I have noticed a disturbing trend in art lately ... the Cheapening of the Craft ... Perhaps these are young artists (typically in High School or sometimes even in Middle School) trying to make money on the side; or maybe they are inexperienced; or maybe they are just desperate and selling themselves SHORT ... but they are charging $10-$20 for 2-4 hours worth of custom work on portraits - either digital or traditional.
Don't you KNOW you are worth MORE?!
Do the math - Even if it only takes you two hours to do a project, at $10 - you are working for LESS than minimum wage! Maybe to YOU that is a LOT, BUT there are artists that do this FOR A LIVING. I can't live off $4-$5 an hour for my talent and time!
*I generally charge per projected time involved at around $25 an hour OR by the size and complexity of the piece (especially for traditional paintings etc, sometimes hourly is too much or insufficient to cover material costs) - it works like a flat rate - if I quote an 8 hour project, but complete it in 6 hours, I still make the 8 hour estimate - that works in reverse too - if I quote 8 hours and it takes me 16 hours - then that's on me, and pushes me to make my quote. See how that works?*
What charging minuscule amounts ultimately does is cheapens the overall craft! Then you end up with customers looking for the CHEAPEST monetary charge for the craft! Then they FREAK OUT when they ask a more seasoned artist to do something and say, for example, [for a full web design ready, merchandise logo for apparel, advertising, business cards my flat rate is $250, this includes revisions, customer feedback and 3 versions of the design, ready to use for all formats, from web, to printing, to embroidery, to stickers/decals etc]
CUSTOMER REPLIES WITH:
"WHAT?! $250 !!! My friend Joe down the street will do the same thing for $30!"
Well, then go to your "Friend Joe!" is often the internal [unsent] reply. I USED to charge $500 for the same thing- but due to technology, the ease of use, programs, tablets and saturation of the market, $500 is considered too much now - so I already cut my craft down by HALF for the same level of work and time involved.
And no, I am not charging $250 for a simple circle with words in it and some stolen vector graphic filigree - by all means, $30 is reasonable for that. It's usually something like a custom Pinup, with logo lettering, various color tones, background, shading, and around 10 layers of digital work. I have gotten efficient and faster over the years, but that STILL equates to 4-8 hours of work - especially if I am working FROM SCRATCH with actual TALENT and not just copy and pasting somebody elses talent and labeling it "mine".
Maybe I just have a higher degree of integrity and won't stoop to art thievery to put my name out there. I want my customers to have something UNIQUE, that I concocted SPECIAL just for THEM - sure, I might find (and purchase) a font that meets mine and the customer's criteria and make minor changes, but usually I work from scratch- a traditional sketch from a sketch pad that is then altered via my programs and computer.
These hack artists also don't realize that to USE someone else's hard work and pre-made vector graphics (if you're not just blatantly STEALING it off Google) usually requires membership to the Vector site to the tune of $39.99 per month and/or individual purchase license, averaging $79-$99 for commercial uses (do your math - gee, I charged $30 for that, now my bank account is MINUS -$90 to -$100- yep, that was SMART *rolls eyes*).
Don't get caught using STOLEN Vector Graphics or Googled images (aka someone else's hard work, blood, sweat and tears) for monetary gain if you've stolen them - that can get UGLY!
And no, I am not referring to those lovely digital adoptables where the hardest part is making the first layer that you then copy and alter. I am talking about CUSTOM work, that you make from scratch by building layers or composition from multiple customer references. THAT TAKES TIME. And further, stop making other artists look like over priced ASS HOLES when we charge what we know our time is worth!
Shanna Stott, Artist, Writer, Mommy
Shanna Stott is an artist creator and visionary capable of any artistic medium put in front of her ... follow her as she shares what she does as she sees the world through artist goggles and Little Rue's perspectives ...!