It was interesting learning about ABBA at the RHS Plant and Art Fair last July. As a participant of the exhibition it was inspiring to meet so many enthusiastic artists, see exquisite artworks and I didn’t want to miss the stands at the show! It was lovely meeting Gaynor Dickeson and we ended up also talking about how I price my artwork as she was interested in the fact that I use a formula I developed over time.
Originally from Curaçao in the Caribbean, I moved to the Netherlands to study Biology and Scientific Illustration. I now work as an illustrator for Naturalis Biodiversity Center, Research Institute and Natural History Museum in Leiden. Often you can also find me drawing plants at the Hortus Botanicus, where I painted my Bee Orchid series for the RHS show. It was during my course Master Scientific Illustration that we were taught about how to make a living as a professional illustrator. I have since developed a simple but reliable formula for pricing. Feel free to use it as well and adjust it to your own personal situation.
Price = (100 + sale commission percentage) / 100 X ( (Number of hours work X Gross hourly wage) + art material costs (including paper, paint, brushes, mat, frame etc.) + extra costs (such as having it photographed or traveling costs, packing materials etc.) ).
The biggest contribution comes from the tax I pay and the sales commission percentage (if applicable). You could also scale your price by the area painted instead of working hours, have prices for specific sizes or via other methods and include other relevant costs. Over time the numbers in your formula might develop. For instance, my hourly wage started out from the Dutch national minimum wage.
To people interested in buying my work I always explain my price, which is justified with my formula. They therefor know I will never just price arbitrarily. I appreciate my buyers interest in my art and support my prices with facts and a transparency my buyers understand and can rely on.
Bee Orchid, Ophryis apifera by Esmée Winkel
Medium: watercolour on paper
Size: 35 x 45 cm (13.8 x 17.8 inch)
Date: copyright Esmée Winkel 2018