In these early stages of launching my site, I’ve made myself available for hire—for wedding invitations, custom calligraphy prints, etc. If you ask me for a quote, you might be a little surprised at the price. Why are custom pieces so expensive?
I’m Only Selling One
When selling art, you have a “spectrum” of pricing options—on one end, selling mass quantities at lower prices, and on the other hand, selling very low quantities at higher prices. One practical way this works out is thinking about the artist’s hourly wage. In order to make minimum wage for a project that takes 4 hours start to finish, the artist has to charge at least $40 for a single piece of art—and that doesn’t count the price of printing, shipping, fees from point-of-sale services, etc. Arguably, an artist should earn more for his or her skilled labor than a fast food worker, so this is for example only!
Alternatively—and once again, to make minimum wage—the artist could sell four prints at $10 each (once again leaving out fees, printing, etc.).
I’m Selling PRINTED ARTWORk
Did you know that just printing a 16 in. by 20 in. piece can cost $20? Artists have to pass printing costs on to their customers, otherwise larger sizes would just not be an option. Canvases, also, can be a large portion of a custom calligraphy piece's price tag.
I’m Selling Uniqueness
Along with many other artists, when I do a custom piece, I typically hand over the rights to that project. That means that any custom piece you buy from me, unless otherwise stated, will be uniquely yours—you won’t see that at Hobby Lobby, Etsy, or on your neighbor’s wall!
I’m Selling a Service
Each of my fully custom pieces comes with more than the artwork—depending on your needs, I think about the room in which your piece will hang, and pick complementary colors. I pick a style that is appropriate for the home, audience, and client. And depending on the piece, I even do research about the quote. How can I help these words to come alive? Is there a style or design that would help communicate the author’s original intent? And especially for Scripture—I think about how I can make this easy to read and easy to remember, so that people who come in contact with it can be impacted by the Word of God.
I’m Not Selling to Everyone
If you don’t have a need for a custom piece—especially after looking at a custom piece price tag—that’s fine! Stay tuned for news about my online store, which I plan to open before the end of the year. Being able to sell more than one print of a piece of art will make them more affordable for the buyer. More than anything, share my posts and tell your friends to sign up for the newsletter, because the success of opening a store depends largely on the size of one’s audience.
If you’d still like custom artwork, but finances are an issue, you can still ask for a quote. Ask me how we can get the bill as low as possible; chances are, I can probably work with you!