direction an stop focusing on wat I used to do, or why, and concentrate on doing more of my own thing. More personal works, that have more of my energy in them. I’m just so tired of dealing with clients and all their ideas, that don’t work out anyway. That brings me to my new project I have been working on. Like you and Drew, it is surf related. I am a surfer too, and always felt I needed to do more surf art. I have love for drawing cartoon animals, so I combined my surfing lifestyle with my art, and came up with “Surf Critters”. Various animal characters in surfing scenes. From the moment I started on the first sketch I knew I was on the right path. I could feel the energy flowing into it. Also, after posting them on my various online platforms, I was getting an amazingly positive response from people! I want to eventually have a T-shirt range of my own with my own site to order off, but for now they are available at https://society6.com/clintsutton I am also hoping to have it licensed out to various manufacturers, like you do. But I am totally clueless when it comes to that! I have been reading your post about licensing, so that is helping a lot! I wish I could afford your personal advice and direction, but at this stage I am not able to. Hopefully soon! Sorry about the long post, I got carried away. But it feels good to talk about it, and maybe someone else is in the same position as me, and can gain something out of my post. Keep up the great work!

    Reply
  34. Alina

    Hello Maria,
    Thank you for your blog and article. This post was just what I needed to hear. Honestly, your blog is the first blog about art business that I am actually reading. (I have signed for your newsletter.)
    My paintings are detailed, take many days to create, and are intended for a narrow niche market. I love this kind of art and teach private classes. Although, all my paintings during 2015 were presold as commissioned projects, but my prices… That’s why I read your article.
    Many thanks, Alina.

    Reply
  35. kwame Dennis

    Thanks for this wonderful piece
    I am not an artist but I know a guy who is an awesome artist, he does both pencil art n paints.. But in our part of the world(Ghana) art works don’t sell and I feel he is wasting his God giving talent.
    Wish I can send you some of his art.
    How do we help this great artist make earns meet from this

    Reply
  36. Susan

    Maria,
    Don’t know if anyone will see this, since it’s 2017- but got to say it this is a site that rocks!

    I’m a writer, write a blog, Sadie’s Gathering, where I write at my leisure, about this and that, (recipes, SNL sketches I’d like to see, and posts about what have you.)
    Not surprising to anyone I’m sure, last year became more political than I ever imagined, but oh well. Not happy how the election turned out, so, taking some time to focus on a novel, and a little time to look around.

    Reason I’m here was about mural pricing, for my husband who does, all types of illustration, and has steadily been adding to his work. Thanks for all the great posts!

    Years ago, (wish I could find it) there was a video on YouTube about artists charging what they’re worth. More so, explaining web designing costs, as well as other artists’ costs to non artsy fartsies 😉

    Just as nobody would expect to pay a hairdresser for less than the price, or pay less than the price a car, even if they did “do marketing for the service by telling all their friends” who did their hair/where they got their car; they should not expect a designer/artists to give them a “special rate” in exchange for complimentary word of mouth.

    Hope everyone is well and living the dream!

    Reply

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