(Cross posted from my tumblr
I feel obliged to, but also want to say thank you for the response to my text post yesterday about my convention art pricing. I certainly wasn't expecting it to get the level of response that it did, or the kind that it did. I was looking for advice on how to properly re-evaluate my work based on it's physical quality and artistic level, but instead I got a lesson in why artists shouldn't devalue their work, and many varying opinions on the sale of fanart. While I still don't believe I am devaluing my work, I want to say thank you, especially to ~fayrenpickpocket
and everyone who responded with your insights on this. Artwork and money can be such sticky subjects, and the sale of fanart is even stickier, so thank you for diving into those topics for me.
Like I said above and in the original post, I was honestly not trying to put my artwork down, but express that I completely and honestly believe that my artwork is not worth what I charge
, that I am morally struggling because of that belief
every time I make a sale, and that I believe I need to lower my prices to match the worth I feel it is
... but I guess many others feel very differently. I am not looking for a pity party or a bunch of people to tell me my work is worth what I charge either, because I know now that no matter how many people tell me this, I will probably never
agree. Though it is comforting to know that a lot of artists feel similarly about their own work - they just have the smarts, professionalism, balls, and the financial need to not give in to their feelings and charge less. Perhaps my concept of money and artwork is skewed because I've been working conventions for too long. Or perhaps I just need to find my artistic balls again.
Anyway, I think I will keep my prices as they are for NYCC, since it is my last convention of 2012. After that I'm looking forward to a nice six-month break from conventions and Artist Alley, during which time I hope to revamp at least 50% of my merchandise and do some more soul searching on my pricing and artistic worth... just, offline this time. xD;;; Thanks again, and hopefully I'll see some of you in New York next week.
(Cross posted from my tumblr
For the past year or so I've been facing some morality issues on selling my art and fanart. Normally I wouldn't talk about something like this on the internet, but since most of my friends are artists and many of them also do anime conventions, I'm kind of low on unbiased people to talk to. And there are lots of different artists on tumblr, (and DA) so I'd love to hear some opinions on this and maybe get some advice?
First off, I feel like I'm overpriced. I charge what a lot of print artists charge at conventions - $15 per poster, buy 2 get 1 free. Although I am trying to conduct myself professionally at conventions, I feel as though these prices are just too much for what the customer is getting. I look at my work and think, "Wow, I wouldn't pay $15 for this let alone drop $30 for three of them, so why am I charging others that much?" Most of the artists I talk to about this say, "You're not overpriced! Stop devaluing your art!" and, "You'll make the rest of us look bad if you charge less!" But I really don't think it's a matter of devaluing my art. I'm not trying to be depressing or put myself down. I'm trying to look at my work and it's quality and find a price that I am comfortable selling it for. I'm also not trying to make anyone else look bad by charging less; this is about my work and what I feel it's worth is within the level I'm currently at.
A big part of feeling overpriced is the physical quality of my prints. My prints are nice quality - 80lb gloss text, full bleed. They're nice, but they're not great. I used to like this paper because it's light and easy to travel with, and it lasts as long as you handle it well. But I hardly travel with my prints anymore; I have to bring so many now that I mail half of them to the convention in advance, and the mail does not treat anything well. Also, this past summer my usual printer botched a whole lot of my orders, rushing through them to meet summer demand. They got colors and cuts wrong, and these details matter deeply to me. I couldn't do anything to fix these prints since I got them so close to the conventions that I had to sell them, and while I never had a single customer complain about them, I felt guilty the whole time. They were prints I'd rather throw away or give away for free, and I was stuck selling them to make sure I could pay my hotel and flight bill. One thing I've learned from doing conventions is that customers hardly ever seem to care what kind of paper a print is on
or if they do, they never say so to the artist. For this reason I've been told to stop worrying about my paper quality and just sell, and for a while I did, but with all the botched prints I've had to sell it's a worry that has crept back to me.
Luckily I've found a local printer I want to switch to next year. It will be more expensive, but the print quality will be a lot higher, and since they're local I can be there to work with them until the product is exactly what I want. But then I go back to my first worry of my art being overpriced in general, and I think
would increasing the physical quality of my prints make them feel worth what I charge? Or will it be like polishing a turd? Even with nicer, heavier paper and higher print quality, I don't know if I will be comfortable continuing to sell my work for $15 a pop. I feel like $10 per would be much more reasonable for me, and for my customers.
I know, I know
"Wtf you're actually freaking out over a $5 difference?" Yeah, it's important to me
These are the reasons why I decided to sell my prints online for $10. And a $5 difference is a lot when you add up the number of prints I sell at a convention.
Which brings me to the second morality issue I've been having
the sale of fanart. It's basically what I've been doing at anime conventions for the past six years. I really love making fanart, since it's how I got started drawing in the first place. I've done plenty of research and know about copyright laws. People argue that the sale of fanart is a very grey area, and I agree, but if you follow the law to the letter the very creation of fanart itself is completely illegal, (with the exception of parody). But big industry has been turning a blind eye to the sale of fanart for many years, allowing the culture to thrive and in some cases, (like Otakon) police itself. I know artists who've been hired to work officially for the things they've done fanart for, so I feel like big industry does actually like fanart in most cases. But I know plenty of people who sell way more fanart than me, some who make their entire living off of it without batting an eye, and some who fanart things purely for monetary gain. And that's fine for them, I don't really care what they do, it's their choice. But for me, it's been feeling a little more wrong with every convention I go to. I have some success with my original work now, but not nearly enough to pay the bills. While I don't think I'll stop creating and selling fanart completely, (I love making fanart too much and sharing that love with other fans I meet at conventions) I feel like I need to cut back on it significantly. Only draw fanart for what I truly love, and make sure I give back to the industry in some way, by buying official merchandise and not pirating. I also want to create more original work and have organized plans to do so, but it's going slowly and I feel like the continued success I've seen in Artist Alley is in jeopardy if those plans don't pick up faster.
Anyway, those are my rambles on pricing and print quality and fanart. Haha, can you tell I'm worried about being at NYCC next week? I'd like to hear what others think about this, and if you're an artist, how you go about pricing your work and finding it's worth. In case you need to see it, here is my art tag
and my DA gallery
, filled with many things I've brought to conventions, (though not everything). I've been doing conventions for so long and I still struggle with pricing. It's just one of those things that never gets easier. xD;;
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