Wednesday, January 20, 2010


I've got a question and am hoping some of you can help. Since I gave the picture of Sadie to my friend at work, I've had at least two interested people, asking if I can paint their pet too. Now I did Sadie for Cheryl because she's been my friend for 10 years. I did the cat on my sidebar for another friend at work because I wanted to.

Now I'm a little uncomfortable with people asking. I actually would like to paint their pets, but I'm not doing it for free. The two that have questioned me are co-workers and I like them, but they aren't my personal friends. I invested time, effort and the cost of matting and framing for my friends.

Do you sell your art? Do you ever do commissions? How do you decide the price? I spent approximately 3 - 4 hours on each of the paintings (not all in one block but bits here and there) and I spent time at the frame shop figuring out the matting and then framing it. We have a do-it-yourself frame shop in my town. The finished dog painting was 11" x 14".

I would like to be fair and it would be a nice way to pull in a little extra money. I think I can produce a painting they would be happy with, but once you add money to the mix it becomes something else, not just me doing my art for the fun of it.



Cris, Artist in Oregon said...

Its not only time you need to know its the cost of material and thats not cheap. Also when you HAVE to do something it turns out not to be as much fun as doing a gift for someone so make it worth your while & get down payment ahead of time.
I do commission work every so often now. I do the painting but they have it framed. Figure out your hours and material costs and add enough for labor that you feel comfortable with. Get it printed out on a card or something and when someone asks hand them the card and say.. sure heres what I charge... so much for one pet and add a bit more for a second pet. Say 25 bucks more for the second one or how ever you feel comfortable with.

Linda said...

I use a spreadsheet I got from Chris Perry on Etsy. You can use the one that pays a wage or you can you the one that doesn't. It it uses UK symbols for $ but it works the same anyway. Here is the link if you are interested:

Teri C said...

I don't sell my art but sounds like you got some great advice here.

Wonderful that they want you to do it.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I would probably faint if someone asked me to paint their pet. That would end the transaction. I think you have been given some sound advise. I hope it works out for you.

Aunt Krissy said...

That's a hard one. I will be no help to you! Good luck.

crochet lady said...

Other than a personal gift I charge for requested items because that is my business. You'll have to decide what you are comfortable doing.

An option would be to do the paitings at a fixed cost (figure in your materials and time) and then charge extra for larger sizes or if they want the item framed.

Margaret Ann said...

Gosh...This brings back nightmares of a former life...Set your charges upfront...(I love that idea of a card...)include a decent charge for your time-sometimes that's hard to do...Include art/subject research time MUST consider it strictly a business transaction and not a favor...I had a hard time with that...:) And, whatever you do, get a substantial down payment pronto! Cris had some really great advice...I would also advise not to include the framing option...oftentimes people have no clue of what it takes to mat, back, glaze, frame and finish a piece of art...let alone the time and decisions needed to do it...take it from one who was a artist/partner in a custom framing business...:) People couldn't believe what it would cost to frame a piece in addition to the cost of the original art itself! Whew...Enough of this trip down memory lane...that's why I now like ATCs...they fit so nicely in those plastic sleeves! LOL :)

soulbrush said...

i have such fun selling some of my art on an etsy site. i don't charge a lot, but it gives me a great thrill to know that people around the world have my art up in their homes, what a buzz! no amount of money can ever cover the time factor, you cannot possibly charge by hours...get advice, do what your heart and sensibility tell you and then either they will pay or they won't. also, i have never done a commission.

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Cat said...

I'm with Soulbrush on this. Charge what you feel is a fair price for your work. What would you be willing to pay? See what other artists doing similar work are charging and see where you fit in. Do it. Your work is well worth being compensated for!

It also does feel incredible to know that your 'art' is out there in the 'world' hanging in someone's home or office providing pleasure to those who encounter it!

Also, I would only provide the artwork. Get a percentage down for a commissioned piece. Let the buyer matte and frame to their own decor. Keeps your cost and stress down! Unless it's a gift of course. :)

Best of luck, you're gonna do great!