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Pricing and Selling Your Digital Artwork: A Guide for Artists

Introduction

Monetizing digital artwork requires strategic pricing and diverse sales channels. As an artist, how do you value your work? And where do you profitably promote it amidst marketplace competition?

This comprehensive guide covers proven techniques for pricing artwork competitively and selling creations successfully as a digital artist. We’ll explore:

  • Evaluating pricing factors
  • Researching rates competitively
  • Calculating production costs
  • Selling through online stores
  • Licensing for commercial use
  • Auctioning through platforms
  • Distributing on stock sites
  • Promoting strategically on social media
  • Protecting work through watermarking
  • Tracking sales metrics

With the right sales foundations, digital art evolves from passion to profession. Let’s dive in to profiting from your creative talents!

Key Factors Influencing Artwork Pricing

When defining rates, consider elements like:

Art Medium

Paintings and drawings warrant higher pricing than manipulations of photos. Traditional mediums suggest more effort.

Image Size and Resolution

Larger, higher-resolution artwork rightfully commands higher values.

Color Palettes

Vibrant, layered coloring adds complexity versus black-and-white shading.

Realism vs. Abstract

Realistic rendering generally fetches greater prices than abstract creations.

Original vs. Reproductions

Price one-of-a-kind originals significantly higher than reproductions or prints.

Usage Rights

Art priced for exclusive rights sells for higher rates than licenses permitting reuse.

Researching Rates Competitively

Analyze peer pricing across channels to align with norms.

Browse Similar Artists

Search portfolios of artists in your medium, subject matter and style noting typical rates listed.

Review Art Marketplaces

Scan major platforms like Etsy and DeviantArt for competitive prints and original listing rates.

Follow Social Media Pricing

Note prices shared by fellow artists selling work on social media and art feeds.

Join Artist Communities

In forums and groups, ask others targeting your customer segment about their pricing approaches.

Consider Local Markets

If selling locally, understand pricing norms for your region outside of online spaces.

Factor in Experience Level

Account for years in practice and professional qualifications when benchmarking seasoned pros.

Calculating Production Costs

To price sustainably, understand your underlying costs.

Account for Time and Effort

Estimate hours spent per piece to ensure adequate hourly compensation for your work.

Price Tools and Materials

Factor costs of digital tools, drawing tablets, software subscriptions and more into rates.

Consider Electric and Equipment

Power and equipment like computers enabling digital art add overhead to budgets.

Estimate Taxes

Remember to account for income taxes when setting pre-tax pricing targets.

Weigh Promotional Efforts

Marketplace and website costs for showcasing art subtract from potential profits.

Validate Against Living Expenses

Review rates relative to real cost of living to confirm work desirability and sustainability.

Selling Art Through Online Stores

Opening a personal online art store allows control over sales.

Choose eCommerce Platforms

Use ready-made print-on-demand sites like Redbubble and Society6 simplifying logistics.

Drive Traffic with SEO

Optimize artwork pages for search engines through keywords to enhance findability.

Promote on Social Channels

Share store URL, sales and coupon codes on all social accounts.

Create Scarcity

For originals especially, tout limited editions and availability to add urgency.

Provide Prints as Well

Sell high-margin prints, apparel, and phone cases of popular originals.

Offer Diverse Products

Expand beyond wall art into stationery, home decor, accessories displaying work.

Share Stories Behind Pieces

Increase perceived value using listing descriptions to share artistic motivations and meanings.

Licensing Work for Commercial Use

Licensing rights provides passive revenue streams as work gains exposure.

Retain Copyright

Only provide usage rights rather than fully signing away copyright for flexible monetization.

Use Creative Commons Licenses

For free resources, use CC licenses permitting commercial reuse with attribution.

Set Licensing Fees

Research common licensing fee structures such as fees per image/timeframe or royalties on unit sales.

Join Stock Art Sites

Upload portfolio to stock art marketplaces like Getty and Shutterstock for worldwide visibility.

List on 3D Asset Stores

If creating 3D digital models, art and environments, sell through online 3D asset stores.

Provide Commercial Licensing

Offer companies rights to use artwork in advertising and products for set fees.

Auctioning Work on Bidding Platforms

Limited open editions sold through auction create urgency.

Partner with Auction Houses

Well known auction brands like Sotheby’s drive institutional prestige and high valuations.

Sell Through Online Auctions

Digital auction platforms like LiveAuctioneers streamline the auction process.

Offer Time-Limited Availability

Auctions incentivize buyers to bid before work is sold by generating scarcity.

Provide Authenticity Certificates

Include documents verifying creation process and authenticity for sold physical and digital pieces.

Cultivate Press and Influencers

Gift select pieces to press contacts and influencers to gain auction traction through buzz.

Time with Major Events

Schedule auctions to align with larger art industry conferences or shows.

Promoting Work on Social Media

Boost organic reach by strategically sharing artwork across platforms.

Post Consistently

Share new designs and auction announcements regularly to stay top of mind.

Use Hashtags

Include niche artist hashtags like #DigitalArt to enhance discoverability in each platform’s feeds.

Caption Thoroughly

Provide titles, mediums, licensing details and shop links clearly in all posts showcasing creations.

Run Paid Ads

Sponsor standout posts and Stories to expand impressions beyond purely organic reach.

Cross-Promote

Re-share positive press, features and collaborations involving you as social proof.

Engage with Followers

Like, comment and respond to follower messages to build community.

Protecting Work Through Digital Watermarking

Watermarks deter illegal use and allow asserting rights.

Upload Lower Resolution Previews

Share lower resolution samples only publicly retaining high resolution originals.

Add Visible Username Watermarks

Overlay handles prominently on preview images to assert credit if shared without permission.

Use Steganography

Hide identifying details imperceptibly within artwork itself that surface if digitally altered.

Add Metadata

Embed licensing details, contact information and creator credit through metadata travels with files.

Use Low-Opacity Watermarks

Faintly overlay branding across images to mark while minimally impacting aesthetics.

Try Removeable Watermarks

For buyers, consider removeable watermarks delivered only with payment.

Tracking Sales and Pricing Metrics

Key datapoints confirm optimal rates and channels. Analyze:

  • Sales rates across channels and products
  • Average order values by product line and license type
  • Customer acquisition costs
  • Work receiving highest engagement and inquiry
  • Commissions and licensing income trends
  • Sales by price point and discount level
  • ROI by marketplace and promotion channel
  • Qualitative feedback on pricing and perceived value

Conclusion

With diverse sales channels and strategic rate evaluation, digital art transforms from passion project into profitable profession. Remember:

  • Evaluate pricing factors like effort, complexity and exclusivity
  • Research competitive rates thoroughly across marketplaces
  • Weigh rates against costs for production and promotion
  • Sell through owned stores, platforms and commercial licenses
  • Auction limited editions digitally for organic hype
  • Promote work actively yet professionally on social media
  • Protect IP with watermarking and metadata
  • Track sales data to optimize program performance

The foundations are now in place to start sustainably monetizing your digital creative talents and establishing your artistic brand.

Contents

By Dani Davis

Dani Davis is the pen name of the writer of this blog with more 15 years of constant experience in Content marketing and informatics product, e-commerce niche.

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